These are short stories put up each Friday that you can read for free. By the next Friday the post will be taken down and a new one will go up.
The establishment was worried.
They were worried a lot, so much so in fact that they disrupted their regularly scheduled Monday night programming for a special debate.
It was on February 29, Leap Day 2016.
The presidential race had run wildly out of control, with Donald Trump dominating and the other four men still in it looking like fools.
Oh yes, the establishment was worried.
Something had to be done and that’s why Fox Network execs came up with the brilliant idea to hold an impromptu debate, one that the public would have a say in.
All four candidates trailing Trump – Cruz, Rubio, Kasich and Carson – quickly agreed.
Trump, in his usual fashion, said ‘what the hell’ and said he was in too. With polls showing him edging into Cruz’s double-digit lead in Texas – the only state he was expected to lose in the next day’s 12-state Super Tuesday primary spree – he had a lot to gain.
They all did…until the public had their say.
The Fox Network had originally suggested that citizens put forth the questions through a website they’d especially set up for the occasion.
That somehow morphed into citizens suggesting the debate format, and then an entirely different debate.
When submissions closed on Monday at 1 PM, the overwhelming consensus was that the American Public wanted to see their GOP presidential candidates play the classic board game, Trivial Pursuit.
By that time the debate was only 6 hours away. Kasich was the first to squirm and suggest it be cancelled, but Trump called him a coward and he quickly demurred.
Seeing the blood in the water, the other candidates held their tongue.
The debate was held in San Antonio and through a coin-toss, Carson received the first question.
What did the crocodile swallow in Peter Pan?
A hush fell over the crowded room as Carson smiled and frowned and shifted on his feet.
“Dick,” he said, referring to moderator Dick Cummins, “I believe that was Captain Hook’s right hand – no, left – no, right – no, Dick, no, it was his left foot.”
“An alarm clock,” Dick Cummins said. On stage, one of the candidates laughed while Carson muttered something under his breath.
Next up was Rubio.
What is the capital of Australia?
Rubio reached up and rubbed at the residue of the 5 o’clock shadow he’d shaved away an hour before. He took in a deep breath.
“I love Australia, I love the people of Australia, I’d love to go there some day.” He paused, looked up. “The capital, huh? Well…that is a hard one to remember, I have to be completely honest.”
“Ten seconds,” Dick said, referring to the small hourglass on his desk.
“Yes, ten seconds, ten seconds,” Rubio said, nervously. “Let me just think for a–”
“Sydney!” Rubio shouted a second after the buzzer went off. All eyes went to Dick Cummins.
“Canberra,” he said, and Rubio’s head dropped in defeat while he gave a “damn-like” fist swing through the air.
Next up was Kasich.
How many children has Queen Elizabeth the Second got?
Kasich rolled his eyes to that one, pushed himself away from the podium for a moment before pulling himself back.
“Aw boy, how do I know how many kids she’s got? Let’s see, Charles and…oh, heck – six, she’s got six.”
“Four,” Dick said.
“Damn!” Kasich said. “Goddamn it, I’m a governor!”
At that point there were a few murmurs and laughs in the audience, and on stage, before Dick got things settled down again.
Cruz came next.
What river goes through London?
Cruz smiled. “That, Dick, would be the wonderful, beautiful, majestic, and awe-inspiring gift to the world that our good friends the English call the Thames River.”
“That is correct,” Dick said, looking over at the scantily-clad young woman by the scoreboard. “One point for Cruz.”
Cruz smiled as his piece was moved across the giant board shown on the TV for the people at home.
After that it was Trump.
“Dick, Dick, if I may say,” Trump said, holding up his hand and cutting off the moderator’s question, “that last question that you gave to Ted, here – do you think I’m a doofus or something? I mean, the Thames, are you kidding me? Every school kid at home knows that one, or at least used to when this country was great, eh…eh? I will make America great again, I promise you that. Now, please, your question.”
What year did the drummer of Def Lepperd lose his arm?
“How the hell do I know – next question please.”
“1984,” Dick said.
“Fine, fine,” Trump said, hands clenching the podium as he looked around at the spectacle that he’d created.
The questions went on after that:
What year did Elvis Presley die?
How long is a round in boxing?
What’s the capital of Ethiopia?
How many fingers did Ann Boleyn have?
On and one they went on that special night of debate, on and on and on.
In the end there was no clear winner and it was pretty much decided Trump would take everything but Texas.
The candidates went home, tired but more informed, and the American people went to bed happy, knowing these knowledgeable men would be keeping them safe.