Whoever Dies With the Most Fabulous Prizes Wins

Bruce Kluger and David Slavin write satire for National Public Radio.

[Game show music; audience applauding wildly]

HOST: Hello, viewers. Welcome back to “Let’s Make a War!” If you’re just tuning in, our contestant, George, from Crawford, Texas, is about to choose from three spectacular grand prizes, each one hidden behind a door on our stage. Ready, George?

GEORGE: Sure as shootin’.

HOST: OK, I’ll tell you a little bit about what’s behind each door, and you decide which one you want. But remember, George, you have to keep whatever you get. Here we go.


Door No. 1: This package promises a full-scale war with a rabid Middle Eastern nation whose maniacal leader has been the splinter in the foot of American presidents for more than a decade. Should you take the prize, you may succeed in toppling this mustachioed madman and turn his vast oil fields into your own personal Sunoco station. But beware: You may end up in the quicksand, ultimately spending billions of your nation’s dollars just to annex a barren wasteland whose citizens can’t stand you....

GEORGE: Gee, I wonder what my dad would do in a situation like this.

HOST: Oooh, sorry, George, he had his chance. Now, it’s up to you!

GEORGE: Um, tell me about Door No. 2.


HOST: OK! Behind Door No. 2 is a tense confrontation with an isolated, belligerent nation on an Asian peninsula that in recent months has confessed to scheming to build a nuclear stockpile capable of flattening the Earth like a scallion pancake. Take the prize and you could save the world from a jumpsuited, pompadoured crackpot dictator. On the other hand, you may end up lighting the fuse yourself, leading us all to the great big boom!

GEORGE: Whoa, this is a tough one. Let me ask you a question: When you say nuclear weapons, is that the same thing as “nuke-you-lar”?

HOST: Judges?

[A bell rings.]

HOST: Same thing! Now what will it be?

GEORGE: Maybe I better take a gander at Door No. 3.

HOST: All right. Behind Door No. 3 is your continuing crusade to capture a notorious terrorist and dismantle his network of evildoers.

Choose this door and you could rid the world of a real and dangerous villain. But should you fail, your nation may turn to someone else to do the job in 2004. So, George, which door will it be?


GEORGE: Can I phone a friend?

HOST: Wrong show, but for you, George, sure.

GEORGE [into phone]: Dick? Hi, it’s me. Are you watching? (Pause) Yeah, thanks. Laura picked out the tie. So ... what should I do? (Pause) Really? What does Karl think? (Pause) Okey-dokey. [He hangs up.]

HOST: So, George, it’s the moment of truth. Let’s Make a War! Will it be ... Door No. 1, Door No. 2 or Door No. 3?

GEORGE: I think ... I’m going ... to take ... ‘em all!

[Audience erupts in cheers.]

HOST: He’s taking all three! What a champ!

[Theme music begins again; credits roll.]


HOST: Well, folks, that’s all the time we have for “Let’s Make a War!” Join us next week ... if there is a next week.