Thursday, February 14, 2008

Six Characters In Search Of An Author - Act 1

A Mr. Dilettante/Quinn Martin Production

The Players:

Governor Tim "T-Paw Ex Machina" Pawlenty
Lt. Governor Carol "Frau" Molnau
Senator Larry "Taxman" Pogemiller
Rep. Joe "Grand Inquisitor" Atkins
Speaker Margaret Anderson "Ma" Kelliher

And introducing

Rep. Kate "Ingenue" Knuth

As we set the stage, the players are arrayed about the stage. Governor Pawlenty is hidden above the stage, attached with ropes to the rafters. Lt. Governor Molnau is strapped to a table placed on the apron of the Wakota Bridge. Nearby is Representative Atkins, dressed in an outfit he has apparently borrowed from someone at the Renaissance Festival and holding a cat-o-nine-tails. Speaker Kelliher is perched in a sedan chair mounted to a 4-post automotive lift. Representative Knuth paces anxiously next to Speaker Kelliher, resplendent in an Irondale High School marching band uniform. Senator Pogemiller scurries about the stage, wearing an ill-fitting suit equipped with Inspector Gadget arms. As the play begins, Atkins is in the midst of interrogating Molnau.

Atkins: Frau Molnau (sound of horses whinnying in the distance), why is the other half of the bridge not done?

Molnau (moaning, as if in agony): Owwwwww. E-tink. Owwwwww.

Atkins: I can't understand a word you're saying. Do I need to crank this up another notch or two? Why did you let the 35W bridge collapse?!

Molnau: Auuuugh. Rolvaaggggh….LeVanderowwwwww….

Atkins: We're not getting anywhere, Frau Molnau (sound of horses whinnying). Do I have to burn you at the stake?

Molnau: Aaaah…. T-Paw, where are you . . . . aaauuggghhh.

Pawlenty: Is that you, Carol? Sorry, too busy. I have to introduce J-Mac to the Joplin Kiwanis Club this afternoon. Maybe when I get back.

Meanwhile, Pogemiller scurries about the stage, his Inspector Gadget arms menacing the assembled audience, including a visibly alarmed Mitch Berg.

Pogemiller (singing): That's one for you, nineteen for me. Ha! I love this! Ma Kelliher, where are we on that gas tax?

Kelliher: I'm working on it, Larry. Goodness! (Turning to Knuth) Now, what's troubling you, grasshopper?

Knuth: I'm scared, Ma Kelliher. I keep hearing the sound of these boots hitting the floor. I think someone is out to get me! Can I hit them with my baton?

Kelliher: No, dearie, that wouldn't be wise. The way we handle things like that here in the Legislature is to pass a law to stop the behavior. Maybe we can tax them a thousand dollars every time they mention your name? Call it a "legislator impact fee?"

Pawlenty: If you call it a fee, I'll sign it.

Kelliher: See, snookums? That wasn't very difficult, now was it? Wait, that's my cell, hang on. . . . Hello? Oh, hi Susan! (turning to Knuth, sotto voce) It's Susan Lefenstey. What can I do for ya, Sooz? That mean guy is picking on you again? Oh, that's dreadful, simply dreadful. What would you like? A snarking ban? Hmmm, I'll have to think about that one. Let me get back to ya, Sooz.

Meanwhile, back at the bridge, the interrogation continues:

Atkins: It snowed last night, Frau Molnau! (Horses whinny). Why is my street still unplowed?

Molnau: C'mon Joe, I'm not responsible for that. Owwww!

Atkins: And the pothole in my neighbor's driveway – why isn't that fixed yet?

Molnau: Owwwww! T-Paw, why have you forsaken me?

Pawlenty: Is that you, Carol? Sorry, I'm having a hard time hearing you. Steger's huskies are barking a lot right now.

Molnau: I need your helpppppp – auuggghhh!

Pawlenty: I hear ya, CM. Look, I'd love to help, but J-Mac has me scheduled for the grand opening of a Steak N Shake in Beavercreek, Ohio tomorrow and I gotta be there. Battleground state, ya know. Can I get back with you on Saturday?

As this is happening, Pogemiller's Inspector Gadget arm grabs Atkins.

Atkins: Hey, knock it off, Pogey! That's my per diem money! You can't have that – go threaten the audience again.

Pogemiller: Sorry about that, Joe. Avast, ye scurvy coupon clippers!

Meanwhile, Kelliher continues to instruct her young acolyte.

Kelliher: Don't worry, angelface, we're taking care of you. That "future potential leadership award" we gave you – that was on the front page of the local paper, right?

Knuth: Yes, Ma, every word of it.

Kelliher: See, sweetpea, they always take care of us! Still, you seemed troubled. What's the matter?

Knuth: Well, Ma, I still hear those boots and they scare me. And my dad keeps stopping me in the lobby and asking me about his bill.

Kelliher: What bill is that, hon?

Knuth: This one (hands bill to Kelliher). The Cheeba for Everyone Freedom Act.

Kelliher: Holy Bob Marley! Hmm, let me think, let me think. I know, I'll stick it in the Minnesota Care appropriation bill.

Knuth: Thanks, Ma! You're the best!

As the play has been in progress, Pogemiller has managed to lift the wallets, billfolds, money clips and assorted loose change from everyone in the audience. He then turns to face the dumbfounded assemblage, clutching a sheaf of paper.

Pogemiller: We're all happy to pay for a better Minnesota! Time to send the particulars to the governor!

Pawlenty tumbles from the rafters, dangling from ropes. He is wearing a Mighty Mouse outfit and sideburns that seem to move as much as intermittent windshield wipers. He carries a large red pen in a scabbard.

Pawlenty: Here I come to save the day! 'Scuse me, while I whip this out!

The crowd gasps.

End of Act 1


Right Hook said...

Very funny, I almost hurt myself laughing. Unfortunately maybe a little "inside baseball" for people who don't follow this stuff.

Can't understand why Kate would be paranoid of a boot...maybe she'll get so scared that she'll re-introduce her defecation proclamation (aka The Restroom Access act) that she co-authored last year. I'm wondering if her new pal Hanoi Jane, who was the keynote speaker when Kate got her leadership award, will make a cameo to comfort her.

As far as TP signing a legislator impact fee law, he could follow the lead of his mentor and propose Pawlenty-Kelliher in the spirit of McCain-Feingold.

"Cheeba"? I haven't heard that term used in years (maybe it's a Wisconsin thing)! Would the bill protect both "documented" and "undocumented" pharmacists?

Bring on Act II!

Mark said...

Yeah, it might be, but it's hard to resist the inside jokes sometimes. Glad you enjoyed it, RH.

And if I were Kate, and I thank my lucky stars each day that I'm not, I would definitely be afraid of the sounds of boots. And perhaps the gentle mockery emanating from this feature. We're comin' for her and defecation may be the least of her concerns.

I'm sure there's another, better term for the magic weed than "cheeba," but my using it is simply another example of an unhip suburban guy failing to stay hip with the current lingo. I gave up trying to understand popular culture 20 years ago. When my kids ask me to put on KDWB when we're driving around in the car, I get a reminder that I'm not exactly missing much....