An Original Screenplay

by Roger M. Wilcox

Roger M. Wilcox
November 1, 1988
Poli Sci 355
Prof. Theodolou

                          A BUSH CAROL


1	INT. OVAL OFFICE - EVENING                                 1

	Subtitle on screen: "THE WHITE HOUSE.  DECEMBER 24, 1991"

	Slow zoom from long shot to closeup on PRESIDENT DAN 
	QUAYLE sitting at the Oval Office desk, signing a bill 
	into law.  He forwards both the bill and the pen he 
	signed it with into his Out Box and reads the next 

		". . . require all products
		manufactured by U.S. investors in
		South America to be labelled as
		such"?!  That'll ruin the American
		economy for sure!  What do they
		think we are, a bunch of commies?

	He picks up a rubber stamp and smashes it down on the 
	signature line of the bill.  INSERT C.U. shot of the 
	stamp being pulled away.  The area beneath it reads, in 
	large red stamped letters, "VETO."

	CUT back to front shot of Quayle.  He puts the bill in 
	the out box and begins reading the last bill on his 

		". . . allow corporations involved
		in the SDI project to dispose of
		toxic wastes produced by their SDI
		research as they see fit."  Well
		now, that's more like it!

	He picks up a pen from the New Pen Pile and signs the 
	bill enthusiastically.  Putting the pen and the bill in 
	the out box, he notices that there are no bills on his 
	desk and glances at his watch.  He yawns, draws himself 
	up from his chair, and stalks toward the door stage 


	One of the Executive's secretaries, MISS JONES, is 
	typing at her desk.  Quayle enters through the door 
	stage left.

                         MISS JONES
		Good evening, Mister President.

		Evening, Miss Jones.  Be ready to
		start work bright and early
		tomorrow morning; we've got a lot
		of legislation to push through that
		damned Democratic congress.

                         MISS JONES
		Tomorrow morning?  But tomorrow is Christmas!

		Bah, humbug!  And I suppose you'll be wanting 
		the whole day off, am I right?!

                         MISS JONES
		Why, of course.  I'd like to spend the day at 
		home with my --

		With pay.

                         MISS JONES
		Well, yes, but Christmas comes only once a --

		That's a pitiful excuse for picking the 
		country's pockets every twenty-
		fifth of December!

                         MISS JONES
		Oh, come on!  Workers have rights, you know.

		Of course.  You have the right to not work 
		anywhere you choose, and the right 
		to starve to death just like 
		everyone else.

2	CONTINUED                                                  2

	As Miss Jones looks on in disbelief, Quayle storms 
	right past her and out of the room.  As he exits 
	through the door stage right, we cut to a close up of 
	him muttering:

                    (aside) (snickers)
		I love being the king!

3	INT. SPIRAL STAIRCASE - WHITE HOUSE                        3

	There is a portrait of Abraham Lincoln on one wall.  As 
	Quayle ascends the staircase, CASPAR WEINBURGER 
	descends it and greets Quayle in the middle.

		Well, good evening to you, Mr. President.  
		Good decision we came to in that 
		staff meeting today, don't you 

		Of course; I okayed it, didn't I?
		No, seriously, Caspar, sending troops in to 
		South Africa will be the best thing 
		we did since the Korean war -- er, 
		I mean police action.  Imagine, 
		they actually want to do business 
		with the Soviet Union!

		And they're demanding to keep half of the 
		profits we make over there!

		Yeah; the next thing you know, they'll want 
		to abolish Aparteid!

	They both laugh together for a few seconds.

		You know, I sort of miss old George Bush.
		Er, not that I don't think you're every bit 
		as good a president as he was.

3	CONTINUED                                                  3

		No, no, I kind of miss him too.  He was a 
		good business partner.  When I told 
		ABC News that I never intended to 
		become president this way, I really 
		meant it.
		Hell, that's probably the only thing I've 
		told the media that was the truth!

		Ha ha ha!  Well, good night, Mr. President.

	Weinburger turns and continues down the stairs.  As 
	Quayle resumes his climb, the portrait of Lincoln 
	catches his eye.

		"Honesty is the best policy."  Humbug.  That 
		shows what you know!

	He continues up the stairs and off screen.

4	INT. UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - WHITE HOUSE                        4

	Quayle emerges from the stairwell and proceeds 
	downstage toward the door to his presidential bedroom. 
	Mrs. Quayle is out spouting her just-say-no-to-drugs 
	message to a bunch of people who are unaware of the 
	money drug smugglers pay the U.S., so Dan Quayle is 
	alone for the evening.  He reaches his bedroom door and 
	is about to turn the handle when the knocker in the 
	center of it -- which is there for purely ornamental 
	reasons -- catches his eye and stops him cold.

5	ANGLE ON DOOR KNOCKER                                      5

	The door knocker has taken on the semblance of a bronze 
	statue of GEORGE BUSH.  It shines with an eerie, 
	emerald halo.


	In complete surprise and disbelief, Quayle rubs his 
	eyes and stares open-mouthed and wrinkle-browed at the 
	knocker again.

7	ANGLE ON DOOR KNOCKER                                      7

	The door knocker is once again its original bas-relief 
	self, and is not glowing emerald or any other color.

8	INT. UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - SAME ANGLE                         8

	Quayle puzzles, then becomes disgusted with himself.

		Bah, humbug.

	He opens the door and steps into:

9	INT. QUAYLE'S BEDROOM                                      9

	The room is decked out in the farthest limits of 
	Victorian costliness and good taste.  Quayle closes the 
	door behind himself and chuckles over what he thought 
	he saw.  Just to be on the safe side, though, he locks 
	all seven of the latches on the door.

10	INT. QUAYLE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT                             10

	Only the table-top lamp is on in the room.  Quayle, now 
	in his pajamas, yawns and crawls into bed.  He reaches 
	over to the table-top lamp and switches in off, 
	plunging the room into near-darkness.  

	He sighs as sleep begins to settle in.  A few seconds 
	pass.  Then, we hear the distant CLANKING of chains.  
	Quayle sits up with a start.  The CLANKING sounds get 
	louder.  Quayle leans over to his end table and pushes 
	a button on his intercom.

		White house security!
		White house security!!
		Damn, the lines are down again!

	Now quite worried, Quayle switches on the light and 
	draws the covers up in front of his face.  The CLANKING 
	continues to get louder and closer.  He glances at a 
	nearby wall.

11	INT. QUAYLE'S BEDROOM - ANGLE ON UNIFORM                  11

	A spiffy soldier's uniform hangs from a peg, as if on 
	display.  The badge reads "Dan Quayle -- National 
	Guardsman First Class."


	Quayle is now hiding completely under the covers and 
	shaking feverishly.  The CLANKING of the chains is so 
	close and distinct now that FOOTSTEPS can be heard 
	accompanying it -- however, it still sounds like 
	there's a wall between us and the thing making the 

	Suddenly, the sound shifts, and is much more distinct, 
	as though the source of the sounds moved through the 
	wall to this side of it.  Quayle peeks up from behind 
	the covers and gasps.


	The "thing" that has been making the sounds is an 
	emerald-colored, transparent image of GEORGE BUSH.  It 
	is dragging a very long and odd-looking chain behind 
	itself.  The image notices that Quayle has noticed it.

		Dan Quayle . . .

	He takes a couple of steps closer.

14	MEDIUM ANGLE ON BOTH OF THEM                              14

                    (feigning ignorance)
		There's nobody here by that --

		Daaaaan Quaaaaaaaaaayle . . .

		G-g-g-get out of here!  G-g-go on, shoo!

		Oh, relax, Dan, it's only me.

		B-b-but you're dead!

		And I've been that way for two long years.  
		Two miserable years.  And I have an 
		eternity of miserable years 
		stretching out before me.

14	CONTINUED                                                 14

	Bush picks up one end of his chain.  The other end 
	extends back out through the far wall and cannot be 
	further seen.

		See this?

	Quayle chances to lower his covers and lean forward a 

		Yeah . . . it's a chain.

		Know why I'm carrying it?

		Well, I naturally assumed that all ghosts 
		carried chains.

		Take a closer look.

	He does.

		That's that tape of the phone-tap you made of
		Jimmy Carter 'way back in 1980.
		And that's the 1976 CIA national
		budget report.  And that's one of
		the contracts you made with the
		Ayatollah to delay the release of
		the American hostages until
		Reagan's inauguration.

		Do you see now?
                    (clanks chain)
		This chain is forged from all the deliberate 
		mistakes I made while I was alive.

		Mistakes?  How could they be?  You never got 

14	CONTINUED                                                 14

                    (shaking his head)
		I got caught every time a Nicaraguan or a 
		Chilean suffered.  I got caught 
		whenever I violated the 
		constitution I swore to protect.

		But you handled your political business so 

		My business?!  The "business" I prided myself 
		on wasn't a tenth of one percent of 
		the business that was my whole 
		life!  I failed to see that soon 
		enough, and now I must walk through 
		eternity dragging this chain of 
		woes behind me and looking on -- 
		helplessly -- as the country I 
		loved gets dragged down into a 
		whimpering death because of 
		policies I upheld.

		But the corporate complex wouldn't have given 
		you so many kick-backs if what they 
		wanted you to do would send the 
		country into a recession!
		Would they?

                    (reverb) (sternly)
		You have a chain waiting for you when you 
		die, too.

                    (swallows hard)
		I . . . I do?

		Yours is just as long as mine, if not longer. 
		At the rate you've been going, you 
		condemn yourself -- and this 
		country -- to the same fate as I 

14	CONTINUED                                                 14

	Pregnant silence.  Bush looms a bit closer.

		you still have the chance to rescue yourself 
		from certain doom.

                    (very interested)

		That's why I'm here tonight.  I managed to 
		pull a few strings out here in the 
		spirit world -- at least that 
		silver tongue I picked up from old 
		Ronnie has some use.
		You will be visited
		By three ghosts.

	Quayle's heart sinks.

		Three more ghosts?  Couldn't I just, um, 
		serve another term in the national 

                    (Close Up)
		There is no other way; I assure you.  I hope, 
		for your sake and for the sake of 
		the United States, that you listen 
		well to what the three ghosts have 
		to say.
		And now, farewell, old friend.

	Bush's visage begins to fade as he turns and 
	walks away.  The clanking chains 
	and footsteps get more hollow as he 
	fades, slowly, into nothingness 
	during the following:

14	CONTINUED										   14

                    (Close Up)
                    (calling after)
		But -- but wait!  What's it like to be dead?! 
		To die?!  Did you see a golden 
		light at the end of a long tunnel?! 
		How is Elvis doing?!!

	Bush completely fades.


	Quayle is sitting up on the edge of his bed, fidgeting. 
	He is deathly afraid of more ghosts, but is even more 
	afraid of talking with his White House staff about this 
	whole ordeal.

                    (mumbling, to himself)
		Three ghosts.  Visited by three ghosts.  I 
		wonder what he meant by this 
		country's fate.  And how is my 
		being molested by a bunch of 
		poltergeists going to change m--

	The far wall of the room suddenly bursts into a 
	lambent, white glow.  An electric HUM cuts the air.  
	Quayle starts and cringes back.

16	INT. QUAYLE'S BEDROOM - ANGLE ON FAR WALL                 16

	At first, the entire wall seems to shine a blinding 
	white.  Then, the glow slowly contracts down to a 
	formless blob of white light standing about four meters 
	in front of the wall.  The light blob shimmers a bit, 
	then grows taller and thinner.  It begins to resolve 
	itself into a man -- a man dressed in rich 
	eighteenth-century garb.  Finally, the face resolves 
	enough for Quayle to see that the man is THOMAS 

17	CLOSE UP ON QUAYLE                                        17

		Thomas . . . Jefferson?

18	MEDIUM SHOT OF QUAYLE AND GHOST                           18

		That I am -- or was, until my death in 1826. 
		I saw this country grow right from 
		its very beginning, and have been 
		watching it ever since.  Ronald 
		Reagan, George Bush, and yourself 
		have succeeded in one regard and 
		one regard only: you have done more 
		cumulative damage to this country 
		than anyone in history.

		Including Nixon?!

		Including Nixon, and Harding, and Grant.  
		Among other things, you've cut back 
		welfare right to the quick.

		Hey, wait a minute!  We didn't even have any 
		social welfare programs while you 
		were alive!

		True; but we have them while you are alive.  
		And since the national werfare 
		policy's inception as part of the 
		New Deal, a whole lot of folks have 
		become dependent on it.

		And that's precisely the problem!  They're 
		gonna keep living off of it until 
		they bleed this country dry!  Damn 
		our welfare program and that 
		bleeding-heart congress.  That was 
		why the CIA engineered the A.I.D.S. 
		virus to begin with: better to let 
		the undesirables die, and decrease 
		the surplus population.

		You think so, do you?  And what, might I ask, 
		do you think of American foreign 

		As many pies as American businesses can get 
		their hands into, & change their 
		mind if they don't let us.

18	CONTINUED                                                 18

		That's what I thought.  You see, I'm more 
		than just the ghost of Thomas 
		Jefferson -- I'm also the spirit of 
		American Christmas past.  Come with 
		me, I've things to show you.

	Jefferson extends his hand and approaches Quayle.  
	Quayle gets worried.

		Wh-where are you going to take me?

                    (close-up 2 shot)
		Relax.  This won't hurt a bit.

	Reluctantly, Quayle takes hold of Jefferson's hand.  
	The instant he does, Jefferson whisks him off the 
	ground.  Quayle lets out a meek cry of panic as 
	Jefferson flies him over to the window, opens it, and 
	wafts both of them out to:

19	EXT. WASHINGTON, D.C. - NIGHT                             19

	The two soar out of the window over the White House 
	lawn and out over the city beyond, higher and higher.  
	Quayle looks down and cringes.

		I'm not going to fall, am I?

		No, of course not, don't worry.
		As long as you don't let go.

	Quayle grabs hold of Jefferson with his other hand and 
	holds on all the more tightly.

	As they continue to swoop through the city, it begins 
	to change.  The buildings begin to look less and less 
	run-down.  Modern structures give way to increasing 
	numbers of rustic homes.  The electric lights become 
	gas lights, and then even those disappear.  Cars become 
	older, squarer, and finally horse-drawn.  The sky 
	begins to lighten.  As the countryside sweeps by, at 
	last they arrive at:

20	EXT. INDEPENDENCE HALL - DAY                              20

                    (still flying)
		Do you recognize this place?

		Yeah . . . Independence Hall.  We're in 
		Philadelphia, aren't we?

	Jefferson nods.

		I'll give you one guess as to what day it is.

		It's still December the twenty-fourth, isn't 

	Jefferson shakes his head "no."  He flies down toward 
	Independence Hall so fast that Quayle is sure he is 
	going to be dashed to pieces against the outer wall; 
	then, both he and Quayle fly STRAIGHT THROUGH the wall 
	as though it wasn't there, and see:

21	INT. INDEPENDENCE HALL                                    21

	Several extremely important people are gathered around 
	a document, ink quills at the ready.  Among them are 
	himself (as a live person this time).

                         JEFFERSON (GHOST)
		Do you still think it's December the 

		July 4th, 1776.  The signing of the 
		Declaration of Independence.

                         JEFFERSON (GHOST)
		Precisely.  The day the United States of 
		America came into being as a 
		country in its own right.
		That document was one of my better 

21	CONTINUED                                                 21

		I'll say.  Too bad Benjamin Franklin made you 
		change that "We hold these truths 
		to be sacred" passage to say "We 
		hold these truths to be self-

                         JEFFERSON (GHOST)
		Actually, I'm glad he did.  The separation of 
		church and state was, and still is, 
		one of the things that made this 
		country so great.
		Unlike the school prayer policy of a certain 
		administration I could mention. . . .


                         JEFFERSON (GHOST)
		And do you happen to remember why we decided 
		to break off from Britain?

		Sure.  Corporate autonomy.

                         JEFFERSON (GHOST)
		As I recall, there was a little more to it 
		than that.
		Great Britain was taxing us up to our ears.  
		Practically all profits made on 
		American soil had to be shipped 
		right over to King George the 
		Third.  The standard of living was 
		miserable.  So, we decided to 
		revolt against the government which 
		had the choke hold over us.  Great 
		Britain wanted to take everything 
		for itself, while we just wanted to 
		be able to live our own lives.
		Does the foreign policy of 18th-century Great 
		Britain remind you of the foreign 
		policy of any 20th-century nations 
		you know of?

		Why, sure, that sounds like the foreign 
		policy we practice nowadays in the 
		good old U.S. of . . .

21	CONTINUED                                                 21

	Ouayle stops himself.

                         JEFFERSON (GHOST)
		You see my point?
		Under the guise of "battling communism," the 
		United States in 1991 has the same 
		Machiavellian foreign policies as 
		Great Britain did in 1776.  And yet 
		your government just can't seem to 
		understand why all these countries 
		you've got under your thumb would 
		want to revolt.
		Now come along; this was just our first stop.

	Quayle nods in silent acquiescence as Jefferson's ghost 
	turns and drags him back out through the same wall they 
	came in from.

22	EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - DAY                                    22

	The countryside zips by beneath them as before.  They 
	return to Washington, D.C., but it is obvious that a 
	few years have passed since 1776.  They stop in front 

23	EXT. HOUSE OF CONGRESS - DAY                              23

		Ugh . . . Congress.  You would have to bring 
		me to those cretins.

		They're not always cretins.  It was Congress 
		who kept people like Nixon, Grant, 
		and Harding from getting away with 
		murder.  And today was a special 
		day for them.  Come on, let's look 
		in on the Senate.

	Before Quayle can protest, Jefferson takes him once 
	again through a solid marble wall to:

24	INT. SENATE CHAMBER                                       24

	The senators present are all silent.  They are casting 
	their votes on something.

24	CONTINUED                                                 24

		What are they voting on?

		You don't have to whisper.

		But won't they hear us?

		They can't here us any more than they could 
		back in Independence Hall.  Anyway, 
		the year is 1791.

                    (snaps his fingers)
		The Bill of Rights.

		Very good.  They're voting on whether or not 
		they should formally propose the 
		first ten amendments to the 
		Constitution.  The House of 
		Representatives has already voiced 
		its approval -- and we both know 
		what the outcome of this vote is 
		going to be.

	[Editor's note, added 28-July-2001: The Bill of Rights
	passed both houses of Congress in 1789, not 1791.  1791
	was the year the states ratified it.]

		But why are you showing me this?  I've never 
		violated the Bill of Rights.

		You have never violated the precise lettering 
		of the bill of rights.  Unless you 
		count voluntary school prayer as a 
		violation of the first amendment.
		But you have violated it in spirit time and 
		time again.  If Americans have 
		rights, then why don't Nicaraguans 
		or Chileans?  Or South Africans?  
		Don't they have the same human 
		rights as Americans?  Don't they 
		have the right to decide what kind 
		of government they want, without 
		having to worry about whether the 
		U.S. will step all over them?

24	CONTINUED                                                 24

		Or do you believe that Americans are the 
		Master Race?

		I . . .
		I . . .

		Come along, there's still more to see.

	Once again, Jefferson whisks Quayle away through the 
	walls and out to:

25	EXT. WASHINGTON, D.C. - DAY                               25

	They fly north from Capitol Hill, passing town after 
	town with every passing second; and each town they pass 
	gets more and more modern.  Gas lamps and paved roads 
	start to appear.  The gas lamps change into electric 
	lights.  Horse-drawn buggies give way to Ford Model Ts. 
	Finally, they arrive in New York, in front of:

26	EXT. NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE - DAY                        26

	The automobiles and clothing fashions indicate a time 
	near the end of the roaring 'twenties.  As can be 
	expected, there is quite a frenzy in front of the Stock 
	Exchange, which reflects the unbelievable level of 
	trading inside.  Suddenly, SCREAMS, from what sounds 
	like hundreds of people, pierce the air.

		It's late October, 1929.

                    (in awe)
		The darkest day in our nation's history.

	Businessman after businessman pours out of the doors of 
	the Stock Exchange.  They are tearing their hair, 
	screaming, sobbing, and otherwise showing discontent.

26	CONTINUED                                                 26

		This little accident of runaway, unprotected 
		capitalism plunged the country into 
		the deepest economic depression it 
		had ever experienced.  The poor 
		became so poor that revolt loomed 
		on the horizon.

	Jefferson snaps his fingers.  They suddenly appear in:

27	INT. OVAL OFFICE - DAY                                    27

	FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT can be seen behind his desk, 
	feverishly signing some bills his cabinet has drafted.

		It was only thanks to the "New Deal," as put 
		forward by this man, that 
		capitalism was saved from itself.

		Yeah, yeah, I know all this.  I'm not totally 

		No, you're not.  Not totally.
		You're not so ignorant as to not know why 
		welfare was initiated in the first 
		And you're not so ignorant as not to know 
		that money the government spends on 
		welfare could, theoretically, be 
		spent on defense.
		But you are ignorant enough not to put two 
		and two together.  The way you've 
		been cutting spending to social 
		welfare, I think you honestly 
		believe that the 35 million 
		American individuals living below 
		your artificial "poverty line" are 

	This time, Jefferson doesn't even bother to dictate his 
	actions.  He merely takes off with Quayle, exits the 
	White House, goes forward in time a few decades, and 
	lands in:


	SENATOR Dan Quayle is sitting in front of a television 
	set, eagerly watching the news.

                         PRESIDENT QUAYLE
		Hey!  That's me there!

	Jefferson nods.

                         PRES. QUAYLE
		What's that he's watching?

		Pay attention and see.

	Quayle takes a closer look.  The television picture 
	displays footage of MILITARY TROOPS marching across 
	some field.  An ANNOUNCER'S voice speaks underneath it:

                    (o.s.) (filtered)
		We take you now to the Oval Office.

	The picture now displays a film clip of Ronald Reagan 
	from a press conference.

		I have complete faith in the Contras' cause. 
		By fighting the Nicaraguan 
		Sandinistas, they are doing their 
		best to combat the scourge of 
		communism, which has plagued South 
		and Central America for far too 

                         SENATOR QUAYLE
                    (leaping up from the couch)
		Yeah!  Let's show those pinko bastards who's 
		the boss!  They can't push the 
		Western Hemisphere around and get 
		away with it!

	President Quayle smiles as he recalls this reaction.

		You liked that, didn't you?

                         PRES. QUAYLE
		You bet your sweet patooty I did.

28	CONTINUED										   28

		And did you know at the time that the Contras 
		were created and funded entirely by 
		the CIA?

                         PRES. QUAYLE
		They were?

		Don't play the sweet innocent little lamb 
		with me.  I know you better.   I 
		know you better than Bush or Mrs. 
		Quayle or anybody knows you.

                         PRES. QUAYLE
		What?!  How??

		If the CIA can eavesdrop with microphones, 
		the spirit world can eavesdrop too.

	Meanwhile, the TV has switched to a commercial for AT&T 
	/ Pacific Telephone.  (Indicating that this takes place 
	before AT&T split and Pacific Telephone became Pacific 

                         TV ANNOUNCER
                    (o.s.) (filtered)
		AT&T.  Reach out and touch someone.

		In 1983, AT&T's total worth was 158 billion 
		dollars, making it the most 
		highly-valued corporation in the 
		United States.  I can assure you 
		they didn't get that way by not 
		branching out into certain third- 
		world nations.  Maybe even some 
		place like Nicaragua.  And when the 
		people of that country elected 
		someone who didn't want U.S. 
		investors to take 90% or more of 
		the profits or work his country's 
		labor force at slave-labor wages, 
		AT&T probably went to Reagan and 
		told him that the government in 
		that country was communist and 
		needed to be overthrown.

                         PRES. QUAYLE
		You're kidding, right?

28	CONTINUED                                                 28

	Jefferson shakes his head.

		ITT and IBM helped to over throw the Allendae 
		government in Chile for exactly 
		that reason.
		Now, I think you've seen enough of the past. 
		Its time we returned and waited 
		for your second visit.

	Jefferson once again whisks President Quayle away 
	through the air, and deposits him in:

29	QUAYLE'S WHITE HOUSE BEDROOM - NIGHT                      29

	Jefferson sets the hapless Quayle down on his plush 
	Victorian bed.

		Well, goodbye to you.  And good luck. . . .

	Jefferson steps onto the window ledge.

		But wait!

	Jefferson leaps into the night.

                    (calling after him)
		How is Elvis?!

30	INT. QUAYLE'S BEDROOM - LATER THAT NIGHT                  30

	Quayle is sitting up, twiddling his thumbs.  The dark 
	circles underneath his eyes are more from stress than 
	from lack of sleep, although he's had his fair share of 
	both.  Almost imperceptibly, a high-pitched tone 
	crescendos out of nothingness and heralds the 
	appearance of the second SPIRIT.

	Quayle takes a good look at the spirit.  It seems solid 
	enough.  It appears to be an eastern European man with 
	long black hair, a beard and moustache, and 
	loose-fitting white robes much like a poor-man's toga. 
	Aside from a few tiny scars on his forehead, he is 
	quite handsome.

		I am the spirit of American Christmas 
30	CONTINUED                                                 30

                    (surprisingly relaxed)
		You look . . . familiar.

		Come with me.

	The spirit extends his hand.  Quayle takes it, 
	reluctantly at first, and then feels calmly assured 
	that this man will not hurt him.  The spirit walks over 
	to the window.

		Are you going to fly me around like Jefferson 

		No, not exactly.  Get on my back.

	Quayle shrugs, and does so.  The spirit steps with one 
	foot out the window, and as he does so, we CUT TO:

31	EXT. QUAYLE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT                             31

	Quayle's bedroom is on the third or fourth floor of the 
	White House.  As the spirit's leg comes out of the 
	window, it suddenly GROWS until it reaches all the way 
	to the ground.  His other leg comes out and does 
	likewise.  As he pulls his torso out of the window, it 
	grows in proportion to his legs, until he becomes a 
	giant standing fifteen meters tall.  Quayle is sitting 
	on his shoulder.  The spirit walks across the White 
	House lawn, apparently making quite a noise but 
	attracting no attention and leaving no giant 

		How did you do that?

		If you feel tall, you walk tall.

	They continue on in silence, past the White House fence 
	and into the north-eastern quadrant of the city.



31	CONTINUED                                                 31

		How is Elvis?



		Elvis Presley is dead.

		Oh, come on!  So are you.

		In a manner of speaking, yes.

	The spirit lumbers on in silence, until they reach:

32	EXT. SLUM COMPLEX - EVENING                               32

	The spirit stops in front of Apartment Four.  Even from 
	the outside, it appears quite squalid.

		Do you recognize this place?

		No, no I don't, and I certainly wouldn't care 

		Read the name on the door.

	He does.  A piece of masking tape reads, 
	"Jones & Dunne."

		Jones!  As in Miss Jones?!  My secretary?!

		The very same.

		But who's this Dunne fellow?

	The spirit shrinks, then gestures, and they find 

33	INT. APARTMENT FOUR - EVENING                             33

	A man, a woman, and six children are busily scurrying 
	about.  The smell of Christmas dinner is in the air.

		Mr. Dunne is her live-in boyfriend.  
		Essentially her husband, 
		considering that they've had six 
		children together.

		Six children!

	Quayle counts them just to make sure.

		They should have used some form of 
		contraception.  Sheish!  These 
		living conditions aren't fit for a 
		rat, much less six children!

		They wanted a large family.  Of course, they 
		didn't count on the sixth one 
		coming out deformed.

	The spirit indicates one little boy who's not roaming 
	the apartment with his brothers and sisters.  He is 
	hobbling around on little metal crutches.

		Tim -- or Tiny Tim, as they refer to this 
		poor son of theirs -- was detected 
		in Miss Jones's womb as being badly 
		malformed.  They would have aborted 
		him -- except that you had made 
		sure the supreme court overturned 
		their 1973 ruling and banned 

	The Jones/Dunne family sits down to a rather minimal 
	Christmas dinner.  Despite the pervasive festive 
	spirit, Miss Jones cannot keep from asking a somber 

                         MISS JONES
		How does the job market look, honey?

                         MR. DUNNE
		Not good.  Good old Reaganomics has finally 
		cut its own throat.  The want ads 
		look practically barren --

33	CONTINUED                                                 33

		and I thought it looked bad last year!
		And unemployment compensation isn't at the 
		height of its powers any more, 

                         MISS JONES
		Damn these social service cutbacks.  Its bad 
		enough the social security program, 
		food stamps, unemployment, and all 
		those programs are going down the 
		drain, but for the country to keep 
		spending so much on defense while 
		all this is going on is obscene!

                         MR. DUNNE
		Now, come on, dear, don't be so bitter.  It's 
		Christmas.  It's a time for sharing 
		warmth and happiness.  We'll pull 

                         MISS JONES
		I know.  And I'm sorry, dear.  It's just that 
		. . . well . . . I work for the 
		bastard who's perpetuating this 
		trend!  And he doesn't care about 
		us, or people like us.  He only 
		cares about keeping his precious 
		upper class people happy.

	On crutches, TINY TIM has approached the table and 
	intervenes between Miss Jones and Mr. Dunne.

                         TINY TIM
		Mother, father is right.  This isn't a time 
		for grief.  Enjoy yourself.  Go 
		ahead and feel happy, so you can 
		spread it around over all of us.

	Dunne takes Tim up onto his lap.

		Oh, Tiny Tim, you are such an angel!  If . . .
		if I ever were to lose you . . .
		But here, have some of the Chritmas turkey!

33	CONTINUED                                                 33

	Tim eagerly takes the turkey slice in his little hands.

		And God bless us, every one.

                    (truly touched)


		Will Tiny Tim die?

		He is overburdened and under-nourished.  If 
		things continue as they've been 
		going, his grave will be added to a 
		multitude of other nameless 

		But . . . but there must be some way to 
		change that outcome . . .

		What do you care?  "Let the undesirables die, 
		and decrease the surplus 

	Quayle buries his face in his hands.

		I should like to show you Christmas time in 

		Oh no. . . .

		But I fear that might be too much, even for 
		your stomach.  And my time is far 
		too short.

		You mean . . . Nicaraguans . . . nearly all 
		Nicaraguans . . . the whole country 
		full . . . are worse off than these 
		poor --

33	CONTINUED                                                 33

		It was a government like yours that gave 
		these to me.

	The spirit bares his wrists.  There are deep wounds in 

		Nail holes. . . .

		As you shamelessly give them out to every 
		country that resists United States 
		It's time for you to return home again.

		Now?  But spirit --


	As the spirit says this, there is a crack of THUNDER, 
	and the scene about them CUTS TO:

34	INT. QUAYLE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT                             34

		Your lesson, Dan Quayle, is not quite over.  
		You still must meet the third 
		spirit.  I pray . . . that his mark 
		will stay with you; for if it does 
		not, we can do no more.  Farewell.

	Before his eyes, the ghost ages.  He turns into a 
	withered old man, then collapses into a pile of dust 
	and blows away in the wind from the open window.

35	INT. QUAYLE'S BEDROOM - LATER THAT NIGHT                  35

	Quayle is a nervous wreck.  He can barely keep from 
	screaming.  The bags under his eyes have turned into 

		Blast it, I wish that third spirit would just 
		show up and get it over with!

35	CONTINUED						  35

	And as if on cue, a shadow creeps over him from behind. 
	He turns to its source.


	A FIGURE dressed in a black robe and cloak has a hood 
	drawn over his face.  The figure is carrying a scythe 
	in his right hand, with bony fingers.  The figure takes 
	a few steps toward Quayle.

37	ANGLE ON BOTH OF THEM                                     37

                    (mustering up what little
                     courage he has)
		Am I to assume . . . that you are the spirit 
		of American Christmas yet to come?

	The figure nods, but does not speak.  He gestures with 
	the index finger of his left hand for Quayle to 
	approach him.  Reluctantly, Quaye gets up and edges 
	toward him one tiny step at a time.  Finally, when he 
	is close enough, the figure grabs Quayle's right wrist. 
	Quayle cringes, his eyes shut.

		C . . . c . . . cold. . . .

	When Quayle finally opens his eyes, he is in:

38	EXT. WASTELAND - OVERCAST TWILIGHT                        38

	A wind howls across dunes made of sand, dirt, and 
	broken pieces of concrete and steel.  Two men are 
	barely visible in the distance.

		Where is this dreadful place?

	Again the figure does not speak, but releases Quayle's 
	wrist and points at the two distant men.  Quayle 
	approaches them slowly.  As he approaches, the wind 
	dies down and we can hear them speak.

                         MAN 1
		. . . that damned mass funeral!

                         MAN 2
		Oh, come on now, none of us could have seen 
		that nuclear war coming.

38	CONTINUED                                                 38

                         MAN 1
		What do you mean none of us?  We knew that 
		even small countries have access to 
		nuclear technology.  Or at least I 
		did.  And I presume, so did our 
		precious government.  And what did 
		we do?  We stormed right across 
		their borders like we owned the 
		place.  We were asking for it, if 
		you ask me.

                         MAN 2
		Hey, think of it as a blessin' in disguise.  
		We can start all over from scratch 
		now.  No need to take to the 

                         MAN 1
		Heaven knows, I felt like doing that.  I was 
		livin' on practically nothin', and 
		so was everybody I ever knew.  How 
		did they expect us to survive with 
		tiny welfare checks and an 
		impossible-to-find-work economy?  I 
		can't believe we actually elected 
		those bastards into office.


	The figure is silent.

		Spirit, what country is this?

	Again the figure is silent.

		Who did they elect into office that did this? 
		What country collapsed because of 
		such an idiotic policy?

	The figure points off stage left.  Quayle follows his 
	finger until he sees:

39	ANOTHER ANGLE                                             39

	The dust in the wind makes for an almost opaque haze, 
	but even through this can be seen . . . the remains of 
	the White House!

40	CLOSE SHOT ON QUAYLE                                      40

		The White House!
		Then . . . then this country is the United 
		States!  And the country that 
		launched nuclear weapons at us . . .
		was South Africa!
		And . . . and I was the bastard they were 
		talking about who got us into this 
                    (larger sobs)
		I never intended for it to get like this!  I 
		never wanted a ruined country on a 
		poisoned planet!

	He looks up, and notices that the figure has vanished.

                    (looks around frantically)
	Spirit!!  Don't leave me here!!!

	Camera crane pulls back and up from Quayle as three 
	disembodied voices chant to him in unison.  The voices 
	are those of George Bush, Thomas Jefferson, and the 
	second Spirit.

                    (o.s.) (reverb)
		You chose that place for yourself.

	Quayle looks for the source of the sound but sees 

                    (o.s.) (reverb)
		Now, you've got the option to choose again.

		Choose . . . again?

                    (o.s.) (reverb)
		Our nation's future is still in your hands.

40	CONTINUED                                                 40

		You can leave behind your old policies.  
		Start fresh.  See things as a human 
		being, rather than a tool of the 
		corporate complex.  You can see 
		that the value of the long-term 
		outweighs the value of the short-
		Or . . .
		You can go ahead and send your troops in to 
		South Africa.
		The choice is yours
		Yours . . .

	And all-of-a-sudden, as though this whole ordeal had 
	never happened, Quayle finds himself:

41	INT. QUAYLE'S BEDROOM - EVENING                           41

	He finds himself sobbing on the bed, the same evening 
	-- at the same time -- that this whole fiasco started. 
	As though, just perhaps, none of it had happened at 

		The choice is mine . . .
		The choice is mine . . .
		Boy, is the choice ever mine. . . .

	The camera pulls back.  We are left with the rather 
	disturbing feeling that, just perhaps, President Quayle 
	will not follow the spirits' exemples after all. . . .

                                                        FADE OUT


1. Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, 1865

2. J. Michael Straczynski, The Complete Book of Scriptwriting, parts 1 and 3, 1982

3. Robert Harmel, American Government: Readings on Continuity and Change, 1988; the Constitution of the United States of America, as it appears in the appendix

4. James W. Lamare, What Rules America, 1988; p. 42 (AT&T)