Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Vol II: A Fast-Spreading Virus, a Slow-Reacting Regime, and Paleo Pizza Soup

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…

Note: We continue from Volume Two, as Joe Buckstop’s soup aide, young Rhett Snapper, tries to get the old man to see reason on the subject of The Wuhan Flu:

A Fast-Spreading Virus, a Slow-Reacting Regime, and Paleo Pizza Soup

Dateline May 23. Begin Transcript:

“Good evening, sir! Ready to begin a new week?”

“Oh, well. If I must, I must.”

“Honestly, sir, I don’t know why you aren’t in a better mood. Whenever I come down here, sir, you seem so ornery.”

“If you had to fake being cheerful for the cameras, you’d be ornery in real life too.”

“Oh, but I wouldn’t have to fake being cheerful, sir. I’d really be cheerful. With the best job in the world? How could you not be cheerful, sir?”

“Oh, just leave me the soup and leave me alone. I’m not up to this tonight.”

“Well, okay, sir, here’s your soup. Paleo pizza soup, it’s called, sir.”

“Paleo pizza soup? What is it, made of dinosaur bones or something?”

“Heh heh, no, sir, of course not. It’s just a pizza soup – kind of a marinara broth with sausage and pepperoni and mozzarella, and of course peppers and onions and mushrooms in it too. Think of a pizza with everything, in soup form, sir.”

“Sounds awful.”

“You always like whatever the cook creates for you, sir. You should give it a chance.”

“Why should I?”

“Well, because she’s not making anything else, so if you don’t like this, you’ll go hungry, sir.”


“And because she’s never failed you before, so you should give her a chance, sir.”


“And besides, have you even thanked her for her efforts for you, sir?”


“Remember what we talked about, sir? About how a manager needs to show his team he appreciates them, and thank them occasionally for doing a good job, especially when they go above and beyond, sir?”

“Oh. Right. Did we talk about that?”

“A couple of times, sir. It’s the right thing to do. And besides, these days, if you don’t show your staff you appreciate them, they’ll walk out on you, sir.”

“Oh, come on now…”

“No, sir, it’s true. Like my dad says, ‘Even in a lousy economy, there’s always something better out there for a good worker with a good attitude,’ sir.”

“Is that so.”

“Yes sir. You should really thank your cook for doing such a great job for you, sir.”

“I’ll try to remember that. Now leave me the soup and get going, kid.”

“Rhett, sir.”

“Yes, I can see that it’s red, kid. You called it pizza soup; of course it’s red. Sheesh.”

“No, sir, I meant, my name is Rhett, sir. Remember? Not Kid. Rhett.”

“Oh yeah. Okay. Just put it down. Hey, aren’t there crackers?”

“Yes sir, right here, sir. Soup, crackers, napkins, spoon, sir. Just like every night, sir.”

“Oh. Good.”

“Soup and crackers go together pretty well, don’t they, sir? It’s scientific, sir.”


“The soup and the salted crackers. They must complement each other scientifically, huh?”

“Mmm-hmm. You know, this isn’t bad.”

“Just follow the science, huh?”

“Yeah. Look, if you’re going upstairs now, you can tell the cook that I like the soup. Goodnight now.”

“Glad to hear it, sir. Hey, and before I go…”

“Oh dammit…”

“Speaking of following the science…”

“I wasn’t speaking of science. You were. I was just trying to eat my soup.”

“I was wondering, sir. Now that there’s talk about reopening the theory that the virus was engineered at that lab in Wuhan, sir, is your regime talking about possible things to do about it, if it’s proven, sir?”

“What the hell are you talking about, you lying dogfaced pony soldier???”

“I beg your pardon, sir?”

“That virus was natural. Everybody agrees. There’s no point in beating a dead ten foot pole.”

“I beg your pardon, sir?”

“Beating a dead rabbit.”

“Do you mean beating a dead horse, sir?”

“Yeah, whatever.”

“But sir, now that the evidence is coming out, the scientists are admitting that it’s likely, sir.”

“Look, as long as Dr Fauci says it couldn’t have been developed in a lab, I see no reason to listen to any conspiracy theories about it being developed in a lab.”

“But sir, Dr Fauci DID say it could’ve been developed in a lab, sir.”

“What? When?”

“Last week, sir.”

“Damn. Well, he’s not the last word on it, you know.”

“Oh? Who else would you listen to, sir?”

“Well, the World Health Organization, the WHO, of course.”

“Oh, right.”

“So there. Now let me eat my soup before it gets cold.”

“Certainly, sir. Go ahead. Only, even Dr Tedros Ghebrayesus said that there should be more research on what was done in those Chinese labs where they were studying these things pretty much right as the things started finding their way into the population, sir.”


“Yes, sir.”


“No, sir, not Huh. WHO.”


“No, sir, WHO. The World Health Organization, sir.”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“In the last couple of weeks, sir, just as the the CDC has finally admitted that the Chinese story has holes in it big enough to drive a ventilator through, sir, the WHO also said pretty much the same thing, and both called for further reviews of the Chinese research studies and developments around the time leading up to the release, sir.”


“So… since all of your sources for The Science are finally admitting that more investigating is needed on the origin and whether the Wuhan Institute of Virology might in fact be the actual source… sir… I’m just wondering if the administration has started thinking about what to do if the inevitable conclusion is reached, sir.”

“Look, son, I’m just trying to eat my soup, here.”

“Oh, of course, sir. I was just wondering, sir… if they conclude what pretty much the whole world has already concluded… which is that the virus was engineered at a Chinese lab that was partially funded with US tax dollars through the NIH, sir… well, sir, what would we do, sir?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Look, you know what you could do? You could go up to the kitchen and ask the cook for a bowl of this soup.”

“Oh, you’re sure you’ll want seconds, sir?”

“No, I want you to have a bowl. Up there. With the cook. Not down here with me.”

“Oh, thank, you, sir, good idea. It does look good, sir.”


“So what do you think would be your regime’s reaction, sir?”

“Reaction? To what?”

“If they find that the virus was essentially a biological weapon unleashed on the world, what would happen, sir? I mean, it’s not just the USA that was attacked.. it’s Italy and France and Canada and the United Kingdom and, well, dozens of countries have suffered as a result of this thing, sir.”

“It’s a virus. That’s what happens with a virus, kid.”

“Well, that’s what happens with a natural virus, sir. But if it was developed in a lab, then it’s more than a virus, sir, it’s a bio-weapon. And that requires certain actions, doesn’t it, sir?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Well, sir, I’m no lawyer, but the way I see it, the hundreds of thousands of deaths attributed to the virus are considered a natural tragedy, right, sir?”

“Well, yes, of course. Come on, man.”

“But if the virus was actually a bioweapon, sir, then all those hundreds of thousands of deaths were actually murders, and the release of the virus was actually an act of war, sir, right, sir? I just don’t see how else you can look at it, sir.”

“Look, here’s the deal. We’re going to follow the science and treat this like what it is: an awful, terribly contagious disease.”

“Well, sure, sir, but if it’s also a weapon unleashed on the world, then really, sir, Red China committed an act of war on dozens of countries, one could even argue, on all countries on earth, right, sir?’

“What on earth… No. China’s not doing… I mean… we can’t blame China…”

“Well, sir, I’m not saying we should, yet, necessarily… I was just saying, sir, IF it turns out that the Wuhan Institute of Virology performed the necessary gain of function testing to doctor up these previously non-threatening viruses and then released them into the community, sir, then… well, then… I guess it’s probably unprecedented, sir, but … how else could you view it but as an act of war against the whole world, sir?”

“Look, I don’t know. I didn’t sign up for this. I’m just supposed to be left alone to eat my soup in peace.”

“But you must care about all those hundreds of thousands of people, not just in the USA but also all over the world, sir…”

“I’m not interested in the rest of the world. I only have to worry about the USA.”

“Well, I understand that, sir, but then… I still only see two answers, sir… either we reclassify all our deaths that we’ve reported as Covid-19, and say it really wasn’t nearly as bad as we reported, so it doesn’t merit a military response, sir, or… well, or if we stick to the reported hundreds of thousands of deaths from this bioweapon, sir, well, don’t we have to recognize it as an act of war and respond to China in kind, sir?’

“What… look… listen, you lying little dog faced pony soldier… we’re not going to think about it that way unless everything you’ve talked about is proven. And I see no reason to jump to the conclusions you’re jumping to.”

“But isn’t the whole process of national leadership supposed to be about considering all the possibilities, sir? And being ready for them when the situation presents itself, sir?

“What are you talking about?”

“I’m just saying, sir… we should be prepared to impose sanctions, or a blockade, or an actual shooting war, or something, sir, right? Shouldn’t we be prepared, sir, just in case the worst case scenario is in fact proven, sir?”

“Why would you want to think about that? Oh, can’t you just leave me alone with my soup and my video games…”

“Okay, sir… I’ll head upstairs, now. I was just thinking… it would be better if you had a response in mind first, sir, in case it turns out to be that China did all this on purpose to the world. They ARE, after all, the only country on earth that actually came out of this thing ahead, sir.”

“Come on, man! No, they didn’t come out ahead!”

“Sure they did, sir… they’re back in double digit growth, sir. They killed all the manufacturing all over the world, and picked up the slack themselves. If it had been planned that way, the politburo in Beijing would be giving themselves medals for months to come, sir.”

“Well, there’s no reason to think that’s happening.”

“No reason to think it’s not, sir.”

“Look, they wouldn’t do a thing like that They lost their own people to this thing, remember? At the beginning? Tens of thousands of people. Maybe hundreds of thousands. They suffered too.”

“Yes sir, but don’t forget…their regime killed tens of millions of their own people themselves, in the Campaign to Supress Counterrevolutionaries, the Great Leap Forward, and the Cultural Revolution, and more… Right?”

“Well, I suppose, but … well…”

“That is the same government, sir, the same politburo… a few of the faces have changed, but… these are the same guys who murdered millions and millions of their own people for their cause, sir, just a few decades ago, you know, sir.”

“Well, look, I don’t know what you expect me to do about it, dammit.”

“Well, sir, I was just thinking, if the administration acknowledged the truth, we’d probably have to react. I mean, sir, we launched the Spanish American War because of one attack on the Maine, sir.”

“Well, yeah, but…”

“And we entered WWII based entirely on the attack on Pearl Harbor, sir…”

“Well, sure, but…”

“And we launched the war on Afghanistan based entirely on the attack on the Twin Towers, sir.”

“Look, these are all completely different, from…”

“Yes sir. The Chinese have murdered hundreds of times as many Americans in this attack than the Afghans or Spanish or Japanese did in those other examples, sir. So if you think about it…”

“I’m not thinking about it. I’m not thinking any more. I… I umm, Well, uh, I’m gonna… oh… I’m gonna have some more of this soup…”

Copyright 2021-2024 John F Di Leo

Excerpted with permission from Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Volume Two, 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 III, and III), are available in either eBook or paperback, only on Amazon.

If you enjoyed this article, then please REPOST or SHARE with others; encourage them to follow AFNN. If you’d like to become a citizen contributor for AFNN, contact us at managingeditor@afnn.us Help keep us ad-free by donating here.

Substack: American Free News Network Substack
Truth Social: @AFNN_USA
Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/afnnusa
Telegram: https://t.me/joinchat/2_-GAzcXmIRjODNh
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AfnnUsa
GETTR: https://gettr.com/user/AFNN_USA
CloutHub: @AFNN_USA 


Leave a Comment