EPISODE 04: INDEPENDENCE DAY – PART 1.
INTERIOR – UPPER FLOOR OF THE BIG HOUSE – OLD EAGLE ROOM.
Well, gentlemen, and now,” Blanco says, “at the last item on the agenda, the Independence Day celebration. I mean, that’s why we’re gathered here and not in the Round Room.”
“Oh yeah?” Super Dan asks stunned.
“Sure. The name of this room bring to mind the eagle, the symbol of our country. What better place to gather to discuss Independence Day celebration?”
“Ah…well…yeah, sure…” stammers Super Dan still confused.
“Eagle, symbol of the nation, the day our country became independent.” Moore makes it clear, now resigned.
“Of course! Now I get it! Of course you do, guy.”
“Bell,” whispers Chief of Staff Moore, “we’d better make a summary of the celebration, for his sake.”
“Mr President,” says Bell, “as I’m sure you know, in the United States of America, July 4th is the Independence Day, one of the most important event for Americans, commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. It’s the party your colleague Donald Trump cares about the most.”
“Of course I do. God forbid.” Super Dan answers his clenched jaw.
“Well,” continues Bell, “here, too, we celebrate our independence from Britain a few days later, on July 28th.”
“Of course, I knew that. I am the President!”
“This is what’s happening all over the country,” Bell explains.
“All the streets of the cities are dressed in the colors of the national flag…”
“Right! This is a duty! Sacrosanct!” exclaims Byjove. “In every house they should do it!”
“Yes, of course, General,” continues Bell, “it’s not uncommon to see the national flag flying in the backyards.”
“I propose it become an obligation for every family in the country.”
“Obligation? General, isn’t that a bit extreme? Even if someone doesn’t put the flag in their garden or on the window…”
“They’ll be executed!”
“General,” Super Dan says, “maybe we should let Bell finish.”
“Yes, sir! Anyway, whoever doesn’t put his flag outside the house is a traitor to his country!”
“Um…so, I was saying…there will be big parades everywhere celebrating this day and to top it all off there will be fabulous fireworks, which are fired at night in parks and squares.”
“Great!” cheers Byjove. “I can’t wait to get my hands on the explosives!”
“What?” jumps Wright.
“Don’t worry, Wright, I got it!”
“That’s what worries me,” says Moore.
“You don’t have to worry about anything. I’ve handled more explosives, rockets and missiles in my life than a bomb squad.”
“That makes me feel much better!” Moore mumbles worried.
“General,” Blanco intervenes, “maybe we should let the fireworks do the traditional way. Bell, finish, please.”
“I mean, not the flag, not the fireworks,” the general says, “what kind of a party is this? The grape festival?”
“Um, I was saying,” continues Bell, “that the festivities are usually held through parades, concerts, baseball games, barbecues, picnics and final fireworks.”
“And it’s necessary for the government to make the people feel their closeness during the celebrations.” Super Dan intervenes.
“Of course, Mr. President,” says Wright, “there’s always been some Big House representative at the celebration.”
“Absolutely!” insists the first citizen. “It’s important that citizens feel the politicians at their side.”
“Mr. President,” praises the naive Wright, “your attachment to the people is commendable.”
“And his attachment to barbecues and picnics,” adds Moore.
“Um…” Super Dan mumbles, “I don’t understand…”
“We understand, but most of all, your wife and Ms Brontenserious will understand. Bell, how will the day be organized?”
“Usually the parades take place in the morning, from noon on, barbecues and picnics, in the evening, as said, the fireworks.”
“Obviously, we haven’t forget the historical part of the celebration.” Blanco says. “Independence Day is a national holiday characterized by patriotism…”
Byjove snaps to attention and unsheathes his saber by grazing Bell’s nose.
“General, we get it,” Blanco recalls, “and poor Bell’s nose too.”
“So, to come to a topic so dear to our President,” explains Moore, “we are all taking part like every year, the main members of the government have never missed.”
“All right!” Super Dan cheers, drawing everyone’s attention.
“Um…I mean, of course, it’s right, it’s our duty to take part.”
“Let’s not forget” recalls Moore, “that politicians often speak to the people, praising the nation’s history and past.”
“Right.” approves Blanco. “We have to choose carefully which one of us is going to give the speech, because he will represent all of us to the people.”
“Present!” exclaims Byjove, standing at attention. “Always ready!”
“Uh, General,” Bell timidly intervenes, “perhaps we should think carefully about your candidacy.”
“What does that mean?” barks Byjove.
“Perhaps we should consider other candidates as well?”
“Gentlemen,” suggests Blanco, “my humble opinion is that the best person among us for the job is Wright. What do you say?”
“I Agree.” approves Moore, followed by the others.
“He’s an idealistic young man, he believes in what he says. Let him do it, General.” whispers Super Dan with a smile to Byjove.
“He’s basically a sucker… I get it.” Byjove answers quietly.
“Gentlemen,” answers Wright excited, “it will be a great honor for me to speak to the people on Independence Day.”
“Fine.” Blanco concludes. “Now, before we close this session, we need to consider one last point.”
“Barbecues?” Super Dan asks.
“The picnics?” hopes Byjove.
“What an attachment to the nation.” says Moore.
“No, gentlemen.” tries to finish Blanco. “I remind you that at noon sharp, there’ll be a military salute at military bases, called the Salute to the Union, in which as many cannon shots are fired as are the component states of the United States of Mont of Groovia.”
“Come on that’s it!” cries Byjove jumping on the chair. “We’re shooting!”
“General…” tries Blanco in vain to finish.
“Oh no! No jokes! Not the flag, not the fireworks, not the speech. At least four cannonballs. Will you let me fire them? Who’s gonna take care of it, Bell?!?”
“I’d say there’s no point in arguing about it,” concludes Super Dan.
“Perfect!” jumps Byjove radiant. “I will personally see to every single charge to be fired. And I will send them to every military base.”
INTERIOR – UPPER FLOOR OF THE BIG HOUSE – PRESIDENT’S APARTMENT.
“How was your day, honey?” asks the First Lady.
“Long and boring,” mumbles Super Dan. “except the finale.”
“And what did you discuss about in the end?”
“The celebration of Independence Day. You know, we’re going to take part.”
“Yeah, we’re almost there. And in your speech you’ll also make some historical references to, I don’t know, the Stamp Act, for example?”
“Well… yes, of course… surely.”
Gwendoline sighs. “Do you even know what I’m talking about?”
“Of course. The Stamp Act… it has to do with some stamp collection, things like that…”
“I get it, you don’t know anything this time either.”
“What? Are you kidding me? Me? I’m the President!”
“So, Mr. President, you’ll listen to what I’m about to tell you, at least you’ll know what to answer if they ask you something.”
Super Dan concentrates, eyes become two slits, mouth ajar.
“In the second half of the 1700s, discontent grew over the taxes imposed by England on her colonies overseas. The reason was the enactment of the Stamp Act, i.e. the payment of a stamp for newspapers, legal acts and commercial documents. Thus, in 1765, the expression “no taxation without representation” was born: colonists refused to pay the tax without their representation in the English Parliament.
Thus the Stamp Act was abolished, but was replaced by taxes on goods that colonists imported from England. In practice, nothing changed.
All that remained was the tea tax, which caused the famous Boston Tea Party in the United States and, a few days later, the Port Louis Tea Party here.
Super Dan’s face is more and more tense, a drop of sweat falls on his temple.
“In 1773, American traders attacked the ships that brought tea to the United States and threw the cargo overboard, so our traders did the same. Here is the famous tea revolution, both in the US and here, and the ensuing war, which broke out in 1775.
The rift between the British colonies and the British kingdom was now incurable, for the taxes imposed by European sovereigns.
Thus a resolution of independence from Great Britain was approved, which soon became a true Declaration of Independence.
The war ended in 1776 and from that year on July 4th for our American cousins and July 28th for us are the national holidays par excellence.
Super Dan’s eyes are squeezed out, drops of sweat ran down his face, his toupee is on fire.
“Do you get it now, darling?”
“Yeah, sure, right!”
“Good night, honey.” says the First Lady, now resigned.
INDEPENDENCE DAY – PORT LOUIS.
President Daniel Kramp, his wife, Ms Brontenserious and the main members of the government get by car. The security cordon was formed around them.
They are met by the Mayor of Port Louis, Mr Benedict Johansson, followed by his deputy, Mr Andrew MacKay.
“It’s a real pleasure to welcome you Mr. President, and you First Lady and welcome to all of you.”
“Stay where you are, guy.” mumbles Super Dan with clenched jaw and the usual smug attitude.
“Your presence here is a source of great pride for us,” continues the mayor, “please follow me, Port Louis welcomes you.”
“We would like to express our thanks for your hospitality and cooperation with our security services.” Blanco says.
“Our duty,” replies MacKay.
They start walking the streets, through the crowd.
“As you know,” continues Johansson, “being a federal holiday, all non-essential institutions, such as the postal service and federal courts, are closed. Today is a day of celebration for everyone.”
“Well, well. So it’s good for us too.” mumbles Super Dan.
“What?” asks Johansson confused.
“Nothing, Mayor, nothing. Go ahead.” Moore intervenes, who then whispers to Super Dan, “The barbecue and the picnic come later, Mr. President, later.”
“Here we are.” says the mayor. “This is the stage for your speech.
People are waiting for you. Mr. President, will you be speaking?”
“No,” says Blanco promptly, “our President unfortunately has a sore
throat. Our Wright will give the speech.”
“Um…yeah…cough, cough…throat, you know.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I hope it’s nothing serious.”
“Here I am.” Wright advances to the stage steps. “This is one of the most exciting moments of my life.”
Everyone gets on stage, Wright starts reading his speech into the microphone, the rest of the group sits behind him.
He begins with references to history, the struggle against England and the path to independence. Super Dan’s eyelids look like two shutters in winter, half down, General Byjove is watching the blue horizon ahead.
Then the war with England, the blood tribute paid for freedom, achieved and sanctioned by the historic declaration. Super Dan’s eyes are two slits, those of Byjove no longer stare at the horizon but at the stage floor.
The birth of a new nation, his path, always with his head held high against all kinds of adversities. Super Dan’s eyelids are closed for maintenance, Byjove’s chin is resting on his chest.
And finally the last years, the passage to the new millennium, a country ready to face new challenges in the same way as always, that is, all of us together.
A roar rises up from the crowd, people rejoice, dragged by Wright’s exciting words, the first citizen and the general suddenly wake up, frightened by the commotion, they stand stunned.
“Applaud, you wretch, applaud!” whispers the First Lady with a strained smile as she tries to elbow her husband’s hip.
Swish! hisses Ms Brontenserious’s whip near the general’s buttocks. “Applaud! Schnell! Applaud! Schnell! Schnell!”
Their hands start in unison in a thunderous applause, their eyes look like four bruised headlights, Super Dan’s toupee is resting on his right ear.
With a quick flick of the hand, his wife straightens her husband’s wig. “At home, we have to deal…” she whispers to him with a forced smile.
Local authorities are almost moved by Wright’s speech. “An exceptional, moving speech, one of the best they’ve ever given on this occasion.”
“Mr. Johansson,” says MacKay, “I have to remind you of the programm of the event.”
“Of course. Gentlemen, if you’ll follow me, we’ll continue our tour now.” The group walks through the streets, greeting people.
“Families celebrate Independence Day,” continues the mayor, “by organizing a picnic or barbecue and taking the opportunity to gather the family.”
“Great!” exclaims Super Dan. “And where are these barb…uh, I mean, these families, please?”
Another elbow from his wife leaves him breathless. “Darling, what a question, at home with their barbecues, not here.”
“While, as you can see,” continues Johansson, “outside the house there are parties and picnics until late in the evening and you can smell grilled meat coming from the parks or terraces of the houses.
“I smell, I smell…sniff…sniff.” whispers Super Dan, who…swish…jumps back grazed by the Austrian housekeeper’s whip.
“Yes, we can smell, we can smell,” says Moore bitingly, “right, Mr. President? “The air smells of flesh and fire, can’t you smell it?”
“No! I can’t smell, I’ve got a cold!” he mutters so grudgingly.
“But you didn’t have a sore throat?” Moore asks with a smile.
“Yes, of course, also!”
“Too bad, you don’t know what you’re missing. A smell of… General, what do you think about…?”
“Sausages…sniff…sniff…and I’m getting pork ribs too. Yes, of course, pork!” replies Byjove. “But dear Mayor, why don’t we join the people in celebrating together?”
“I don’t think we should, General,” puts off your Gwendoline hopes, “we have to continue our tour.”
“Of course.” says Moore helping her. “And tell us, what exactly do families cook at home around here?”
“Well, you see,” answers the mayor, “people love to make banquets for the whole family, where they eat chocolate cookies, onion rings and even fried chicken wings.”
“Hear that? Chocolate cookies…” Moore rub it in, watching Super Dan start blushing.
“But the king of the kitchen,” continues Johansson, “on this day is barbecue, to make pork chops that are eaten with mustard and chili sauce.”
“Pork chops,” insists Moore, “General, did you hear that?”
“Oh my goodness! I heard and smelled it!”
“How about the local cuisine, gentlemen?”
“Fantastic…” “Delicious…” “Snazzy…”
“Poor little piggies…” Naive says sorry.
“Poor little piggies?!?” the hungry Super Dan and Byjove are glaring at her.
“Well, yeah, it’s not enough the turkey slaughter in November for Thanksgiving. We have the pig slaughter now, too…”
“Woman,” yells the general, “one more pig, one less pig, has never changed the fate of mankind! Remember that!”
“What a delicate thought.” says Moore. “General, have you ever considered running for president of the WWF?”
“WWF”? A bunch of renegades!”
“Uh, Mayor Johansson,” Blanco tries to bring the speech on the celebration, “can you tell us anything about the decorations?”
“Of course,” says Deputy Mayor MacKay, “I’m one of the guys who makes them. You know, it’s a family tradition. As you can see around you, they’re colored red, white and blue, like the flag of Mont of Groovia, which is often displayed in the gardens of houses.”
“Quite right!” cries Byjove. “Now that’s patriotic! And the other traitors, don’t they have a flag?”
“Uh, General, not now…” Blanco blocks him.
“But it’s almost noon,” MacKay points out, “we’ve just got time to get back on stage and hear the salute to the Union from the military bases. As many cannonballs as there are states component the United States.”
“Don’t worry,” bursts Byjove vehemently, “I took care of it! Let’s go.”
The group, led by the general, returns to the stage to prepare for the traditional cannon shots.
“General,” whispers Super Dan, “Have you prepared everything?”
“Everything and more, my commander.”
“More…? What do you mean more?”
“It’s okay, trust me, let me do it!”
At that moment a distant roar shakes the earth and the trees in the nearby forests. The air movement sweeps away banners, stalls and flags, people run away in panic, everywhere shouting and chaos. Secret Service agents run towards Super Dan, push him down, throw themselves on him to protect him. His toupee flies off and lands on Bell’s face.
It was a missile launched on General Byjove’s orders.
Immediately another roar wiped out the few remaining banners, and then another and another.
Thirteen missiles, as many as the states of Mont of Groovia, were launched in rapid succession from the surrounding military bases.
Some missiles disappeared on the horizon, others exploded on the surrounding hills and four on the open sea, destroying the port of a nearby city…
The displacement of air was terrifying: screams, smoke, banners crumbled in the air, stalls razed to the ground and flags torn to shreds.
“Mr. President,” cried the security men, “how are you?”
“Auch…I can’t breathe…” says Super Dan with a voice thread, buried by the agents’ escort, who immediately gets up and puts him back on his feet.
Painful, bent forward, struggling to breathe when…
“Ahh! Mr. President!” cries young secretary Naive. “Your hair has been stolen!”
“I can’t see!” cries Bell. “I’ve gone blind! I’ve gone blind!”
“My hair! My hair!”
“Oh, my God!” cries Super Dan covering his head with his hands. “Where is it? Where is it?”
“My eyes! I can’t see!” continues Bell. “I’ve gone blind!”
“General!” explodes Super Dan. “What the hell did he do?”
“Me”? Thirteen missiles, one for each state! Why? Not even President Donald Trump can do better than us this year. “
“Bell, calm down,” Blanco intervenes, “you haven’t gone blind. The president’s toupee flew over your face.”
“What? Bell, give me my hair back!”
“Bell,” Byove yells, “isn’t the pharmacy you brought with you enough? Now even the president’s hair stole?”
“Help me, I can’t see anymore!”
Blanco firmly removes the toupee from Bell’s face and embarrassingly returns it to Super Dan. “Here, I believe this is yours…”
The first citizen finds in his hands the burnt and stripped toupee. A tear is about to fall on his cheeks.
“Quiet, ja?” breaks the momentary silence Ms Brontenserious. “I thought: General shoots cannonballs, President barbecues, at least you need two extra toupees. This way, we’re looking for a place to change the President’s big head, ja?”
“You’re an angel,” says Gwendoline.
Super Dan, his wife, the housekeeper and the men of his escort go to an office.
“Let’s hope the President hasn’t suffered any injuries or trauma,” says Mayor Johansson.
“Injuries?” thunders Byjove. “Our president is a leader!”
“Trauma?” adds Moore. “The only one he suffered is under the toupee, but unfortunately it’s incurable.”
After a few minutes Super Dan, his new toupee and the others come out.
“Mr. President,” goes the mayor, “I see you’re all right. With all the damage that’s been done, you haven’t suffered a single scratch.”
“Yeah.” Moore murmurs. “And then they say that bad luck doesn’t exist.”
“What can we do now?” question Blanco. “There’s not much left to celebrate, thanks to the general.”
“Please, don’t start! It was thirteen little missiles and not even with nuclear warhead!”
“Nuclear?” Bell exclaims. “Oh, God, I’m going to faint, my smelling salts…”
“Bell!” yells Byjove. “Next year I’ll put you in the cannons!”
“Actually,” says MacKay, “there’s the Liberty Bell ceremony.”
“Right!” echoes the mayor. “With all this bustle, I almost forgot.”
“What’s that?” asks Super Dan, still fixing his fresh toupee.
“But darling,” says his wife giving him some death stare and giving him yet another elbow in his hip, “we were just talking about that the other day. It’s an important symbol, almost three hundred years old, the bell that stood on the tower of Independence Hall. But it hasn’t been rung since 1850, because it’s too old and has a big crack on the side. That’s why they tap it gently thirteen times to open the celebrations.“
“Congratulations, First Lady,” says the mayor, “I see you know our history well.”
“Oh, it’s nothing.” thanks Gwendoline. “My husband explained it to me just the other day, didn’t he?”
“Right?” And she elbows her husband’s belly again this time.
“Argh…yes, of course, coff…coff…sure.”
“You’re welcome, Mr. President,” Johansson says, “you have the honor of thirteen touches. Gently, please, as long as you hear a faint sound.”
Super Dan jumps boldly up the stairs of the stage where the Liberty Bell is located, with the usual brazenness he raises his jaw, shows his best smile of the best occasions and…
to be continued…
See you next week. Ending theme!