[SCENE: Cobra Commander and Destro are seated on a nondescript sofa in the rec room at the Terror Drome, watching evening news.]
Cobra Commander: Destro?
Destro: Yes, what is it, Cobra Commander?
CC: I thank all the stars of Cobra-la that we did not have Twitter back in our day.
[Location: Cobra Island. The usual suspects are gathered around a stainless steel conference table, deep inside the Terror Drome. Cobra Commander stands before a giant screen featuring the Cobra snake-head logo.]
Cobra Commander: I sssssssuppose you’re wondering why I’ve called you all here today.
Baroness [sotto voce]: Oh my God.
Destro: Please, Commander. Share with us your latest plan for world domination. We’re all very excited to be a part of it, I’m sure.
CC: Yessss, Dessssstro. You should be! As I see it, we have only one option left to us to compete with the ridiculous banal corruption that is currently plaguing the upper echelons of American politics.
[He gestures to the giant monitor on the wall, calling up a Power Point presentation. The giant, gold-snake-cowled head of SERPENTOR appears. This is met with stunned silence. Then –]
Baroness: I thought Serpentor was dead.
CC: We have a few stray cells tucked away in a flask somewhere, don’t we, Dr. Mindbender? We should be able to whip up a new clone in a jiffy!
Baroness: Never let it be said we don’t recycle here on Cobra Island.
Dr. Mindbender: Yes, I mean, I could probably take a scraping off something or other, or find a hair—
Destro: Did Serpentor even have hair? I don’t think I ever saw him with the cowl off.
Zartan [his feet propped on the table, picking at the tip of an arrow he just happens to have with him]: I’m sure I could find a blood sample somewhere.
CC: If we ever have any hope of drawing the attention of the world back to our own devious machinations, we must take drastic action—
[Everyone is shaking their heads.]
Baroness: Commander. Be honest with yourself. Will this really get any attention? Given what we’re up against?
CC: You haven’t seen the rest of the plan! [He clicks to the next slide.] Step one: Create a new Serpentor! Step two: Create a reality TV show starring the new Serpentor! Step three….
[One hour later.]
CC: Step twenty-four: Kidnap Hector Ramirez and force him to review the memoirs written by the new Serpentor! Step twenty-five…
Destro: Wait. You want a clone that was just created this year to write memoirs?
Baroness: Really, Destro, you’re just now raising questions? You should have gone out for coffee with the rest of us.
Zartan: You still have the same problem. None of this can compete with what’s already happening.
CC: All right. Then let’s have a look at Plan B: Ninjas!
[He clicks the next slide, revealing a picture of Storm Shadow.]
CC: Step 1: Contact Storm Shadow! Step 2: Disguise Storm Shadow as the Easter Bunny at the Traditional White House Easter Egg Hunt! Step 3…
[Baroness produces a flask that was somehow hidden in her skin-tight jumpsuit and stealthily passes it around the table.]
[Time and Place: January, Second Women’s March in an undisclosed city. ]
[There’s a completely unassuming woman dressed in a completely nondescript outfit, wearing glasses and carrying a sign that reads “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.” She might be a librarian. You’d only know this was all a disguise if you knew what to look for.]
[Nearby, there’s a hipster-looking woman with a nose ring and spiked hair and leather jacket, carrying a sign with the anarchy symbol on one side and F*** T**** on the other. Except, you know, without the stars. You’d only know this was all a disguise if you knew what to look for.]
[The crowd shifts, the two women bump into each other by accident. Turns out, they both know what to look for.]
Lady Jaye: Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean —
Zarana: No worries, it’s crowded here —
[Recognizing each other, they both turn away quickly, stunned, and for a moment pretend not to have seen the other. Then –]
Lady Jaye: I wouldn’t have expected to see you here.
Lady Jaye: How could I not? Things have gotten so crazy. . .my mother and grandmother marched so I wouldn’t have to, and now here we are.
Zarana: Right? I’ve got plenty of other fights I could be spending my time on. But do you know what it’s like being the token female in the Dreadnoks?
Jaye: Please say they don’t tell you to go make them a sandwich —
Zarana: Every. Day.
Jaye: That’s horrible. You know, you’re the real brains of that outfit.
Zarana: Right?! Thank you! You’re lucky, you’ve always had Scarlett and Cover Girl watching out for you.
Jaye: Aren’t they great? They’re so amazing–
Zarana: They’re bitches. I mean that as a compliment of course.
Jaye: Hey, bitches get stuff done.
Zarana: Bitches get stuff done!
Jaye: Have you noticed how none of the women in G.I. Joe get helmets? Only the men get helmets.
Zarana: Whoa, I never noticed that before.
Jaye: It’s like, if we cover our hair people won’t know we’re girls? What’s up with that?
[The crowd picks up a chant. Lady Jaye and Zarana join in.]
Crowd: HEY HEY! HO HO! FASCISM HAS GOT TO GO!
Jaye: It’s so weird hearing you say that.
Zarana: Don’t tell anyone, but the entire Cobra organization is having an existential crisis right now. We started out as anarchists, dammit!
Jaye: Well, I should get going. I’m not really supposed to be here.
Zarana: Yeah, me neither.
Jaye: But. You know. [She points at her sign. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.]
Zarana: Yeah, you too. Hey, do me a favor and say hello to Mainframe for me?
Jaye: Wait what?
[But Zarana has already disappeared into the crowd.]
[SCENE: Cobra Commander is at his desk computer, and quickly shuts down a game of Minesweeper when the doors slide open. The Crimson Twins, Tomax and Xamot, enter.]
Cobra Commander: Yessssss, what is it?
Tomax: Cobra Commander we must inform you that we —
Xamot: — are resigning from Cobra.
CC: What! Why?
Tomax: It’s become clear to us that Cobra no longer offers the best opportunities for us to exercise our —
Xamot: — particular talents. So you see, we’ve submitted resumes to —
Tomax & Xamot: The White House.
CC: Well. I can hardly argue with that.
Xamot: We expect another —
Tomax: — Cabinet position —
Xamot: — or two —
Tomax: — or three —
Xamot: — to open up soon. We hope we can count on you —
Tomax: — to provide letters of recommendation?
CC: One question.
Tomax & Xamot: Yes?
CC: Are you even American citizens?
Tomax: What has that —
Xamot: — got to do with anything?
CC: Do you two have any idea how annoying it is to talk to you?
Tomax: Of course–
Xamot: –we do.
Tomax: You don’t think this is —
Xamot & Tomax: — an accident.
[The Twins laugh evilly, in unison.]
CC: Of course I’ll write glowing recommendations for you. I see you working in close proximity to the Oval Office. Very close proximity, one hopes, with frequent opportunities to speak to its occupant. Bessssssssst of luck!
[SCENE: a dive bar outside a U.S. military base at a classified location. General Hawk is slouched at a table in back, alone, a tall glass of Yo Joe Cola in front of him, which he occasionally spikes from a flask. He has a thousand-yard stare to nowhere. He’s seen things.]
[Destro walks in, looks around while his sight adjusts to the gloom. He sees Hawk, considers him, and seems almost sad. He goes to the table, sits across from him.]
Destro: General, I —
General Hawk: “I’d wake up and there’d be nothing.. . When I was here, I wanted to be there; when I was there, all I could think of was getting back into the jungle. I’m here a week now… waiting for a mission… getting softer. Every minute I stay in this room, I get weaker, and every minute Charlie squats in the bush, he gets stronger. Each time I looked around the walls moved in a little tighter –”
Destro: General Hawk!
Hawk [starts awake and glares]: What do you want?
Destro: I came to see how you were getting along. You know, given the current state of things. Your life’s work made a mockery of by the man you’re ostensibly supposed to take orders from —
Hawk: That’s right, laugh all you want. I’m sure this is hilarious to you.
Destro: On the contrary, we’re at loose ends. We could sow chaos and destruction, but what’s the point? What’s there left to do? And then I thought, you all have spent over thirty years battling Cobra, and now this. One election, and you have fascists running the country and building camps — [he leans in conspiratorially, whispers] Tell me, have any of you considered something along the lines of, well, I’m sure the phrase “military coup” might be a bit strong —
[Hawk glares with a look somewhere between rage and despair. Destro has been at odds with this man a long time, and he’s never seen this expression on his face. No one has.]
Hawk: 44% of active-duty troops have a favorable view of. . . [visibly editing himself] the current administration. [citation below]
Destro: I had no idea. That would mean roughly 44% of the G.I. Joe team —
Hawk: That’s right.
Destro: Do you know who on the team —
Hawk [now seeming to be in physical pain]: We have a don’t ask don’t tell policy.
Destro: Oh. I see.
Hawk: It’s fine. Really, it’s fine. It’s all going to be…just…fine.
[He breaks the glass with his bare hand, which is a neat trick because the glass is actually plastic. Jack-and-cola goes everywhere. Destro reaches for him, as if to comfort him.]
Destro: General —
[“Take My Breath Away” starts playing on the jukebox. Time seems to slow. The two regard each other for a long moment.]
Destro: May. . .may I buy you drink, Hawk?
Hawk: No you may not.
Destro: Right then, I’ll just be going now.
(The Baroness is out of uniform, lounging in a black terrycloth robe and drinking ouzo straight from the bottle while watching today’s news.)
Baroness: My God. If only we had known it would be so easy. If only we had known.
(She gets out her phone, dials.)
Baroness: Am I a failure? I worked so hard for so many years to undermine democracy. All the ridiculous Rube Goldberg schemes and disguises, the Machiavellian plotting, and then this. . .this thing comes along, and. . . I worked so hard, Destro darling, so hard, and now. . .was it all for nothing? WAS IT?
Destro: Baroness. Are you drunk?
Baroness: I may be a little drunk, yes.
Destro: I think you should have a glass of water and go to sleep. Things will look better in the morning.
Baroness: Will they, Destro? WILL THEY?!
Baroness: Destro. Tell me I’m a terrible person.
Destro: You are a terrible person, Baroness.
Baroness: I’ve done terrible things.
Destro: You have, and you should be very proud of all the terrible things you’ve done.
Baroness: And I’m evil? The evilest person in the world?
(SCENE: A garage on Cobra island, with all kinds of tricked out vehicles in the background. The After School Special Music starts playing.)
Ripper: Zartan, I. . .I need to talk to you.
Zartan: What is it, Ripper? What’s troubling you?
Ripper: Guv — what’s all this talk about us being fascists?
Zartan: Cobra is a fascist organization. Cobra Commander is a fascist. Personally I like to think of myself as an anarchist, but we Dreadnoks work for fascists, take their money, and that pretty much makes us fascist too. Sorry, I thought you knew?
Zartan: Yes, ‘fraid so.
Ripper: Now see here, me granddad flew a Spitfire at the Battle of Britain, what will he say, he finds out I’m a fascist!
Zartan: I suppose it depends, which way did he vote on Brexit?
Ripper: That’s a low blow, guv.
Zartan: Yes. Well. We’re the bad guys.
Ripper: And we’re fascists?
Zartan: You know what? Never mind. Would you like to drive around and blow things up later today?
Ripper: Cor yeah, that sounds like fun!
(SCENE: Cobra Island, main command bunker.)
Cobra Commander: Gentlemen! I’ve called you here to discuss my latest convoluted scheme to infiltrate the White House and replace the President with an unqualified decoy in order to sow chaos and despair among the American People, thus furthering my objective of world domination!
(Destro and Zartan both raise their hands.)
CC: Yes, yes, what is it?
Destro: Commander, while I commend your consistency, and must confess my own surprise at how often these schemes almost work, in this case I have to question whether such a plan seems just a little. . .how shall I put it. . .
CC: What do you mean?
Zartan: You run the risk of replacing the president with a decoy who is, not to put too fine a point on it, more qualified.
Destro: In fact, replacing the current White House occupant with a decoy might actually improve matters.
CC: So what you’re saying is…the world would look on me as a savior!
Destro: No, that isn’t actually–
(Zartan just puts his hand on his face and shakes his head slowly.)
CC: Yesssssss!!! It’s perfect!!!!! We infiltrate the White House, replace the President with a qualified decoy, and the world will be ours for the taking! Hahahahahahahahahaa!!!!!!