As close readers of this blog might recall, last summer President Obama took a meeting with Mephistopheles - the representative of the Devil - for on-going negotiations about the terms of exchange for the president's immortal soul. Please read it here.
The Devil, you see, has fallen short of some of his original promises to President Obama - lapses the president is not about to let slide.
What follows now is the most recent meeting between President Obama and Mephistopheles, who in human incarnation, resembles a lobbyist.
March 18, 2011
The Oval Office.
As his secretary shows Mepistopheles into the Oval Office, President Obama stands up from behind his desk. The scent of sulfur drifts through the air.
"I should have smelled you coming," the president says.
Mephistopheles feigns surprise. "Why, Mr. President - is that any way to start a meeting?"
President Obama glares at him.
"You know that the only time I call these meetings is when you and your boss are clearly failing to live up to your end of our arrangement," Obama says, pacing.
"Yes, yes," Mephistopheles exhales. "Unparalleled political success in exchange for your immortal soul."
"Well, where the hell is it?" Obama snaps. "I wake up in the morning to see Japan coping with a potential nuclear disaster on top of a humanitarian crisis from a tsunami and an earthquake ! That's after the earthquakes in New Zealand and Chile! The Middle East is in turmoil -Egypt's still precarious, the Saudis are intervening in Bahrain, and I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't with Libya on a No Fly Zone!"
Obama takes a breath. "Disaster is the new normal," he says, glaring.
Mephistopheles looks at him. "Excellent turn of phrase, Mr. President," he smiles.
"Disaster is the new - " Obama begins.
"No, no - 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' has such a lovely ring to it," Mephistopheles smiles.
"Not so fast," President Obama says. "We said we'd reassess our arrangement after the mid-terms, in which - as I'm sure you've heard - the Democrats got a shellacking."
"Rahm Emanuel won Chicago."
"That wasn't part of the deal," Obama says. He looks at the floor before looking up again.
"What do you want?"
"Well, well, well," Mephistopheles says, clearly enjoying himself. "Life's a little harder when the presidency isn't about - oh, I don't know - killing a fly during an interview, or sinking a three-pointer."
"What is it that you want?" Obama asks again.
"You know, I love this country," Mephistopheles says, clearly enjoying himself. "Where else would a Congressman who supported the IRA be in charge of hearings on Islamic extremism? Where else would the Supreme Court uphold the right of people to protests in which they blame the deaths of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan on homosexuality?"
"I actually agree with upholding freedom of speech," Obama says.
"For the same people who say you're the Beast of Revelations!" Mephistopheles bursts out laughing. "Wooooh! Scary!"
He carries on laughing as Obama glares. "Oh my! Sorry." Mephistopheles wipes tears from his eyes. "As if we couldn't muster a more frightening beast!"
Obama's patience is clearly waning.
"And where else can we get a major network to demonize- oh, and by Satan I love that word - demonize - teachers, of all people - for the crimes like driving 1996 Honda Civics, working around the clock teaching and grading papers, and spending their own meager salaries on school supplies for children?"
"So the Tea-Partiers," Obama says. "They're yours?"
"No, no - that's just a happy coincidence," Mephistopheles says. "But have you ever wondered why Rupert Murdoch just won't die?"
"What do you want?" Obama asks.
"We want our ratings bump," Mephistopheles says. "As you know, it takes a critical mass of belief in Satan for us to sustain original programming."
"And your original programming is?"
"Oh, you know - the usual: murder, mayhem, havoc, wrought by humankind. Hatred, fear, and intolerance. Frankly, we'd like all churches to be like Westboro Baptist. We'd like everyone to think the Middle East will be run by extremists."
Mephistopheles turns to look at Obama.
"And we're working like mad to make it happen," he says. "Orders from the boss. You know what he calls it? 'March Madness.'"
"And the natural disasters?"
Mephistopheles shrugs. "Stuff happens."
Obama glares. "Well, I'm putting my foot down. You're not getting my eternal soul. You're failing to live up to your end of the arrangement - in fact, you've moved in the complete opposite direction."
For the first time, Mephistopheles looks alarmed. "The boss isn't going to be happy with that."
"That's too bad," Obama says. "I've made up my mind."
"I'm not sure you want to make him angry," Mephistopheles says.
"Try me," Obama says. "You're just not getting my eternal soul."
[To Be Continued]