Let's make a deal. They’re meeting in a back room at an undisclosed location. A cloud of cigar smoke hangs over the round table. Around it sit The Moll—boss of the San Francisco cartel, Turtle—Kentucky boss, New York City boss Magoo, Mojave Mac—boss of trees and sand somewhere, and their leader, The Don.
“All right,” says the Don. “Now that you’ve messed up the airports, we need to do somethin.”
“We’ve messed up airports?” replies The Moll. “What are you talkin’ about?”
“Those delays. Air traffic controllers stiffing their jobs.”
“Yeah. All because you’re so fanatical about that stupid wall,” replies The Moll.
“It’s not a stupid wall,” says The Don. “It’s the only way we’ll get border security.”
“We’ve heard that enough already,” says Magoo. “We need to move on.”
“Yeah,” Turtle chimes in. “What’re we goin’ to do?”
“How ‘bout three weeks?” says The Don.
“Three weeks of what?” asks Turtle.
“Of opening the government,” says The Don. “The government stays open for three weeks.”
“That’s it?” asks The Moll. “You’re throwing out three weeks. What do we get?”
“Opening the government,” says The Don.
“At the end of three weeks, the government shuts down again?” asks Mojave Mac.
“Who knows?” says The Don with a shrug. “We’ll see what happens.”
“I’ll say it again, what do we get out of this?” asks The Moll.
“You get three weeks of open government,” says The Don.
“You’re going to open the government, but what about the spending bills?” asks Magoo. “We’ve got debts to pay.”
“We’ll deal with that when the government’s open,” says The Don.
“Brilliant. The Don is brilliant,” says Turtle. “We make a deal on spending while we make a deal on the wall. Two birds with one rock.”
“Stone,” The Moll corrects.
“Stone,” Turtle mumbles.
“Which leaves us right where we are now,” Magoo says.
“But the government’s open,” says the Don.
“Yeah,” Magoo says, “But if nothin’ changes, in three weeks it closes again. Nothin’ gained.”
“By then you’ll come around,” The Don says.
“We’ll come around?” asks The Moll. “Who says we’ll come around?”
“I do. I’ll use the nuclear option,” says The Don.
“The nuclear option?” says Mojave Mac. “What’s that?”
“It’s Roger the Rock.”
“No, not Roger the Rock,” goes up with a gasp from the others.
“Our dogs?” asks Magoo.
“Your dogs,” replies The Don.
“Clipped?” asks The Moll.
“Clipped,” says The Don.
“You mean our dogs get a haircut?” asks Turtle.
“Clipped, whacked,” replies The Don.
“I don’t get it,” says Turtle.
“He means eliminated, Dumbo,” says The Moll. “That’s what Roger the Rock does. Same as he does to emails and texts.”

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