(Green Room at Rock Center, NBC’s headquarters. A vice president, who is about sixty-nine and a thirty-year-old up-and-coming telegenic anchor are talking. The vice president’s face and body mass betray a life of dissoluteness. He has survived lung cancer and a heart attack. The anchor is clean shaven and fresh out of journalism school, who was moved up over women who have been with the network for years. The anchor is sipping a smoothie. The older man is knocking down some shots of Jack Daniels.)
Veep: So the motherfucker strolls in here about ten minutes before air time. We had to brush the blow off of his clothes and face. Been up all night. I’m tired of his shit.
Anchor: How does the boss put up with his ass? It’s bad enough for him to hire that Sharpton.What is that shit that Sharpton puts in his hair?
Veep: Who the fuck knows. A shakedown artist. But his ratings are high.
Anchor: It’s beginning to look like Botswana around here. (They laugh. A pause.) So you’re the guy who told Carole Simpson that she looked so good that you could fuck her right on the floor? Then you grabbed her ass and pulled her zipper down? You’re a legend.
Veep: Oh you read her book. How do you know it was me? She didn’t mention my name…
Anchor: I heard it up top. Did you call her a slut, too?
Veep: No that was…. We put the word out on that bitch. No publisher would publish her book. She had to self-publish and nobody read it, but maybe you.
Anchor: God you guys were rascals in the old days. Make John Hamm seem like a pussy. I heard that some top guy at the network wouldn’t hire a woman unless he made this (points to his crotch) happy.
Veep: Yep. (They laugh.) You read Bob Teague too? Another one of the brothers who went away mad. Things have changed around here since those times.
Anchor: One of these days these women libbers who do the weekend shows might start up a Truth and Reconciliation tribunal here at Rock. Try your asses.
Veep: They’d better not if they know what is good for them. They saw what we did to Ann Curry. And none of these feminist cunts around here came to her aid, either. Wouldn’t even talk to her in the hall.
Anchor: What a fucking cry baby. She had a nervous breakdown in public. (Mockingly) Said that the conditions around here were torture for women. She had a limo pick her up every morning and an unlimited supply of Starbucks. What’s the torture?
Veep: Bitch like that would have been a domestic in the old days, and the fucking president would be serving us coffee. Jim called his campaign to get rid of her “Operation Bambi,” after a friend told him that firing her would like firing Bambi. (They laugh.) She called us “old boys.” If it wasn’t for us old boys, these ungrateful wenches wouldn’t be getting paid or getting laid. She came in her one day in a yellow dress and the guys in the control room Photoshopped her next to “Big Bird,” along with the caption, “Who wore it best?”
Veep: The only one who might make some trouble is Mr. Rachel Maddow.
Anchor: I can’t understand why they kept her on after she criticized Comcast. They’re saying that the Texans were furious.
Veep: She’s getting her checks from Comcast, too. Another ungrateful ‘ho. They’re afraid that a bunch of LGBT’ers will come up here and clown the network if we fire her. (Pause) So what’s the lead today?
Anchor: Ray Rice.
Veep: I thought the boss was only assigning that story to the sisters. An assignment that they’re handling with gusto. (They laugh.)
Anchor: Naw. It’s trending #1.
Veep: Over Ukraine and ISOL?
Anchor: Chris did it last night.
Veep: Sucker acts as if he’s on speed half the time. Maybe he would suggest that the brothers could get instructions from Irish guys about how to treat women?
Anchor: Maybe The Westies could write a handbook with an introduction by Cardinal Dolan. Paid those priests twenty thousand dollars to go away and lied about it. (They laugh.)
Veep: Jansing wants him to be pope. (They laugh.)
Anchor: They gave the White House assignment to her over a man. Who is this dingbat sleeping with?
Veep: If I knew, I wouldn’t tell you. It was Russert who brought all of the Micks in. Joe did the story this morning. Said that the Ravens did the right thing by suspending Rice and the NFL didn’t.
Anchor: They ever find out what happened to that intern who was found dead in his office? How is Mr. Family Values’ divorce coming?
Veep: Don’t know. Anyway, somebody has got to get these black guys to change their attitudes about women. They’re high on testosterone 24/7. O.J., Ike Turner, and now Ray Rice, which reminds me. The people up in the Tower have invited us to enjoy Sunday’s game in their suite. Catered. Broads.
Anchor: Count me in.
(Head peeps through the door.)
Head: Five minutes!
(Anchor rises. Straightens his suit and tie. Checks his hair. Exits. Veep remains behind. Has another shot of Jack Daniels.)
© 2014 by Ishmael Reed