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The Lighter Side Last Updated: Jan 4th, 2007 - 01:08:31

"With the benefit of hindsight, many in the Democratic Corporation now question the timing of the acquisition . . ."
By Kerry Tomasi
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jun 15, 2006, 00:41

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The passengers seated in Coach were becoming increasingly and understandably anxious.

It had been nearly eight years since the Republican Corporation had acquired Administrative Airways in a hostile takeover, and the airline's only plane, "The Economy," was showing signs of RC's trademark 'leaner but meaner' strategy.

The seats were soiled and worn, with many of the safety belts malfunctioning or missing; flight attendants had been eliminated; and the single bathroom was out of order and overflowing. Even the magazines passengers once tediously perused had been replaced with Gideon Bibles.

First Class, on the other hand, was a different story. All the seats had been redesigned to be nothing less than luxurious, each with its own personal attendant and private lavatory. In fact the entire First Class section had been encapsulated into its own separate 'pod,' capable of being ejected, and safely gliding and parachuting to the ground in case of an emergency.

Questioned as to why so much money -- in fact, all the money the once profitable airline had ever made, and a massive amount recently borrowed -- had gone to a tiny fraction of the plane's seating capacity, RC's spokesperson Grover Norquist responded:

"By putting all of our investment in First Class, we feel that the money those dozen or so First Class passengers spend on cocktails and such will eventually trickle down to the bottom line and enable us to one day, theoretically anyway, upgrade the entire plane to First Class standards. And, in the interim, I believe we are providing a valuable incentive to those flying Coach to work even harder, so that they too might one day be able to fly first class! In theory anyway."

But it wasn't the seats, the bathroom, or the lack of flight attendants that had the Coach passengers worried this November day.

In addition to diverting all monetary investment from Coach to First Class, RC had also eliminated all inspections and mechanical maintenance on "The Economy", and six years of flying practically nonstop without so much as kicking the tires was beginning to take its toll.

The oil pressure light had been flashing for so long the pilots hardly noticed it anymore, hydraulic fluid was leaking everywhere, electrical wires were brittle and frayed, and the landing gear was completely shot. In addition, at this particular moment, the fuel gauge was reading dangerously low and they were 500 miles from the nearest airport.

On the ground, heated negotiations that had been taking place for months were coming to a head. Representatives of the Democratic Corporation, who for years had been 'subtly hinting' at an impending catastrophe resulting from the RC's 'leaner but meaner' strategy, were pulling out all stops to gain control of the airline and its single plane once again.

"We'll never relinquish control!," snarled RC's Chief Operations Officer Dick Cheney. "You're just trying to paint a negative picture in order to deceive the stockholders into selling. The airline is doing just fine. In fact, it's in far better shape than it's ever been! Want proof? Just check out this recent poll taken in First Class. Those passengers are thrilled with what RC has done with "The Economy"! Their only concern is with the prospect of you guys regaining control. They're certain, as are we, that DC management would drive this airline straight into the ground. In fact, we guarantee that's what would happen. So we owe it to the public to never sell, no matter what kind of pressure you exert."

"Yeah, never!" echoed George W. Bush, RC's CEO. "Bring it on!"

Just then, Chief Financial Officer Karl Rove leans in and whispers something in Bush's ear. He inexplicably stares blankly into space for a few minutes, then confers with Cheney.

"By the way . . . not that we're ever going to sell or anything, because of course that would be disastrous for the airline, but . . . what kind of offer did you have in mind?" Cheney asks in a muted tone. "We're just kind of curious."

A short time later the announcement is made.

"We at the Democratic Corporation are thrilled to announce that after strenuous negotiations, and a substantial financial investment, we have once again taken charge of Administrative Airways! In fact, one of our pilots just happens to be on board "The Economy" right now, and will take control of the plane, effective immediately!"

(As the DC pilot enters the cockpit, the 'out of fuel' alarm begins to blare, and one of the two engines sputters and shuts down.)

"Please join us, and our stockholders, in celebrating this monumental acquisition! Yes, tonight we are once again flying high, and the future of the Democratic Corporation looks good indeed!"

Shortly thereafter - despite a prepared statement of extreme disappointment, along with another parting shot warning of Democratic control of the airline, Cheney, Bush, and Norquist were observed dining at a luxury restaurant in a state of what could only be described as gleeful.

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