“Pitch Meeting: Election 2020: Running Mates,” by Kathryn Paulsen

Apr 20th, 2016 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

“See, it’s Barack and Hilary all over again, only she’s a Latina firebrand married to an ex-priest and he’s a rabbi married to a feminist scholar who’s a dean at Harvard.”

“Hey, what if he’s a rabbi and dean of the religious department at Harvard, and she’s the prosecutor who cleaned up Houston?”

“Works for me.”

“So they hate each other’s guts, but it’s not because of the religious and ethnic differences.”

“Though that’s gotta be a factor, right?”

“Sure, but it’s mostly their platforms and personalities. She’s a founder of the so-called Happiness wing of the Democratic Party. Their goal is to put the party back in the party the way our Founding Fathers intended when they made all that noise about the pursuit of happiness.

“In her stump speeches, she says happiness will be greatly enhanced when we start providing health care, education, a living wage, and retirement security for all, and when we withdraw from those armed conflicts so destructive to happiness both here and abroad.

“But her main programs are all about dancing: dancing lessons in school, free public dances, paid‑to‑dance holidays, dance therapy on demand. She says it’s a well‑known fact that more dancing equals fewer prisons—enough dancing, and we won’t need prisons.

“She points out that in the days of our Founders, dancing was an essential political skill, and she thinks it should be so again. She wants dancing to become part of the legislative process–no bill should be passed until its proponents and opponents have given it a twirl on the dance floor. Instead of filibusters, they should have dance marathons, with free tickets offered to the public by lottery.

“Needless to say, he calls her a total flake. Whereas he’s the serious one, the only one who can do the job that needs doing. His program’s all about education and immigration reform. We’re falling way behind on education and he wants to turn that around. Plus, it’s a known fact that illegal immigrants are the main engine of our economy, and they’re all going to Europe, Asia, Australia—anywhere but here. We need to replace obstacles to immigration with incentives, and we have to get them to go to our schools and colleges, so we can improve our educational performance enough to meet UN minimum standards.”

“Wow, heavy.”

“I know it’s just the beginning, but what do you think so far?”

“You’ve got some great stuff there, only too much politics is gonna put the audience to sleep. We need to sex it up.”

“I know, get rid of the spouses. She’s a wild woman and party girl, the love ‘em and leave ‘em kind. She’s had affairs with the hottest heads of state, and some athletes and artists and generals–”

“And the head of a major studio.”

“Great, that’ll feed certain people’s egos.”

“Whereas he’s divorced. His wife left him for a woman, so feminists love him. He has models and rock stars and reality show hostesses falling all over each other to take her place, show him what a real woman is like.”

“Only he’s playing it cool, nursing his heartbreak, waiting for the real Ms. Right—”

“Great challenge for a writer–have him calling her a slut and her insulting his manhood, but with humor and dignity.”

“‘Dignity—always dignity.'”

“Let’s cut to the chase. How soon do we get them to bed?”

“Good question.”

“Okay, they’re having these debates, and the angrier our candidates get, the hornier they get.”

“And she always has her stud of the week waiting to relieve her tension, whereas he’s still chasing the broads away.”

“But they both start fantasizing about each other.”

“They have to be on the ticket together and still hating each other before they have sex, otherwise we lose the tension.”

“Who’s number one and who’s number two?”

“Hey, what if she’s a hunter and a crack shot and a big hit with the second amendment crowd even if they don’t really buy that dancing stuff?”

“We’ve gotta have a wedding in the White House.”

“Baby in the White House–”

“Two babies in the White House!”

“Twins in the White House!”

“Fertility drugs in the White House!”

“Quints in the White House!”

“Sextuplets in the White House!”

“Sextuplets–wow, what a concept!”

“Works for me.”

“That’s it, guys. We’ve cracked it.”


Defenestration-Kathryn PaulsenKathryn Paulsen’s prose and poetry have been published in New Letters, West Branch, the New York Times, et al. She also writes for stage and screen and earned an MFA in film at Columbia University. For fiction and playwriting she’s been awarded residence grants at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, Ledig House, and other retreats. She currently lives in New York City, but grew up all over the country (as part of an Air Force family) and has roots in many places. Her novels are represented by Sam Hiyate of The Rights Factory. She occasionally blogs at ramblesandrevels.blogpot.com.

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