At the corner of Chimera and Mirage
Obama the Developer, he wants to build a health club. Something classy, that’s what he’s thinking, with all the latest equipment, and enough room so everyone in town can join. He’s still kind of vague on the details—what goes where and all that—but he’s sure about the basics.
Thing is, he can’t do it by himself. First he has to get the financing.
Grassley the Banker, he’s the go-to guy on the financing. That’s what everybody says, anyway—you want a build a health club in Bipartisan Acres, you need to see Grassley.
That’s the other thing: Obama the Developer has got his heart set on Bipartisan Acres. There’s plenty of other places available, his friends keep telling him. The old union hall downtown. The mill over on Partyline Road.
But he’s got his heart set on Bipartisan Acres. Which means he has to go through Grassley.
So one morning bright and early, there’s Obama the Developer on the other side of Grassley’s great big desk, and he’s spilling all his ideas for this health club right out onto the desk. Grassley the Banker, he’s nodding and smiling, nodding and smiling.
“That’s a great location, Bipartisan Acres,” Grassley the Banker is saying. “I’m sure we can work something out.”
Those are exactly the words Obama the Developer wants to hear. Working something out is what he’s famous for.
“When can we start?”
“Not so fast,” says Grassley the Banker.
Turns out Bipartisan Acres has a bunch of rules for building things, and the first rule is: Let’s talk about it.
That’s also the second rule.
So they start talking, and eventually Grassley the Banker makes it clear that this health club of Obama’s is way too expensive for Grassley’s taste. If Obama wants the financing, he has to cut things back. Obama the Developer, he says sure—it’s only details. So he agrees to get rid of the wood paneling. The thick carpets. Grassley the Banker, he’s nodding and smiling, nodding and smiling.
“That’s a lot better,” he says.
“So we can start?”
“Not so fast.”
Turns out being expensive isn’t Grassley the Banker’s only problem. He’s got problems with some of the equipment, too—turns out he knows a guy who knows a guy who sells a different brand. Every bit as good, says Grassley, and the guy could use the business. Obama the Developer, he says sure—it’s only details. Grassley the Banker, he’s nodding and smiling, nodding and smiling.
“I’ve got the perfect spot for you,” he says. “Smack in the middle of Bipartisan Acres—corner of Chimera and Mirage.”
“Sounds great!” says Obama.
“Knew you’d like it,” says Grassley.
“So we can start?”
“Not so fast.”
Turns out the fancy touches and the brand of equipment aren’t the only other problems Grassley the Banker’s got with Obama’s health club. He’s got problems with the entranceway. With the lighting. He’s even got problems with the water coolers.
“What if somebody puts cyanide in the water?” Grassley says. “People could die!”“Nobody’s going to put cyanide in the water!” Obama says.
“But they could!” Grassley says.
So the water coolers have to go. So do the lights, and the entranceway. By the time they’re finished, you couldn’t pick the plans out of a lineup, that’s how much they’ve changed. But it’s been worth all the compromising, that’s how Obama sees it, because now he’s got the go-ahead to build in Bipartisan Acres. Now he…
The stamp hits the desk so hard it makes Obama jump.
“REJECTED!” it says, in big red letters.
“But I thought…” says Obama.
“We couldn’t possibly,” says Grassley.
He’s still smiling.
Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.