An American Joke

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Democracy, Capitalism, and History walk into a bar.


Democracy says, “I’m feeling generous today,” and orders drinks for everyone in the bar.


Capitalism thwacks Democracy in the back of the head and Democracy passes out. “Why are you responsible for every single drink?” Capitalism asks, becoming red with rage. Then he, Capitalism, fights everyone off in the bar for their drinks until he gets wasted and passes out.


Some people admire Capitalism’s ambition.


Then Foreign Policy comes in, seemingly out of nowhere, and shoves his beak into the rest of the unfinished drinks and puts a Budweiser in every hand in the bar. Then he passes out in a puddle of his own puke.


Patriarchy comes in later and orders and bottle of beer. He stands on a table and announces to everyone in the bar what they should be having to drink. All the women are given white wine and all the men are given cheap beer.


Enter Liberalism.


Liberalism comes in to save the day.


Liberalism looks around at the wreckage, the vomit, the passed out bodies.


Liberalism is nervous. “What to do,” he whispers, “What oh what to do.” He knows he hates pain. He knows he’s sympathetic to suffering. But he knows his idealism is shit without help. He wanders over to Democracy and tries to shake him awake.


Democracy opens his eyes for a moment before making a long croak noise and slipping back into unconsciousness.


He tries to wake Capitalism. Capitalism lifts his head and offers him a million dollars to steal everyone’s drinks.


“A million?” Liberalism says. “Gee whiz. That money could do a lot of good. That’s like a lifetime of organic kale. I could adopt a coffee bean farmer or something.”


Democracy laughs.


“But won’t that bother people?” Liberalism asks. “Isn’t that stealing?”


“Nobody needs booze,” Capitalism says. “Booze is a luxury. Like bottled water.”


Free Speech, drunk, emerges from the Men’s room. “Liberalism is a little BITCH,” he says. “Go fuck yourself with your political correctness.”


“I don’t like your tone,” Liberalism retorts. “I’m trying very hard to fix this crap and make decent decisions.”


“Oh come on, this place is fucked,” says Free Speech. “Look around. Open those eyes of yours.”


Liberalism looks, smiles. “This place certainly has potential.”


Free Speech laughs.


The bartender moseys over to History, wiping a glass.


“You listening to these assholes?” she says. “What has this place come to? You actually listening to ‘em?”


“Listening? Of course I’m listening,” History says, chuckling and watching the final body hit the floor. “I’m waiting for them to listen to me.”

Greg Letellier hates cliffhangers. He especially hates it when you’re reading a piece and then suddenly

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