Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Episode 1

Political Satire:  Having trouble surviving these times?  You’re not alone.  Join us in columnist John F. Di Leo’s exploration of an alternate universe, where we imagine the impossible: 

An aging, corrupt old fool somehow becomes president in his basement, and every night, an aide has to bring him his soup and discuss the events of the day as he prepares to receive his nightly meds…

January 20. Begin Transcript.

“Well, that was a busy day!”

“Yessiree, boss, sure feels good, doesn’t it?”

“Yup. All that reading, and speaking, and signing things… and walking up and down stairs… And I didn’t dribble on my tie once! Did you notice that?”

“Yes sir. That’s because we didn’t give you anything to eat or drink while you were in public, remember?”

“Oh. right. Good call. Anyway, glad that’s over. Tiring, you know?”

“Looking forward to tomorrow, sir?”

“Yup. Can’t wait to get back to retirement. It was nice having something to do, but it’s exhausting. I’m an old man, you know! One day like that is enough for a while. Sure seemed longer than four hours, though.”

“Four hours, sir?”

“Yeah. They said I just had to make it four hours, and then I could go back to retirement.”

“Four hours, sir? Umm… no, sir. Four years. It’s always been a four-year gig, sir, assuming nothing goes wrong. This job isn’t four hours, it’s four years, sir.”

“Come on, man!”

# # #


January 21. Begin Transcript.

“Boss, we’ve gotta talk.”

“Oh, I’m sorry… did I dribble on my tie again?”

“Well, uh, yes sir, you did, but that’s not what we have to talk about.”

“Oh, good. Then can I have more soup?”

“Sure sir. Here you go. Now we’ve gotta talk.”

“Mmmm… this is good. Chicken noodle. Like those Jews make. This is good.”

“Okay, sir, so here’s the thing. You know how we talked about wearing our masks?”

“Oh, is there another costume party? I like costume parties. Will there be girls again?”

“No sir, this isn’t about costume parties.”

“Aw, come on, man!”

“It’s about your masks. Your everyday masks. The ones you’re supposed to wear EVERY DAY.”

“I hate wearing those damned things.”

“I know, sir. We all do. Everyone does. But you just issued an order that everyone in the country has to wear one when on federal government land.”

“I did? No, I didn’t. I don’t remember that.”

“Do you remember all those things you signed yesterday, sir?”

“Our family Christmas letters? Sure, I remember. I signed about 20 or 25 of ’em. Did you mail them out yet?”

“Those weren’t Christmas letters, sir. They were Executive Orders.”

“Come on, Man! You can’t mail an Executive Order in a Christmas card! It doesn’t make any sense! Besides… um…. what’s an Executive Order?”

“Well, sir, in this case, it was an order requiring everyone in the country to wear a mask at places like the White House.”

“Oh. Dumb idea.”

“Yes sir, well, I thought so too, but I don’t have a say. I just do what I’m told.”

“Come on, Man! Be a man! And gimme some more soup. This is good…”

“Okay, well, the point is, as soon as you signed an order telling the whole country to wear masks on federal land, you took yours off. And you were on federal land. It’s rather embarrassing, sir. You look, umm – if you’ll excuse the term – you look like an arrogant hypocrite, sir.”

“Oh, I don’t even know what that means.”

“While I totally believe you, sir, that really doesn’t help us. Here, sir, have a few more napkins.”

“No, I have one, see?”

“That’s your tie, sir.”

“Oh, yes, so it is. Fancy that, huh?”

“So, back to the point, sir, when you’re in public, you have to wear the mask at all times, sir. At all times. Constantly. You can’t take it off for a hundred days.”


“I know, sir. Nobody’s happy about it.”

“Then why don’t we complain to somebody? Isn’t there somebody in charge of this place we can complain to? When I was a boy in Scranton, we could go to the mayor… he had a really pretty secretary, too. I don’t remember ever actually talking to the mayor, come to think of it.. just the secretary. Myrtle, was it? Or Mildred? Maybe Mabel…”

“No, sir, there’s no mayor. You just have to wear the mask. That’s all there is to it.”

“…or what?”

“There isn’t any ‘or what’, sir. You just have to. It’s YOUR rule, sir. Of all people, YOU have to obey it. Please wear your mask. I don’t want another beating, sir. I can’t take it. They’re counting on me to make sure you remember. You don’t know what it’s like for me when you don’t do what you’re told. I hate going home and having my wife see these bruises, sir. Look, if you won’t do it for yourself, do it for me, huh? Please, I don’t want to be beaten again.”

“Aww… I understand. I know how the Doctor can be when she’s mad. Here, try some of this liquid foundation. I always keep a bottle in my pocket… I find it hides the bruises well enough….”

copyright 2021 John F Di Leo
Excerpted with permission from “Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Volume One,” from Free State West Publishing, available in paperback or eBook exclusively on Amazon.


John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based international transportation and trade compliance professional and consultant.  A onetime Milwaukee County Republican Party chairman, he has been writing a regular column for Illinois Review since 2009.  His book on vote fraud (The Tales of Little Pavel) and his political satires on the current administration (Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Volumes I and II) are available only on Amazon

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