Once upon a time, not so very long ago as calendars are reckoned, there lived in the kingdom of York, across the river from the Republic of Lincoln, the Mad Duchess of Chappaqua. I suppose I should note, upon advice of counsel, that any resemblance real or imagined between the characters in this parabolic fable are purely coincidental and no inference of any kind should be made from them in or out of any court of law. None. Whatsoever. At all.

Whew! Anyway, back to our tale! The Mad Duchess, whose given name was Misery, lived in a modest two story* castle, with her consort, William the Pantless and their daughter Paisley. The Mad Duchess Misery lived a life of luxury on her many, many, ill gotten gains, but like most of the 1%’ers in the Kingdom, she had an insatiable desire for more.

One day, a very strange little man with skin as orange as Minute Maid concentrate came to Misery’s castle, on the day of one of the very many parties that she threw, for, you see, Misery loves company! The strange little man seemed to fit right in, schmoozing with Misery’s guests and constantly admiring himself in a small hand mirror he carried with him everywhere. Which was coincidentally ironic, since he himself had small hands…

After the rest of her guests had departed, the little orange man took Misery aside and said, “I know what is your heart’s desire,” Then added, “Well, it would be if you had one!”

“How could you possibly know that?” she shrieked. “”Did Bernie the Socialismus send you?”

“Nay, Your Witchiness, as obvious as the wrinkles on your visage are, is your quest for power. You wish to become the most powerful woman in the world, and in so doing, increase your wealth exponentially. I can make that happen. I wrote a book, ‘The Art of Making You Squeal’. And believe me, when you get what you want, man, oh, man are you gonna squeal! The squealing will be unbelievable!”

“Tell me more,” she cackled

“I have a way of spinning votes into gold!” he said, breaking into a little dance and hugging the banner of the Chappaqua Coat of Arms that hung in the Great Hall. “And I will do this for you if you…only…guess…my…name!”

How hard could this be? she thought to herself. “Vladimir? Maurice? Al? Jesse? Jeremiah?? No, Jeremiah was a bullfrog, right?”

He grinned a foolish grin and did a little jig around her royal footstool. “No,no,no,no and…no,” he giggled.

“Oompa Lompa? William of Orange? Orange you glad I didn’t say banana??” She tried and tried but could not find a name that fit.

“Tell me more of this plan of yours, before I waste any more of my time guessing! I’m a busy woman! Avoiding interviews, avoiding indictments…it’s all very hard work!”, she cried.

“It involves deception,” he whispered.

“Ooooh! I like it already!” she swooned.

“I shall disguise myself as a Republic man,” he cooed. “I will scurrilously attack any and all comers who might vie for the throne against thee. I shall spread lies and rumors and discord, to discourage all who might prevail against you until all the other Republic men are vanquished and I alone am standing. Well, that’s not exactly a sure thing, mind you, but should it happen that way, and let me tell you how huuuge that would be! I can make a play and a pretense of opposing you until it is far too late to field another champion. Then, I will ‘take a dive’ as they say in the boxing vernacular, in such a way as to make it look as if you won fairly and squarely. (What a novelty THAT would be!) And you, dear lady, shall be the Queen of all you survey.”

“Excellent,” she said in her best Charles Montgomery Plantagenet Schicklegruber Burns voice. “A stalking horse of a different color! And for all this to take place, I need merely say your name?”

“Certainly, my Queen to be! All that I would ask in return would be a few crumbs of any government building contracts, office space or largess from your most generous and ample Foundation.”

The Wannabee Queen shifted from one cheek to the other on her ample foundation. “Done!”, she exclaimed. “But whatever you do, don’t put any of this in writing, and for the gods’ sake no emails!!

“Sounds like we have a deal!”, he smirked. But alas, his smile was not to last.

“Is your name by any chance…Trumpelstiltskin??” she asked.

“Curses! Curses and curses upon curses!”, he cursed. “However didst thou find it out so easily??”

“Well, it was on thy business card. The one you left in the tray by the door. My faithful servant Serpenthead merely read it to me!”

“A deal is a deal,” he said resignedly. So they shook hands, and afterward Duchess Misery counted her fingers. She then retired to her drawing room, where CBO, (Castle Box Office), was running their annual Game of Thrones marathon. Although she loved the dragons best, she still enjoyed sneering at the likes of Circe Lannister: “Amateurs,” she would hiss.

*Well, there’s the story they tell the press and the real one.

The story above is but a cautionary tale, a fairy tale to frighten small children who do not eat their vegetables and have not yet started their 401Ks. But before you completely dismiss the fable as fabulous, let me ask you one small, annoying and irritating question:

If this were not true, what exactly would Trumpelstiltskin have done differently than he actually did? Theoretically speaking, of course!

Tell this to your children as you tuck them in their beds. What remains of Obamacare should cover their therapy by the time they hit their teens…

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