[It’s the middle of the night—the usual time. A bedside phone rings in a rustic motel in a small town in Kentucky. Hillary Clinton answers.]
Genie: Is this Hillary Clinton?
HC: Yes…yes, I am.
Genie: I’m with Genie Local 9, a hard-working, white, American local of the Genie National Brotherhood. Getting involved in politics is against our rules. But every rule has an exception. We have been moved by your pleas to the Democratic Party Establishment to allow the voices of the good citizens of Michigan and Florida to be heard. We will grant your wish. The Florida and Michigan delegations will be seated based on the results of the outlawed primary elections.
HC: Wow, that’s just great! [Laughs, perhaps giggles.] Bill will be so tickled. He’s had a rough couple of weeks.
Genie: [In a deep, distant voice.] However, I must warn you, there is a catch. There is a limit to genie power. We cannot change the past. Your pledges and commitments to the DNC to discount the primaries in Michigan and Florida will stand. So when you are elected president, your name will carry the Barry Bond Asterisk. Every almanac and encyclopedia in the Land will mention that in order to receive these delegates, you went back on your word and misled the DNC, the other candidates, and the American people.
HC: Politicians do this stuff all of the time. Bill was just telling me the other day about his…..
Genie: Wait, there is more. My brothers and I can see into the future. Since you will be the first woman president, young girls and women–who will look to you as a role model–will know that you are The Asterisk President. They will know that you became president by, uh, cheating. And little girls all over the land will follow your lead. They will start by handing in schoolwork that is not their own.
HC: But they will know that I am a fighter, and fighters use what they can to win. So I say, yes, yes, I can do this.
Genie: OK. I will stay on the line. You don’t have to say “yes” again. I will count to ten. If you say nothing, I will take it that this is your wish.
[The sound of silence, and then, ever so softly, Hail to the Chief fades in.]