Author | Jack Kieffaber
“We’re talking now with the man who many are calling, ‘America’s Alternative’ here on GreatAmerica News,” Gina began as she received the signal in her earpiece that the break was coming to a close, “In a presidential election saddled with what some believe to be ‘the two least likable candidates in US history,’ increasing numbers of Americans are beginning to ask the question: just who is Dr. Malpractice? Well, we have him in the studio today for an in-depth interview that aims to answer just that question. So here, without further ado, is Delaware born but Transylvania raised Dr. Xanadu Malpractice, running as a third option this November with his own ‘Party of Darkness.’ Lovely to have you with us, Doctor.”
“Lovely to be here, Gina,” he replied in a thick mash up of German, Austrian, and Argentinian inflections, extending the titanium claw on his right hand to give his interviewer a firm shake, “I haven’t been this excited since my work with the Gestapo back in the early forties.”
“Oh, I know that feeling,” Gina smiled as she thumbed to the proper place in her notes, “Now, first off, I’d like to ask the question that I know so many of us around this country are wondering: why do you wear the patch?”
“Well Gina,” Malpractice mused, adjusting the black patch over his left eye with the edge of his metal appendage, “If you must know, I lost my left eye in a skirmish with some Korean fellows back in the mid fifties and I’ve worn the patch ever since.”
“That’s incredible!” Gina marvelled, “Did you serve in the Korean war, Doctor?”
“Oh no, of course not, I despise war,” Malpractice chuckled, “No, it was just a family of Korean immigrants — lovely people — that I was keeping in my basement at my rural cottage in upstate New York to run some tests on. I’d kept them down there for around five months before the father finally found a way to pick the lock on his cage and tried to free his wife and children as well. When I caught him, he came at me with one of my scalpels and managed to gouge out my old left looker before I could inject him with a tranquilizer. He and his family would eventually perish from hypothermia later that month, but they were instrumental to my findings on the pain and pleasure centers of the brain.”
“That’s great,” Gina replied, smiling discretely to the surprisingly attractive cameraman over her shoulder, “So do you spend a lot of time in Upstate New York? I hear it’s beautiful this time of year.”
“Not as much as I should, sadly,” Malpractice shook his head, “I was forced to abandon my cottage a year after I lost my eye when one of my miniature fission reactors melted down and tainted the area. I hope to go back in a few years though when the radiation has fully died off.”
“That’s nice, I hope you get to do that,” Gina nodded, turning in her notes to the harder-hitting questions, “Now, let’s get down to some of your policy stances. A key issue on voters’ minds this election season has been the federal budget and if there is any way to properly balance it. Would you mind elaborating on your plan for the budget, Doctor?”
“Not at all, Gina,” Malpractice replied warmly, “Essentially, I would like for one hundred percent of the budget to be devoted to military spending — namely in the development of nuclear devices.”
“Wow,” Gina mused “One hundred percent? So you’re saying you’d completely cut out all social programs, agriculture, transportation — everything?”
“I’ve given this a lot of thought, Gina,” Malpractice continued, “And at the end of the day, I just don’t see any of those things fitting into my long-term plan.”
“And could you tell us a little bit about that long term plan, Doctor?” Gina pressed on, “And do you mean that as in a five year plan?”
“Oh, no,” Malpractice grinned, “I don’t believe it will take nearly that long. You see, according to my painstaking calculations, the earth has a surface area of approximately 196.9 million square miles, and a 20 megaton nuclear explosive has a blast radius of 2,500 miles. Thus, by my metrics, it would take only 78,760 nuclear devices to completely obliterate every square inch of this planet. If we devoted the whole of our resources to developing these explosives, I see no reason why we couldn’t be operating at the necessary nuclear capacity in a mere three years.”
“Three years,” Gina’s eyebrows raised a bit, “Wow, that is very ambitious. I suppose this is where your tax plan comes in.”
“Precisely,” Malpractice nodded, “I feel that if we implement my proposed one hundred percent income tax, then we could easily double — or even triple — our current national income. This would give us ample funding to drive our nuclear building project.”
“Now, you have drawn some criticism from analysts over this proposed ‘All In’ tax structure,” Gina continued, “For example, Charles Funk of the New York Provoker writes, ‘Though Mr. Malpractice’s plan is a sound moneymaker in theory, I find his wife extremely unattractive.’ Do you have a rebuttal to this statement, Doctor?”
“Yes I do, Gina,” the Doctor took a sip of water and cleared his throat, “have you looked at your spouse, Mr. Funk? I have one word to describe her: she is large. I will keep her heart beating for as long as possible before I end her miserable life.”
“Watch out, America,” Gina laughed, “I think we’ve got the next big Twitter war brewing right here on GreatAmerica news!”
The two giggled copiously for brief moment, with Malpractice finally sighing jovially at the end with the words, “his large wife will suffer.”
“Well, Doctor, let’s see if we can get back on track,” Gina dabbed at her face with a small handkerchief, “Could you tell us your thoughts on immigration? As you know, America’s border security has been of paramount importance in this race.”
“You know Gina,” Malpractice pondered aloud, “I really don’t have any preferences on immigration. Like I say, my 78,760 nuclear devices will be enough to level every square inch of this planet, so it doesn’t much matter to me whether a man is in Mexico or the US or Canada or anywhere, you see, because my policy will affect him just the same wherever he is.”
“And this has been one of your more celebrated ideas,” Gina added, “In a time where racism and nationalistic xenophobia have brought out the exclusionist in a great number of conservative voters, many left-leaning thinkers have come to appreciate the inherent equality in your view of international interactions.”
“Like I’ve said many times in the past, Gina,” Malpractice smiled, “I don’t see borders, I don’t see religions, I don’t see sexualities, and I don’t see colors. All skin ignites at the same temperature — 1,400 degrees fahrenheit — so who really cares if it’s black or white, from one place or another?”
“Now those are some words you just don’t hear out of most politician’s mouths these days,” Gina smiled, “Now, could you tell us a bit about your party — the Party of Darkness?”
"Of course,” Malpractice replied, “We founded the Party of Darkness about ten years ago with the intention of infiltrating unstable governments and catalyzing military conflicts so we could set up our own puppet regimes to run them. We actually just finished staging a coup in Uruguay last week.”
“Lovely down there this time of year,” Gina interjected.
“Yes, isn’t it?” Malpractice agreed, “Lovely country. But that is the central objective of our Party, and we are hoping that it will be able to achieve that objective here in the United States as well.”
“And we wish you the best of luck with that here at GreatAmerica,” Gina gave him a pat on the knee, “Now, let’s talk briefly about your stance on the environment, as it has not exactly been a popular one. You have gone on record saying that preserving ecosystems and making advances in renewable energy are at the bottom of your list of priorities. Why?”
“Well Gina,” Malpractice continued, “It’s not that I don’t care about the environment. I love a flowery meadow as much as the next fellow, but I have done extensive calculations and have found no viable way to preserve forests or wetlands — or indeed any geographical areas at all — from my nuclear program, so I simply see no reason to devote any resources to protecting them.”
“So it’s not so much a matter of being anti-green, but more a matter of economic liability,” Gina reasoned, “you don’t want it to be this way, but our current economic state has ‘forced your hand’ so to speak.”
“Essentially, yes,” Malpractice continued, “I don’t want to be the bad guy here, it’s just that my priority is nuclear weapons. We will, however, make sure to dispose of the nuclear waste from our manufacturing plants in the safest way possible so as to keep these ecosystems as clean as possible before we incinerate them on a world scale.”
“So, as sort of a side topic from that, do you believe that there’s a large hole in the ozone layer?”
“I believe that there’s about to be a larger one,” Malpractice replied, and the room burst into laughter.
“I tell you, Doctor,” Gina burst hysterically, “If this whole ‘politics’ thing doesn’t work out for you, I think you might have a promising future in stand-up comedy.”
They continued to laugh at this, Malpractice’s face turning a jolly red as he sighed suffering is amusing and eased the laughter back down to a minimal.
“Well, Doctor,” Gina resumed, wiping a discrete tear from her eye, “As sort of a last, easy question after this barrage of boring policy stuff, where do you see yourself in ten, even fifteen years — at the end of what you hope to be two successful terms of presidency.”
“Well, Gina,” Malpractice replied, “I suppose I hope to be living a simple life on my space station as we engineer the next generation of genetically perfect spores that my children or grandchildren or even great-grandchildren may someday take back down to the planet to recolonize the earth’s new terrain with a master race of super beings.”
“A trip to outer space!” Gina marvelled, “An ever ambitious dream from an ever ambitious man. And how will you decide who gets to accompany you on this maiden voyage?”
“That depends,” Malpractice elaborated, “Males wanting to accompany me on the journey will have to be weak minded, easily manipulated, and shorter than me, while women will have to be physically perfect with a below-average intellect. Frankly, Gina, I think you’d be an excellent candidate.”
“Oh, Doctor,” Gina blushed, “that is very kind of you.”
“Yes it is, Gina,” Malpractice crooned, stroking her knee with his claw, “Yes it is.”
“So that was Dr. Xanadu Malpractice, America’s Alternative, the Idol of the Undecided, in our GreatAmerica interview recorded just two days ago,” Gina broke in as she received the signal in her ear that the playback had come to an end, “I’d like now to introduce our panel: Jon Gurk, former White House press secretary, Melanie Kneeds, freelance journalist and activist, and Clint Strangley, a gas station attendant from Duluth, Minnesota, who won today’s spot in our ‘civilian guest panelist’ competition. Ladies and gentlemen, your take on the Doctor’s ideas?”
“I really liked him,” Melanie gushed out the gate, “Compared to the two we’ve got running now, he’s a breath of fresh air.”
“You know, he says what he thinks,” Jon tacked on, “And you’ve got to respect him for that. While I might not totally agree with all of his policy ideas, it’s refreshing to see a candidate in this day and age who makes a claim and then actually stands by it.”
“I’m pretty sure he just said he was going to blow up every square inch of the planet,” Clint chimed in, “Did anybody else hear that?”
“I think that’s what he said,” Melanie countered, “But is it what he meant? I personally don’t think so, but I think that’s the more important question we should all be asking.”
“I totally agree with that, Melanie,” Jon affirmed, “It’s just something he said. I think too often as a society we try to judge people based on their words and their actions when we should really be judging them — like Dr. King said — by the content of their character.”
“But he did say that he wanted to incinerate the entire Earth with nuclear explosives,” Clint probed, “I’m not the only one who heard that, right?”
“No, he definitely alluded to that,” Gina confirmed, “But I don’t think we should just analyze one specific area of his campaign at the expense of all its other facets.”
“Ok,” Clint replied, “Just making sure I wasn’t losing it.”
“So, Melanie Kneeds,” Gina continued, “I ask you, what did you think of the Doctor’s immigration stance?”
“Gina, I was overjoyed to finally hear a politician say what he said,” Melanie beamed, “You know, all we’ve heard in this race is ‘borders’ and ‘national security’ and ‘outside threats,’ and, frankly, it’s all beginning to sound an awful lot like fear mongering and propaganda — and Hitler, honestly. Everything’s about what’s best for this one country we all happen to live in and not what’s best for the world, so I can’t tell you how happy I was to hear from a candidate who legitimately didn’t care. As I’ve said before, it was a breath of fresh air.”
“I completely agree,” Jon cut in, “I’m really getting tired of politicians caring so darned much about about everything. All that leads to is prejudice and exclusion, which is all these other candidates want. Dr. Malpractice just seems interested in people and just letting them all be around each other without all these barriers and restrictions. If he keeps talking like this, I think he might even have himself a Nobel Prize for Peace coming his way.”
“But he did say that the reason he didn’t care about the borders was because he was just going to blow everybody up anyway,” Clint interjected uneasily, “I mean, didn’t he? ‘Cause that’s what I heard. I feel like the only thing he isn’t excluding people from doing is dying.”
“See, there you go with that word — excluding,” Melanie turned up her nose, “It’s just that kind of talk that I’m sick of hearing from all these politicians and, to be honest, I’m sick of hearing it from the commentators as well. That kind of language has no place in a discussion about the diverse world we live in. Why can’t we just talk about people getting along?”
“I’m totally with Melanie on this one,” Jon chimed in, “You’ve crossed a line here, Clint, I think we can all agree on that. And I think that Dr. Malpractice is really trying to do away with language like that — like Clint just used — and more importantly with thinking like that.”
“Anyone who thinks those thoughts should just be put in jail immediately,” Melanie concurred, “They should just be locked up and not allowed to interact with the other members of our peace-loving society.”
“Fuck you Clint,” Jon punctured bluntly, “I’m sorry. That was uncalled for, I know, but somebody had to say it.”
“No, I completely understand,” Gina provided backup, “Clint, I know you’re new to this program, but try and be more careful about what you say around our other panelists. Now that that’s settled, let’s take a minute to discuss Dr. Malpractice’s less popular ideas — namely his stance on the environment. Jon Gurk, I’ll start with you.”
“You know,” Jon began, “Like I said, I don’t agree with everything Dr. Malpractice says. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not quite as far to the left as Melanie — and I think that’s fine.”
Melanie nodded in earnest approval.
“But I’m also not a Crypto-Nazi savage like Clint here,” he continued, “And I still generally like what the Doctor is saying. Sure, he might not have the environment as his top priority, but it sounds to me like he’s more focused on making a better environment for the humans on this planet. I mean, let’s be honest, are frogs prejudiced against each other? Do we have tortoises trying to build walls to separate themselves from the hares? I think that Dr. Malpractice has his priorities straight — that we have to deal with the injustices that face this species first, then we can deal with the issues facing the rest of the flora and fauna who share our home.”
“I couldn’t agree with you any more there, Jon,” Melanie supported, “While some of you who read my books on the disappearing wetlands in Louisiana might be shocked to hear me say this, I do, in fact, think that stopping prejudice and de facto segregation is more pressing to our country today even than the environment — which I believe comes in at a close second.”
“I don’t mean to keep beating a dead horse here,” Clint piped up carefully, but was cut off almost immediately.
“See, Clint, there you go again!” Melanie sighed patronizingly, “We’re all over here trying to have have a respectful discussion about politics when — uh oh! Here comes Clint talking about animal cruelty and totally derailing our train of thought! See how annoying that is?”
“She’s absolutely right, Clint,” Jon pressed further, “Comments like that have no place in a structured forum like this. Now, I know you fellows in the flyover states might discuss things a little bit differently than we do on the coasts, but that’s no excuse for the way you're conducting yourself here tonight!”
“I didn’t mean to sound cruel to animals,” Clint countered sheepishly after a long silence, “I just wanted to say how I really don’t understand where you guys keep getting this equality stuff. I mean, all this Malpractice guy said was that he was going to nuke the entire planet and then live in a space station with only the people he chooses. I mean, I’m no expert, but that seems pretty unequal to —”
“Oh, shut the fuck up, Clint!” Jon spat, “Would you just shut the fuck up?”
“UNEQUAL!” Melanie moaned as she pressed against her temples to stave off the inevitable migraine, “NOT THAT WORD!
“Look what you’re doing to this woman!” Jon bellowed, flying to Melanie’s aid, “She isn’t in good health, dammit! This could be the last straw!”
“Look, I’m not trying to hurt anybody here!” Clint fired back, “I’m just saying that all I heard outta this guy was that he wants to blow everybody up and tax a hundred percent of what we make to finance it. I mean, where I come from that just kinda sounds like oppression!”
“OPPRESSION!” Melanie screeched, writhing on the floor in pain, “MAKE HIM STOP! MAKE HIM STOP!”
“Have you no decency sir?” Jon flicked his words at him like bits of stale food, “All your type are the same — just sticking with the same old same old, never interested in change or treating people better or including other people. Just sewage — that’s what comes out of your mouth — pure raw sewage, with big chunks of people’s stool in it. People who are suffering!”
“Hey c’mon now,” Clint protested, “I’m not trying to— ”
“YOU SPEAK THE STOOL OF SUFFERING!” Jon shouted in interruption.
“Alright, that’s about enough of this!” Gina stepped in, “Clint, get your bigoted ass out of here, and tell everybody we are never doing this ‘civilian guest panelist’ thing again. Jon, see if you can’t resuscitate Melanie.”
Clint was escorted out by a team of armed guards as Jon retrieved the studio defibrillator and yelled ‘CLEAR!’ repeatedly until his co-panelist was showing vital signs again.
“Did you go to commercial like I told you before that got out of hand?” Gina shot to her producer.
“Yes ma’am,” he replied, “But you’re back on in ten, so get ready.”
“Alright,” Gina scrambled to make herself look presentable again, “Jon, Melanie, are you both ready?”
“Yes we are!” Jon responded promptly but unconvincingly, still whispering in Melanie’s ear, “He’s gone now, honey. See? The bad man’s gone now.”
“And we are back,” Gina broke in as her producer gave her the signal through her earpiece, “For those of you just joining us, I’m here with former White House Press Secretary Jon Gurk and journalist Melanie Kneeds. Unfortunately, our guest panelist, Clint Strangley, had another more pressing engagement and had to leave us at the break so we will continue on in his absence.”
She eyed the teleprompter for her next cue.
“Next, let’s discuss something that wasn’t covered in my interview with Dr. Xanadu Malpractice: his views on abortion,” she motioned to her producer, “Let’s see a quick clip.”
The face of Dr. Malpractice appeared on the monitor in front of her — a segment of footage from a different interview.
“I believe that it should be a crime for a woman to terminate her child,” Malpractice’s voice descended through the studio speakers, “I want the population to be as large as possible for when my plan takes effect, and my first order of business would be to completely defund Planned Parenthood.”
The camera cut back to the panel just in time to catch Melanie slumping over and fainting in her chair.
“He…,” Gina stammered, “He’s pro life?”
“Apparently… so…” Jon mumbled, shell shocked from the words he’d just heard.
A long silence ensued, Gina’s producer flailing wildly off camera to try and instigate some kind of dialogue, but failing to do so.
“Well,” Gina finally resumed, “I think this stance really shows a disconnect between Dr. Malpractice and his voters, and honestly displays a total disregard of the issues facing the modern woman.”
“I couldn’t agree more, Gina,” Jon concurred sternly, “I think that this stance demonstrates an intolerable lack of respect for the women of this country. And I have to say, the more I think about it, I’m starting to find this business about blowing up the world somewhat concerning as well.”
About the Author | Jack Kieffaber is a freshman at the University of Notre Dame du Lac and is a graduate of the Episcopal School of Dallas, where he was a featured writer for the Pacemaker Award-winning Eagle Edition newspaper and the Columbia Silver Crown Award-winning Itinerary literary magazine. He intends to graduate college with a major in political science because he is passionate about politics and not making any money. Jack thoroughly despises writing but enjoys lampooning the human condition, so he considers it a necessary evil. He is yet unpublished beyond the high school level, but has nevertheless been called the greatest literary intellect of his generation by his mother and bloated ego. When not eating, sleeping, or studying, Jack enjoys wandering aimlessly and slowly descending into the depths of insanity.