Washington DC, 2084
Jerry leaned out the Aerocar window. With the kind of breathless amazement that only seven year-olds can muster, he shouted: "Mom, Dad, look! Two apes are fighting in front of the Lincoln Memorial."
Bill glanced down, but at 600 meters above ground level it was hard to see very much. He put the flying car into a slight bank and circled around to get a better look.
"That’s terrible," Sharon said. "They should have more respect."
"They’re gorillas, Mom," said Jerry. "They’re allowed to misbehave"
"Those aren’t apes. They’re men," Sharon said.
"You’re kidding…" Bill said as he adjusted the focus of his Google Glass Retinas for long distance. They were indeed men, but with hair so unkempt and suits so ragged, they appeared to be covered with fur.
"It’s a Bumfight," Bill said.
"Disgusting," Sharon said.
"Why did they let them into the Safari park?" Jerry asked.
"They must be some of Washington DC’s original inhabitants."
"People used to live in the Safari Park?"
"Yup," Bill said. "Washington DC was once a real city. When the country was at its nadir…"
"What’s a nadir?"
"The lowest point, dear," Sharon explained.
"When most of America’s people were the poorest they’d ever been, Washington DC was the wealthiest city in the country. The infrastructure was falling apart, but our leaders were too busy spending money and fighting with each other to fix things," Bill elaborated.
"What’s infrastructure?"
"Roads, bridges, power plants, banks. Civilization," Sharon replied.
"The thing that separates us from the apes," added Bill.
"What are Republicans and Democrats?" Jerry asked.
"They were the like the teams you have at school," Sharon answered.
"But they didn’t compete by trying to prove that they were stronger or smarter. They fought each other by sabotaging each other. By claiming to be victimized by each other. And by asking people to send them money," said Bill.
"What did the people get for their money?"
"Nothing," Sharon said.
"If they were poor, why were they throwing their money away?" Jerry asked.
"I have no idea," Bill replied. "But at one point, people decided to stop supporting political parties. They realized that partisan fights between Republicans and Democrats caused more damage to the country than al Qaeda and Iran combined. Without those lavish donations, the city was ruined. Taxes supported the basic infrastructure of government, but not the extravagant Washington lifestyle. Office buildings were abandoned, the city was crumbling, so they decided to do what Detroit did. They gave the land back to nature."
"I’m glad," Sharon said as they watched a herd of gazelles prance across the White House lawn. "This used to be one of the most stressed-out cities in the world. Now it’s an Eden."
Bill looked down at the overcrowded parking lot and saw a space. He pulled up the GPS data on his retinas, accessed the landing pattern and set his craft down expertly between a solar Kitplane and a jetpack.
As they stepped out into the summer light, Jerry asked, "Can I take my hoverboard? Pleeeease?"
"Ok, but stay on the path. The lions are behind a force field, but you can never tell when those fields might be down."
"Like at Jurassic Park?"
"That’s an adventure I’d rather not go through again," Sharon said with a shiver.
Lions and crocs roasted themselves on the brutally hot pavement of the Washington Mall. "People used to come here and stand for hours to protest one thing or another," Bill explained to his son. "That was the only way we could make our voices heard."
"Why didn’t the country fall apart when people stopped sending money to Washington?"
"Well, it would have if not for the Obamacare Website. The site was such a failure, the President had to bring in some folks from Silicon Valley to fix it. When they got it up and running, the programmers realized that they could use the same government-linked network to create a direct voting system. We didn’t need primaries or parties any more."
"But we still have a president, and congress," Jerry protested.
"Yes, but if they don’t produce results, they don’t get paid. They have to stay in their home districts and answer to the voters. No more phony ideological bullsh…"
"Dear…" Sharon warned.
"Bullpuckey," Bill said.
"Thank God for Elon Musk," Sharon said. "He keeps the system running."
"Yeah, but sometimes I think that guy has too much to do. Tesla Aircars, Space X, the extended life program, that mysterious Aires Project. I don’t know how he keeps up."
"Here we are – the Lincoln Memorial. Isn’t it beautiful!" Sharon cried.
"Even more beautiful with pink flamingoes on Abe’s head," Bill agreed.
Suddenly they were interrupted by shouts and curses. A giant ball of rags and sweat rolled towards them.
"Those bums again!" Sharon gasped.
Dressed in ragged suits, covered by a thick film of dirt, the old men looked like they could be brothers. One had grey hair, and the other looked like he had been a football player long ago. They rolled around in the dust for a while, then the former football player laid a solid punch. The other man fell to the ground, his head cracking against the pavement like a dry coconut. He rolled to his side, blood streaming from his forehead. Bill and Sharon ran over to help him.
"No, help me!" the burly bum cried. "I’m the victim here! I bruised my hand!"
Bill leaned over to help the bleeding man, but he was pushed away. Bill fell back, made dizzy more from bum breath than the push, a burst of halitosis that smelled like a dead possum pickled in beer.
"Hey, you jerk," Jerry cried. "We’re trying to help you."
The greying bum wiped his bloody forehead with his hand. "Altruism is at the root of all evil, kid."
"What’s altruism?"
"Helping each other. Sharing."
"Don’t listen to that Tea Party zombie!" the burly bum said as he nursed his bruised hand. "Republicans are all sociopaths! A bunch of gun-toting, Jesus-loving wankers!"
"Look who’s talking." the other cried, waving his arms dramatically. "You worshipped the jug-eared commie, the dog-eating savior."
The burly bum raised his fist and shouted "That’s better than worshiping the BushHitler, you warmongering wingnut! Halliburton! Halliburton!"
They grey bum folded his arms and declared, "I do not like Green Eggs and Ham! I do not like them, Sam I am!"
Sharon pulled Bill’s arm. "We have to get out of here, honey. They’re insane!"
"They might be delirious because they’re hungry."
"I doubt it." she said. "They could both stand to lose a few pounds."
Bill frowned for a minute and said, "Wait a minute, I know you!" He pointed to the grey haired man. "You used to be a Republican Senator. Ted… Ted Cruz …"
"Yeah. What of it?" Cruz said.
"And you were a Congressman from Florida. Alan Grayson."
"You know who we are, but we don’t know who you are," Grayson growled as he scratched his butt.
"I’m Bill, this is Sharon, and my son is.."
"No, I mean – whose side are you on?" Grayson and Cruz said in unison.
Bill cautiously replied, "Umm…we support America."
"That’s not an answer," Cruz said, sniffling into his sleeve.
"There are no more Republicans and Democrats," Bill said.
"We will return!" Cruz and Greyson said. "You can’t live without us."
"We’ve been living very well without you for decades, thank you very much," Sharon replied.
Cruz grabbed Jerry’s arm and said, "Kid, we can’t let the moonbats win. If they do the country will be destroyed. Gimmie me 5 bitcoins and I promise, I’ll beat him to a pulp."
"I’m not giving you any money. You said altruism was bad."
Cruz released Jerry’s arm, sat down and snorted with dismay. Grayson plopped down beside his friend and enemy. A cloud of flies and funk rose around them.
"This is like just like the old bumfight routine," Bill said. "Your whole fight is staged." He paused. "Maybe … your fights were always staged."
"No sh*t, Sherlock." Grayson growled. He tried to pull off his shoe, then gave up, exhausted. "We’re just passing the time" he said. "Waiting.."
"…waiting for them to come back," Cruz finished. "The election parties, the Primaries, the Super PACs, the interns.."
"The Elephants versus the Donkeys," Grayson sighed. "It was the greatest long con ever. All we had to say was ‘send us money for our campaign and we’ll beat those Republican fascists.’"
"’… or those commie Liberals.’" Cruz muttered. "Billions would pour into our coffers and we didn’t have to do anything for it at all."
"It can’t be over…" Grayson said.
"You see? They’re pathetic," Bill said to Sharon. "We should get them something to eat, just to cheer them up."
"Oh, all right," Sharon said. "But we should get them something healthy."
Bill pointed to the refreshment stand. "Steak, cream pies and hot fudge?"
"Of course." she said.