Chris Christie’s Crumbling Bridge to the Future
by Marc Belisle
In October, 2020, President Chris Christie huddles with his campaign team in an emergency session in the Oval Office, beneath a massive “Re-elect Christie/Paul: Rebuild the Bridge to the Future” banner.
Addressing his advisors, he says, “You guys are my loyalists, I know I can trust you. Some of you have been with me since Newark, ya know? Bob, you been with me since I was US Attorney for New Jersey, where I emphasized prosecutions for political corruption. You know I’ve been fighting against political corruption ever since, and I… What the hell was that? Joe, did you just laugh at that?”
“No, Mr. President,” Joe adamantly shook his head. “I, um, sneezed, sir.”
Christie nods, “Uh-huh.”
“I think I’m, uh, coming down with something.”
“You better hope you’re comin’ down with something, you know what I mean? Anyway, where was I? The point is, I’m a straight-shooting guy. If I wanna tell you where to pop, I tell you where to pop. And right now, I need you to do the same for me. No bull, gentlemen. Where are we at?”
“Well, sir, Senator Darkhorse is surging in the polls. You’re neck and neck, but it’s trending in his direction. The election is in two weeks, and we can’t guarantee you’re going to win sir.”
“Sonuva…! A’right. This is what we do. Remember in 2013, when my gubernatorial office shut down 3 of 4 lanes on that bridge to Fort Lee, a city full of Democratic voters, right before my reelection to governor, because their stupid mayor wouldn’t endorse me? Nobody could get anywhere for hours.”
“Yes, Mr. President. What are you sugges…”
“We’re gonna do it nationwide!” Christie hollers, throwing his arms out. Christie scans the group of advisers shuffling nervously in their chairs. “Stevie!”
“Yes, Mr. President.”
“Stevie, you been with me since I was a leading fundraiser for George W. Bush and then I was appointed a US Attorney by Bush and I went after Democratic senators on trumped up charges during an election under the direction of Alberto Gonzalez in the Bush Administration. And right now, Stevie, you know what I need? I need you to get on that phone and call the Secretary of Transportation…”
“…and I need you to tell her: ‘Secretary Toots, we’re gonna shut down Amtrak, I-95, I-90, and I-5.’”
“Right. For how long sir?”
“As long as it takes. Till the election. Whenever the polls go back to where we need ‘em. I don’t want any of these blue state voters in the Northeast, the Northern Midwest or the West Coast leaving their houses in the next two weeks. Am I understood?”
“Now Bob, I need you to…”
“Sir, the Transportation Secretary is on line 1. She’s threatening to resign.”
“What is it with these people? Gimme that phone. Hello? Look here, honey, I’m not asking you, I’m TELLING you! Ohhh… boohoo… trillions and trillions of dollars, millions of lost jobs, laughingstock of the world, impeachment, going down in history as worst ever… blah, blah, blah, BLAH! You know what’s gonna go down? Your CAREER! Quit your crying and shut down the American transportation system in Democratic states, NOW! What do you mean you CAN’T? I’ll find someone who WILL. You’re FIRED!”
Christie slams down the phone. “Stevie, now YOU’RE the Secretary of Transportation!”
“Did I stutter?”
“Then what are you waiting for?”
“Yes, Mr. President,” Stevie nods, as he runs out of the Oval Office.
“Now, Bob, where’s our biggest and closest battleground state?
“Florida! Of course. Friggin’ Florida. A’right, now listen, Bob, here’s what I need from you. You’re gonna call the Secretary of Energy and let him know that there’s gonna be an itsy bitsy widdle unfortunate accident at a nuclear power plant in Florida.”
“Mr. President! You can’t do that!”
“Bob,” Christie barks, wagging a finger, as he walks behind Bob. He puts an arm around Bob’s neck and squeezes. “Bob, do you like your job?”
“Yes… But… Mr… Pre…. Caaan’t… breeee…”
“Bob, you’ve been with me since I was a lobbyist for Bernie Madoff’s company. We’re like brothers, Bobby buddy. Don’t go soft on me now. Do you like breathing, Bob?”
Turning red, Bob nods.
“You nodded, Bob. That means you’re gonna do this for me?”
“There we go, Bob,” Christie says, relaxing his arm. Bob gasps. “Now we’re all being reasonable, here, am I right?” The campaign advisors nod along with Christie.
“Now Bob, get on the phone to the Energy Secretary. A’right. Now, Tommy, here’s what you’re gonna do for me…”
Suddenly the door to the Oval Office swings open. No one is there, yet the door slooowly creak, creak, creaks shut. Christie and his advisors look at each other nervously as they hear the footsteps of some invisible entity crossing the floor toward the President’s desk. With a thump, an unseen spirit sits in Christie’s chair, and the chair swivels.
“Oh my God! It’s a ghost!” Tommy whines.
“Hey,” Christie yells. “Who are ya? Why don’t you go back to Hell, can’t you see we’re busy?”
A ghostly outline slowly materializes. It shimmers into the translucent profile of a man with a widow’s peak, a bulbous nose, heavy brows, a dour frown, and drooping, ectoplasmic jowls.
Christie asks, “Nixon?”
The shade leans back in Christie’s chair, and in a deep, gravelly whisper, replies, “I am not a crook.”
“Why are you here?” Christie asks, incredulously.
“Christopher… Can I call you Christopher?”
“I like you, Christopher. You remind me of myself when I was your age. Remember, Christopher. Use the gummint the way it’s meant to be used.”
“And what way is that?”
“For the empowerment of…”
“The President, Christopher. You. That is why you use gummint. When the President does it, it’s not illegal. You use the gummint, all of it, to make YOU more powerful. That is all.”
“Well, one more thing, Christopher,” Nixon says, beginning to dissipate back into the void. “Make sure you’re not recording this conversation.”
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