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Super Bowl Sunday. February 2, 2014. Half-time.
“John, the score is 9-7 in favor of the Lions. Do you have any thoughts on the game so far?”
“How many dropped passes and fumbles can you watch before you just shut off the TV. This game is horrible. If it wasn’t for the half-time show, I think most of America would have turned off by now.”
“Speaking of half-time, they have moved the stage into place at about the 40 yard line and there’s a special circular platform on hydraulic lifts that they have placed at the 50 yard line for Ted Cruz. The stage is huge, gigantic. It’s at least 20 feet off the ground.”
The lights of the stadium dimmed and the smiling visage of the President appeared on the Stadium Scoreboard screen via satellite link from the White House National Golf Course. He was looking well rested. There was a fire in the fireplace crackling softly. At the same time Ted Cruz was led to the special platform while a spotlight followed him. His hands were bound and the marshalls chained his legs to a short post in the center of the platform. It looked like he’d had a cheap haircut and was wearing a suit from Goodwill.
“My fellow Americans. Good Evening. I hope you are enjoying the game.” There was a restive murmur from the crowd and a smattering of boos. The President continued, “Sports and Politics have always been a potent combination, where people can take their passions and their skills and fight hard against their opponents. And at the end of the battle, they can shake hands and sit down and have a beer. Sure, one side gets bragging rights for a time when it’s all over, but every other team has a chance in the next cycle to be better and hit harder and run more negative ads and get more campaign donations and make more promises. And did you notice that they never seem to keep those promises. It’s all just trash talk and shuck and jive. Well, anyway, we have a special guest here tonight. Justice Clarence Thomas is here.” A smattering of cheers and clapping from the crowd. A feeble attempt at a wave began at section 33 and petered out at section 58.
“Justice Thomas. I understand that you have something to say.”
“Yes, Mr. President.” Clarence fidgeted in front of the camera.
“And what would that be, Clarence?”
“I am here to plead for your mercy in the case of Senator Ted Cruz.”
The President waited. And waited. He looked at his watch. A minute passed. The crowd was starting to boo.
“Is that all?”
“Thank you Justice Thomas. That was a stirring plea. I’m sure Mr. Cruz appreciates your passion and sincerity. But the time has come for a final decision.” The President gazed into the camera, raised his right arm and turned his thumb down. The crowd roared and cheered their approval. The stood up and stomped their feet. They danced and swayed. The stadium rocked.
The President continued, “We now have a special guest from Rome. Pope Francis is joining us live to give the last rites.” The screen switched to Rome where the Pope stood on a balcony overlooking St Peter’s square. Despite the late hour, tens of thousands of visitors were cheering in the streets. The Pope waved back at the adoring crowd. Then the camera zoomed in on his face and he began the solemn rites.
“Bless you my son, though you have sinned. The Lord offers you his mercy. In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. I forgive you my child. Quando para mucho mi amore chi cappela carathon.”
At the Vatican and in the Stadium the crowds erupted in cheers, and then Miley Cyrus stepped out of the shadows carrying a microphone with Britney Spears and Madonna at her side. The lights came up on stage, revealing the E-Street Band, minus the BS.
She waved at the audience to gasps and whoops, strutting out to the edge of the stage where there appeared to be a shimmering walkway connecting the stage to Ted Cruz. She stepped out onto walkway as the E-Streeters cranked up her mega-hit “Twerkin’ USA”. She began to dance, lifted by the music into some higher realm where she could look down on all the suckers and laugh at them. Britney and Madonna followed her until they had Cruz surrounded, moving in carnal delight. They danced more and more lasciviously, bumping and grinding against Ted’s pelvis and butt. Then Miley began to sing, sultry and vulnerable, and the crowd went wild, roaring and dancing in their seats.
If everybody had a dance floor
Across the U.S.A.
Then everybody'd be twerkin'
You'd see 'em wearin' their baggies
and their High heels, too
Grab their bushy bushy bushy
You'd catch 'em twerkin in DC
Ventura County line
Chicago and New York,
Crazy San Fran too,
All over Manhattan,
down San Diego way
Everybody's gone twerkin'
We'll all be going crazy
Shake your booty bump and grind
We're waxin' our bikini lines
We can't wait for June
We'll all be gone for the summer
Twerkin night and day
Tell the teacher we're twerkin'
As the music continued Miley, Madonna and Britney danced as if they are one body joined in the electricity of the moment and they snaked their way back to the main stage as the crowd sung out in one supercharged voice, while below the spotlight shone brightly on a full grown male lion and an equally fierce looking Bengal tiger.
Everybody's gone twerkin'
Everybody's gone twerkin'
The Lion and Tiger sparred briefly and paced around the raised platform and roared as the crown gasped and then cheered even louder.
“This is fantastic John. I think that just made up for the entire first half and probably the second half too.”
“You said it Phil. I can barely catch my breath. And we’re just getting to the main event. This is amazing.”
Bruce Springsteen strode to the center of the stage and plugged in his electric guitar. One by one a parade of stars carrying microphones walked on to the stage and took their places as a gigantic chorus behind the band: the Rolling Stones, Beyonce and Jay-Z, David Bowie, Chris Isaak, Dave Matthews, the Temptations, Elvis Costello, Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Jackson Browne, Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson, Diana Ross, John Fogerty, Van Morrison, Iggy Pop, Toby Keith, Keith Urban, Gary Clark Jr., the Wildfeathers, Willie Nelson, Lady Gaga, T Bone Burnett, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, Dave Grohl, Eddie Vedder, Bono, Michael Stipe, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, and last but not least Bob Dylan wearing dark glasses and a top hat, with a harmonica in his left hand.
Springsteen smiled and waved to the crowd as he stepped up to the microphone. “A one, a two, a three…” The band launched into a thundering rendition of “Born in the USA” and the hydraulic lift began to lower Ted Cruz to his certain demise. The lion and tiger leaped frantically at the platform as it carried their prey closer and closer to their glistening teeth. By remote control, the chains on Cruz’s legs released and he stared down at the menacing beasts.
As the platform reached the ground Cruz stood motionless. The lion and tiger moved warily under the spotlights, in and out of the shadows. They growled and eyed their prey, circling ever closer as the music rose into the night. Finally the Lion retreated a few steps, pawed the ground, and raised its mammoth jaws toward the band and roared hideously. Then it charged at Cruz, who closed his eyes and stood like a statue. The lion stopped inches from his face. It roared again and raised a massive paw, swiping at Cruz’s body. He collapsed in a heap. The lion stood over him, pondering its next move. Then it lifted its leg and peed on the pile of clothing, before ambling back into the shadows and lying down.
The music had stopped. The stadium was silent. You could hear a pin drop. Finally, the trainers got to work and lured the Lion and Tiger back to their cages. Several workers picked up the triply soiled Cruz, strapped him to a cart and drove off.
The music started up again with Bruce and Neil Young trading verses and flaming guitar solos on “Rockin in the Free World.” The Stones played “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and finally Bruce and the multitudes finished the set with a barn burning Rock ‘n Roll rendition of “We Shall Overcome”.
The crowd collapsed in their seats, exhausted and spent. They were dazed and dazzled, exhilarated beyond belief. They’d been shot up into the sky like a rocket and then thrown off a thousand foot cliff and lived to tell the tale. They had seen something that perhaps no one would ever witness again. The music, the fury, the spectacle, the drama of life and death played out on the biggest stage. The second half was an afterthought, a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. As they regained some semblance of consciousness, groups of fans staggered out of their seats and left the stadium. By the beginning of the fourth quarter, the stadium was maybe one quarter full. They’d seen it all. There was nothing left to see.
Final Score? Nobody cared.