I thought this story was one of my better efforts, but the voters in Writers Hangout did not agree. It didn’t even make the top five (out of about a dozen entries). Guess members of the Tea Party objected to my implication that they might not be playing with a full deck. The assigned theme was “BUTTON(S)” So I wrote about the red pushbutton on the black box carried by the US President.
In 2017, the US had a newly elected President— a Tea Party President. Rick Walker had been Governor of one of the Red states. To achieve smaller government (except for defense spending) he wanted to eliminate six segments of the Federal Government, including Environmental Protection. Most of the country set record temperature lows on Election Day 2016. In the minds of voters, that supported his argument that “Global warming is bullshit.”
Walker’s biggest problem was alcoholism. That had been rumored during the election campaign, but the GOP leadership had managed to keep it concealed until after the election. They then built a sober Cabinet to control Walker. They brought back Condoleezza Rice to head the State Department, and they gave Walker a short list of candidates from which to choose a Defense Secretary. Walker selected Henry Goddard–not a career politician, but a vice president of Boeing.
Though the US and Russia had sealed disarmament agreements, the POTUS still carried a black box with a red pushbutton that could authorize a missile launch. Because of Walker’s alcoholism, the Defense Department redesigned the black box so that it now included an alcohol detector. Henry Goddard and a couple of technicians brought the new box to the White House so that it could be installed and tested.
Walker didn’t like it.
“What’s that stuff on top?” he asked.
“That’s a set of new biometric sensors for improved security.”
“Why the mouthpiece?”
“You blow into it to be tested for alcohol—like a Breathalyzer test for an automobile driver.”
“I don’t want that. It will make people think I’m an alcoholic.”
“Nobody will know you’re taking the test unless you tell them. We’ll just send out a press release saying we’ve upgraded the security in several ways, but the details are classified”
A couple of months later, an international crisis erupted. Iran had developed an atomic weapon. Israel’s Netanyahu said if the US did not immediately destroy the Iranian weapons plant, Israel would go it alone. Russia’s Putin said that both Iran and Israel must leave the Middle East nuclear free. If Israel attacked Iran, then Russia might have to attack Israel.
Unexpected activity in Russia’s Siberian missile launch sites triggered a conference in the White House Situation Room. Attendees included Rice and Goddard, but not Walker. He was partying after a country music concert in the East Ballroom. The Siberian activity was puzzling. If the Russians were attacking Israel, they would use one of their Western missile sites. Rice called Vladimir Putin, and told the office manager to get Walker sobered up.
“Mr. Putin, this is Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State. We have reason to believe you may be readying a missile attack on the US. “
“Where’s Walker? I don’t negotiate with female functionaries.“
“Our President had earlier commitments but he will be here in a few minutes. Meanwhile, perhaps you’d like to discuss your military posture with our Defense Secretary, Henry Goddard.”
“We are not readying an attack against the US. Apparently, your military intelligence is just as pathetic as it was when I headed the KGB. “
Goddard quickly put Putin on hold. “The Russians just launched their missiles while the lying SOB was talking to us. The only puzzling part is that they’re headed South instead of East. Where is Walker? We urgently need to respond.”
“Sorry, they still haven’t been able to get him sobered up.”
“Cancel everything,” shouted Goddard. “We just got a clearer satellite picture. The activity we saw was the migration of a flock of large birds. The flashing lights were the Aurora Borealis.”
Goddard slumped forward with his head on the table. “Thank God for our drunk POTUS. We almost triggered World War III.”