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“When I was young I’d always heard that if you taught a man to fish, you’d feed him for a life time. Since the people in Africa are always starving that must mean there are no fish there. No fish means no water. If we give the people water then they’ll have fish.”

Through out its history the United States has been the leader in humanitarian efforts around the world. So it comes as no surprise when the President issued his public address about the sad condition of Africa and his plan to fix it.

“But to provide fish for a life time is going to take a lot of water and we’re going to have to find some place to get it from. I personally nominate Georgia and South Carolina.”

The two states suggested alternative methods for acquiring water, but like most things the President came up with, the plan was well underway before the states had a chance to respond.

“To transport the water we’re going to need a lot of fuel.”

The oil barons all disappeared in a single night; their companies were defaulted to government ownership. It was noted by a few small independent newspapers that the company shareholders were curiously silent about losing their investments, but it was reasoned away fairly quickly in media blitzes and police brutality.

“I estimate that we will need at least as much fuel as water to complete this project and since Georgia and South Carolina have both agreed to donate around 3 billion gallons of water we will need about 3 billion gallons of fuel. This may make gasoline more expensive for a time, but the American people are strong and always willing to help a good cause.”

Gas prices rose to be somewhere from twenty to thirty dollars a gallon. Georgia and South Carolina were shocked and attempted to get the President to choose two other states, any other states, and they suggested Florida and Louisiana due to some convoluted reasoning that those venerable states had more water than they could manage. Florida and Louisiana told Georgia and South Carolina to fuck off in no uncertain terms.

“Now, some of you may feel the need to avoid your responsibilities, but remember that if our founding fathers ran away when responsibility called we would not have this glorious country to live in. What if Jackson hadn’t dumped the tea, or Twist had never asked for more milk? Why, we’d be just as bad as some unmentionable countries in the great Court of Europe. And we aren’t here to please the Court of Europe.”

Europe may have taken offense at this but they were dealing with the large roving ecological disaster that had been given to France as a gift the year before and had little to say to the United States except “How do we turn it off?!? Please oh please!”

“Upon reviewing the plan with my cabinet, we have determined that the exact number of helicopters we need is somewhere around seven thousand or more. Therefore I’m asking that news corporations, cities, police departments, donate helicopters to help our military which has almost, but not quite, enough helicopters to get the job done.”

Government agents quickly located helicopters for the job and the civilian agencies that held them were very glad to help in anyway possible and eagerly gave the helicopters away as if they couldn’t wait to get rid of them.

“As you can see from this map,” the President said gesturing behind his desk, “our statistic-magicians have determined that the driest place in Africa is the country of Uganda. The Ugandans try to hide this by releasing massive amount of propaganda. According to Ugandan propaganda, there is a large lake called Lake Victoria in Uganda’s southeast corner. This propaganda has been distributed to the rest of the world for centuries, but we are here to tell Uganda today that there is no reason to be ashamed. Here in the United States, a few of our own states lack the water necessary for fish, places like Arizona and New Mexico. Montana and Wyoming. Maine and New York. We know your pain and we will help you.”

The Ugandans accepted the water, thankful for the kind offer of the Americans. The press photographs were extensive and all the news programs carried video of many Ugandan officials shaking the President’s hand, clearly in awe of the great man and his fifty plus Christina Ricci clones bedecked in military fatigues and triangular hats tilted at a rakish angle on their heads. Smiles were all around as the Ugandan dignitaries happily agreed with everything the President said:

“The route our helicopters will be taking is marked by the black line on the map behind me. As you can see, most of the fuel will be spent getting to Uganda.”

The line later became known as the Line of Death, because air traffic over it became so heavy that nothing would grow due to lack of sunlight. A few countries over which it passed threatened to shoot at it, but they were quickly convinced that this would be a mistake when the Americans sent over diplomats to show them the errors of their ways.

“Once the helicopters reach Uganda they will deliver the water and then return to pick up more water.”

The method of delivery was to dump the water in roughly the center of the country. Unfortunately, often times the helicopters were unable to make it all the way to Uganda or from it for one reason or another and people were even afraid to walk under the Line of Death for fear of falling aircraft.

“Casualties are expected but if we can pull this off, the rest of the world will take note and see that it is help not hurt that pulls this mighty planet around its axis,” The national anthem began to play in the background indicating that the speech was almost done and the President smiled. “Thank you and good night. Let’s look forward to tomorrow and a bright future where all the world is in piece and has plenty of fish.”

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