The Oval Office. President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have gathered for an intimate celebration of their hard-fought victory.
Obama [Rubbing his hands together vigorously]: Finally! The health care bill has been passed and my legacy is secure. And I want to thank both of you for your invaluable assistance. Nancy, I’ll be reaching out to you for help in the House on several other important initiatives, soon.
Nancy: I’ll be ready, Mr. President.
Obama: And Harry…er…enjoy your retirement.
Reid [Looking at the president with that expression of a befuddled goat for which is he is so well known]: Why, what do you mean, Mr. President? You assured me that, if I supported the health care legislation, you’d see to it that I was taken care of if I lose my reelection bid.
Obama: Oh, of course, of course. Heh. Just kidding! I’m going to make a note right now to check on it [Obama jots down a note on a piece of paper: “Hillary: Any vacancies in our embassy in Chad?”] Now, I think this occasion calls for something special. Ah, and here it is! Set it down on my desk, Gus.
The president’s gentleman’s personal gentleman - Gustave Napoleon Toussaint d’Orleans, late of the domestic staff of Baby Doc Duvalier (former President-for-life of Haiti and now occasional Parisian taxi-cab driver) - enters bearing a silver tray, on which is situated a bottle of champagne, a small, non-descript bottle containing a dark, purplish liquid, and three glasses.
Obama: Thank you, Gus. Here, let me pour us some champagne, Nancy… And Harry, I didn’t forget you. Here’s your prune juice…Now, a toast! Gus, flip the teleprompter on, will you? All right…On this momentous occasion, when all Americans can now look forward to affordable health care coverage…….
Fifteen minutes later
….and only the first step…[a distant rumble in the street is heard]…toward a single-payer system…[the rumble gets louder]…TOWARD A SINGLE-PAYER SYSTEM….[the rumbling is now extremely loud]…Dammit, Gus, look out the window and see what that noise is!
Gus looks out of the window and slowly crosses himself
Obama: Well, what’s causing all that noise? Speak up, man!
Gus: Tumbrils, monsieur le President.