Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Dialogue between presidents in the White House of the "underworld"

For class I was studying some early presidents, because I was supposed to write a dialogue between them. I asked my teacher whether I could have some presidents talk with presidents who would have been dead in their time. She said sure. I got the idea to make them ghosts in the underworld.


The White House was never the quietest place in the underworld, but tonight the noise was absolutely alarming. It made sense--all the dead presidents' ghosts, ghosts of staff, and ghosts of family crammed into a single building were bound to make noise. In the kitchen, where at least some of the cooks knew him, Andrew Jackson tried to get to sleep.

"Poll wants to fly! Poll wants to leave!" Jackson's parrot, Poll, squawked.

"Shut it, you scumfaced, traitorous, most--oh, thought you, someone, Poll," Jackson mumbled sleepily, groping for his pillow. "Who stole my pillow?"

"Poll wants to leave!" was Poll's only answer.

"Fine, sirrah! Get away with you, and say no more about my wife!" Jackson bellowed, apparently in the middle of a dream. Poll took this as permission to leave, and, squawking, flew off into the night.

"Well, my dear Abigail, to tell you truly, that Jackson character is getting on my nerves," John Adams sighed. Abigail Adams looked at him sympathetically. They had chosen to stay in the Oval Office for the night.

"Has he gotten into another duel?" Abigail asked. She was friends with Edith Roosevelt and Harriet Lane, who told her all about such matters.

"Yes, my darling. He infuriates me--through truly I'd never say this in public--with his wife. You know what they say--she never properly divorced from that fellow of hers she had before, and Jackson has no thought of honor."

"Yes, I know, John. Helen Taft told me--" Abigail began.

"Helen Taft? That jelly-bellied elephant of a man, Taft, is her husband. He--Taft, that is--got stuck in a bathtub when Cerberus was lurking around."

A squawk came from the windowsill.

"Och! What's that?" Adams asked, and pulled the curtains aside. But there was nothing there but one half of a parrot feather.

"Poll hear Adams," Poll squawked. "Poll hear Adams," she repeated, and nudged Jackson awake.

"God, by the battle of New Orelans I swear there never were--was--is--are--darn durn it, a nastier parrot!" Jackson shouted. "Now, whatcha got? You said Adams? What did he say, huh?"

Poll told Jackson exactly what she had heard Adams say, word for word.

"The scoundrel gossiped about Rachel, huh?" Jackson snarled, waving his pistol about. "And Taft too, hmm. Well, I don't want to break another rib in a duel. Let's see if we can drum up any support."

At dawn Taft turned on his underworld-controlled T.V. and put the channel on Onion News Network. He had only watched for two minutes when William Seward came bursting in, shouting "Murder!" and dragging Jackson along by the ear.

"What in the..." Taft muttered, hefting his huge and heavy body off of his rocking chair, which immediately collapsed.

"I didn't mean to draw my pistol, Seward! Why don't you just go off to your icebox where you belong!" Jackson roared. Seward slunk off.

"I apologize," Jackson said curtly. "I thought that Adams would be in the Executive Suite tonight."

"Nope, he switched to the Oval Office tonight," Taft said, chewing on a petrified stick of butter. All things in the underworld were petrified. "I'm Taft, by the way. I don't think we've met."

"Oh! Taft indeed, very good to meet you!" Jackson said, shaking Taft's hand vigorously.

Eight minutes later, Jackson had filled Taft in on all the infuriating things that Adams had said about Taft and Jackson's wife.

"He called me a WHAT!" and "I'd smash that hypocritical liar's face in!" were all phrases Taft used upon hearing Jackson's (much-exaggerated) tale of what Adams had said.

"Indeed, indeed," Jackson said, trying his best to sound like a gentleman.

"Well, then, Jackson, there's no way around it. We must rally our staff and confront the scoundrel Adams," Taft said, once he had cooled down.

"That sounds quite fine," Jackson said, smiling. Hist staff were fairly good at fighting.

In three hours twenty-five minutes, Jackson had rallied his kitchen staff, his wife, and Martin van Buren around him. There they joined with some sympathetic presidents and First Ladies, as well as with Taft's staff, and marched off to confront Adams in the Oval Office.

"I think that the Aeneid is not quite as good as Common Sense myself," Abigail Adams remarked over her husband's shoulder.

"Not quite as good? Now, Abby, one must be careful with the word "good," for--" John Adams said patronizingly, only to be interrupted by a loud pounding on the door.

"OPEN UP, ADAMS!" came a booming of joined voices. There were some whispers from behind the door.

"It's only me, Helen Taft," said Helen Taft, giggling to the assembled crowd behind her. "Please open up, Abigail, for your dear friend." Abigail, upon hearing this familiar voice, opened up without hesitation, then froze with fear. Jackson, Taft, and their assembled cudgel, lamp, and rope-wielding staff, burst into the Oval Office.

"GET ADAMS!" Jackson roared. Without hesitation, they surged toward Adams and grabbed him by the arms.

"Throw him in the Potomac!" one of Jackson's chefs jeered. "He likes to go skinny-dipping there."

"No I don't, you ungentlemanly monster!" Adams protested, trying to fight his captors. "That's my son, John Quincy--" But Adams got no further, for they had already trooped out of the White House and he determined it best to keep his mouth shut.

Sure enough, when they reached the shores of the Potomac, John Quincy Adams was already in the water without his clothes. He stopped, pale, when he saw the approaching crowd, and grew even paler when he saw that they were holding his father. But he had no time to do anything but watch hopelessly as the crowd shoved an indignant John Adams into the water. John Adams shouted at them as he grew wetter and wetter, until everyone tired of honor and revenge and began to race back to the White House.

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