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Di Leo: Turkey and Sage Dumpling Soup with Basement Joe



Instant pot turkey and sage dumpling soup

By John F. Di Leo –

Introduction: Imagine, if you will, an alternate universe in which a confused old man – Joe Buckstop – stumbles into the presidency, and spends his entire term in his basement. Each evening, an aide walks downstairs and serves him his bowl of soup, and engages him in conversation about current events, in a losing effort to keep him hale. Tonight's episode is an excerpt from the ongoing series, "Evening Soup with Basement Joe," by John F. Di Leo, a fictional chronicle of the events of 2021, a political satire available in paperback or eBook from Amazon.

"Good evening, sir! You hungry?"
"Come on, man! Leave me alone, I'm sleeping here!"
"Oh, sorry to wake you, sir, but it's time for your nightly bowl of soup, sir!"
"I'd rather sleep."
"I'm sure the whole world would rather have you sleep too, sir, considering what happens when you're awake, but my job is to wake you up for your soup, sir."
"Because they want you to have some food in you before your cocktail, sir."
"Cocktail? I'm not having a cocktail."
"I mean your jab, sir. Your vitamin shot, sir."

"Come on, man!"
"I think you'll like it, sir. It polled very well in an online soup survey, sir. Instant Pot Turkey and Sage Dumpling Soup, sir."
"Mmm…. dumplings?"
"Yes sir."
"Are there crackers?"
"We'll never forget your crackers, sir."
"Mmm… okay. let's have it."
"Your soup, sir."
"Mmm… smells good. Looks good. Mmm… what's that, chicken?"
"Turkey, sir."
"You sure?"
"It's in the name of the soup, sir. Instant Pot Turkey and Sage Dumpling Soup, sir. So yes, I think we can count on it being turkey, sir."
"Mmm… Give me my crackers."
"Here are your spoons… and your napkins… and your crackers, sir."
"Mmm… Not bad. Mmm."
"I've been wondering, sir… I saw the news today, and they were talking about polling. Why do they do polling this early in an administration?"
"Huh? I dunno. It's what they do. Pollsters gotta work too."
"Well, yes, sir, but you won't be up for reelection for another three years, sir, so why do they poll on your popularity, sir, just eight months into a four year term?"
"Don't remind me."
"Beg your pardon, sir?"
"Four years. They told me I just had to run. I wasn't supposed to win, darn it. I should be sleeping. Four years, man…."
"Yes, indeed, sir. Almost three and half more to go, sir. How do you feel about it so far, sir?"
"This isn't a job for an old man."
"Mr. Trump is only four years younger than you, sir, and he seemed to handle it fine, sir."
"Don't remind me."
"I mean, he was in meetings all day and all evening for four years, sir. And when the rest of us slept, he was still working, sir. When the rest of us are working, you're sleeping. Why is that, sir?"
"Hey, I don't work for you!"
"Sorry, sir, no offense intended. I'm just wondering, sir. Why did you run if you didn't want the job, sir?"
"Lawyers said nobody prosecutes a presidential candidate."
"I see, sir. Well, you must be proud of some of your accomplishments, though, right?"
"What accomplishments?"
"Well, sir, you've written a lot of executive orders, right?"
"Beg your pardon, sir?"
"Signed. I've signed a lot of executive orders. I haven't written anything in years. I'm 78, man!"
"Clint Eastwood is 91, sir. He just directed another movie, sir."
"Come on, man!"
"And produced it… and starred in it… did his own stunts, too. At 91! You know what they say, sir… age is just a number, sir."
"I was never good at math anyway."
"Well, sir, that explains your position on taxes…"
"Huh? What's that?"
"President Trump says he might run again in 2024. He'll be 78 then. What do you think, sir?"
"This is good soup."
"Glad to hear it sir. I'll be sure to tell the cook. In the latest polling, sir, they say if the election were held today, Mr. Trump would beat you by ten points, sir."
"When I was a kid in Scranton… I was born and raised in Scranton, you know. Scranton Pennsylvania. Don't know if you knew that, kid… What's your name again?"
"Rocky, sir."
"Right. Where do i know you from?"
"I'm the temp who brings you your soup, sir. My brother, Russell Rhoades, brought you your soup for a few weeks, then he got another job a couple weeks ago, and then the temp agency sent me, and now I bring you your soup, remember, sir?"
"I'll never remember that."
"I know, sir. You were telling me about Scranton, sir."
"I don't know, sir. I mentioned that the early polls have Mr. Trump beating you now, and you brought up the fact that you were brought up in Scranton, sir."
"Didn't have polls in Scranton."
"Beg your pardon, sir?"
"When I was a kid in Scranton, there weren't any polls. Dad went to work in the coal mine, he'd come home, family would listen to the radio together. No polls. Life was good."
"Your dad didn't work in a coal mine, sir."
"He didn't?"
"No sir. I think that's someone else's memory, sir."
"Why do you think you keep remembering other people's lives instead of your own, sir?"
"Listen, here's the deal. My memories are my memories. Now leave me alone. I don't work for you!"
"My job is to bring you your soup so that you have something in your stomach for your vitamin shot, sir. And to keep you chatting to keep you alert, sir. Just doing my job, sir."
"No jab!"
"Beg your pardon, sir?"
"No jab. I'm not ready. Don't want the jab yet…"
"Job, sir. I was saying that I'm doing my job, sir. You know, sir, like your job is to control the border, manage the budget, support our allies, inspire the private sector, represent the nation on the world stage… you know, sir, all the jobs of being a chief executive, sir… my job is simpler, just to serve you a bowl of soup and keep you engaged in conversation, sir… it's not as complicated a job as yours, sir, but I try to fulfill it, sir!"
"Jobs… yeah… jobs are good. We're doing well in job creation, aren't we? Most new jobs in history… that's something, anyway…"
"Umm… no, sir, actually, I believe the last job report came in about a quarter of expectations, sir."
"Come on, man!"
"Finish your soup, sir. They said they want to give you your shot a little earlier tonight, sir."
"Don't want it."
"Well, sir, now, I don't think you have a choice, sir."
"Don't have a choice about anything, man. They tell me what to do all day… what to say, what to sign, when to take a question, when to walk away…"
"Yes sir. Well, sir, you're getting the shot soon, so…"
"Not just me. Everybody."
"Beg your pardon, sir?"
"If I've gotta get a shot, everybody's gotta get a shot!"
"I think that medication you get is customized, sir. It's formulated just for you, sir. The whole country doesn't need that shot, sir."
"Well, they can have another shot. Heh heh. Yeah. If I've gotta get a jab… everybody's gotta get a jab. Need it or not. I can make 'em."
"Oh, you mean the vaccine, sir.  Ah.  Actually, sir, I don't think you can. Now, I'm not a constitutional lawyer or anything, sir, but you can't actually make everyone accept a shot, sir."
"Sure I can! Don't judge me!"
"Well, speaking of judges, I'm sure the courts will get around to that question sooner or later, sir."
"Where are my crackers?"
"Oh, have you run out, sir?"
"More. I want more. More soup, and don't forget my crackers!"
"Yes sir. I'll head upstairs and get you seconds right away, sir. Just be a minute, sir."
"Mmm… good soup, anyway… mmm… should play some Smash, as long as I'm up. Yeah, after my soup, I'll play Smash awhile… then back to bed… Hey, where is that kid? I want my soup…. what's taking him so long… OH, there you are! Where were you?"
"Just getting your second bowl of soup, sir. Here you are, sir, your soup, a fresh spoon and some more napkins…"
"And crackers! Don't forget my crackers!"
"Wouldn't forget your crackers, sir. Here they are, sir. Nobody will ever forget you're crackers, sir."
…end of transmission…

Copyright 2021 John F Di Leo

John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based transportation and trade compliance professional, writer and actor.  A one-time political activist and former county chairman of the Milwaukee County Republican Party, his columns have been published by Illinois Review since 2009.

John's first book, a collection of his short stories about voting fraud originally run in Illinois Review, is available on Amazon under the title "The Tales of Little Pavel."

The first volume of his new fiction series, "Evening Soup with Basement Joe," a political satire, set in a parallel universe not quite identical to the Earth of 2021… in which a confused, crooked old man becomes president, and a young aide brings down his nightly bowl of soup and engages him in conversation, in a losing battle to restrain the onset of dementia.  Volume one covers the first ninety days of this strange new world.

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Evening Soup with Basement Joe Volume One



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