(SCENE: BUD OLSON and TREVOR PUCKETT, two City of Saint Paul Public Works employees, are having breakfast at Mickey’s Diner on West Seventh Street).
WAITRESS: Here’s your coffee. Pancakes’ll be up in a minute. (Walks away).
PUCKETT: So you get that car for your daughter yet?
OLSON: No. I’ve been trying to find her one of them rice-burners, a Toyota or a Honda or a Mazda or somethin’. Can’t find ’em.
PUCKETT: Why’s dat?
OLSON: Oh, cuz of dat “Cash for Clunkers” thing the Republicans foisted on us.
PUCKETT: Sheesh. That’s what Chunky, my mechanic – you remember Chunky?
PUCKETT: He’s the guy who was at that cookout I threw a couple a years ago, who told that joke about the two nuns and the camel?
OLSON: (shakes head)
PUCKETT: Oh, I laughed. Anyway – Chunky says that he can’t find used engines, because the Republicans made them pour acid into the engines after da government bought ’em. If you wanna put a new engine in your winter beater, you gotta buy a new one.
OLSON: Oh, ya. Anyhoo, used cars are expensive as hell.
(WAITRESS puts plates of pancakes and eggs on table).
(Both men plow into their pancakes).
PUCKETT: So what are you doing today?
OLSON: Me and the crew got teardowns all week. Just a buncha 1930s houses that got foreclosed, that the banks that own ’em wouldn’t bring up to code. So the city’s tearin’ em all out!
PUCKETT: Oh, ya. My brother in law, Harvey – you remember Harvey?
PUCKETT: Harvey Torstenson?
PUCKETT: He’s about yay tall, has a blonde mustache?
OLSON: Not ringin’ a bell.
PUCKETT: Anyway, he’s a sheet-rocker, and when the city passed that law requiring old vacant homes to get brought up to code, he figured he was gonna make a mint, cuz they all gotta get brought up to code!
OLSON: How’s he doin’?
PUCKETT: Nothin’. He says it’s Bush’s fault.
OLSON: So how’s your daughter and her husband doing finding a place to live?
PUCKETT: Oh, same s**t, different day. They can’t find a place to rent in Saint Paul that they can afford.
OLSON: Still in your basement?
PUCKETT: Ya. There’s just noplace to rent out there. Or nothing they can afford, anyhow.
OLSON: Huh. Have they tried going to the city?
PUCKETT: Good idea.
OLSON: (Gathers stuff from seat) Well, time to get going. Another day another dollar.
PUCKETT: Workin’ hard!
OLSON: Or hardly working!