Rationale: Due to the unique threat environment known to exist at POTUS’s Crawford, Texas, ranch, the following protocol has been drafted for use in the event of a situation Code: ALICE.
Education: POTUS has been cautioned to stay away from abandoned wells while outdoors at the ranch; to watch carefully for wells while clearing brush; to not follow Barney down any holes, no matter how big a rabbit he thinks might be down there; and to avoid stepping in any areas where “the ground is missing.” (This language was recommended by the First Lady as most likely to ensure POTUS’s comprehension.)
Site Survey: Crawford-based agents confirm that the ranch grounds have been thoroughly searched for abandoned wells. However, these searches cannot be considered exhaustive; well-safety experts note that not being able to see abandoned wells is the primary reason people fall down them in the first place. Moreover, agents have reported numerous (seven) sightings of VPOTUS exiting the Crawford property with a shovel. Thus, continued vigilance is required.
Confirm Code: ALICE: Agents on duty should first verify that POTUS has in fact fallen down a well. POTUS may simply have tired of clearing brush and gone inside to watch football, or tripped over a rock and forgotten how to get back up. Positive indicators of a Code: ALICE situation include (1) physical absence of POTUS aboveground; (2) POTUS faintly asking, with a noticeable echo, “Hey, how’d it get so dark all of a sudden?”; and (3) audible screams or gurgling.
Seal and Secure: Upon confirming Code: ALICE, agents should immediately call for backup to secure the area and cordon off the well to prevent further mishaps. It is crucial to avoid a repeat of the 1879 constitutional crisis triggered when President Rutherford B. Hayes and Senate President Pro Tempore Allen Thurman fell down the same well.
Presidential Well Rescue Squad: Agents should then promptly notify the professional team of well-victim rescuers maintained on call in Waco whenever POTUS is at the Crawford property. For identification purposes, the PWRS captains are Gill Norman, who operates the team’s extremely large drill; Buck Saunders, who mans the bright light on the very tall crane; and Lorene Sills, who makes coffee for everyone. All three have top-level security clearances. Captain Sills is also authorized to provide pie at the conclusion of any rescue effort (blueberry if successful, apple if failed).
Presidential Briefing: POTUS should be informed that he has fallen down a well. If he denies that he has fallen down a well, do not contradict him. POTUS may, for example, claim that he has undertaken a fact-finding mission to determine how to bring democracy to the Edwards Aquifer. He may insist that he is engaged in discussions with the leaders of the Mole People, calling the talks “constructive.” He may take a nap. His physician assures us that POTUS will probably be quite happy in the dark and confining space of an abandoned well. As always, avoid overburdening him with unnecessary detail.
Media Notification: In the event of a delayed response by the PWRS (they are loath to cut short a canasta game), limited information about the situation should be released to the media. Reassure reporters that POTUS is still fully capable of performing his duties as president. Although he is prohibited by statute from negotiating treaties while in a well, he can appoint federal judges at the appellate level and below.
Press Availability: If POTUS’s stay in the well is prolonged, interviews may be arranged with historically friendly media outlets. Talking points issued in advance of any interviews should seek to link Democratic policy initiatives to abandoned wells and, if possible, gravity. NB: Under no circumstances should NBC’s David Gregory be allowed into the well.
Reintegration: POTUS may be disoriented after being freed from the well. He should be given coffee (if he has napped, he will be cranky) and congratulated on surviving his ordeal, liberating the aquifer, or reaching a détente with the Mole People. It would be helpful to let POTUS sit in the driver’s seat of the very tall crane and shine the light around for a while. Do not let him near the drill.
Recalcitrance: If POTUS has grown too comfortable in the well, he may refuse to come out. In this case, the First Lady advises that he can be lured out by the promise of a baseball game or a trip to Mars. POTUS is also conditioned to associate PWRS captain Sills with the smell of pie, and will probably move toward her voice. Have the nets ready.
Note: For a fuller description of the First Lady’s role in the rescue of the president’s family members, see related “Emergency-Response Protocol 829L: Jenna Falls Into the Reflecting Pool.”