‘Twas in the two thousand and twelfth year during the Age of the Tweet when Congress encountered a monster so hideous, so violent, and so preventable that only one name, created in darkness and whispered in fear, could capture its evil. This is the tale of the dark battle against Fiscal Cliff.
A long, brutal winter that was the warmest on record had settled over the lands. Mothers were clutching their baby bjorns. Fathers were also clutching their baby bjorns, except they made an Adam Sandler movie about it. And rough winds and rains did sweep across Columbia District, forcing Congress to take shelter in a building unfamiliar to them, then known as the Capitol. The two tribes of governance — the Red Elephants, whose motto was “We’ll make it rain dollar bills,” and the Blue Donkeys, whose motto was “We, too, will make it rain dollar bills” — were forced to, if not speak to each other, then certainly speak about each other near each other. But the proximity was not so bad as The Consistently Incorrect Roven Oracle made it out to be. A tentative peace prevailed in the Capitol.
Then The Sound started. It began as a growl. It grew to a shriek. Then it went back to a growl. But finally a sound so grotesque emanated from outside the doors of the Capitol that even the most unabashed shower-singing couldn’t cover up the madness. A monster was banging on the doors once, twice, and so on until twelve times.
Nobody knew what to do. Some said, “Run!” Others, “Bike!” Others, “Elliptical!” Until finally everyone with a brain, and others who had merely half a brain, and everyone else with only a cartoon mouse in their heads all decided to crowd together for warmth and safety, well away from the doors. Crash! The power went out. Most thought it was the monster. Some thought it was a man named Gingrich, who, if you whispered his name six times in a darkened mirror, appeared behind you.
Cut off from their families and their 4-G networks, the two tribes had nothing to comfort themselves except their iPads, which got pretty old after forty-three straight hours. A darkness fell. It soon became day three of The Shriek, formerly known as The Sound, formerly known as Prince.
Without their screens, our heroes became agitated. Tired. Angry. They peed on their hands and wiped their hair with it, believing this is how you prevent pregnancy. The Shriek grew louder until lo! The Orange Elf himself, Boehner the Tan, did appear from inside a golf bag.
“Is this what we have become?” he asked, ridding himself of 3-woods. “A nation of cowardly hair pee-ers? How dare you shirk your responsibility to your campaign donors and, perhaps, your constituents. No, this will not do.”
“So what do you propose?” a tired-looking unicorn asked.
“We must defeat this monster through compromise,” Boehner said. “And by compromise, I mean do whatever I say.”
“What you say stinks,” claimed a floating necktie.
“And what about that time you said you wanted to compromise, but instead merely frowned for eighteen months?” asked an up-and-coming mountain nymph.
“Enough!” echoed a voice. But it was not the voice of Mr. Boehner. It was the voice of a man who was of neither the Blue nor the Red tribe. He was something altogether different, incongruous. Like Don Draper showing up in Jersey Shore. They had only one name for him, chanted by the masses: O-ba-ma. “I agree with both Mr. Boehner and the floating necktie. But first must find the monster’s weakness,” Obama said.
A hush came upon the crowd. Everyone looked around at each other, at the ground, and at the stately 18th century portrait on the wall of Redskins QB Robert Griffin III. No one said anything.
Until finally, “I know what his weakness is, Mr. President,” a tiny naked man, no more than six inches in height, said quietly into a microphone made of a conch shell. Everyone turned around, shocked.
“Prithee, tell. What is his weakness?” asked the President.
“It’s his head,” the tiny man replied. “And testicles.”
“Of course,” Mr. Boehner said.
So Obama issued forth a group of scouts to espy the creature, and come back with their findings. Upon returning, they could scarcely articulate what they saw without shuddering. Legend says Fiscal Cliff had the legs of a bull, the arms of an octopus, the torso of a gorilla, and the marathon time of Paul Ryan. This was no mere mortal enemy. The bastard son of Bush Tax Cuts and Partisan Gridlock, it was said to eat three children for lunch, five guys for dinner, and a go-lean crunch granola bar for breakfast.
Stepped forth a pot-bellied figure. “I think I have a plan,” said Potbelly, an Odysseus-like man, his golden locks shining with the pee of a thousand forefathers. Everyone grew quiet and stopped playing patty cake. “We must create a distraction.”
“What kind of distraction?” asked Targon the Destroyer.
“We shall build a wooden horse,” Potbelly said. “And the horse shall flirt with the monster. When the monster is least expecting it, we launch a trident into his face.”
“But can’t we merely poke the monster in the eye, and solve this problem next year?” asked Gorthon, Lizard Queen of the Cornlands.
“No,” Obama said. “We do this now, and we do it right. Get the trident.”
The horse was built, and it was decided that Lady Lascivious shall be inside the horse, projecting flirtatious come-ons at the monster, for she was Chairwoman of the House Sub-Committee on Acceptable Sexy Talk. It was further decided that Spooky Remus, who was thought to be 112 years old, shall throw the trident, for his unkillable body was guided by a force not of this world.
With a swift push, the wooden horse burst through the doors. The Shriek stopped as Fiscal Cliff regarded the novelty.
“Hey there, good lookin’,” Lady Lascivious told the monster. “Do you want to hold hands after three dates?”
Fiscal Cliff hesitantly approached the horse. Now there wasn’t much time. If the monster touched the horse and realized it was a fake, Lady L. was in grave danger.
Spooky Remus stealthily got into position on the highest step of the Capitol, under cover from the driving rain. The monster lightly touched the horse’s shoulder — he claimed accidentally — as he was passing the horse a beer. But that was enough. Recognizing the horse as an imposter, the monster frowned a great frown, and screamed a terrible scream. Just then Remus whispered to the great consultant in the sky to please guide this trident into Fiscal Cliff’s face. He let fly the trident. Its shaky trajectory was uncertain, as the wind buffeted and distracted it. It got closer and wham! The trident went right through the monster’s forehead. Fiscal Cliff hobbled backwards and collapsed, its octopus tentacles twitching.
Remus aided Lady L. out of the horse, and the clouds broke. The entire Congress ran outside and celebrated by dancing to “Gangnam Style.”
Boehner and Lady L. were heroes that day, and so was Obama. But they were all heroes back then, friends. They were all heroes back then.