Tuesday, 04 June 2019 13:31

Senatorial Pandemonium

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Senatorial Pandemonium

Ray Sinneck

Another excerpt from the satirical fiction of Ray Sinneck: Thrush Lockjaw, a Republican candidate for the presidency, attends the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for his friend Judge Yurik Skulleater, where the two men make a strident statement about abortion.

After circling once over the Lincoln Memorial, the Airbus began its descent into Reagan International. It was a choppy approach today due to the interplay of particularly chaotic atmospheric crosscurrents. Thrush Lockjaw knew exactly what was going on and he felt glad he had taken that correspondence course on meteorology way back when. It’s made all the difference. The plane was being buffeted by wind shear factors that could prove very dangerous. One wrong pocket and the airborne rig might nosedive into the Potomac below. The aircraft skidded onto the tarmac and the passengers gave a collective sigh of relief. Thrush gathered his various personal effects from the business class seat pocket in front of him. He always traveled business class. It was the feeling of prestige, the larger seats, and the bag of extra fancy peanuts that kept him coming back.

He quickly calculated the route and time required to get to the Senate conference room. Gotta move fast. Cutting it a bit close here. He needed to deliver the eminence of his presence on time for the confirmation hearing of his good friend District Judge Yurik Skulleater, who had flown in from San Francisco several days earlier. Finally a bona fide conservative about to be confirmed to the High Court, the Good Lord willing. Hopefully, the thin, conservative minority in the Senate would prevail after the Justice Committee approves him. Thrush and Yurik were buddies from way back, when they met on a hunting expedition near the Himalayas many years ago. Yurik was an odd combination: a staunch conservative, yet someone who grew up in the Soviet Union and migrated to the U.S. They were in almost constant contact over the past several weeks and Thrush was atwitter at the prospect of carrying out their plan today. It was sure to generate a media storm and capture the attention of the country — not to mention put a lock on his victory in the primaries.

The cab snaked its way through the tangle of the nation’s capital. Thrush took his guitar out and gave it another tuning. “You fixin’ to play some music pal?” the Arab driver queried.

“Yeah, I thought I might play a few chords later today.”

“Say, aren’t you that weatherman who is running for president?”

“Yes, yes, and I hope you’ll give me your vote when the time comes. This great country of ours needs the right leadership in these troubled times and I am ready to step in and take charge.”

“OK then.” The driver fell silent and his eyes darted left and right as he struggled with the traffic.

Thrush had cradled this old Gibson acoustic many times when he used to play folk gospel tunes for his church: The Magisterium of Almighty God and God’s Only Truth. Thrush remembered, I need to see Father Mon Sr. when I get back. The G String had drifted out of tune again and needed to be tightened up a bit. He strummed a couple chords and hummed, “. . . pleased to meet you . . .”

He was dropped off at the Senate Offices across the street from the Capitol. After being greeted by a senator’s assistant and checked in through security, he made his way over to the Senate chamber via the underground rail system. “What’s in the guitar case?” another humorless security guard questioned him.

“An acoustic guitar,” he replied.

The guitar resulted in some security concerns at the Capitol building, but after careful inspection and consideration of Thrush’s story about his intent to entertain the Judiciary Committee, the guards let him through. But first they had to poke around inside the wooden body with a long probe that had a small mirror at the end. Thrush thought, my last visit to the dentist . . . had those porcelain veneers put on. Love that short-circuit feeling when they drill too close to the nerve. He felt a charge just thinking about it.


Yurik had arranged all the necessary passes for him and he managed to get settled into the august hearing room. A row of camera-flash-popping minions groveled beneath the oppressive mahogany structure up front. The whole set-up was an ostentatious display of shameless power designed to make the subject of the hearings feel as if Zeus himself was gazing down at him from on high, as if to say “you are nothing, and don’t you forget it.” Thrush fantasized for a moment about addressing a joint session of Congress someday. That was power. Every member of Congress obliged to sit and listen while an agenda for the nation is delivered.

Senator Chappy Dick, the ultra-liberal Californian, was already settled in and licking his chops. He could barely wait to get on with the inquest and begin the process of carving Yurik up. Yurik eyeballed him unflinchingly though and thought, he’s nothing but a bloated anachronism.

A short while later, the meeting was underway and Senator Dick was leading the inquiry:

“. . . And tell us, Judge Skulleater, how would you rule on the question of whether or not the process of dripping water on someone’s forehead for days at a time constitutes torture? Does it not produce a deafening roar in their heads that is almost unbearable? Don’t they call it ‘Chinese Water Torture’ for a reason? Does our constitution make provisions for this sort of inhumane treatment?”

Dick felt he had Skulleater on the ropes with this one.

Yurik reflected thoughtfully and replied in a calm, steady voice:

“Senator, these techniques are used to extract valuable information from captured BESOT members. Information gained from these criminals has prevented further use of BWOMI.”

“What did you say?!” Dick gasped

“I said BWOMI, that is, biological weapons of mass infection.”

“Oh, yes, of course,” Dick responded.

Yurik continued:

“These people are hardened thugs who are prepared to risk exposure to Ebola themselves and generally revel in the spreading of the virus in such a way that they too become infected. They want to exit this world screaming and squirting blood from their asses. And you’re suggesting what? That a few drops of water on the noggins of these vermin is somehow violating their civil rights? Come on! What would you have us do? Invite them to a Tupperware party and hope they’ll spill some useful information over a croissant and some tea? And as for deafening roars, I’ve heard worse coming from the souped-up bass speakers found in some of those Harlem rapper convertibles. I drove by one the other day and thought, what in God’s name is that low rumble and where is it coming from? Hell, people actually pay extra for that breastbone bass.”

Thrush was elated with Yurik’s answer. He was stickin’ the hot poker right into the cyclopean eye of the Left Wing. Senator Dick’s body language showed he felt the sting. He was leaning way back in his red leather swivel rocker. But he’d been around the block a few times and wasn’t going to be easily thwarted.

Dick deftly shifted gears and launched into the widely anticipated abortion question. “What about your opinion on Roe v. Wade? Do you recognize and pledge to uphold the principle of stare decisis?”

Yurik was ready for him though. He turned to Thrush and winked, then said:

“Senator, it’s no surprise that you bring up this issue with me. You know I can’t give any ruling on this without first knowing the details of a case that might be brought before me. To do otherwise would represent a compromise of my judicial impartiality.”

But Dick pressed harder:

“It’s important for the committee to understand your underlying principles as relates to this question. How would you approach a case involving this issue and would you show the appropriate respect for precedent?”

Yurik again glanced back at Thrush and nodded, then he responded in a serious tone:

“Senator, if you’ll permit me, I’ll address your question in a little song I wrote with my good friend Thrush Lockjaw.”

“What . . . !?” Chappy Dick was agape.

With that Thrush started strumming the chords of a tune he wrote for the occasion, and Yurik, who had received voice lessons when he was younger, chimed in with his husky baritone voice:

Stare, stare decisis…

Tear the fetus out by the head

Wrench it from its uterine bed

With nary a care at all . . .

Headless flotsam flushed away

I guess it’s just another day

In the old unplanned parenthood suite . . .

Stare, stare decisis

But before he could get another word sung, pandemonium broke out. Cameras were flashing left and right. C-Span was focused in on Thrush’s finger-picking. Thrush and Yurik were both grinning from ear to ear. The Democrat Chairman pounded his gavel and chortled above the din:

“Order, ladies and gentlemen, order! I think the time for a vote has come.”

It pained Thrush to know that in all likelihood, right now in various sterile offices across the country, feet were up in stirrups and certain unfortunate fetuses were being vacuumed up or pulled at with a pair of forceps. All headed for the waste bin. The “right-to-choose” in action — based on the Liberals’ definition. Nothing more than a little oven cleaning for some, it seems.     *

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