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21 Jul

EPISODE 03: The round table – by Eugeniusz S. Lazowski

INTERIOR – UPPER FLOOR OF THE BIG HOUSE – HALLWAY – MORNING.

The new President and his wife are walking through the hallways of the Big House sleepy and with their clothes crumpled, opening all the doors in search of something, with the map of the Presidential residence in their hands.

“How big is this place? What is this, a maze?” mumbles Super Dan.

“It’s not called Big House for nothing,” says the wife.

“That’s right, I forgot. I knew I married a smart woman.”

“Yeah, smart and faithful…”

“Oh, again with that story! I told you it was all a misunderstanding. There’s never been any cruise plan with any other woman,” he says, trying to be romantic with his wife.

“You know there’s only you, my little fish. How can I forget it?”

“My darling. And try not to forget the axe either.”

They open yet another door, but are once again disappointed.

“No, I mean, with all these studies, is there even a place to sleep?”

“My back hurts and I can’t feel my neck.” Gwendoline complains.

“Tell me about it. I can’t feel my bones. My wig hurts too.”

“What if we ask someone for help? We can’t keep sleeping on the sofas in that living room, just because it’s the only room we can easily find.”

“What? Never! Not even dead! The President who can’t even find his bedroom to go to sleep at night. You know what they’d say? They’d laugh for years. I bet my friend Donald Trump doesn’t have this problem in the White House.”

Here come Louis Foster, chief usher of Big House, and Ms Brontenserious.

“Mr. President, First Lady, Good morning. Did you get a good night’s rest?”

“Great, Louis, never slept better in our lives, did we, darling? Not even in our own house.”

“You betcha… uh, I mean…” adds his wife “we’ve never rested like this before.”

“Nein, it looks like you both slept on a cactus.” says their housekeeper.

“Who, us? Are you kidding? It’s just that we’ve been up for a while, we’re early risers, we are!” says bold Super Dan.

“Gentlemen, I’m the chief usher of the Big House. If you have a problem of any kind, it’s my duty to help you solve it.”

“Problem? What problem? There’s no problem. My wife and I were just arguing.”

“Ja? Discussing? Trouble, ja?”

“I said no, we were talking… we were discussing… uh…”

“…how to organize our day here. It can’t be the same as before, can it, dear?”

“Exactly! Absolutely. We were just trying to get organized.”

“That’s incredible, honey,” the President says to his wife. “These two thought we hadn’t slept in our own bed. But why, what did you think, I couldn’t even find the bedroom? I’m the President! Who do you think you’re talking to?”

“I’d like to know that.” says Moore, coming at the time.

“I’m sorry if I offended you in any way, it wasn’t my intention. With your permission, they’re waiting for me downstairs. Would Ms Brontenserious be so kind as to accompany me? Your help is always valuable.”

“Jawohl Herr Louis.” Louis and Ms Brontenserious are leaving.

“On the map.” continues the Chief of Staff.

“What? On the map, what? I don’t understand.” replies the President.

“Your bedroom is marked with the letters BP.”

Moore turns around and leaves, but after a few steps he stops and stares at the two, who are amazed.

“BP, Bedromm President.”

Super Dan and his wife pretend indifference. As soon as Moore is far away they take out the map of Big House and resume their search.

INTERIOR – UPPER FLOOR OF THE BIG HOUSE – THE ROUND ROOM.

In the meantime, the staff is preparing for the first Cabinet meeting, where the initial decisions of this government will be taken.

There is concern because the first opinions of the press and the people will be expressed on these measures.

“We’ll all be judged, it’s important to get off on the right foot,” Blanco says.

“Yeah, but can we do it with the president?” Bell says.

“Of course, by golly, with a president like that, we’ll get to the end of the world,” says Byjove, euphoric.

“It would be enough for me to get to the end of my mandate,” adds Moore at that moment.

“Please! With such a commander, we will reach a horizon of glory!” rejoices the general.

“I understand, I’ll settle for the end of the month.” concludes the Chief of Staff.

Meanwhile, Super Dan and his wife have found their bedroom, so he can tidy up and go to the meeting with his staff.

And in the Round Room, the president’s team continues to discuss. Finally he arrives, Daniel Kramp. As soon as he comes in, he is sure of himself, but when he gets close to the table, he stops and starts staring at him.

He’s overcome with deep emotion, almost sobbing. “Sigh, sigh.”

“Mr. President, are you all right? Is something wrong?” Bell asks concerned.

“No, no, nothing, I’m fine.”

“Are you sure? If you want to postpone the meeting…” Blanco proposes.

“I’ve never seen him like this before. I’m worried about his health.” Bell whispers to the others.

“Bell, you’re always worried about his health, yours or the rest of the world’s.” That’s Moore’s sarcastic response.

“Excuse me, I’m excited to be in this room, I almost feel like crying.” says the big boss getting more and more upset.

“See? He’s not the gruff guy you all thought he was, he’s even excited to be in this room.” That’s Wright’s judgment.

“Of course, important decisions have been made in this room for our country.” Bell agrees.

“Measures have been taken here that have influenced the whole world.” Blanco agrees.

“The most glorious declarations of war have been signed here!” Byjove recalls.

“Here they even played hide-and-seek…” says Moore.

Everyone looks at Moore puzzled because they don’t understand, only the President seems annoyed because he has understood.

So Moore bends sideways slightly and looks under the table, while from Super Dan’s head is born the comic book cloud with his thoughts, inside there are former President Flintstone and his secretary under the table.

Moore raises his head to the cloud, then looks at Super Dan with an air of reproach, and his finger pierces the cloud, which bursts like a balloon.

The President looks sad and upset, sulking like a child who’s had his toy taken away. Then he tries to pull himself together.

“Um…um…well, shall we get this meeting started?”

“Of course, you know, I’m very excited too, it’s the first meeting of my life.” Wright confesses.

“Sure, I understand, son, this table oozes with glory.” The general agrees.

“Of historical decisions.” Bell adds.

“Of measures that have led the world.” Wright continues enthusiastically.

“The destinies of the world have been decided at this table,” recalls the President.

“And let’s try to stay above the table and not end up slipping under it,” concludes the corrosive Moore, causing the explosion of the capillary vessels in Super Dan’s face.

They finally sit down to start work. The only one who can’t find a place is the big boss, who keeps circling around.

In fact, it’s the first time he’s ever sat at the Round Table. He chooses an armchair, sits in it, then gets up, goes to sit in another armchair, sits down and then gets up again.

“Mr. President, forgive me, is something wrong? Do you want a more comfortable armchair?” Wright’s question.

“You know, lumbar pain can sometimes hide a much more serious problem, the spinal problem.” Bell explains. “Often a herniated disc lurks, you see, with age, discs start to degenerate and shrink. So the spine will suffer over time.”

“We broadcasted: Medicine Today.” says Moore.

“Bell! Good heavens, my vertebrae are fine, unlike my ears, which can’t hear it anymore!” slams the big boss.

“By golly, Bell, go away! We’re here to take the first steps of this government, not to know the details of your medical records!” explodes Byjove.

“Achoo! Achoo!”

“Here we go again, another one of his crises. Please leave him alone.” begs Blanco.

“But where did we find this man, in a sanatorium?” Super Dan reflects Super Dan out loud.

“No, in one of the biggest corporations in the world. He has an extensive international experience,” the Chief of Staff explains.

“Oh yeah? And in what area? Healthcare?” jokes the President, who gets up and changes places again.

“For crying out loud, who made this table? Where the hell is the head of the table? Where’s my seat?” yells Super Dan.

“Mr. President, this is the Round Table actually. ” Wright explains.

“Exactly who took the head of the table? Where is it? I’m entitled to it. I’m the president.” The president insists.

“Mr. President, what Wright is trying to tell you is that there’s no head of the table, you know?” Blanco says.

“I understand that the carpenter here must be fired!” concludes angry Super Dan. 

“It’s a symbol, Mr. President, of democracy and equality… The man who built this table was meant to make everyone feel equal.” Blanco continues.

“Everybody’s equal, my ass, I’m the president! “Who stole my seat?” cries the big boss.

“We’ve got to find this carpenter, he will be executed. He gotta be a communist carpenter.” Byjove says.

“Please, could you all calm down so we can start discussing what action to take? For the good of the country, Mr. President, could you sit in an ordinary armchair so that we can start the work?” Wright asks politely.

“All right, let’s get started, but I’d like to say I don’t like this table. It’s not presidential enough,” the president says.

“All right, but I’m only doing this for the good of the country. And in any case, I want to meet this communist carpenter, face to face,” adds the general.

“Well, who’s got the agenda?” Blanco asks.

“Me, of course. I am the President!”

“We didn’t get it.” says Moore.

“What’s the first executive order?” Bell question.

A waiting silence in the hall, everybody’s looking at the big boss, waiting. But he doesn’t talk.

“Mr. President, excuse the first item on the agenda, what is the first executive order?” Blanco insists.

Super Dan keeps silent, the others keep staring at him.

“An executive order is a measure signed by the president, which directs the executive policies of government agencies. Executive orders have the force of law when they are issued by a legislative authority that delegates this power to the executive. For example, Congress can delegate a portion of its powers to the government by a legislative order,” explains Moore.

“Is it clear what we’re talking about now, Mr. President?”

“Of course I knew that! I was just trying to put these measures in order! I built an empire from nothing, don’t forget who you’re talking to!” replied resentful Super Dan.

“Impossible to forget.” says Moore.

“Until the other day I was a great businessman, I made plans, built buildings, flattened mountains…”

“Split the waters, crossed the Red Sea…” Moore stings.

The President blushing, burns Moore with his eyes.

“I even deposited my name and image as a trademark. There are buildings in the world named like me, you know?” remembers the big boss.

“Oui, the Eiffel Tower!” still the provocative Chief of Staff.

Super Dan getting angrier and angrier, he’s glaring at Moore.

“And I even secured my unmistakable jaw for fifty million dollars!”

“How much for my brain should I ask then, the public deficit?” Moore insists.

“Gentlemen, excuse me, I don’t think we should talk about our past personal merits, which no one doubts, for heaven’s sake. We are here to enact the first measures for the good of our country.” Bell intervenes, trying to break the argument.

“I agree. Shall we begin the reading of the agenda?” Blanco gives him a big hand.

All eyes are on Super Dan. He’s holding the papers, and he starts reading the proposals in a strong, confident tone.

“Title of the proposal: Transformation of the Big House through two major changes, a name change and a building renovation,” the big boss begins.

Everyone looks at each other in dismay.

“The transformation will take place by changing the name from Big House to Pink House and renovating it by changing the traditional white color to pink!”

Silence falls among those present, everyone stares at Super Dan. He’s disoriented, trying to defend himself.

“Excuse me, um, but is this your first act as president?” stammers Bell incredulously.

“What a shame, pink, the pink President’s Palace, and the name… Pink! What a shame!” Byjove stammers.

“Well, actually, I, despite being a woman,” Blanco intervenes, “don’t feel like judging such an initiative decisive for the country’s economy.”

“Do you want to relaunch the paint industry?” is Moore’s comment.

“Don’t joke. I don’t know anything about it. I had nothing to do with it.” the President yells. “Is this a joke on any of you?”

“Sure, we took our government posts and gave up our careers to come here and joke around.” says Moore.”You know, we jokers just can’t avoid it.”

“We’re here to serve our country, not to make jokes, Mr. President.” Blanco replied.

“It’s a Communist conspiracy, that’s what it is, I knew it, they’re trying to discredit our government!” Byjove says.

Knock on the door, Ms Brontenserious comes in and brings water and drinks for everyone. Hearing the discussion, she intervenes.

“It’s an initiative of your wife, ja, she has been talking about it for days.”

Silence dominates the room.

“Pink House. Your wife wants to put a more feminine style on this place. She told you that days ago, ja?”

“Yeah, well, you know, I don’t really remember now, actually…”

“Well, you men all the same, you never listen to women, but then expect them to take your advice, ja?”

“Well, it’s not really like that, don’t exaggerate, it’s just sometimes…”

Ms Brontenserious shakes her whip making it hiss right next to Super Dan, who jumps on the armchair.

“Ja, that’s right, you men talk, talk, talk, and us women, listen, listen, shut up. So your wife had this brilliant idea: repaint the Big House and turn it into a Pink House.”

Those present listen in amazement.

“So finally women all over the world will get their recognition, it will be a revenge for all of us, a recognition for all women, always undervalued and oppressed. And then it would be so good, ja? A touch of class, says your wife.”

“Of course, pink would suit you, Mr. President. It would give you that extra something…” says Moore.

“But who is in charge here, you or your wife? Who is the President?” protests Byjove.

Super Dan slams his fist on the table.

“I am the President! And there’s no change here!”

“Now we’re talking. Pink, how disgusting!” comments the general with satisfaction.

Ms Brontenserious is leaving. “Jawohl. I will report to your wife.”

“But report to whomever you want, let us work in peace!” are Byjove’s words at the woman.

“Well, we’ve cleared up the misunderstanding,” Blanco says more serenely. “Shall we move on to the second measure?”

“Of course. For foreign policy I propose an executive order to suspend the admission of refugees for four months and to deny access to the citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for ninety days, for security reasons concerning terrorism.”

The big boss opens the discussion.

“Right! Sacrosanct! You’re a real commander, Mr. President. And while we’re at it, I wanted to make a small addition to complete the list of Bolshevik and hostile countries.” Byjove joins the debate.

Byjove pulls out a paper and reads a list.

“Liechtenstein, Andorra, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Antarctica, the Arctic, Mongolia, Luxembourg, Monaco, Malta, the Republic of San Marino, the Principality of Hutt River in Australia, the Kingdom of Redonda, is an island in the Antilles, the Principality of Sealand in Great Britain, the Republic of Conch in Florida, the Republic of Molossia in Nevada, of six inhabitants, Uzupis, is a district of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, Christiania, is a small district of Copenhagen, and Grand Duchy of Flandrensis in the Antarctic. ”

Those present listen in amazement.

“A little addition?” asks Bell in shock.

“General, don’t you think you’re overreacting a little bit?” Blanco asks.

“No, what are you saying? General, you forgot the butcher under my house. You know, he raised prices in a shameful way, a real thief!” Moore intervenes.

“General, we should actually discuss this addition of yours…” Wright shyly points out.

“But what is there to discuss? These are hostile and Bolshevik countries, they should be razed to the ground!”

“Byjove calm down, say we’ll consider this little addition of yours in future meetings,” says the President trying to calm Byjove,

Enter without knocking the First Lady.

“Honey, I’m sorry. I wanted to tell you I’m going out. I’m going to the hairdresser and manicurist.”

“Mr. President, without compliments, if you’d like to take your wife to the hairdresser, we’ll go on our own here.” Moore points out.

Super Dan looks annoyed at both his wife and Moore, but he tries to contain himself.

“All right, dear, all right, but I’m busy now, as you can see.”

“Well, I just wanted to ask you if you want me to take your spare toupees to the hairdresser too. I thought I was doing you a favor, not bothering you.”

Those present try to hold back the laughter, Super Dan is in great embarrassment and looks badly at his wife, who without waiting for his answer turns around and leaves.

“All right, then, darling, this time you do it.”

“Do we want to resume the session or is that too much to ask?” the general asks, bordering on exasperation.

“For once, I agree with the General.” Bell agrees.

“Let’s move on to the next measure. What’s on the agenda?” Blanco asks impatiently.

Ms Brontenserious knocks on the door and comes in to bring newspapers with articles about the polls on the early days of the government.

“Herr President, your wife recommended I bring newspapers with articles and polls on your early days, ja?”

“My wife?”

“Ja. I follow orders.”

The housekeeper slams the stack of newspapers on the table in front of the President and leaves.

“Your wife? Mr. President, may I ask what your wife has to do with government business?” Byjove asks him.

“Nothing, of course she has nothing to do with it, I’m the President!”

“Yes, and this would be a Cabinet meeting,” says Moore.

At that moment the door opens wide and Gwendoline comes in again without knocking, going straight to her husband.

“Darling, forgive me, I forgot my wallet in my room, wouldn’t you have some change?”

“Famous last words…” mumbles the Chief of Staff.

“Darling, we’re having an important meeting, you can’t just walk in…”

Gwendoline gets down on her husband, caresses him and starts pampering him. “Oh, my darling, you know how careless your little fish is, I grabbed the bag in a hurry without checking my wallet.”

Super Dan embarrassed to get rid of his wife immediately pulls out his wallet, his wife with a quick gesture slips her fingers inside and takes out all the bills.

Then she quickly sneaks out.

“Thanks, love, you’re the usual sweetheart. See you tonight, then. I’ll make it worth your while, my teddy bear.”

“Little fishy???” begs the first citizen. “Uh, sorry to interrupt, misunderstanding…”

“Teddy bear?” mumbles Byjove outrageously.

“So “teddy bear”, can we get back to the agenda now that your “little fish” is out?” Moore intervenes.

“Moore, how dare you? This is private!”

“Exactly, and this is the Round Hall.”

Louis knocks on the door, comes in with a tray of Bell’s medicine and goes straight to him.

“Thank you Louis, you’re invaluable.”

Byjove is about to burst. “So, Bell, Louis, can we continue this meeting now?”

“Oh sure, sure, don’t mind me.” Bell replies, “go ahead.”

“And how the hell do we go on like this? I was calmer in Vietnam under the bombardment!” thunders the general.

Ms Brontenserious knocks on the door and enters to bring Super Dan the diet pills his wife imposed on him, while Louis is going out.

“Herr President, your pills, ja?”

“What pills?!?”

“Pills your wife says you must take for your belly, ja?”

“Belly? But, excuse me, he’s talking to the president…” says Wright.

“God damn it, the belly pills?  Anything else?” cries Byjove.

“General, get your fat belly out of my way,” the President says.

“Shall we put that on the agenda, too?” mocking Moore proposes. 

“Can we try to keep calm and end this meeting?” proposes the sensible Blanco, as the Austrian governess walks out.

Louis knocks on the door, comes in carrying a tray of Bell’s inhaler and goes straight to him.

“Thank you, Louis. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

“What is this, a supermarket?” shouts Super Dan.

“If we charge admission fees, we earn money for public works.” comments the Chief of Staff.

“Bell, what else did you bring?  I hope it’s cyanide, you bloody mollusc!” yells Byjove.

Bell sticks to his inhaler in a panic attack.

“Why don’t we put a turnstile at the entrance?” advises Moore with a mocking smile.

Naive, the young secretary, knocks on the door, takes a few steps but has no time to talk.

“Get out! Get out now, by golly, or I’ll put you in front of a firing squad!” cries Byjove.

“General, there’s no need to take it out on Miss Naive. Miss, I think you’d better get out, it’s not a good time.” Wright suggests.

“But no, stay here with us, Miss,” suggests Moore, “we’re all one big family now, aren’t we, Teddy Bear?”

Naive runs out scared, Bell sticks to his inhaler.

“My goodness, I’m sick…”

Knock and Ms Brontenserious comes in with her whip under her arm. She goes straight to the big boss with a strong step.

“Would you like something too, Ms. Brontenserious?” ironic question, Blanco.

“Ja, I must check that Herr President has indeed taken pills for his belly. Wife order like this.”

Byjove stands up and draws his saber screaming.

“That’s enough, this is called sabotage. You’re trying to ruin this meeting. The next person who interrupts it, I’ll stab him with my saber!”

Ms Brontenserious snaps her whip and makes Byjove fall backwards on her armchair.

“Herr President, did you really take pills for your belly?”

“Yes Ms Brontenserious, yes. You have my word of honor.”

“Teddy bear’s word” Moore is interfering.

“Jawhol, then I can go. I’ll go and report to your wife.”

“Say hello to the “little fish.” says Moore.

“Jawhol, I’ll report.”

Ms Brontenserious coming out makes the whip hiss and makes Super Dan jerk again.

Bell, now panicked, continues to take long breaths with his inhaler while Moore observes him.

“Did you see that he needed the inhaler? Do you want to help yourself?”

“Who did you mistake me for, this wimp?” the general replies.

“Why don’t we have the next meeting right in the drugstore?” Blanco says, exhausted.

“Yeah!” continues the Chief of Staff. “The doctor could take part and say his thoughts, so we’d have the health department’s opinion too.”

“Moore, please, at least you have some understanding.” Bell begs.

“Mercy, the right word is mercy, not understanding! And in war you don’t take prisoners, remember!” reminds everyone Byjove.

“Oh, my God!” sobbs Bell.

“Gentlemen, will you please keep calm a little bit? “We have institutional tasks to perform…” Blanco exhorts.

“I haven’t done my tasks since I was in school, you understand? How dare you?” says Super Dan.

“Mr. President,” Blanco tries to clarify, “I think Wright was referring to the steps we’ll have to take in the matter of…”

“But are you saying, how dare you insult our president? He hasn’t done his homework for a long time, this isn’t a school! No task, no homework!” the general intervenes.

“No, but all in all, it wouldn’t hurt you to go back…” is Moore’s hit.

Naive comes in again.

She stretches his arms out to show what’s dangling from her hands: two tiny bikinis.

“Mr. President, I forgot, for that cruise, my bikini as you prefer, this shocking pink one on the left or the pastel green one on the right?”

“Ouuttt!!!!! Everybody out!” cries exasperated Super Dan.

Super Dan screams, Byjove chases Naive with his saber drawn, the others try to stop him, Bell is in respiratory distress and is overwhelmed by Byjove, everyone chases each other and screams.

This is the first Cabinet meeting of Daniel Kramp’s new government.

Until next week. Ending theme!

Super Dan
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