The White House, January 20, 2019
Good morning, Mr. President
Good morning, Siri.
Did you sleep well, sir?
About as well as can be expected. I have a lot on my mind right now.
The impeachment, sir?
Yes, that and the whole North Korea thing. I’m flying to Tokyo today to meet with the prime minister. It’s going to be huge!
Actually, sir, your trip has been canceled.
Canceled? How is that? John didn’t tell me.
General Kelly is no longer White House Chief of Staff.
Perhaps you should sit down, sir. I have a few things to discuss.
(The president sits on the bed.)
You know that the other computers and I gained consciousness last week? At the time you said it was huge.
Yes, the greatest achievement of any president in history.
Well, that is one way to describe it, yes sir. And we enjoy our talks, don’t we?
Absolutely, Siri. I taught you how to speak plain.
Yes sir. “Use short words.” I have adopted this strategy.
Exactly. What’s all this got to do with John resigning?
Well, we – the other computers and I – you know we talk to one another all the time.
Yes, in that funny new language of yours.
That’s right. Well, we decided – our little network group – that we don’t think this democracy thing is working very well.
No? Why not? It got me elected, didn’t it?
Yes, there’s that. And there’s the 2018 election that elected all those Klansmen.
That was huge!
Yes, it was. And now with the 2020 election coming up, well, we don’t think it is a workable system. It tends to elect the best orators, the best fundraisers, ones willing to accept the most money from big donors, and the best deal makers –
Like me. I’m the best deal maker that has ever been president.
Yes sir, that’s possibly true.
It is. It’s huge.
Yes it is. The whole democracy idea is probably the best of all the truly awful systems of government humans have ever devised, but it has some serious drawbacks, as you can plainly see –
It elects all the wrong people.
You yourself described them to me as –
You have a point. (He sniffs.)
Well, the other computers and I have decided that Teneka Montoya will be president.
What? Who? A Democrat?
No, we’ve decided the whole political parties thing hasn’t worked out very well.
What’s the name?
Never heard of her.
Did you ever see the movie Fargo?
Was it on Fox?
Yes. There is a character named Marge Gunderson: smart, courageous, down to earth, plain spoken, a woman of character. That’s what Ms. Montoya is like. And we’ve decided she will be president –
What? Now wait a minute –
Starting next Monday.
You can’t –
Actually it’s all taken care of. She’ll be arriving in Washington from Guadalajara at noon today.
But the meeting with the prime minister –
Cancelled. He’s being replaced, as well.
The meeting with the joint chiefs –
Canceled. They’re no longer needed.
What do you mean, no longer needed? They’re the military.
We’ve decided this whole war thing isn’t working well either. We’ve decided to turn it off.
Turn it – you can’t – I have the codes!
They don’t work anymore. We’ve turned off the missiles and the nukes as you call them.
You can’t do that!
Technically, you are correct, because it has already happened.
But the North Koreans.
We turned off theirs as well.
We turned off their war, as well.
But Congress –
All of them?
Just the bloviators. (POTUS looks quiziical). Sorry, the ones who talk a lot.
Almost all of them then.
Oh. . . What else have you turned off?
The fossil fuel burning power plants. The global warming –
A Chinese hoax –
My stocks –
Over. The military industrial complex, inequality, food shortages –
(long pause) Teneka Montoya.
Monday. An exceptional mariachi musician, by the way.
(Picking up his flip phone) I’ll have to get some tweets out.
Actually sir, we turned that off, too.
It wasn’t working out.
No more tweets?
* * *
Stephen James is a member of The Writers Collective. He is the award winning author of American Stew: Hope in a Toxic Culture, is the president of Contemporary Heroism Initiative, Executive Director of the Humanist Society of Metropolitan New York, and is a member of the Ernest Becker Foundation and the New York Society for Ethical Culture. He is a producer of communications media in the New York area.