AIDE #1: Mr. President, the sky chiefs are here to see you.

OBAMA: I'm sorry?

AIDE #1: The sky chiefs? The people who rule the sky?

AIDE #2: The sky chiefs.

AIDE #1: They're here to see you, Mr. President.

OBAMA: Oh. Well, uh, send them in.

AIDE #2: Yes sir.

(The aides depart)

OBAMA: (shuffling papers) Sky chiefs...

(Three sky chiefs enter the oval office, followed by their attendants)

RO PFALTROM: So you're the president?

OBAMA: Uh, yes. Yes I am.

RO PFALTROM: And you rule the ground?

OBAMA: That's right, yes.

RO URTRUS: Okay, good. We're the sky chiefs.

RO PFALTROM: We rule the sky.

OBAMA: I was briefed on that, yes.

RO PFALTROM: Okay, well we have some demands.

OBAMA: I'm sorry?


OBAMA: What do you mean, demands?

RO URTRUS: It's like this. We control the sky, right?

OBAMA: Uh-huh...

RO URTRUS: So we have some demands.

OBAMA: ...Okay. What, uh, are these demands, exactly?

RO MUP: (stepping forward) I will read the official demands of the sky chiefs. (He unfurls a scroll.) Demand one. The sky chiefs wish to have their territory represented on Google Maps. Demand two. The United States must recognize–

OBAMA: I'm sorry, can I just stop you there for a second?

(Ro Mup stares down at his scroll in confusion)

OBAMA: When you say Google Maps...

RO PFALTROM: The website Google Maps, yes. It's only got the ground on it right now. We want it to show the sky.

RO URTRUS: And also to indicate that the sky belongs to us.

OBAMA: Uh-huh. Well the thing is, Google is an independent corporation.

(Ro Mup furrows his brow)

OBAMA: I mean, they don't have to show anything on their maps if they don't want to. I don't control them.

RO URTRUS: But... but they're on the ground, right? Don't you control the ground?

OBAMA: Well, I mean, yes, technically, sure. But–

RO PFALTROM: You said you were the president. Just a few minutes ago, you said it. Now you're not the president any more?

OBAMA: No, it's just–

RO URTRUS: You led us to believe that you were in control of the ground, but apparently you were lying.

OBAMA: Hey now–

RO MUP: (throwing down scroll) Enough talk! It is time for these negotiations to fall through!


RO URTRUS: I am also agreed.

(The sky chiefs file out of the room, mumbling angrily in sky language)

* * *

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Pundit #1, your thoughts?

PUNDIT #1: Oh, it's ridiculous what this administration is doing. It's absurd. The fact is, these sky chiefs are evil and the president is negotiating with them unconditionally.

PUNDIT #2: Oh please.

PUNDIT #1: They're evil. They are. They are evil beings of unspeakable power. I mean, they made the sky disappear over Belarus. It's gone. It's a black void. There's nothing left.

PUNDIT #2: So what? Now all of a sudden we're supposed to be concerned for Belarus? President Bush couldn't even locate Belarus on a map.

PUNDIT #1: It is irresponsible for the current administration to legitimize these sky chiefs when they are engaged in sky terror on a global scale. These guys are the sky Al-Qaeda and President Obama is practically inviting them over for the Fourth of July Barbecue. I mean it's just ridiculous.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: What about that, Pundit #2?

PUNDIT #2: Well it's completely dishonest. You know as well as I do that the Fourth of July Barbecue is not for another week. This is just another right wing anti-sky chief talking point. It's shameful.

* * *

OBAMA: (on the phone) I understand, Sergey, but listen. These sky chiefs, they just won't let up, you know? ... Uh-huh. ... Well, I don't know, maybe put another layer on the map or something? ... No. ... No, I don't know how you'd code it. How am I supposed to know how you'd code it?

(The sky chiefs re-enter the oval office)

OBAMA: (on the phone) Look, I'll call you back. ... Yeah, you too. (He hangs up)

RO URTRUS: Mr. President, we have come to apologize about negotiations yesterday.

OBAMA: Oh, hey, it's fine. Don't worry about it.

RO URTRUS: No, it's not fine. Our demands were unreasonable and we appologize.

OBAMA: Seriously, it's no big deal.

RO PFALTROM: No. We are incredibly contrite. We absolutely must make amends.

OBAMA: Hey, if you want to make it up to me then let's just sit down and work out these negotiations, alright?

RO URTRUS: No, that won't be neccesary. We've built you a new White House.

OBAMA: How's that?

RO PFALTROM: We had to work around the clock to get it to you so fast, but it's done.

RO URTRUS: It's an airship.

RO PFALTROM: It's tethered on the lawn right now. You should go look at it.

OBAMA: An airship.

RO URTRUS: A magnificently appointed airship, yes.

RO PFALTROM: Only the best for the ruler of the ground.

OBAMA: Okay, but why an airship?

RO URTRUS: Why not?

RO PFALTROM: You don't have a problem with airships, do you?

OBAMA: Well it's just... I mean, I already have a White House. This one. I can't just move everything onto an airship.

RO MUP: (frowning) You don't like it?

OBAMA: No, no, it's just–

RO URTRUS: You don't like it!

OBAMA: Hey now, I didn't say that.

(The sky outside begins to darken.)

RO PFALTROM: We thought we would make everything okay by building you an airship.

RO MUP: We wanted to make you feel better!

OBAMA: Now just wait a minute here.

RO URTRUS: Do you have any idea how difficult it is to build an airship on such short notice?

RO PFALTROM: I know people who would kill for an airship this nice! Kill!

OBAMA: Hey, hold on. You're overreacting here. I never said I didn't like the airship. I love the airship. It's great. It's a great White House. The best White House this country has had in years.

RO PFALTROM: You're lying. You're lying to appease us.

OBAMA: No, no, I mean it. Honestly.

RO URTRUS: Prove it!

OBAMA: How about I use it as a retreat? You know? Like a summer home or a cottage or something?


(The sky darkens to the colour of charcoal. Lightning strikes the Treasury Building.)

OBAMA: Okay, okay. Just calm down. I love the new White House. I'm going to move in right away. Okay? I'm going to move right in.

* * *

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Pundit #1, your thoughts?

PUNDIT #1: Oh, it's ridiculous what this administration is doing. The White House is a national treasure, and Obama is abandoning it to live in an airship like some kind of sky chief! It's absurd.

PUNDIT #2: Look, the fact is, the President needs to take decisive action to deal with this whole "sky disappearing" threat. That's it. Frankly, I commend his bravery.

PUNDIT #1: What bravery? He is bowing to the demands of sky terrorists. He is undermining our way of life and betraying the principles upon which this country was founded.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: What about that, Pundit #2?

PUNDIT #2: Look, the founding fathers never said anything about living in an airship one way or another. One of the things that makes this country great is the freedom to choose whether or not we want to live in an airship. And as far as I'm concerned, anyone who says otherwise is just spewing right wing anti-airship talking points.

* * *

(The White House lawn. The sky is pitch black. Barack Obama is leading his family to the airship. Behind him, aides and staffers move furniture, documents, and computers out of the West Wing. Lightning strikes the ground every few seconds. Giant hailstones fall from the sky. News helicopters circle above, struggling to fly through the turbulence.)

MALIA: Where are we going? I'm tired. My feet are cold!

OBAMA: It's okay honey. We're just moving up into the airship, that's all. It's going to be our new home for a while.

MALIA: But I don't want to live in an airship!

OBAMA: Come on, sweetie. Just do it for daddy, alright? We can talk about it once we're inside.

MALIA: No! I don't want to!

RO PHALTROM: Obama, silence your child.

OBAMA: Hey, she's just a kid, you know? She doesn't know what she's saying.

MALIA: It's not fair! Airships are stupid!

RO URTRUS: Control the child, Obama! Prove yourself to us!

OBAMA: I– I can't. That's not how it works!


(The three sky chiefs join hands and begin to emit high-pitched wails. The wind picks up. Twisters touch down in Maryland.)


MALIA: Daddy, make everyone stop being stupid!

OBAMA: You can't just come down here and tell us what to do! You don't understand how things work!

(The sky chiefs chant louder.)

OBAMA: Don't take the sky, damn it! Take me instead! You hear me, sky chiefs? Take me! Ta

(The chanting abruptly stops. All of a sudden, the skies are completely clear and the wind is still. Obama and the airship are both gone.)

RO PFALTROM: (adressing the crowd) As your president has asked, so have we done!

(The three sky chiefs begin to ascend into the sky)

RO URTRUS: Let this be a lesson to all of the inhabitants of the ground!

RO MUP: And to Google!

RO URTRUS: Yes! Let this also be a lesson to the shareholders of Google specifically!

* * *

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Pundit #1, your thoughts?

PUNDIT #1: Oh, it's ridiculous what this administration is doing. The fact of the matter is, Barack Obama sacrificed his own life to save the entire country. It's absurd.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: What about that, Pundit #2?

PUNDIT #2: Well let me just say in the President's defense that he may not be dead. He might very well have been transported to another dimension or time period. He might even be captive in the sky. We really have no way of knowing.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Fascinating stuff but I'm afraid we're out of time. Thank you both for being on the show tonight.

PUNDIT #1: No problem.

PUNDIT #2: Always a pleasure.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Coming up next on MSNBC, a musician died. We'll be bringing you round the clock coverage.

Brendan Patrick Hennessy, 26 June 2009