Comedians Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and others bid farewell to Bill O'Reilly. (The Washington Post)

‘Killing Bill’ (in the style of noted historian Bill O’Reilly) 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The man with a day left to live is anxious.

He is the best cable news anchor in the world. He is a colossus among men, with piercing eyes, large hands and an elegant wattle like a turkey prince. If he is anxious, it is because he knows that other men — lesser, smaller men who hate to see a man like him — are gathering to plot against him.

He is rakishly handsome and universally admired. When he opens his mouth, people are impressed. When he closes it, they weep. Sometimes, just as a special favor to them, because he is broad-minded like that, he will call women on the telephone and allegedly give them a wonderful compliment: his sexual attention and a reference to a loofah.

But some of these women are ungrateful, and instead of being flattered, they complained to a lawyer. And now a vile and pointless newspaper has gotten wind of it.

And a conspiracy is brewing.

The conspirators come from Australia. They are not great men themselves, merely the sons of a great man. Lachlan. James. The names are not even prepossessing. But like King Lear, their great father is waning in his dying years. He has grown soft, and like vultures with bad hair, they are swooping in. Just looking at them, you can definitely tell that they had not bedded as many women as John Wilkes Booth. (Editor’s Note: Citation?) (NOTE TO EDITOR: NO! THAT ISN’T HOW WE DO THINGS!)

But what they hoped to do would be, in the end, far worse than what he had done.

They conspired against the one beacon of spinless light still left in a chaos-ridden world. They wanted to destroy the “Factor.”

While they meet, Bill sits in Italy. He is in the city of St. Peter. But someone far more noteworthy is about to be crucified.

 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The man with minutes left to live is touching the pope.

The air smells of forsythia, probably. We wrote this very fast because we need to come out with at least 1.5 of these books every year, but that looks like how it would have smelled.

The pope will later write (NO, I DON’T HAVE A CITATION FOR THIS! AS I TOLD YOU, THIS WAS COMPOSED IN HASTE!) that this is the closest he has ever felt to touching God.

Maybe it is.

Bill’s confidence is not waning. Not yet. He has taken them on before, these ant-men — not ant-men in the sense that “Ant-Man” had been a fairly successful entry in the Marvel canon, but ant-men in the sense that they were weak and puny and Bill O’Reilly could kill them at any time by turning a magnifying glass on them.

He has weathered all of it. He has been fighting since the day he was born: fighting to honor the memory of the nuns he saw shot in the head (Editor’s note: Citation needed) (NO, I TOLD YOU!) and fighting the fact-checkers tooth and nail.

Bill O’Reilly is widely regarded as a prophet, even in his home town. He has even inspired a pathetic, small-minded man to perform in a parody of him for years on television — the highest form of flattery. That man now sits at his desk, feeling as though all the light has gone out of the world. And it has.

His phone rings. The lawyer again. The news is bad.

They’ve killed it. Those maniacs. The most beautiful thing in the world. The “Factor.”

How could this happen? No one had ever noticed the women before, except to pay them for their silence. And why would they? Women were for bedding, a verb we like to use here as part of our house style.

They were always asking for it, these women. They were a strange species of Lady Macbeth that sometimes manifested itself at Fox News and appeared onscreen until its legs and face became hideous and it had to be concealed forever. They were not to be listened to. Everyone knew that.

This was the age of Trump. A week earlier, the president had called Bill O’Reilly “a good person.” If the point of Donald Trump’s election wasn’t that you could go full “Mad Men” with your workplace environment without consequences, then it had no lesson. Then everything meant nothing.

Bill had been saying this kind of thing for years. These conspirators, these so-called “people,” were all backward. Stop him now? Abandon him now? How? Why? How was this less profitable for advertisers than anything else he’d ever done?

Bill for years had bravely spoken the truth about all sorts of groups — the slaves who built the White House, lounging in their comfortable accommodations with their excellent meals — the women who had put on the Wrong clothes every day and walked out into the streets just Asking for It, the Islamic faith (responsible for everything wrong in the world), the immigrants (who never worked), the poor (even worse) — and his bottom line had hardly been affected. Nothing touched him. Not even the thing with the loofah (or falafel?). He had literally made things up, and no one had minded. If he thought that he could do no wrong, he could have been forgiven for thinking it. He could have been forgiven for everything. He was Bill O’Reilly.

Until now.

Was a tide turning? What would life be like in this brave new world where if you were consistently victim-blaming xenophobic islamophobic racist had allegedly harassed female employees for years and years and paid out millions of dollars in settlements, it could negatively affect your bottom line? Perhaps different. Perhaps not.

It was not the people who did him in, after all. They had heard him for years and never minded. Bill had forgotten about the Brands.

It was not principle that ruled. Not in Fox News, where these conspirators murmured. Not even in the White House.

As Bill fell, clutching his large and impressive severance check, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, two nervous but well-dressed people, were in the White House trying to persuade Trump that a nuclear conflagration might seriously damage the Trump brand. (Were they?) (HUSH!) Only one man can say for sure what other people are doing, thinking, and feeling at any given time without conducting any research on the subject, and his light has been silenced forever.

Because he lives in this globe, on this planet, and in this broken world there’s no such thing as a no-spin zone.

(I have not talked to anyone closer to the story, because I felt that might muddy things.)