(SCENE: A DFL Legislative Caucus meeting over breakfast at the bar at the Kelly Inn. Paul THISSEN, Ryan WINKLER, John LESCH, Phyllis KAHN, Scott DIBBLE, Carly MELIN, Sandy PAPPAS, Alice HAUSMAN, and Linda BERGLIN are sitting at a large table.. They are whispering amongst themselves as they wait for Tom BAKK)
LESCH: (to MELIN): If a Birther doesn’t believe The President is American, what is a Winkler?”
WINKLER: Hey, shut up!
BAKK: (Enters with a flurry and a bustle, takes a seat at the head of the table): Hey, all.
THISSEN: Hey, Tom!
ALL (mumble their greetings)
BAKK: Sorry I was late. I got held up in the Central Corridor construction getting here.
HAUSMAN: But Tom? The construction is like four miles away. You just had to walk across the street.
BAKK: I think my driver was running out the clock ’til his pension!
BAKK: OK, we gotta come up with some messaging. But I need a cuppa coffee first. (Turns to MELIN) Get me a cuppa coffee, wouldja?
THISSEN: One for me, too…
MELIN: Er, I’m not a waitress…
BAKK: I didn’t ask for an autobiography, toots. Cream, five sugars, and hustle. (MELIN, visibly upset, gets up and walks to bar). OK – so what’s on the table here?
PAPPAS: The Gay Marriage Ban amendment, for starters.
BAKK: OK. Big one. 2/3 of Minnesota will vote for it. How do we spin this?
THISSEN: Yeah! Ideas, please! Ideas!
WINKLER: Maybe introduce a ban on all marriage?
(BAKK looks at Winkler for a beat or two, as…)
LESCH: How about “Vote against it, or John Lesch will uncork a can of whoopass on you?”
WINKLER: Ooh, bitchin’!
KAHN: How about “Goddess Will Strike You Dead”….
BERGLIN: Let’s just spin this as “Hate”.
BAKK: Hm. Hate. The GOP is Hateful. I like it!
THISSEN: Brilliant! Brilliant!
(MELIN returns, puts coffee on table in front of BAKK and THISSEN).
BAKK: OK – now, the budget.
DIBBLE: How about “The GOP are acting like a bunch of pansy Nazis?”
THISSEN: Good! Goooood!
BAKK: Hm. A little aggressive.
THISSEN: Good Goddess, what a dumb idea, Dibble…
(Silence for a few moment)
HAUSMAN: How about “The GOP exhibits their hate by not passing a budget”
BAKK: Hmm. It’s got a zing to it. I like it.
THISSEN: I could kiss you, Alice!
BAKK: OK, next item…
(Former Senator Ellen ANDERSON stops by table).
ANDERSON: Hi, guys!
(PAPPAS, LESCH, KAHN, DIBBLE, BERGLIN, HAUSMAN, MELIN and other greet the Senator).
THISSEN: Hey, Ellen! Great to see you!
BAKK: Ellen, we’re kinda busy here…
(THISSEN draws a can of pepper spray and discharges it at Anderson, who beats a hasty, coughing retreat).
BAKK: OK. What’s next?
LESCH: How about “Why do Republicans hate jobs?”
THISSEN (claps with excited glee).
BAKK: Keep ’em coming!
DIBBLE: Union pensions?
BAKK: “Why does the GOP hate public employees!”
THISSEN: Yaaaay! Keep going!
KAHN: Publicly funded art!
BAKK: “Why does the GOP hate artists!”
(THISSEN hops up and down with glee)
WINKLER: The Vikings stadium!
BAKK: Why do the ReThugLiCons hate sports fans!”
(THISSEN does a spry cartwheel between the tables)
BAKK: Why do Republicans hate Indians!
(THISSEN loses consciousness in a paroxysm of unfettered glee, falls face-first into the omelet in front of Mary Lahammer, sitting at a neighboring table).
BERGLIN: Native Americans.
KAHN: Ahem. First Nations.
BERGLIN and BAKK: Doh!
LESCH: The Ku Klux Klan!
BAKK: Why does the GOP hate hate?
BAKK: Wait. Back up.
BAKK: OK. Well, we got the basics down. Let’s get to work, people!
(ALL adjourn to drinking coffee and eating breakfast).
LESCH (Digs in briefcase, pulls out sheaf of paper). Hey, what the hell is this?
WINKLER: (Reads front page) Governor…Dayton’s…budget…proposal…? Huh?
BAKK: Never heard of it. (Handing coffee cup to MELIN) Hey, cupcake, put a head on this, huh?