| [The front door of Egypt's Presidential Palace is flung open, and Hosni Mubarak stalks in, closely shadowed by a Cairo cab driver. First Lady Suzanne enters to meet him in the atrium holding a Coors Light in a can on an ornate pillow.] |
Hosni: Suzanne, please pay this savage mercenary. My limo was overturned in the market district and I had to ride home in this man's godforsaken contraption.
Driver: It is a 2008 Ford Fiesta, Mister President. I try to keep it very clean.
Hosni: It is an unspeakable blasphemy, and for the privilege of subjecting myself to it's vile interior, you expect me to extort me for three hundred pounds?
Driver: Umm... Perhaps you have not been affected by it, Mister President, but with this excruciating inflation we've been having, three hundred pounds is only about fifty U.S. dollars.
Hosni: I suppose when you put it in those terms, it really is not too obscene a sum. Huh. I remember when three hundred pounds was considered real money.
Driver: Do you really, sir? You have been president for thirty years, have you not, so pecuniary disappointments are no doubt a bit uncommon for you. At any rate, it did take a bit of skillful navigating to get you through the riot, particularly with four bodyguards stuffed into the backseat.
Hosni: Forego you cynical attempt to get a larger tip, ingrate. Suzanne, pay the man.
Suzanne: Very well... Here, do I get change back from a ruby? ...No, I suppose not.
Hosni: Why did you pay that driver with a ruby? And why are you holding a Coors Light? In a can!
Suzanne: So many questions, Hosni. I paid with a ruby because the presidential accountant is not here today to issue a check. And I bring you a Coors Light because it is the only cold beverage remaining in the presidential fridge.
Hosni: This may be so, but Coors Light? Surely that must date back to Condoleezza Rice.
Suzanne: No, I regret to remind you that it was Colin Powell who liked Coors Light. But you know for yourself how difficult it is to navigate the market district at the moment.
Hosni: It is, indeed. The people are revolting.
Suzanne: You speak the truth. I was watching the news on television and some of them looked like they hadn't showered in a couple of months. What are they upset about now?
Hosni: Oh, you know, the usual... poverty, unemployment, government corruption, police brutality...
Suzanne: Well, I think these thugs have clearly demonstrated the necessity of a little police brutality.
Hosni: I could not agree more, and today we met them with tear gas and water cannons. I tell you, Suzanne, those water cannons are a thing of beauty. Someday I shall take you out to fire one... I think that I will try that Coors Light, now... Blaaagg! I've been poisoned!
Suzanne: I wish you wouldn't do that. If the presidential food taster hadn't deserted us, he would have had a heart attack. Let me summon the kitchen and see if there is someone left who can prepare you a decent libation.
Hosni: It will certainly not be the presidential bartender. He is one of the ruffians responsible for overturning my limo. Along with the presidential driver. Oh, and don't bother looking for the upstairs maid, either. She was leading the chants.
Suzanne: Useless Betty? The mouth on that girl is appalling. What was she chanting?
Hosni: "Mubarak, Saudi Arabia awaits you." I know, it does not make much sense, but the logic seems to be that Tunisia had their little revolution last week...
Suzanne: They are so small, I scarcely noticed.
Hosni: ...and they ran Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali out of the country and Saudi Arabia offered him refuge... And I guess what these hooligans are trying to say in their unruly manner is that...
Suzanne: That they'll have a revolution and cut out the middleman. But there is a difference, Hosni. Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was a dictator and you are a democratically elected president.
Hosni: Semi-democratically. But not really a dictator... I don't think of myself as a dictator...
Maid: You rang, Madame?
Suzanne: Yes, Marisha. The president could use a nice stiff drink.
Maid: I'm sorry to hear that, Madame. The presidential chef and the presidential valet absconded with all the good liquor.
Hosni: You know, Saudi Arabia doesn't sound all that bad...
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