What Really Happens in the White House
By Luz Calix and Kara Gelber
On What Really Happens in the White House, we get the inside scoop from some of the Presidents’ helpers. And it’s likely not who you expected. Today we’re talking to none other than… the Presidents’ First Pets!
Old Fluff: Before we dive into the first interview, let me introduce myself. My name is Old Fluff, and I’m the long-time host of What Really Happens in the White House. I’ve had the pleasure of sitting down with some of the biggest legends that strut through the White House halls, and I’m sure today will be no exception. First up on today’s episode: Johnny the Betta Fish, who actually will be my first fish interview. Welcome, Johnny!
Old Fluff: Welcome, Johnny the betta fish! I’m super excited for this interview, how about you?
Johnny: Why are you so loud?
Old Fluff: I… uh, well…
Johnny: And no, not really.
Old Fluff: Then why are you here?
Old Fluff: …
Johnny: Well, that’s none of your business, mutt.
Old Fluff: That’s harsh, dog.
Johnny: Not a mutt and, well, life is harsh.
Old Fluff: You mean ruff hahaha…
Johnny: No, old fart.
Old Fluff: It’s Fluff and talk about a tough crowd… Hey no need to glare but let’s get into these questions! So it’s been said you have some sort of vendetta with the First Dogs. Why start a feud with the First Dogs?
Johnny: Well, that’s because they’re so annoying and they just really upset me. Like how can you be so energetic at 6AM! Shut up and oversleep like the rest of us. Also chew with your mouth closed. Oh, oh, ohhhhhh and don’t get me started on the drool!
Old Fluff: I—okay.
Johnny: They run everywhere. Everywhere. Like where are you going!? Using their legs to move around and about like no one’s business. They d-don’t even appreciate the decorations on the walls, too busy strutting everywhere.
Old Fluff: Oh and he’s crying now… Guess someone’s jealous because he’s stuck in a fish bowl.
Johnny: I A-AM NOT J-JEALOUS, OLD FART!
Old Fluff: Fluff, and you are so jealoussssss!
Johnny: Shut up mutt I’ll make you rue the day you ever became a talk show host, Old Fart! Rueeee!
Old Fluff: For the last time, it’s Fluff! Welp, that’s all we needed for today. Bye pups hope you enjoyed Johnny the Betta Fish crying like a newborn puppy.
Johnny: I hate dogs.
Old Fluff: Well pups, that was um, an interesting take. Definitely a unique trip down memory lane.
How about a more positive view on the White House? I know we can count on our next guest for that. I’m pleased to introduce our next guest—none other than my shih tzu/toy poodle friend Tally. Welcome, Tally!
Old Fluff: Hi Tally, to set the scene here—can you please introduce yourself?
Tally: Hi Old Fluff, pleasure to be here. My name is Tally and I’m the ruffiest dog because my best friend, or I guess “owner” as they call it in human terms, is Hillary Clinton. She brought me along for the ride of a lifetime when she moved me into the White House with her, Bill and Chelsea in 1993.
Old Fluff: That’s great, Tally, sounds like you had a great time living in the big, old White House. Can you tell us one of your favorite memories from living there?
Tally: I’ll tell you one, but you have to keep it to yourself! Pawmise?
Old Fluff: Sure, Tally. Your secret is safe with me.
Tally: Okay, so one of my first days in the White House, right after the inauguration, Betty the White House chef cooked up a big feast for Hillary, Bill and Chelsea. I’m barkin’ steaks, potatoes, veggies, shrimp—everything you’d want on a cold winter night. So anyway, she goes to serve little Chelsea this gourmet meal, but little did she know Chelsea is one of the pickiest eaters. Betty had spent hours cooking this meal, and Chelsea wouldn’t take a bite. Now this is where I come in. I spotted the sitch from a mile away, so I tip-toed under the dining room table, and nestled my way to Chelsea’s feet. Throughout the whole meal, she kept feeding me bites from her fork under the table! I couldn’t stop myself; this was the most delicious food I’d ever tasted! Yummmyy! I ate such a feast that night that I got a little sick under that table, and to this day, rumor has it a little stain is still there.
Old Fluff: Wow Tally, you mean to say your barf stain is still there? Under the feet of some of our nation’s greatest leaders?
Tally: [Burps] Guilty as served.
Podcast Closer: Alright pups, that’s all the time we have for today. I better wrap up before my owner comes home otherwise she’ll see me playing with all her recording equipment. Ruff for now!
Repeat theme song music Who Let the Dogs Out
Old Fluff: Welcome, listeners, to today’s show! We have a special guest today, say hi to first dog Major Biden!
Major: Hi, happy to be here.
Old Fluff: Happy to have you, so let’s just jump into this since you’re a busy dog. So, how did it feel moving all the way up from a shelter to THE White House?
Major: Well, as you know, I am a rescue. For a long time I didn’t think I would ever have a real home and just to be taken in was amazing and I was so happy. When I learned I was being adopted by the Joe Biden I couldn’t believe it. I mean I’m not the fancy shmancy type at all and now I’m moving to the White House. It’s crazy to think that. I’m truly honored to be a part of this family and to be able to chase squirrels in such a grand backyard.
Old Fluff: That sounds so amazing. If I could cry, I would.
Major: Thank you, I appreciate that so much, dog.
Old Fluff: Soooo what’s the food like? Do they feed you the fancy food you see on TV?
Major: I’m not that picky when it comes to food but they do give me better quality foods now compared to the shelter food. I mean even the garbage scraps are delicious. I’m drooling just thinking about it. They did try to feed me some really weird-looking food. It looked expensive but my tummy couldn’t handle it and I threw up on the Mrs.’ shoes.
Old Fluff: That must’ve been ruff ha pun very much intended! I’m drooling with you, dog. That sounds amazing! So, on to the latest gossip. Insider says that a couple of squirrels heard that someone was trying to get you guys kicked out; is that true?
Major: You must be talking about Old Johnny. He’s really aggressive and has gotten me and my brother in some trouble a few times. He really does not like us.
Old Fluff: Wow, sounds harsh. Not to be stereotypical but is he a pitbull? Because I’ve had my fair share of problems with pits.
Major: Betta fish, actually… Um I actually know a few pits from the pound. They are just the nicest fellas you could ever meet. Mr. Beans, Tiny Tim, if you guys are listening make sure to keep me updated on what’s been happening.
Old Fluff: I—uhh well, that was unexpected… Can we get his info?
Old Fluff: Well, that’s all the time we have for today, Major!
Major: Well, thanks, for having me Old Fart.
Old Fluff: It’s Fluff.
Old Fluff: Why, hello there, India. You look a bit different than my other guests, so I’m especially excited to have you on the show today.
Willie: Sigh, you can call me Willie. Only my mom calls me India. I’ve been here two minutes and already feel like I’m in trouble!
Old Fluff: Sorry dear Willie, you are certainly not in trouble. In fact, this is the one show where dogs and cats get along quite well and are treated like equals. So get yourself comfortable and settle right in. To start, can you tell me a little about yourself and your time in the White House?
Willie: George and Laura Bush first found me in the winter of 1992, so you could say I’ve been around for awhile at this point. We moved into the White House together in 2001 and boy, I had never seen a house like that before. I mean, there is room after room. It just keeps going for miles. And personally, my favorite activities are napping and curling up by the fire, so I just don’t see why anyone would need so many rooms.
Old Fluff: That’s a good point. I haven’t been invited to see too many of the rooms myself, but from what I’ve seen—it’s a beaut!
Willie: Prrr, I guess.
Old Fluff: What is it? Is there something I’m missing?
Willie: Prrr it’s nothing. It’s just, I hate how the White House has so many festivities. I’ll never forget Halloween of ‘07—my least favorite holiday to start with since let’s be frank, I’m a black cat—when Laura thought I was scaring the neighborhood kids. She was determined for everyone to learn I’m a friendly cat so she dressed me up in this ridiculous silly costume and made me parade around the front lawn. It was beyond embarrassing.
Old Fluff: [Giggling] You mean to say, she put a little hat on or something?
Willie: Worse! A CAPE!
Old Fluff: Turns away from Willie to Google an image of Halloween 2007.
Since first meeting in September, Luz and Kara have met weekly to collaborate on writing prompts spanning poetry, memoir, fiction and multimedia. This was a passion project for both Luz and Kara, and was quite fun to write!
Luz M. Calix is currently a freshman in college in the Bronx, NY, She has a passion for creative writing and poetry and creating stories for others to enjoy. She is currently a mentee in the Writing Works program and looking forward to growing as a student throughout her first year of college.
Kara Gelber is the Senior Director of Communications at Morning Consult, where she leads content promotion for Morning Consult’s data-driven analysis and reporting, positioning the company as an authority across brands, the economy and geopolitics.Kara previously worked for Day One Agency, PRovoke Media’s 2020 Creative Agency of the Year, where she crafted and executed content promotion strategies for clients including American Express, Facebook and Abercrombie & Fitch. In this role she collaborated with internal and external partners to ensure integration across digital, social and influencer channels, while developing proactive storytelling opportunities to insert said clients into the news cycle.Prior to Day One Agency, Kara launched her career at the integrated communications agency Cohn & Wolfe (now BCW) where she hosted press trips, planned interactive launch events and drafted press materials for clients including Hennessy (LVMH), Three Olives Vodka, Colgate and Newell Brands.Offline, Kara serves as a mentor for Girls Write Now, a nationally-recognized nonprofit helping underserved young women find their voices through the power of writing and community.Kara graduated from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a degree in Public Relations and a minor in Communication & Rhetoric. She is based in New York City.