‘Twas the night before Fiscal Cliff, and throughout the land,
Democrats, Republicans were taking a stand.
Their positions unwavering, intractably firm,
With donkey-like stubbornness or entrenched pachyderm.
But the public were hopeful all snug in their beds,
With visions of compromise alive in their heads.
“Come on!” said the people in frustrated dismay.
“Abandon this meaningless partisan fray.”
When Obama and Boehner finally met,
Their first thoughts were not of a country in debt.
And Obama, the chief, said to Boehner “Oh crap!
I’d rather depart for a nice winter’s nap.”
“I know,” sighed Boehner “I’ve plenty to do,
Was planning to take a vacation or two.”
“Never mind,” said the Prez, “we’ll just keep delaying,
Who cares what the grumbling public are saying.”
But out in the blogosphere there arose such a clatter,
The people revolted, resolving this matter:
“There’s only one way to deal with such fools
Obama and Boehner must settle by duel.”
“No way!” said Obama, “I’m renowned for my peace.
“With a medal of proof on my lounge mantlepiece.”
“I agree” cried Boehner, not eager to battle,
And caught the first plane heading out to Seattle.
“Come back,” yelled the people, “we demand this by right,
You’ve had chances to talk, now you settle this fight.”
But the pair, reunited, were far from impressed,
As the thought of a duel made them rather depressed.
As he pondered alternative White House residents,
Obama now saw why we have the vice presidents.
Quick thinking, as always, to Biden he beckoned,
“Get over here Joe, and I’ll make you my second.”
“Now Joe I expect you’ll appear around dawn,
To face off with Boehner on the White House’s lawn.”
“Yeah right!” smiled old Joe, “Would love to assist,
I ain’t packing no pistol — what if I missed?”
And then, in a twinkling, Obama’s next step,
Was to call up more buddies, to be his next rep.
“Now Pelosi! Now Clinton! Now Durbin and Reid!
But all vanished from Washington with notable speed.
“Oh dear,” mused Obama, “now what shall I do?”
So he phoned up Boehner for a quick rendezvous.
“My friend, we are beaten, let’s abandon aggression.”
“Agreed,” said the Speaker, “it’s time for concession.”
So they sprang into action, both recommending,
Adding some taxes and cutting some spending.
Then I heard them exclaim, “We’ve reached a consensus!
Good-bye Fiscal Cliff, we’ve come to our senses.”
• Thomas’ features and columns have appeared in more than 250 magazines and newspapers, including the Washington Post, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, and Christian Science Monitor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.