Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Episode 24

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:

Joe Buckstop, 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…

Dateline, March 8. Begin Transcript:

“Good evening, Boss! How’s your Monday treating you, sir?”

“Oh, I haven’t thought about it. Why do you ask?”

“Well, because it’s soup time, and I’ve brought your soup, so I’m just checking in, sir, you know!”

“Oh, fine, fine. Just put it there. Got my TV on.”

“Um, okay, sir, here you are. Cock-a-Leekie.”

“What’s that, boy? Look, I may be distracted, but I’ll thank you to watch your language!”

“Pardon, sir? OH!, Oh, I understand, sir… No, no no… I wasn’t swearing, sir. It’s your soup tonight, sir. Cock-a-Leekie.”

“Come on, Man! Now you cut it out!”

“But, sir, it’s real, sir! That’s the name of the soup!”

“No way!”

“Yes sir, it’s British, sir. Scottish, I think. Cock-a-Leekie. It’s made with rooster and leeks, sir. It’s basically a type of chicken vegetable soup, sir.”

“Oh. Well now. In that case, I guess, umm… you’re forgiven. Let’s see, hmm… not bad… not bad. Thanks. Oh wow!”

“What, sir?”

“Oh, sorry, I’m watching the TV. Here, I’ll turn it up. Amazing….”

“Is that, uhh, is that an interview of somebody talking about that Prince Harry interview, sir?”

“Well, not JUST Prince Harry, you know. They were both there! It was Oprah and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle! All together! Isn’t that amazing?!”

“You mean the Oprah special last night, sir? Did you actually watch it, sir?”

“Oh yes! Four times!”

“Oh my.”

“Some interview, huh? How many times have you seen it, son?”

“Me, sir? Oh, I haven’t seen it, sir.”

“Why not? Your TV set broken? I think it’s on the internet too…”

“No sir, I mean, no, it’s not broken, sir. I just haven’t had a chance to watch it, sir.”

“What’s more important than that?”

“Oh, well, um, work, sir… and homework, sir…. and law school, sir… this is an important semester, sir. I have export controls and trial procedure and tons of homework, sir.”

“Oh. right. Been a while for me. I forget how much work there is now.”

“…from what I hear, you forgot how much work there was then, too, I hear…”

“Eh? What’s that?”

“Oh, umm, uhh, I forgot how much work I had left when I got home from here last night, sir, and I was up late studying for class, sir.”

“Oh, all right then… here, we can watch it again tonight. You just have a seat here, son…”

“Umm, sir, I appreciate it, but .. didn’t you say you’d already seen the interview?”

“Oh, four times never was enough. I was going to see it again anyway. Have a seat!”

“Don’t you find it a bit odd, though, sir? I mean, here you are, with your elected position, and they’re just well, you know, ‘royalty’, you know?”

“Oh, that’s all right with me. It’s not like I aspire to be royalty myself, I just like watching them, and knowing what’s going on in their lives.”

“But, sir, you have the most exciting life in the world, sir! The job you’ve wanted all your life, sir!”

“Oh, well, you know, it’s not what I expected. I’m just down here in the basement, all day and all night, except when they trot me out for a photo op, you know. I don’t really know what’s going on… Just as well, I suppose, but it does get dull sometimes. This is good soup.”

“But what do you see in their life, sir? They seem awfully sad, don’t they?”

“Oh, but that’s different. Life hasn’t been fair to them, you know? I’ve been in public office all my life, I’ve been pretty lucky… Senate almost 40 years… can’t beat that… but they never had any of that, you know?”

“Umm… Prince Harry was raised in the royal family, sir. He lived in palaces. He got equestrian lessons. He could have his pick of women… when he was in college, you think he ever asked a girl out who turned him down?”

“Boy. That must’ve been neat, huh?”

“And Meghan was an actress, paid a ton to work on famous TV series.”

“Yeah, but she wasn’t the lead.”

“Who needs to be a lead? She was paid a lot to play a part in a show. That’s something to be thankful for, not to be bitter about, sir, don’t you think?”

“Oh, I don’t know, it must be nice to be a lead…”

“Well, maybe, sir, but so what? Shows have dozens of cast members; not everyone can be the lead. And she got good parts in a few shows. Isn’t that something to be grateful for, not bitter about, sir?”

“Well, I never thought of it that way. I guess I just watch her on TV and get lost in those eyes, you know? And that great dark hair…”

“Honestly, sir, not to disagree or anything, but, I must admit sir, I always kind of thought Harry could’ve done better, you know?”

“Oh no, she’s just perfect.”

“But sir, all she’s done is cause trouble from beginning to end, from the day she arrived there, she just created havoc in the palace, sir. You wouldn’t want any part of that, would you?”

“Oh, yes. Sometimes, you know, that’s what a man needs. She woke him up, shook him up, made him get moving. She reminds me of the Doctor sometimes. She got him moving!”

“Sure, she made him MOVE right out of the royal family. Right out of England. Right out of all those beautiful palaces with servants and everything… Honestly sir, don’t you think he regrets it by now?”

“Oh, but that’s what’s so touching, you know? That they had so much, and now it’s all gone, because of racism and bigotry.”

“What racism and bigotry, sir? The queen spent 35 million pounds on their wedding. She could have refused, she could’ve made them do something else, she was as generous as humanly possible, sir. I don’t see any evidence of bigotry, sir. Just, well, frankly, sir, ingratitude from a girl who was given everything and she didn’t appreciate it, sir”

“Oh, but Meghan says so, and she wouldn’t lie. How could a girl with rosy cheeks like that tell a lie?”

“Umm… she’s an actress, sir. “

“And that cute little button nose?”

“She’s an actress, sir.”

“And those great outfits!”

“She’s an actress, sir.”

“And a darned cute one she is, too, huh?”

“I’m not seeing it, sir. Honestly, sir, I just don’t understand your fondness for either of them. Or the American interest in any of them, for that matter, sir. The British royals after all are just figureheads. They haven’t had any real power in a century, and not significant power in twice that. They’re just people who everybody knows, people who live in beautiful taxpayer-funded housing, people who are always on TV and radio but who never really make anything or produce anything themselves, and…”

“Hey, son, can we continue this later? The commercial break is over and my show’s back. This should be great! They’re interviewing people who have written books about people who’ve written tell-all books about people who’ve dated the Windsors!”

“Umm… Ah. … Well then… Okay, never mind, sir, I get it now. See you tomorrow, sir.”

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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