Most stories should not start with “it was a dark and stormy night” but this evening in Washington, DC could be described no other way. A great storm was raging, as were key members of Congress and other important figures. The politicians waited in silence staring at a blank satellite screen for the eccentric Chinese President Xi Jinping to appear and discuss the massive debt America owed China.
The group was in the East Room of the White House above the library, where a small window reflected the faces of those who had enough ‘klout’ to sit at the round table with President Obama and Vice President Biden.
It would be any news reporter's dream to sit alongside these political heavyweights, but the “China Task Force” or C.T.F. had made this a closed conference, top-secret event. So secret, even Snowden didn’t know about it.
Even if the White House let the press in, the reporters would not have made it through the heavy downpour in Washington, DC. Visibility in the city was close to zero. Normal traffic ended hours earlier as young and old government employees hunkered down in their favorite bars to weather the storm.
Now, rain poured so hard the echoes of the downpour shot through the White House, giving attention to the awkward silence in the East Room.
As the large teleprompter screen remained blank, an animated Michele Bachmann broke the silence. “I just don’t trust these Chinese, even with their food. My husband ends up having problems with his rectal area after he eats it when I’m away. You should see the fees I pay his proctologist. Thank the good Lord we don’t have ObamaCare or he wouldn’t be able to walk.”
The other members of the C.T.F. remained silent, as most believed Mr. Bachmann to be a closeted homosexual. Being the peacemaker, President Obama wanted to avoid any divisive issues. “Yes. I understand. Chinese food, though delicious, bothers my stomach and Michelle’s as well Congresswoman Bachmann.”
Joe Biden rose from his chair and headed toward the decanter on a table at the side of the room. “Hey, Barry, I thought it was only black guys that were late, not the Chinese. Ha. That's good one.”
The oft-amused Biden smiled and gave a self-satisfactory laugh. President Obama shook his head, grateful the press wasn’t here to catch another ‘JoeGaffee.’ Biden poured himself a glass of scotch as Obama popped a piece of Nicorette in his mouth.
“Since this meeting is 'not official,' I suppose it's all right to have a drink.” Biden cheered the room. He brought another cup over to Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan and sat back down; the two had become close since their 2012 Vice Presidential debate and would drink over the ‘malarkey’ of the day.
Eric Cantor, next to his also-tanned counterpart Majority Leader Boehner, was fed up with the jokes. “In all seriousness, what the Chinese President is doing is a power move. It’s a psychological display of dominance. You can’t trust a communist.”
Senator Ted Cruz slammed his fist on the table. “Those commies will play mind games. I agree.”
Congresswoman Pelosi raised her hand. “Excuse me, but I’m more worried about this storm. We might be stuck here.” She gestured at the window. “This storm has gotten dangerous. I'm telling you, it's global warming. Only global warming could cause a downpour of this magnitude! My constituents are very worried about this issue and so am I.”
Democrat Senator Harry Reid and Socialist Bernie Sanders agreed but Congresswoman Bachmann and Congressman Tim Scott shook their heads in annoyance and said a silent prayer for the socialists in the room.
Other Republicans rolled their eyes at Pelosi’s statement. Libertarian-leaning Senator Rand Paul responded, “If global warming even exists, the market will fix it. What we need to worry about is the debt. The Chinese have every right to call this emergency meeting and to want their money.”
Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner (who was called out of retirement to help out the C.T.F.) nodded in approval of Senator Paul’s market solution.
President Obama took a deep breath and offered a fake but serene glance to acknowledge Paul's statement. He put his hand up and quieted the room. “Now, now, let's not have the global warming debate right now, folks. There is talk that the Chinese are very upset about our debt and want us to pay now, which is a surprise to us all. But that is not the only reason for this emergency meeting. The NSA has heard some terrorist chatter about an attack on Annapolis that could dismantle many of our Navy’s resources. They say the Chinese might know about it. We might be in for a long night. Look, if the storm gets worse, you can sleep here; it’s a big house. We can sell to it to the press as a political sleepover. They’ll find that cute and bipartisan.”
New York Senator Schumer rubbed his temples in frustration. “Oi vey, I don’t have my Ambien.”
Senator McCaskill gave him a nice Missouri smile.
“It’s okay, Chuck. You can have some of mine. Senator Rubio, I have some bottled water if you need it, too.”
The group laughed and Senator Rubio inwardly grimaced at the overused joke but mustered a smile that only a man running for President in 2016 could pull off.
Senator McCain put down his unfinished poker game. “You pansies and your sleeping pills. When I was in Vietnam I slept on pure steel and spider shit… President Obama, sir, I’m sick of waiting for these communists. Either you call them or I will.”
President Obama saw an annoyed crowd and felt the temperature in the room rising. On days like this he was sick of being President but he knew this was not a time for self-pity. He looked out at the storm and thought of his Kenyan father herding goats in this type of downpour. His father would not have been deterred by hardships like this. The President sighed with finality. “All right, John, enough is enough. Let’s get President Xi Jinping on screen. We’ve waited long enough.”
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Genre – Fiction, Humor
Rating – PG-13