Suddenly, Big Dave SLAPS Tony across the face.
BIG DAVE: Settle down, Antoin. I’m just sayin’, is all.
Barry fires another shot. This one brushes the net, bounces off the wall, shatters a window and flies onto the El tracks, where it’s squished by a passing train.
BARRY II: Damn, Tony, now look what you made me do! I lost my best Nerf ball. Match me, Plouffie.
Plouffie whips out a lighter and lights Barry up.
BARRY II (calming down): O.K., time for one more.
A third man emerges from the shadows, semi-boyish, full head of hair, wearing a sharkskin suit. This is PUBLIC OFFICIAL A, aka “Big Rod.”
BARRY II: Do I know you?
BIG ROD: I am the ghost of Felons Future. Plus, I’m totally innocent. I never tried to shake down that movie producer, Tom Rosenberg, for a couple a mil. No way.
BARRY II (looking around): Is there anybody in this room who isn’t a crook?
Dead silence. Then a lithe little man with the grace of a ballet dancer prances forward. This is Barry’s trusted consigliere, “MANNY.” He picks up one of the many Nerf balls on the floor, without even looking, tosses it over his shoulder and right into the basket. Nothing but net.
MANNY: Barry, can I have a word with you?
Barry looks into Manny’s eyes and sees his soul. He likes what he sees, and nods to Big Dave.
BIG DAVE: O.K., all youse bums out.
Herded by Big Dave, the men in the room shuffle along. As the light from the hallway strikes them, we see they are Republicans like Ryan and Democrats like Blagojevich, plus members of the dreaded “Daley Machine” and a host of downstate Illinois legislators from both parties, each carrying little tin cups.
The room is now empty. Manny takes up his accustomed position next to Barry’s right ear and whispers softly.
MANNY: I hate to break the news to you, but you’re not president yet. Not until January 20. You can’t pardon anybody right now.
BARRY II: I can’t? But this is the Office of the President-Elect, and I am the Kwisatz Haderach. I read all about myself in Dune.
MANNY: No, Barry, it isn’t. It’s the Headquarters of the Combination — you know, the racket we run here in Chicago with members of both political parties. All for one and one for all, enriching each other, hiring each other’s idiot relatives…
BARRY II: And they let us get away with this stuff? In public?
MANNY: Of course they do. That’s why we call it the Combination.
BARRY II: And we can do this, you know, in America, too? I can put Republicans and Democrats in my cabinet and then just let business-as-usual run its course? While I sit in the Oval Office, shooting hoops and smoking cigarettes?
MANNY: Of course you can. You may be Change, but we’re the Combination. O.K. so we didn’t roll Chambliss in Georgia, but once we steal the election for Franken in Minnesota, we’re close enough for government work. And you know what the really good news is?
Manny drops his voice even lower:
MANNY (cont’d): Jeb Bush is thinking about running for the senate in Florida in 2010! Which means . . .
Barry nearly jumps out of his chair –
BARRY II: I can run against Bush in 2012! Just like that guy, David Kahane, predicted!!
MANNY: Four more years! Four more years!
An excited Barry fishes around futilely for a cigarette. Manny snaps his fingers and one materializes from thin air, already lit and ready to be smoked. Manny smiles a diabolical smile as he hands it over:
MANNY: After all, if Chicago ain’t ready for Reform, why should the USA be any different?
At that moment, the door swings open. Bats hiding in the corners of the room suddenly fly out the broken window as the room fills with the smell of brimstone and a hideous CACKLE rends the air…
FEMALE VOICE: I’ll say it ain’t, and boy do I ever know Chicago.
MANNY: May I introduce you to your new secretary of state?
… and into the room steps: HILLARY CLINTON.
HILLARY: Meet the new boss, Barry, same as the old boss.
— David Kahane is the nom de cyber of a writer in Hollywood. Any resemblance in the Constitutionally protected satire above to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental. If you think otherwise, you can write to him at [email protected].