Governor, it’s official. Recall. They’ve got enough signatures to put you on the ballot.
Those morons! What do they think they’re doing?
Trying to rip you out of office and set you loose on the street like a mutt. It’s time you took it seriously. You’ve been trying to float above it all.
I’m the goddamn governor!
Can’t you say something positive?
You turned California into a shithole. What did you expect would happen?
Shithole? How dare you—
Look, Gavin, I’m your FORMER advisor. I just put in my letter of resignation. I’ve had enough. But I wanted to talk to you before I left, so I could give it to you straight. Without fear of repercussions. I’m gone. I’m a ghost. But there are a few things you should know.
You’re resigning? Wait a minute. I need you. You can’t just—
It’s done. Too late. I’ve been warning you I was on the edge. But you didn’t listen. Besides, your problems are a lot bigger than me leaving.
They’ll never recall me.
Why not? People are packing up and scurrying out of California in droves. The tax base is shrinking. The state budget? The last time I looked, we’ve got unfunded liabilities verging on half a trillion dollars. The cities are rotting. Homeless camps everywhere. And you want to pay for more immigrants? Come on, Gavin. You’re cratering.
The feds will bail us out.
For how long? The stunt you pulled at the restaurant without a mask—people don’t forget that. They were locked down, and you were happy as a clam. I know you want people to see your teeth and your smile…but come on. Your presidential fantasy is over. You’re not going to become the next JFK. Nobody is.
I’m going to fight. I’m too young to retire.
How are you going to fight? By telling people there’s a new deadly strain of the virus and the economy has to shut down? Florida and Texas are booming. Don’t you get it? The states are in competition with each other. We’re losing. I was watching a baseball game in Texas the other night. They had 38,000 people in the stands. What have we got? A college track meet with two transgender groups of 12 people holding signs and cheering.
We’ve got principles.
Don’t kid a kidder, Gavin. You care about you.
You’re enjoying this, aren’t you? I guess you were a traitor all along.
I was a political opportunist. Just like you. But I saw the end of the road. As now we’re there. Our limo is dead-ending in a pile of shit.
You’re a quitter. Things get a little tough, you bail.
You fell for the COVID scam like you were Fauci’s brother. Lock everything down. Play the prophet of doom. I told you over and over it was a bad idea.
I had my marching orders.
California and New York were supposed to execute a squeeze play. Move in from the edges and put the whole country in a trance. And it worked.
For a while. But now we’re getting the blowback. Even if you win against the recall, you’re a lame duck governor. Everybody knows it.
You’re looking short-term. I hold markers. People owe me for my COVID work. I can go to Washington. Rehabilitate my career. Get an appointment as an ambassador. Work my way up to Secretary of State. Then Vice-President. After that…
There’s a thing called destiny.
Wow. Really. How does that work? God has a plan for you?
The Universe knows where I fit. The Universe is City Hall. You can’t fight it.
This idea comes from where? A weekend seminar in Big Sur?
People with insight.
I don’t know who those people are, but your future isn’t in California. If you’re talking about Mark Zuckerberg, and the time you two had tea and biscuits together, forget it. If you think you’re an operator, Zuck has you beat six ways from Sunday. He uses people like paper plates, and dumps them in the garbage.
Bill Gates and I have an understanding.
He understands that he’s Stalin and you’re a little officer in the KGB.
I locked down California! That’s what they wanted, and that’s what I gave them.
For that, you get a pension and a free pass to Disneyland. More governors are figuring out the COVID test scam. The numbers are cooked. A guy with no symptoms whatsoever and a false-positive result is suddenly a “pandemic case.” It’s complete fiction.
We’ll go with the mutant strains. That’ll scare everybody.
You’re behind the times, Gavin. Day by day, Fauci is earning his stripes as a laughingstock. The man can’t keep his story straight.
He told me I was a warrior in the cause!
Coming from a buffoon, that’s not exactly an endorsement you can take to the voters. You’re living in March 2020. The friggin’ NFL is going to play their games in full stadiums this year.
Not if I can help it.
If you shut out the Rams, Chargers, and Niners fans, you think they’re going to repay you with love? You squeezed their balls. Now they’re going to squeeze yours.
You don’t understand. You’re lost in the details. This is the big picture I’m looking at. The New Normal, the Great Reset. That’s where the action is. Brave New World.
Maybe you’re right, Gavin. But along the way, the heavy hitters have to throw a few bones to the crowd. And you’re a bone. Your political death will satisfy the crazed mobs for a little while. Don’t you see it? You’ve been set up to take the fall. You and Cuomo. Crunch, crunch. The wild dogs are having you for lunch.
I know too much. The show runners can’t just thrust me aside. I know some of their secrets.
Stop right there. That kind of talk’ll get you discovered by the cops, face-down in a Malibu tidepool. Keep your college-boy mouth shut, Gavin.
I was just venting. Didn’t mean it.
I want to go on the record and say I have no secrets. I know no secrets. I know nothing about purported case-number scams or unnecessary lockdowns or vaccine deaths. It’s all conspiracy crap. Are we being recorded?
You never know. But don’t worry. I would never try to lay blame on you. Even though you’re bailing on me in my darkest hour, I stay loyal. Of course, you could reconsider…
Listen, Governor. I have a little black book on you. Dates and places and other restaurants where you sat around with your pals and nobody was wearing a mask. And that $30 billion in Pandemic Unemployment Benefits? The missing $30 billion that went to criminals gangs in foreign countries, because you couldn’t figure out how the hell to distribute it? That scandal could resurface again. I have some interesting reports I could share with the Times.
You do that and I’ll bury your precious ass. The divorce, the custody battle, the hookers. You’ll be lucky if you can get a gig picking up garbage on freeway exits.
Really. Suppose the good citizens of California knew that, at most, seven percent of so-called COVID cases in the state were real cases? How would that play, especially when people learned you’d been briefed on it by those epidemiologists at Stanford? Don’t try to screw with me.
Those guys are crazy. No dice.
The Lancet doesn’t think so. Neither does the New England Journal. It’s all about how the publicity hits the media. Remember, Mr. Good Teeth, that’s my job. Doing PR for you. I know how to rev up media. And that high-speed rail project you shut down? The construction union has 450,000 members. Maybe I should revisit the story and breathe life back into it. You know, the human interest angle. The rail worker who lost his job. His family fell apart. When COVID hit, he was locked down. He started drinking, finally committed suicide. Had no life insurance. His wife and her two kids are living on the street.
Calm down. Take a breath. We’ve been friends for a long time. I’m not going to torpedo you, you’re not going to launch a missile at me. This is ridiculous.
Of course it is. We’re not two scumbags threatening each other. We’re brothers-in-arms. Hi-Ho California. It’s still the land of golden dreams.
Okay, we have a problem. My political future is on the line. At least it looks that way on the surface.
The deeper you drill, the worse it gets, Governor.
Whatever. The point is, we’re in this together.
We’re in a Mexican standoff.
Please. Try to look at the positive side. I want you with me. I don’t want you to leave.
Then you have to open up the California economy. Faster. Before it sinks into the Pacific.
There are too many eyeballs watching me. Important eyeballs. They want economic destruction. How are we going to get around that?
You sold out to them, Gavin. It’s not on me.
The FUTURE is what’s important. A new world. To get there, we have to destroy the old one.
That’s somebody else’s idea, not yours. Face it, you’re short on ideas. You always have been. Your specialty is generalities. You’re basically playing the role of a Yuppie, in a time when all the Yuppies are gone.
Drop the jokes. Do you have a strategy for getting us out of this trap?
I have lots of strategies. First thing, we’ll set you up for a meeting in Washington with Susan Rice. She’s pulling a lot of the day-to-day strings on Biden. He’s lucky if he can’t get from the bed to the bathroom without radar.
What will I tell her?
You’ll spell out the untenable situation in California. You’ll ask for her advice. We want to see what she’s got. Don’t just listen to her words. Listen to the tune she’s singing. Does she think you’re still useful, or does she intend to throw you to the wolves? We’ll go from there. Tell her you have a plan for bringing major corporations to California, but they’ll need serious federal money, loopholes, write-offs, tax breaks. Make the plan sound real. Say you can send her the details.
Makes sense. Good.
And start listening to me, Gavin. I’m not just throwing crap at the wall. You’re in the political fight of your life. This is not going to be easy. We’ll have to invoke some serious partnerships to work our way out of the hole.
We need money. Lots of money. To inject every which way into the state economy. It’s our only hope. And we’ll have to hide most of it, so no one knows where it’s coming from.
Wait a minute. You’re talking about…?
What’s the biggest state industry that’s off the books?
That’s right. Shit. Drugs. My cousin’s bank can put together the meetings for us.
Two cartels. They handle most of the freight.
So you’ve been a busy boy.
I’ve been looking out for you, Governor. It’s all about you.
Sure it is. How much have you personally been raking in—
No time for that now. We need to structure and formalize our arrangement with the cartels. And when we sit down with these people, you’ll have to drop your college-boy persona. No smiles. No teeth. No hail-fellow-well-met.
I can get tough, don’t worry.
Yeah, you can try to impersonate a corrupt cop on Blue Bloods. Forget that. Just think of it as business. You’re a dry businessman. It’s all about numbers and details. Are you with me?
Are you with me?
We’re stuck with each other, Gavin. So let’s go to work.
I knew I could count on you to help preserve my career.
Climb down off your high horse. Stop trying to hustle me. I’m not some liberal putz from San Francisco.