SCENE: MITCH is walking down Constitution Avenue, near the state capitol. It’s a bright, bright, sunshiny day. Detached-looking figures wander, aimlessly and slightly out of focus, in the distance.
(Aaron ROSTON, DFL activist, pro-bullying-activist and blogger from Fungus Flats, MN, is standing in the middle of the sidewalk).
MITCH (stepping around ROSTON): Excuse me.
ROSTON (with supercharged sarcasm): Oh, yeah, right. You’re so excused.
ROSTON: Oh, right. I just bet you don’t understand me.
Professor William G. KRIEPPI staggers into the frame as MITCH walks down the street.
MITCH: Hey, Professor.
(KRIEPPI abruptly lurches off the street, walks into a light pole, and falls, insensible, onto the grass, unconscious).
MITCH: Damn. Hey… (turns to passing figure, who turns out to be Dark MAYTON, billionaire playboy political consultant), er, can you help this guy?
MAYTON: The moon is made of olives and I am pulsating.
MITCH (watches as MAYTON walks down the sidewalk. KRIEPPI snores loudly on the grass). What a very strange place.
ROSTON: Oh, yeah. So strange…
MITCH: Good lord, you’re a wierd little person.
(MITCH walks toward the Capitol, He is presently accosted by a shadowy figure – that of PLARF BINGNERT, chief project manager in the Rhetorical Engineering department at the Alliance for a Better Minnesota).
BINGNERT: Mister Berg, why do you do these curious dialogues? It’s almost as if you are trying to say something.
MITCH: Well, usually, yes – but I feel as if this one has gotten out of control. It’s like…
BINGNERT: WOOOOT WOOOOOOOOT WOOOOOOOT WOOOOOOOOP WOOOP WOOOOP WOOOOOP!
MITCH (sotto voce): What the hell?
ROSTON (in distance, walking in tight circle): Oh, yeah – Mr. Family Values, using swears. That’s so “family”.
(BINGNERT wanders aimlessly away). Po di po di po di po!
(MITCH wanders to the base of the capitol steps, sits on the base of the plinth of one of the statues of the Heroes of Minnesota Social Democracy).
(Inge “Lucky” CARROLL, narrative-buffer for “Alliance for a Better Minnesota”, dressed in Lederhosen and Doc Martens boots, rappels down from a bright orange helicopter).
CARROLL (yelling shrilly through a megaphone): HEY! The GOP wants to sell your children!
MITCH: No, they don’t.
CARROLL (still yelling): The GOP wants to run Minnesota from Mississippi!
MITCH: That’s just bizarre.
CARROLL (still yelling): They want to feed your children assault rifles!
MITCH: That just makes no sense.
ROSTON (yelling from middle of lawn): Oh, yeah – Democrats never make sense, do they, Merg?
MITCH (sotto voce): If I say “that’s a fascinating point”, will you go away?
(CARROLL wanders into the distance, shouting random accusations into the bullhorn. As she and her din recede into the distance, a man dressed in a large purple rabbit costume hops laboriously up the sidewalk and stops in front of MITCH).
RABBIT: Hi. I’m Wyatt RINKLER. You only do these fantasy dialogues because you are afraid. And having a melt-down.
MITCH: Well, no.
RINKLER: I’m too stupid to understand what you just said.
ROSTON (suddenly up close): Oh, we’re all too stupid, says Merg.
MITCH: (shakes head, as if to shake off a sucker punch) Beg pardon?
RINKLER: Yarby yarby yarby.
(RINKLER hops away into the distance, disappears over the horizon). (Yes, a hoppable horizon is unaccountably visible from the Capitol. Go figure).
MITCH (walks up steps to Capitol doors. ROSTON follows at a distance, making sarcastic-sounding noises that never quite resolve into words).
MITCH (looking out over city): Wow. It must have been the burrito.
(From the Capitol comes an ephemeral shape, that of Cat SCAT, factoid bookkeeper for Take Action MN).
MITCH: Hey. Nice day, huh?
SCAT: I’ll check to see what Daily Kos says.
ROSTON (muted in the distance): Oh, yeah – so nice!
MITCH (past caring): So does Kos confirm?
SCAT: Can you confirm that this dialog actually happened?
MITCH: I can confirm that it did not actually happen. It’s entirely a figment of my imagination.
SCAT: So it’s a lie!
MITCH: No. It’s fiction. Fiction illustrates, via storytelling, symbolism, metaphor, satire, humor and other devices, things that non-fiction writing can’t.
(Senator Tom BAKK and speaker of the House Paul THISSEN walk out Capitol doors)
SCAT: So you admit it’s false?
ROSTON (on sidewalk, dousing self in strawberry milkshakes): Oh, Merg is never false!
(BAKK and THISSEN pick MITCH’s pocket, replace wallet with a “Happy To Pay For A Better Minnesota” leaflet)
MITCH (ignoring ROSTON): Irrelevant. It’s neither “True” nor “False”. It’s fictional, so it’s made up – but it can show what I reasonably believe to be larger truths. Or not. Sometimes satire is parody, sometimes caricature. Sometimes it’s just plain absurdist, with the perceived truths buried beneath a heaping pile of misdirection. Sometimes it’s just mockery.
SCAT: That’s just wrong.
MITCH: Wrong? You mean, like a liberal TV star pretending to be an over the top caricature of a conservative TV star to satirize conservatives and our alt-media?
SCAT (looks at at “Crooks and Liars” on IPad, is silent)
MITCH: Er…Steven Colbert?
SCAT (Dissolves into the ether)
ROSTON (yells at passing teenage girl): Hey! My sister had capris like that – until my dad got a job! Who does your hair – Stevie Wonder?
MITCH: Wow. Imagine if they’d lost the election.
(Walks to parking lot. Gives leaflet to attendant. Drives off into sunset).