(SCENE: At the Oceanaire – a tony seafood restaurant in Downtown Minneapolis. Representative Paul Thissen, Senator Tom “Baby Got” Bakk and Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson-Kelliher are sitting at a table with five empty chairs. Anderson-Kelliher, bored, drums her fingers on the table. Thissen checks his watch, and Bakk rock nervously in their seats. )
(Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak enters the room)
THISSEN, BAKK and ANDERSON-KELLIHER, SIMULTANEOUSLY: Hello, Mayor Rybak.
RYBAK: Hey, Margaret!
(BAKK and THISSEN, deflated, go back to gnawing on toothpicks)
RYBAK: Thanks for calling the meeting, Margaret. What’s up?
ANDERSON-KELLIHER: I’d like to lay out some ground rules and strategy for the campaign.
(SEN. MARK DAYTON walks into restaurant).
RYBAK: That’s a great idea. (Notices DAYTON). Hey, Mark!
DAYTON: Aaaaaaagh! (DAYTON dives to floor, rapidly low-crawls to the table, furtively sits in chair).
THISSEN: What’s the matter, Mark?
ANDERSON-KELLIHER – Shut up, er…
ANDERSON-KELLIHER: …whatever. (Turns to DAYTON) What’s the matter, Mark?
DAYTON: (Affixing a lobster bib) Er, nothing. Why?
ANDERSON-KELLIHER: Just curious. (Looks at menu, as former Senator MATT ENTENZA, with wife LOIS QUAM, enter the restaurant.
BAKK: “Hey, Matt…”
ANDERSON-KELLIHER: I said SHUT UP!
BAKK: You told Paul to shut…
ANDERSON-KELLIHER: Don’t care! (turns to ENTENZA) How are you today, Matt?
ENTENZA: I’m doing…
QUAM: (A little too effusive) He’s doing just fine, Margaret! (ENTENZA abruptly stops).
ANDERSON-KELLIHER: Ah, excellent!
(A loud belch issues from outside the entrance. Rep. TOM RUKAVINA walks in, pounding his chest. He shakes out another mild belch).
THISSEN: Hey, Tom…(Trails off as ANDERSON-KELLIHER stares him down; THISSEN looks bash fully at his menu).
ANDERSON-KELLIHER: Excellent! I believe that’s everyone…(counts noses)…except…
(Harps play in the hallway. A little dry ice fog obscures the floor. Sen. JOHN MARTY, hands clasped as if in prayer before him, moves across the floor as if floating, and lands like a hummingbird on the remaining chair. A golden aura briefly suffuses the room, then vanishes).
ANDERSON-KELLIHER: Hey, John.
MARTY: May the blessing of my presence bring you peace.
ANDERSON-KELLIHER: Er, yeah. I called you all here today because voters are having a hard time telling the difference between us. For the good of the DFL race, it’d be best if we all come up with some sort of differentiation between us before the convention.
ENTENZA: Yeah, convention!.
ENTENZA: Er, yeah. Primary.
THISSEN: Convention, just like Margaret says…
ANDERSON-KELLIHER: For the last time, shut the **** up! (ANDERSON-KELLIHER flings a salt-shaker at THISSEN, hitting him in the face. He falls backward over his chair, and lies on the floor, motionless. DAYTON dives for the ground).
ANDERSON-KELLIHER: Like I said, convention. So I’d like you all to think of things we can do to distinguish ourselves to the voters…
WAITRESS (Approaches with order pad in hand): Hello, my name is Wendy, and I’ll be your…
ANDERSON-KELLIHER: For the last ****** time, shut the **** up…
RYBAK: Er, Margaret? She’s the waitress…
ANDERSON-KELLIHER: Oh. Go ahead, then.
WAITRESS: Er, OK. Any drink orders before we order dinner?”
RYBAK: Appletini, please. Extra tini.
BAKK: I’ll have whatever Margaret is having.
THISSEN: (Groans incomprehensibly)
RUKAVINA: Grain Belt Premium!
ENTENZA: I’ll take your house chablis…
QUAM: He’ll take the house merlot, and so will I.
DAYTON: A diet Pellegrini.
WAITRESS: Sir, all Pelligrini is “Diet”. It’s water…
DAYTON: Two diet pellegrinis.
MARTY: I shall have a glass of water. But please bring it in gaseous form.
WAITRESS: Er…wait – you want a cup of steam?
MARTY: As it is said, so shall it be poured.
WAITRESS: Er, OK. And would you all like to start a tab?
(All at table break up into uproarious laughter)
RUKAVINA: Baby, you ain’t seen nothing.
ANDERSON-KELLIHER: OK. I’d like everyone to say, for the record, what makes you different. Paul?
THISSEN: (Groans, puts hand on forehead).
ANDERSON-KELLIHER: OK. Matt?
ENTENZA: (Looks at QUAM)
QUAM: He will raise taxes for a better Minnesota.
(ENTENZA nods enthusiastically).
RYBAK: Well, I’ll raise taxes for a better Minnsesota, too.
BAKK: Well, I won’t…
ANDERSON-KELLIHER: Yes, you will.
BAKK: Yes, I will.
DAYTON: I will raise taxes. For a better Minnesota. (Eyes door furtively). I will. I will. I will.
ANDERSON-KELLIHER: OK. Not getting what I want here…
RUKAVINA: I’ll raise taxes more for a better Minnesota!
WAITRESS (Carrying tray of drinks): OK, that’s two house Merlots, a Grain Belt Premium, two Boilermakers, an Appletini, two “diet Pellegrinis” a cup of steam, and (looks at THISSEN) some smelling salts.
THISSEN: (grunts painfullly)
WAITRESS: That’ll be $77.
WAITRESS: Er, maam? I brought the drinks. You need to pay up.
ANDERSON-KELLIHER: Shut up.
WAITRESS: Maam? This isn’t funny. You wanna leave me on the look for almost $80 worth of drinks?
ANDERSON-KELLIHER: Shut up!
RUKAVINA: Yeah. Shut up!
WAITRESS: I’m gonna call the police.
ANDERSON-KELLIHER: (Stands at table) Attention, everyone in the restaurant. Please pay our drink tab! It is for a better Minnesota!
(RUKAVINA, BAKK, RYBAK, QUAM, and ENTENZA applaud; DAYTON balances spoon on his finger; THISSEN groans)
MARTY: As it is written, so shall it be done. (MARTY disappears in a blinding flash of pure light).