Presidential spokesman Morris Weaver ended his statement with “And that’s the short and the sweet of it.”
Without thinking, Entertainment Secretary Ronald Bozo blurted out, “Exactly the way I like my women.” It just came out; he hadn’t thought about it in advance, he didn’t know what Weaver’s statement would be. It just seemed natural for him to say it. To his surprise and delight, several in the sitting crowd laughed lightly and there was smattering of foot tapping. Bozo liked it. It was spontaneous appreciation for what he had said. And although his position made him the country’s titular head of all things that were considered fun by a panel of government experts; movies, magazines, books, sports, recreation, and tax returns, he hardly ever had feet tapped for him.
In their culture, foot tapping is the accepted method of showing appreciation of a well spoken statement or of a perfectly timed slip in basksoccball.
An unwieldy name for the particularly boring national pastime which; doesn’t utilize a hoop, isn’t solely played with the feet, and there is no ball used. Imagine an exceedingly slow paced version of checkers using over-sized pucks carried by miniature ponies. The most exciting bit of action occurred when a pony would defecate and the skate wearing pony wrangler slipped in it. The game is also not played on ice so the predictably clumsy skaters encounter additional duress when faced with a slippery pile of pony dung. Hilarity, and the only entertaining part of the whole affair, ensues.
Developed by a Department of Entertainment committee that found, through a particularly ill-worded survey, that people in general like ponies and pratfalls. It was also decided that people almost unanimously do not like to lose. The actual rules of the game are so unwieldy that no one person knows all of them and several are in direct contradiction to others that were developed by a separate committee tasked with the same project. Scoring can be done in so many different methods that every game played results in a new record for a high score; all of them a tie. For every point a particular team scores, the opposing team receives two. The game continues until time in the three concurrently played 12 and half minute quarters expires. At this point if the scores are not equal, the winning team has a ‘Score Tax’ assessment equal to the number of points to make them so. The end result is that every team in the league is always in first place. At the end of the season, all the players are named MVPs, and due to a typo in the planning committee’s official rules document, the ponies are slaughtered, Bar-B-Q-ued and served on platters made from the pucks they were forced to carry during the matches.
The game was introduced during the early years of the extremely popular National President Janice Huffinstone. President Huffinstone was presently seven years into her second life term after being re-elected a year and half after her death. This rather unusual outcome was due to the absolute mistrust of any other candidate nominated for the position. Although not listed on the ballot, she was written in by 80% of the voting public and 113% of the rest of the population. Although they have no voice in the elections, their feelings are tracked for survey purposes. And since in the eyes of the government they don’t really exist and don’t have any of the rights or benefits of the registered citizens, their exact numbers are only estimated and therefore 20% more of them cast ballots than were thought to actually exist.
The announcement that Mr. Weaver had just finished making; to which Mr. Bozo had mentally gone off on the previous tangent, was regarding the late and current President’s term. He had pointed out several issues that had come up because of the President’s health. Mainly that she had none, she was an inanimate figurehead. Literally just her head was all that was left.
When she was re-elected, her body had been exhumed and plans were made to send her to the finest taxidermist in the land. Unfortunately, and ironically for Ms. Huffinstone, because of regulations that were signed into law by the late Ms. President, no tax-payer funds could be spent without a process for the work to be given to the lowest bidder. It was a good law in theory, not so good in practice. Since the land’s best taxidermist was also the land’s most expensive, the bid was won by a vendor who sub-contracted the work out to several smaller taxidermy shops resulting in her body being shipped out to various overseas companies with mixed results. Again, literally mixed results.
The final straw to her post-animate dignity was the fact that the President’s remains had to be classified as cargo. “Regulations apply to everyone” she had said. This policy came back to bite her in the ass when the shipment containing, ‘Lower Abdomen. Rear Sub-section’ was ripped open and devoured by a load of hungry Dachshund puppies that escaped their cage on the long flight back from an underpaid sub-contractor. Because these various sub-sections were shoddily preserved and ill-fitting when reassembled, after 7 years of being taken apart and put back together, most of her parts were lost or broken in shipment. Ultimately only her badly decomposed and unrecognizable head remained.
In more practical terms, the Press Secretary announced, “Due to the President’s inability to sign or Veto any bills that were passed up from the legislature, no new laws have been enacted in almost a decade. In fact we’ve had to convert the Capital mansion’s master bedroom into a file room to hold them all. The time has come for us to hold a new election.” He closed with the comment about the ‘short and sweet’ which brings us back to Ronald’s quip about women.
Unremarkably, his comment wasn’t meant as humor. The Entertainment and Tax Secretary’s wife was known by all to be a very well mannered and even tempered woman standing less than five feet tall. He really did like them short and sweet. Never the less, the audience chuckled at the remark, and since he was used to only receiving grief for all his hard work arranging movies about tax returns, concerts about tariff laws, and science fiction and romance novels about the intricacies of corporate levies, he took the compliment. He had finally gotten a laugh.