Rashomoines

The 2016 Iowa Caucuses Presented as a Masterpiece of Japanese Cinema (With a Disco Soundtrack)

What Happens: It’s boy’s night out at the billiards hall. Ted and Marco vs Hillary and Bernie. All agree to a best three out of five games. Game 1: Bernie sinks the 8-ball way ahead of schedule, so it’s 1-0 for Ted and Marco. Game 2: Ted sinks the 8-ball on schedule, but in the wrong pocket, score’s tied at one all. Game 3: Hillary and Bernie mop the floor with Ted and Marco, 2-1 for Hillary and Bernie. Game 4: Remarkably similar to Game 3; Bernie and Hillary win! Later, in a bitter fit of poor sportsmanship, Ted tells lies about the final results at the bar because he has no integrity whatsoever. Marco grieves for the soul of his team-mate, and cries quietly in his beer.

What Really Happens: Hillary and Bernie sit waiting for Ted to show up. All of a sudden, “Stayin’ Alive” by The Bee Gees starts blasting from the jukebox. Ted walks in just as the line “Well you can tell from the way I use my walk, I’m a woman’s man, no time to talk” comes on. He walks over, says: “Flip the coin. Heads.” The coin is flipped. Heads lands face up. Bernie racks the balls. Ted chalks, blows the extra off and winks at Hillary. Knocks the 8-ball in off the break. “Rack ’em.” Bernie, now noticeably nervous, puts the quarters in and racks them again. The first chorus of “Stayin’ Alive” is playing by this time. Ted twirls his cue and knocks the 8-ball in off the break again. “One more time.” Bernie is too frightened, so Hillary racks the final set of balls. “Thanks sugar,” Ted exclaims as he releases the final cue ball and sinks the 8-ball off the last break. “And now, there’s only one thing left to do. Strut.” Ted walks the sexiest walk ever, even sexier than John Travolta’s, and turns back one more time to wink at Hillary again. By the time the last “Stayin’ Alive” chorus is sung, Ted is out the door. Marco grieves for the soul of his team-mate, and cries quietly in his beer.

What Actually Happens: Ted is rolled in by a crew of twenty handlers several hours before the match begins. By the time Marco shows up, Ted is loudly sobbing at the bar. “I can’t do it, I just can’t,” he cries, as he tries unsuccessfully to lift himself off of his stool. “Don’t worry so much, buddy, I’ll get you a drink,” offers Marco. “Okay thanks, make it a triple Johnnie Black. Here’s some money.” Marco looks at the greasy wad of cash in Ted’s trembling fist and says “Um, no, this one’s on me.” Just then “Stayin’ Alive” by The Bee Gees starts blasting from the jukebox. Bernie and Hillary walk in, wearing red patent leather suits. They stop to pose as photographers snap photos, then head for the table. “We break,” says Hillary. Ted, still wobbling on his stool, says “Okay, sure, just please don’t hurt me, please.” Hillary racks as she laughs in disgust and amusement at Ted’s repeated attempts to stand up. Bernie takes off his coat and knocks the 8-ball into a corner pocket off the break, all in one smooth move. “Your turn,” Bernie says as he passes the cue to Hillary. The first chorus of “Stayin’ Alive” is playing. Marco ambles up with several drinks in his arms. “These are pity whiskeys from everyone at the bar for you, Ted.” Ted greedily grabs the glasses and starts chugging. Marco puts the quarters in and racks. By the time the triangle is off the balls, Hillary has sunk the 8-ball off the break and the second game is won. She blows the extra chalk off the cue and winks at Donald Trump, who is sitting in the corner with John Travolta. She says “You take the last one, Bernie. Pity we can’t embarrass that Harvard dumb-ass any more.” “Yeah, he’ll probably be asleep in a pool of his own vomit by the end of the night,” Bernie agrees, with a laugh. “I gossa be homes ta watchin’ debazze cause I’s a good Christian,” Ted manages to slur as Bernie sinks the third 8-ball off the break in a row. Bernie tosses his cue to Marco, who helps Bernie back into his red patent leather jacket, and Hillary, Bernie, Marco, Donald and Travolta strut out the door together as the final chorus to “Stayin’ Alive” plays. Ted passes out in a pool of his own vomit. No one grieves for his soul.

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