Damage Control Briefing #263 …

A storm was raging. The large walnut minds of the Milkanhoney Preservation had set aside the day’s agenda. There was no time for the Kimjongadon, the hell-bent Tariffraptors or even a surprise visit from a Celebritysaurus. The sun was shining outside, but inside the Oval Dwelling, a feeding frenzy loomed in this on again-off again, dino-eat-dino world. The Tyrumposaurus was on the warpath, eager to blame any dino but himself.

He’d just been informed that the top legal dino in Manhattinhand was suing his My-Moolah-Moolah Foundation for illegal activity. Namely, accepting moolah-moolah leaves from well-meaning dinos who thought they were helping the veteran dinos only to see the T-Rump turn around and line his own nest with it.

“That’s my moolah-moolah,” shouted the T-Rump. “Don’t they understand that?”

The ever-blinking, battle-scarred Rudygiuliani nodded profusely.

“You’re the leader,” he said. “You’ve shown no empathy. No empathy whatsoever. Why on earth would they expect you to now give moolah-moolah to the veterans. It’s crazy. Preposterous!“

“Next,” said the Marinegunkelly at the door. His duties had been reduced to giving short, impromptu manicures to the long claws of the long line of dinos waiting to have access to the T-Rump.

“Oh, yes,” said the Rudygiuliani. “Before we begin Damage Control Briefing #263, I’d like to introduce you to the latest member of the team. We have a terrible turnover rate — I have no idea why — but I have a good feeling about this dino.”

A dinosaur wearing a goofy grin bounded forward with a playful leap. The Rudygiuliani wrapped a short arm around his neck.

“I present you the Stephencolbert.”

The T-Rump gave him the once over.

“Do I know you?”

“Heck, no. I’m up way past your bedtime.”

“Well, Stephen, you’re working for me now. For free. You should know I have a thing against paying a dino an honest wage for an honest day’s work.”

“Because you’re dishonest. Of course. No shocker there. I understand completely. Never mind the money, I’m going to enjoy this.”

“Hah!” the Rudygiuliani said with a forced laugh, punching the Stephencolbert in the arm. “That’s the spirit. Isn’t he a funny dino? … Of course he is or he wouldn’t be here. He’s smart, he cares … because there’s that hole to fill. Did I say he was funny too?”

The T-Rump dragged a claw across his chin, then the Stephencolbert’s chin for good measure.

“Smart, caring and funny like the Kimjongadon?” he asked.

The Stephencolbert brightened.

“Did you hear about the explosion in the Nuclearballisticus population? I mean, KA-BOOM!

“O-k-a-y,” said the Rudygiuliani, “we don’t need the T-Rump mumbling that in his sleep. Moving right along, welcome to the team, Stephen. We have, uh … more messes than normal to clean up today. But first some good news. The Inspector General dino’s footprints in the sand were finally on display today. They say that lying, no-good Comeyonus acted out of line and some nonsense that he wasn’t politically motivated. I think we should just forget that last part because after all, as your legal dino, it’s my duty to contest everything.”

“What do you think, Stephen?” asked the T-Rump.

“Well, the way I see it … you fired Comey. Then you lied about it. But you’re a good liar, I’ll give you that. You need to look at your reflection in the water and ask yourself, are you the best liar?”

The T-Rump’s brow furrowed in confusion. He’d heard the special word. That ringing endorsement of desperately sought recognition.

“The best? Of course I’m the best.”

“Next!”

Claws groomed, the Michaelcohen scrambled into the room. The T-Rump bristled at the sight of him.

“Do I know you?”

“T-Rump, it’s me, your legal dino, your fixer. The dino who would dive off Smashed Dino-Head Jump for you.”

“Wrong on the first two counts,” said the T-Rump. “But you still have a shot at the third.”

“I know we’ve been through a lot, T-Rump. But my family needs me. You must understand. I was hoping … Could you pardon me? You know … like family?”

“Sure. I can pardon family.”

“Oh, thank you, bless you, T-Rump.”

“Not your family. Mine.”

“And don’t forget, T-Rump” said the Rudygiuliani, “the Kushneratops is disposable.”

The Michaelcohen stood there shocked, the familiar look on his face like he was being chased by something much bigger than him.

“But you pardoned the Sheriffjovenator. And the Scooterlibby. They’re not family.”

“Those were … those were my practice pardons.”

“Practice?” said the Stephencolbert. “You don’t need no practice. Practice? I mean, we’re talkin’ practice.”

The Stephencolbert turned to the Michaelcohen.

“Enquiring dinos want to know. Are you still thinking about flipping like a little purse puppy?”

“It’s a shame what’s happening to you,” the T-Rump said to his former fixer. “But no one knows of the hardship I’m going through trying to replace you. That’s the real shame.”

“You – you’re replacing me. Already?”

“Somebody has to take care of my, uh … discrepancies.”

“And there are SO many,” chimed in the Stephencolbert.

The T-Rump eyed him strangely.

“I don’t know what to say,” said the crestfallen Michaelcohen.

“Exactly,” said the Rudygiuliani. “What you just said. Say it to the judge. Over and over.”

The Michaelcohen trudged dejectedly for the door.

“Oh, Michael,” the Stephencolbert called after him. “If you need someone to look after your little dinos, you can drop them off at the Great Tex-Mex Divide. You might even see them again.”

A defeated Michaelcohen staggered out the door.

“Well,” said the Rudygiuliani, “I think we’re doing well. Just one last crisis.”

The Stephencolbert skipped around the room.

The Manaforta’s in jail, the Manaforta’s in jail,” he sang gleefully.

The Rudygiuliani frowned.

“I wouldn’t be too happy about it.” He turned to the T-Rump. “The Manaforta was busted for witness tampering. He’s in the Solitary Sinkhole until his trial.”

“Witness tampering?” said the T-Rump. “I like his style. Even when facing 300 years in the hole, he keeps breaking the law. That’s impressive. It really is. He’s a real team player.”

The Rudygiuliani rose from his haunches.

“Well, time for me to make the rounds with the Mediacircustops. Bafflegab, bafflegab. Comin’ up.”

The Stephencolbert headed for the door as well.

“Where are you going?” asked the T-Rump.

“Me? Oh, bells to ring, songs to sing, hands to wring … and mud to sling.”

“Good,” said the T-Rump. “Mud slinging’s good. Hit the Sessionsopossum with some while you’re at it.”

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