Reprinted, with permission from Universal Press Syndicate. The brilliant cartoonist is Rob Rogers, a Philadelphia native.

by Bob Fles
•911: You’ve reached 9-1-1.  What is your emergency?

Caller: I need some help, and I need it right away. I’ve fallen, and I need someone to get me up. Or out.

•911: Are you in your home, sir?

Caller: No, I’m outdoors.

•911: In your yard?

Caller: I’m not in my yard. Frankly, I’m up in some corner of the Marcellus Shale, and I’ve fallen into a hole, and I’m stuck.

•911: Is this Senator Fumo again? Are you pretending to be the Street brothers again? I’m sick of your little games. Haven’t you got a floor to wash or something?

Caller: Senator Fumo calls you as a joke??? Not very funny, if you ask me. Anyway, this is the governor.

•911: Governor Rendell?


•911: Oh, yes, that’s right. Sorry. So this is Governor Christie?


•911: Sorry. Governor Corbett. Are you sure you haven’t fallen at the governor’s mansion?

Corbett: I tell you I’m in the Marcellus Shale. I come up here early each day to sniff the air.

•911: The fresh air, the unspoiled rivers, the lush vegetation?

Corbett: The natural gas. There’s just nothing like the smell of natural gas in the morning. It’s a little like napalm, not at all like the smell of taxes. It’s hard to explain. Anyway, I leaned too far over, and I’ve fallen into a fracking hole.

Governor Tom Corbett is continuing the (dis)honorable tradition in U.S. politics of giving huge payoffs to those who have contributed big bucks to his campaign while sticking it to the most powerless members of society.

•911: Governor, I know you’re upset but I’m going to have to ask you to watch your language.

Corbett: No, I said a fracking hole, it’s a freaking FRACKING hole.

•911: Governor, I’m going to insist that you watch your language.

Corbett: Okay, okay, I’ll call it a … a water hole. Or a water well. Yes, I’m in a water well.

•911: That’s better.  A water well with no “f” words; right? I’ll call the country sheriff right away, and he’ll…

Corbett: No, no. No sheriff, nobody with a connection with the media. Can you imagine seeing  the Governor of the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on U- Tube stuck in a fracking hole? Sorry, a water well.

•911: Well, whom shall I call then?

Corbett: Let’s see. Someone who will understand. Someone I can trust. Someone who’s dependent on me. I’ve got it. Call the lieutenant governor. He’ll be here in a flash.

•911: Very well. What’s his name?

Corbett: His name? You know, I’m not sure. I must know him. I must have met him at least once.

•911: Governor, I called the lieutenant governor’s office, and someone answered. When I asked his name, he said, “Who wants to know?” So I just went ahead and explained your situation and asked for his help. He asked me how long it would take for someone to expire in a water well and then be replaced by his successor, and I said I didn’t see the relevance of that, and he said…

Corbett: Never mind. I can guess what he said. Something about forming a committee?

•911: Exactly. A special committee that would investigate the governor’s disappearance. Something weird about “walking the Appalachian trail” and then eventually issuing a lengthy report.

Corbett: It figures. Then try my fellow new governor. He’ll help. Christie and I are buddies. He’s got a new helicopter. He said all he has to do is snap his finger, and the state police fly over to wherever he is and take him wherever he wants to go.

•911: Governor Corbett, I just talked to Governor Christie, and he said he never heard of you, and if you ever mention his name in connection with a helicopter again, he’ll…

Corbett: Okay, okay, I get the drift. One little mistake and the media chew you up. Let’s see, why don’t you try somebody in Congress. They all love me in Washington.

•911: Governor, I’ve got someone on the line who says Congress is closed, as usual, and nobody is around but a former Congressman who will be glad to help.

Corbett: Great! Who is it?

•911: It’s a former Congressman Weiner. He said he’s working out in the Congressional gym but will be glad to…

Corbett: No, no, no, no, no. Hang up now. Now! You didn’t send him a picture of me, did you?

•911: No picture. Okay, I’ve hung up.  Now who? How about your wife?

Corbett: To rescue me from a fracking hole I’ve gotten myself into? Not a chance. The other day I made a harmless joke about our Mexican housekeeper, and my wife gave me a squinty look and said, “Go ahead. Make my day, Arnold.” You can forget calling her.

•911: I’m afraid I’m out of suggestions, Governor.

Corbett: You know, there seem to be some noxious fumes arising from the pure and potable fracking juices below me. They’re enveloping me. They’re being absorbed into my brain.  My God, I can feel IQ point after IQ point atrophying even as this poisonous miasma eats away at my brain.

•911: Sir, I think that suggests a solution. If we wait just a few months, you’ll be approximately at the moron level, which will qualify you for Philadelphia City Council and the fat DROP cash cow. Can you still hear me?

Corbett: Moron. Philadelphia politics. Cash cow. Moo.

•911: And by then, Senator Fumo will be out of prison. He’s already looking for a project like salvaging some hopeless loser who will serve as his mindless mouthpiece in Council and also allow him to start up two or three non-profits that he can rifle. Governor, are you with me?

Corbett: Moo.

Ed.note: Robert Fles is a retired English teacher and administrator at Chestnut Hill Academy who is proud that his fracking tax dollars enable so many local politicians and their relatives to live like royalty.