When you’re a part-time newspaper columnist like me, one of the advantages is the untold riches those 25 minutes of weekly work brings and the capacity to buy anything you want. I bought a time machine. Sure, I could go back in time and kill baby Hitler or go forward to get next week’s lottery numbers, but, again, I am already filthy rich — not rich enough to buy (or maybe not) Twitter but enough to buy (or maybe not) Parler.
I’d let you borrow my time machine, but it’s a stick shift, and the air-conditioner doesn’t work. (Again, just Parler rich here.) Recently, I spun the wheel of time for a joyride and wound up on some tropical island paradise. I was shocked to see a familiar face. I whipped out my voice recorder as I sensed a story … or at least 25 minutes’ worth of column material.
Chris Johnson: I’ve landed on some tropical island. The year is 2033, and sitting before me — at the tiki bar — is none other than the big cheese himself, Mickey Mouse.
Mickey: (Burp!) You got the wrong mouse, buddy. They call me Steamboat. Hey, Jose! Get me another drink-o and make it a double — I mean el-double-o.
Jose: Not a triple?
M: Naw, señor, it’s just 11 a.m. Hey, buddy. What day is it?
Jose: It’s yesterday.
M: Bueno! I’m scheduled to do bachelorette party at 7 tomorrow.
CJ: Look, um, “Steamboat,” I know you’re really …
M: Willie. Call me Willie. Steamboat Willie. Or Mickey Willie. Whatever. You found me. What do you want? I ain’t doing no autographs before noon. It’s happy hour!
Jose: Happy hour is 5-6.
M: That’s what I said.
CJ: Just got a few questions. Won’t take but a second. I’ll ask between sips of that fruity drink. First, are you even old enough to drink?
M: I’m 105 #%@*-ing years old, bro. What do you think?
CJ: Good point. So, this is where you vacation? Where are we anyway?
M: Vacation? Where you been? Dude, I live here — exotic exile, ever since Ron DeSantis sent his personal army to clear Disney World back in 2023. But, hey, he never would have become president of New Gilead without me as enemy No. 1, huh? How about a toast? To the mouse that destroyed America — me! Woo-hoo!
CJ: Um, thanks for spoiler alert! I came in a time machine. It was still the USA when I left.
M: Dadgum, sonny. You missed a lot. You know how folks say, “If so-and-so wins the election, I’m moving.” Well, I did. Actually didn’t have a choice. And I can’t tell you the name of this island because …
Jose: Isla Mujeres.
M: … I’d have to kill you. Here, try something off this shark tootery tray I ordered. We got some cheddar, gouda, roquefort, feta, taleggio, cotija …
CJ: Dude, that’s just a bunch of cheese.
M: What part of my being a mouse don’t you understand? So, anyway, Ron had his troops storm Cinderella’s castle. I was right in the middle of indoctrinating some kids I had Pluto abduct from the It’s a Small World ride. Donald was standing there, no pants.
M: No, Duck.
CJ: Yeah, but he never wears pants.
CJ: No, Duck.
M: Good point. But it was not a good look for us. It was either renounce books and equality and campaign for Ronny or flee the country. I fled. Left everybody. Been more than 10 years now. Destroyed my career. Only gig I could get was one season of “Big Brother: Mexico,” but I got kicked off after getting in a fight with Speedy Gonzalez. Now, I’m writing a book.
CJ: Lemme guess: Some quirky tropical mystery, maybe something about pirates and islands and margaritas and such.
M: Do I look like Mickey Buffett?
CJ: You mean Steamboat?
M: Do I look like Steamboat Buffett?! It’s a management book based on some of the principles at Disney cultivated over decades before DeSantis convinced everyone we were from the depths of hell. It’s called “Who Moved My Cheese?”
CJ: I think that’s already been done.
M: Quit interrupting, man. I wasn’t finished. It’s called “Who Moved My Cheese? Ron Moved My Cheese, Dammit!” Moved it all the way to, wait, where am I again?
CJ: Isla Mujeres.
M: Shhhhhh. They’ll find us.
CJ: What about Minnie?
CJ: Your wife, your spouse mouse.
M: Oh yeah. They found out Minnie could still bear offspring, made her a handmaid and assigned her to some commander by the name of Jerry.
CJ: Ah, the mouse from Tom and Jerry. Makes sense.
M: No, Falwell Jr. Guy’s a real freak, by the way.
CJ: And Goofy?
M: Yeah, he’s pretty goofy, too.
CJ: No, I mean your friend Goofy.
M: Well, you can watch that sellout at 8 on Fox News.
CJ: Um, that’s the Tucker Carlson slot.
M: You mean President Carlson. He just took office in January after DeSantis’ term.
CJ: I would’ve thought DeSantis would have declared himself president for life. He seemed well into the process of trying to out-Trump Trump.
M: Oh, he was. Still, he only won because Trump had planned to bolster his military credentials by promising to pick Colonel Sanders as a running mate.
CJ: That’s crazy. Colonel Sanders is dead.
M: Not anymore. He came back with JFK Jr. Turns out Q was right!
CJ: Whom did DeSantis pick?
M: Vice President Rock.
CJ: You mean, The Rock.
M: No, I mean the Kid.
CJ: Oh. Well, no wonder you moved down here.
M: Yep. Good ol’ Kokomo.
Jose: Isla Mujeres. And if you play that damn Beach Boys song for the 100th time on the jukebox, I’m kicking you out again.
M: Ah, good ol’ Josey boy. He loves me. Anyway, life is not so bad now. Sign a few autographs, pose for a few TruthSocial selfies, do “The Hot Dog Dance” at a bachelorette party or two. Mostly I just stay drunk. We don’t have prohibition down here like they do in New Gilead.
CJ: They prohibited alcohol again?
M: Nope, fun. Oh, and reading unapproved books. Nothing but The Bible, “Atlas Shrugged” and “2,000 Mules.
CJ: Is that kinda like “101 Dalmations?”
M: Yeah, just not as realistic.
CJ: How’s Disney World doing?
M: Well, most of the old Magic Kingdom is overrun with giant pythons, poisonous lizards and crocodiles now. That big ol’ parking lot is now the Heard/Depp Paradise Trailer Park.
CJ: I can’t believe Amber Heard and Johnny Depp let them use their names.
M: Are you kidding? They remarried. C’mon, man. Have you ever met two folks more perfect for each other?
CJ: Good point. So, Disney World shut down? Wow!
M: No, they moved it to Vermont, which is one of the few remaining free States, not New Gilead. Apparently Bernie Sanders sold them a bunch of land and got super-rich. He’s now a 91-year-old mega-capitalist.
CJ: No way!
M: Way. He said he was tired of nobody listening for the previous 40 years, so he got rich and now promotes his new Screw The Sick PAC. … Hold the phone! Speaking of folks being perfect for each other, who’s that blonde chick over there sipping that drink that looks like Kool-Aid?
MTG: You’re talking loudly, sir. And this is Kool-Aid. Extremely red Kool-Aid. And the name’s Marjorie.
M: Wut?! Like Taylor-Greene?
MTG: Yes. They said I was too liberal and too reasonable a person for New Gilead.
M: Hey, I think Jewish space lasers are hot, like literally, like you. Wanna come over to my place, a cute little hole in the wall? We can throw darts at my poster of AOC.
MTG: I’ll pass. Check please!
CJ: Hey, Steamboat, I think your beer goggles are fogging up. Maybe you need to sit out a round.
M: Nonsense. And these are margarita goggles. Hey, Jose, my glass is empty-o! As you can see I’ve learned a lot of Español since I left.
CJ: You know, you might want some agua before you have another margarita. It’s still pretty early.
M: What’s agua?
CJ: Water, in Español.
M: Hmm. Does agua have alcohol in it?
M: How do I say that in Spanish?
CJ: Um, no. Never mind. I can see you’re pretty settled here. It is a beautiful place. It’s about as hot as Orlando, but without all the traffic and annoying tourists. Guess you’re never coming home, huh?
M: Bro, this is home. I got my paws in the water, tail in the sand, not a worry in the world …
CJ: Well, can’t say I blame ya. It was nice meeting you. Hey, text me your number, and I’ll give you a holla next time I’m on the island.
M: I don’t text, bro! Dang near impossible with just four fingers. Four fat fingers.
CJ: Well, eight total, you know, between the two hands. Whatever. I’m not judging.
M: Good because, Baby I was drawn this way, baby I was drawn this way, I’m on the right track, baby, I was drawn this way-ay!
Jose: Pete, that drunk rodent is singing again.
CJ: OK, I think I’m gonna head out now before there’s any trouble.
M: Trouble is my middle name. Steamboat Trouble Mickey Willie.
CJ: That’s not quite in the middle.
M: Whatever! Adios, gringo! Hey, Jose! I’m hungry! How about a hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog with extra cheese!