Call the doctor

A last-minute boost to the Biden campaign

© 2020 Gage Skidmore, used under a Creative Commons license


[A nondescript campaign office: White walls, rented furniture, framed pictures of JOE BIDEN with various celebs on the walls. Seated on a sofa are STEFAN, the centrist Democratic campaign factotum we met in “Ol’ Joe Takes a Meeting,” and DR. HAROLD BORNSTEIN, Dr. Feelgood to DONALD TRUMP and key figure in our “formula” stories. BORNSTEIN is wolfing down canapés from a tray.]

STEFAN: Would you like something to drink with that?

BORNSTEIN: I’m just snacking. You know what would be nice though? Pellegrino water. You got any of that?

STEFAN: Nnnno, we have some Perrier but it’s been here a long time.

[JOE BIDEN enters, dressed in a light jacket, tieless linen shirt, khakis, and docksiders without socks. STEFAN and BORNSTEIN stand up. BIDEN is looking a bit peeved but breaks into a big smile as he spots BORNSTEIN.]

STEFAN: Hi, Joe, great you could make it. Is Dr. Biden here?

BIDEN: [Not looking at him] Sent her shopping. [Extends hand to BORNSTEIN] How ya doin’, fella. Joe Biden. Great to meet you.

BORNSTEIN: [Wipes his hands off, takes BIDEN’s hand] Wow! Sir! This is an honor! You know I always liked you, you and Obama. And I’m just sorry as hell for what’s been going on.

BIDEN: [Still smiling and shaking BORNSTEIN’s hand, squints at STEFAN] What in blazes is this fella talking about?

STEFAN: Joe, Dr. Bornstein was Donald Trump’s doctor back in the day. You remember I told you about him.

[BIDEN releases BORNSTEIN’s hand and puts his hand on his shoulder, drawing him closer, looking him in the eye.]

BIDEN: You don’t say! Listen, Doc, I’m glad you came on over. Joe Biden’s all about reaching across the aisle. Now I don’t know what your politics are or have been and I don’t care. I just want you to know that when I’m president, we’re gonna tune up that Medicare Fee Schedule so fast you’ll be able to retire the week after I’m inaugurated.

STEFAN: Joe, Dr. Bornstein’s here about the formula.

[BIDEN stands up straight, folds his hands in front of his groin, looks intently at BORNSTEIN.]

BIDEN: Is that so?

BORNSTEIN: Mr. Vice President, I’m a Jew from East Boston. You know my heart’s with the Democrats. I got mixed up with Trump, I’m not proud of it but what’s done is done. Now I’d like to be — [looks at STEFAN] — I’m told I can be of use to you, by giving you some assistance in the health and wellness department.

BIDEN: What do you mean? I’m fit as a fiddle, young fella. Rode my exercycle this morning.

BORNSTEIN: Sir, let me tell you, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Trump — he’s what we doctors call non compos mentis. Most of the time he’s just back in a room someplace, drooling and babbling like a child. But we have this formula, and after he takes it, in a minute, two minutes tops, he can go out in public and speak. Not well. But if you could see what he was like before, you’d know it was a big improvement. Now you, you’re healthy, you’re sane, and I think just a small amount of this formula could give you just enough pep that people —

BIDEN: So you’re suggesting Joe Biden take drugs, is that it? Listen, buddy, I practically invented the drug war. Why do you think Obama picked me? Besides I was white I mean. It was the choom gang thing! People might think he was high as a kite, but they knew ol’ Joe was straight as a priest’s prick in a boy’s locker room. I know times have changed and maybe we’ll look at legalizing marijuana, but folks’ll wanna know their children aren’t taking their lunch money down to the pusher-man and getting —

STEFAN: Joe, Joe, listen, Dr. Bornstein’s a medical doctor. This is a prescription. Nothing illegal about it.

BIDEN: [Uncertain] Well... [Gets close to STEFAN, whispers] You’re sure about this guy? I don’t want to go off on a trip or something and wind up in the emergency room because I bit my own nuts off.

STEFAN: We’ve got backup on site. Just try it, sir. I really think it can help us with the energy thing.

BIDEN: [To BORNSTEIN] Okay, doc, what do I did?

[BORNSTEIN pulls a small box and a straw out of his jacket pocket.]

BORNSTEIN: Mr. Vice President, you won’t regret this. Now I’ve already chopped this up, so all you have to do is sniff a little up your nose.

BIDEN: [Taking the straw] So this is like what the celebrities were doing at Studio 54? Well, I guess those people came out alright.

[BIDEN snorts some formula. He coughs, rubs his nose.]

Damn! Kinda hard on your sinuses, huh? I could use a drink — Stefan, we still got that Perrier in the fridge?

STEFAN: On it.

[STEFAN runs off to get it.]

BIDEN: Okay, well now it doesn’t feel half bad. [Rubs his nose again] Nose is kind of numb now, but that’s okay, it's like when you got in a fight at school and a guy’d bust you in the nose and you’d bust him one right back. No harm in it, we were young and full of beans. Not that I approve of bullying. No sir. Always, always support the LGBTSTFLMNOP community. Though those people aren’t sissies. When I was a young man they told us gay people and transsexuals were girlish, but let me tell you something, I’ve seen some drag queens who would absolutely beat your face till your nose caved in and your chin looked like a nutsack. Suck the rust off a tailpipe, too, if you take my meaning. Wild, wild days before everything was on the internet.

[STEFAN appears in the doorway with a tall glass of Perrier on ice. Stands there several seconds, gaping, as BIDEN speaks. Then he hands BIDEN the glass and leaves again.]

And that’s the difference between those other guys and me. They’re all good liberals — [Takes glass from STEFAN] thanks, Stef — their hearts are in the right place but none of ‘em know the world like ol’ Joe. [Takes a long drink, emptying the glass] This stuff makes you thirsty! Now you take Bernie, love the guy but how did he spend his 20s and 30s? Screwing dairy maids and living off welfare, that’s what, and every once in a while letting the cops rough him up. Don’t think he didn’t know the cameras were running! And speaking of camera hogs how about that Buttigieg? I don’t think he takes a shit without taking a poll first or asking McKinsey if he should take a piss instead. He’s so full of shit I’m not even sure he’s really gay. And Liz Warren, God damn! Never mind that Pocahontas shit, same thing with Amy and her staplers, it’s like I told Kamala when we made that deal, this country’s full of rubes and retards who can’t make change over the bar and they wouldn't vote a woman for President if she had double Ds and fucked like a porn star, ya gotta be a dude and act like a dude —

[Suddenly STEFAN races in with five burly guys who swarm BIDEN and drag him away.]

STEFAN: Take him to the bunker!

BIDEN: [As he is dragged off] YOU'RE ALL CRAZY HE'S GOING TO STEAL OUR SOCIAL SECURITY!

STEFAN: [Handing BORNSTEIN an envelope] Here’s $500 and a ticket on the shuttle. Tell anyone about this and I’ll kill you.

BORNSTEIN: [Turning to the audience] I guess it’s true — both sides are the same!

[Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In musical bumper plays. CURTAIN.]