"I don't know," said Queen Isabella. "It's a very big gamble."
"What gamble?" Columbus replied. "I tell you -- it's a sure thing. I got a tip from a Norwegian air conditioner salesman who installed the cooling system in Leif Erickson's house. America is out there -- all I have to do is go discover it."
"If it's such a great place, why didn't this Ericson person stay there?" Isabella asked.
"He only managed to get to Canada," Columbus explained. "In the winter! Damned near froze his Viking helmet off. I'm heading much further south. I figure that I can sail right into Las Vegas."
"But according to this map you drew up, Vegas is in the middle of a desert," Isabella argued. "How are your ships going to reach it?"
"No problem," Columbus told her. "When I hit Boston I'll put out the word that I have a load of cash and love to gamble. When the casino people hear that, they will arrange my transportation for me."
"I still don't see any reason for me to risk hocking my jewels in order to pay for this trip," Isabella countered.
"Because you'll collect big time," Columbus said. "You're a female with a Ladino surname -- in America you'll be able to get any job you want."
"We have that same rule here," said Isabella. "How do you think I got promoted from cocktail waitress to queen? Besides, a job is not worth my jewels -- haven't you ever heard that 'diamonds are a girl's best friend?'"
"No," said Columbus, "because Marilyn Monroe hasn't made that song famous yet. And she'll never get the chance unless you cough up the pesetas to let me discover America."
"There's a lot of international opposition to it," Isabella told him. "Just yesterday, the French ambassador said that America would ruin the world."
"Tell him that if America is established it will save France from Germany -- twice."
"I did," said Isabella. "He said that France would rather be conquered than have McDonalds and Coca-Cola."
"Who else is against it?" Columbus asked.
"I can guarantee you that the Butcher of Baghdad won't be overly thrilled by the idea," Isabella said. "Of course, that doesn't worry me too much -- I can always go to another butcher."
"What about England?" Columbus asked. "Is it also opposed to my finding America?"
"No," said Isabella. "I spoke to the prime minister yesterday. He says he likes the idea. He says it will save him the trouble of writing his own speeches to Parliament -- the American president will write them for him."
"He's not the only one who likes the idea of my trip," said Columbus. "Just yesterday, I got a letter from the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem. He's in favor of America because he feels that the best kosher delis will be in New York."
"The Jews are in favor of discovering America?" asked Isabella in shock. "That means the rest of the world will be automatically against it."
"You don't have time to worry about world opinion," said Columbus. "I have to leave right away if I am going to make it there by Oct. 12."
"What's so important about that date?" the queen asked.
"It's Columbus Day," he said. "At least, it will be if I get there on time."
"Forget it," said Isabella. "Oct. 12 falls on a Saturday this year. People will never accept having a national holiday on a weekend. They wouldn't get to miss any work."
"You underestimate the Americans," Columbus said proudly. "They are going to work it out so that they always celebrate Columbus Day on the second Monday in October. That will give them a three day weekend. Too bad they'll never be able to figure out how to get July 4th to always fall on a Friday."