Lights up on LINCOLN CENTER, jam-packed with MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, and CELEBRITIES, all decked out in their best finery. The audience is buzzing, and on stage a BIG BAND plays “My Way.” CUE ANNOUNCER.
“Live from Lincoln Center, we bid a fond farewell to DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and chief medical advisor to Joe Biden.”
Applause rings out. Zoom in to CLOSE-UP on Fauci.
“Please welcome your host for the evening, from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, THOMAS JIMMY.”
The elegant 50-something Jimmy emerges from the wings in black tie. The crowd loves him.
“Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Give it up in deference to our distinguished guest, Dr. Anthony Fauci.”
CLOSE-UP on Fauci. Applause.
“And let’s hear it for Dr. Fauci’s wife, the one, the only, CHRISTINE GRADY.”
CLOSE-UP on Grady. More applause.
“As you may know, ladies and gentlemen, Christine is head of bioethics for the National Institutes of Health. So whatever Dr. Fauci wants to do or say, Christine will tell him it’s okay. Nobody else has a gig quite like that.”
“What are you now Tony, 81? In his 80s and still on the job. Give it up for him everybody.”
Applause rings out. The band plays a few bars of “I’ve Gotta be Me.”
“Eighty-one, amazing. That’s older than Joe Biden, who cannot be with us tonight, busy as he is with the affairs of state and the world. As you may know, Joe once said Dr. Fauci was the ‘real president,’ and the Delaware Democrat had a point.”
“Dr. Fauci was born way back in 1940, during the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.”
The name elicits immediate applause.
“Dr. Fauci was a big supporter of JFK, but don’t worry Tony, I don’t see Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in the crowd tonight. In fact, he wasn’t even invited.”
Some scattered laughter amidst the applause. Jimmy quickly moves on.
“Tony earned his medical degree in 1966, during the presidency of Lyndon Johnson. Two years later, Tony hired on with the National Institutes of Health. In 1984, NIH made him head of NIAID, and he’s been at the helm ever since, keeping us all safe. As you might wonder, how does he do it?
“Tony controls public health policy and he also controls spending on medical research. Who else has that kind of power? Only Tony has it, so give it up for him, everybody. This man has major healthcare clout.”
The applause is long and loud.
“After more than 50 years in government, Dr. Anthony Fauci is paid more than the president of the United States. Nobody else in the federal government can make that claim. Let’s hear it for him everybody.”
Thunderous applause rocks the building.
“And don’t forget, Tony also gets a piece of the action from royalties on medicines and such developed by NIH. The good doctor may wear a white coat, but like most of you here tonight, Tony understands the green.”
More applause, with CLOSE-UPS of audience members.
“When conspiracy theorists said COVID leaked from a lab in China, who stepped up to say COVID arose naturally in the wild? It was Dr. Fauci his own self.”
“Dr. Fauci had the courage to challenge the ‘previous guy’s’ ban on travel from China. Few others had the guts to do that, so thanks Tony.”
“When the ‘previous guy’ wanted to open up the country too soon, who slowed the spread and kept our kids safe with lockdowns and school closings? It was Dr. Anthony Fauci who laid down that common-sense policy.”
CLOSE-UP on Fauci during the applause. He is loving it.
“When uninformed senators came nosing around, who told them ‘I represent science’? The only man qualified to make that statement is Dr. Anthony Fauci.”
A STANDING OVATION follows. Jimmy lets it carry on before he resumes.
“We know that Dr. Fauci represents science. We know that he is powerful. We know that Dr. Fauci is wealthy. Many of you may not know that Tony is also a talented vocalist. So as he bids farewell from government service, let him go out with the song in his heart.”
The band strikes up Cole Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” the way Frank Sinatra sang it. Dr. Fauci moves center stage and takes up the microphone.
I got you, under the skin
I got you deep in the heart, you see.
So deep in your heart, all because of me
I got you under the skin
I got you all to give in
I said to myself, this scam is going so well
I got big-time royalties, so what the hell?
I got you under the skin.
I’d sacrifice nothing come what might
For the sake of keeping my power
In spite of a warning voice that comes in the night
I’m still the man of the hour!
Don’t you know, all you fools?
You never can win
Don’t use your mentality
Don’t wake up to reality
Every time I do, just the thought of you
Makes me glad, how I can win
Cause I got you, under the skin.
Fauci points at the camera as he repeats the last line.
Cause I got you, under the skin.
The band takes it home with a crash. Standing ovation. Fauci takes a bow. Jimmy moves out front and gives Fauci a hug.
“Dr. Fauci, we were lucky to have you. You are an American hero. So let’s give Tony the last word.”
“Thanks Thomas. Ladies and gentlemen, I can tell you there will be more pandemics, sooner than you may think. Be sure and get all your vaccinations and boosters for yourselves and your children, even the youngest among them. That way, everybody will be safe.”
Applause from the worshipful audience.
“Thank you so much, but just remember. It’s okay to seek out independent opinions, except when they differ from your government leaders. They always know what’s best.”
Applause. Fauci waves farewell. Credits run. FADE OUT.