|Play: Political Satire (Duane R. Hurst, © 1980)
No portion of this book may be reproduced without the prior written consent of the author. The play, in its present form, is for the reading public; permission for any other use (whether by amateurs or professionals) may be obtained by writing to:
Duane R. Hurst (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The following satirical play was begun in the winter of 1976 and completed (after having been shelved for several years) in early 1980. Readers are left to make their own interpretations concerning the fictional characters in the play. Any similarity to known persons is possible in our nation of programmed education and pervasive governmental control, however, the only apology or explanation, which can truly be offered is that “If the shoe fits, wear it.” No crass insult has been intended towards good people.
I wrote as a diversion from the rather tedious, but nevertheless enjoyable, subject of political science. The other motive, aside from pocketing a few of your devalued bucks, was to present a humorous look at a place herein given the title of “Desperado Corners.”
As for any claim that I ridicule current government policies and actions, I should counter with the blatantly obvious observation that policies as formulated by the numerous government agencies are sufficiently ludicrous. Further lambasting of administration designs and blunders are surrendered to more astute and loquacious political critics. The reader is therefore asked to avoid adulteration of the humor with an injection of interpolation.
SCENE I. Inside Desperado Corners Saloon. Councilmen and Dude Ranchers sit around table, drinking and shouting. All are dressed western style except for Futura, who wears a blue kimono. Bernie serves drinks. Dave sits behind a large table, gavel in hand.
[Enter Laramie and Stevie.]
Stevie: What do ya reckon this meeting is for, Laramie?
Laramie: Don’t rightly know, Stevie. But I’ll wager it’s got something to do with Bootlick Wormkey being sworn in as Water Rights Spokesman.
Stevie: Wormkey? Why, we all know he’s a slithering sidewinder who wants to reroute the reservoir water to irrigate the Redskin lands.
[Gavel pounded for attention.]
Deathknell: Awright, all a youse clam up! We ain’t gotta listen ta no more a dis bull. I’m Sheriff in dis here town, an I says Wormkey is Water Rights Spokesman. Now, we’ll have a vote ta swear ‘im in an den me broder Dave’ll buy drinks on da house.
Big K: Das ist gut. Ich votes ja wohl, und pass der Schnapps und sauerkraut.
Breezy: Of a certainty, Wormkey is the only logical candidate whose expertise in handling delicate negotiable matters is manifestly superior and properly commensurate to the task at hand. May I raise a goblet in hearty commendation.
Whosebutt: I’d like to say that I fully concur with the Marshal’s choice. I might add that I will not accept the nomination for Marshal in the next election, unless the Dude Ranch and Townsfolk force me to accept a draft.
Jiminy: (With a toothy grin.) Ah’d just lahk ta thank y’all fuh the neighborly support y’all give ta mah friend, Bootlick Wormkey.
[Shouts of: Right on! Here, here! You bet!]
Laramie: (Striding into center stage.) Wait up there now! A vote hasn’t been taken, and I’ve got a few things to say. The Sodbusters and other Townsfolk don’t want anything but a piece of Wormkey’s hide. He’s a regular guest at Redskin powwows and is know as Moccasin Tongue. We won’t have him squander our water!
Whosebutt: You young snip! Who cares what you or those filthy Sodbusters want? We decide what is best for Desperado Corners and all Prairie County.
Baggy: (Stands up, ten-gallon hat flapping.) Aw shuddup, Whosebutt Hump! Only a polecat would vote you Marshal. We all know you’re just a bellhop at Teddycares Dude Ranch. Bootlick’s a stooge and we all know it. That’s why Deathknell was told by Dave to order Marshal Jiminy Peanut to prop up Wormkey. One more pie in the pasture ain’t gonna make no difference, long as the cows keep eating.
Teddycares: Sit down, Abby. You’re simply a slut with a large, foul mouth. What you claim is mere hearsay.
I would like to urge our distinguished Town Council to ignore the vain mouthings of the Sodbusters’ Spokesmen. The radical right-wingers are continually fomenting dissension and factionalism against the proletariat. I suggest we address the matter to our oracle, Mort Uhaul.
Baggy: I ain’t no foul mouth, an I ain’t gonna take no lip off a male chauvinist! (Attempts to hit Teddycares with her hat, but Deathknell stops her.)
Deathknell: Sit down, Baggy, or I’ll trow ya in da clink wit former Marshal Nextime.
[Uhaul steps into the circle of tables. A hush.]
Uhaul: Verily, I say unto you: Let our servant Bootlick Wormkey be well received within the halls of this county. Yea, let all dissension desist and let all our good brethren crowd round; yea, even nigh unto the bar, and partake of mild spirits in mutual forgiving. But as for me, I must restrain for a season from the partaking of all liquors. Would that I could take a snort out of the sparkling glass, yea, though it be but a jigger; but I must needs wait till the seventh day doth pass.
Jiminy: Right on! Y’all heard the word. Ah’ll have a mint julep, an the gubbers are on me.
Big K: Ein glass of Schnapps, mach schnell!
Breezy: Oh, Art Bernie is serving today. A dry martini with an extra olive for me, please.
Stevie: (Fires 3 shots in the air.) Now you clowns listen to us! We’ve had enough of this sashaying around the issue. The people don’t want Wormkey.
Whosebutt: The people don’t? Yes, now I recall that Bootlick is a nefarious trickster, much like old Marshal Nextime. I say we up and hang Bootlick Wormkey! Be sure that my vote is put on the public record.
Art: Whosebutt is running true to form. He blows along even on the rumor of a wind.
Futura: Ah so, sumimasen. Please to explain position of honorable shopkeeper. The guild doesn’t put much stock in Wormkey. We demand a clear-cut picture of his future negotiations or we’ll mark up prices.
Dave: (Stepping over to Futura.) Gentlemen, let’s pause for a breather and get a bearing on both sides of the issue. As “Banzai Boy” Futura has pointed out, economic variables must be considered before a final judgment can be reached. I propose that we recess for a short period and reconvene with our plans solidified.
Deathknell, you and Big K hustle the boys into our corner room. And Breezy, get the other group organized for me in the adjacent back room.
[Exit all but the Sodbusters, Baggy and Uhaul.]
Laramie: Looks like Dave wants more than a board meeting of his loan company. Yup, one group is the Committee on Family Relations and the other is his 3-Way Mediation Commission, all part of the Rocky Bunch.
Stevie: He’s got an odd family. I know Big K is the favored Range Rider, but what is the K for?
SCENE II. In the CFR room. Sitting in a circle are Dave, Big K, Deathknell, Whosebutt, Teddycares and Art Bernie. Dave sits on a raised chair.
Deathknell: All da boys are here, Dave. Howz ‘bout rustling up a swell plan ta make me nominated Marshal? I’m all set ta put da kibosh on dem trashy Sodbusters. We gotta break ‘em afore dey wise up ta us.
Dave: All in due time, Deathknell. But while you’re out of public view, you can be silent as I explain the New Community Co-op.
It seems a few interests are getting crossed. Our emporium friend is too excited over maintaining a commercial status quo. I’ll straighten him out shortly. As for the Sodbusters, we’ve always been able to outfox them. I think it’s time Teddycares and Whosebutt Hump trundle out another community affair to smokescreen our Water Project, the South Bridge Give-away and Modified Pistol’s Proposal. Yes, Bernie?
Art: I’ve been getting static from many bank customers. They seem a bit peevish about our interest rates.
Dave: Just feed them the same line with more phraseology in it.
Art: That may be difficult to push. It’s become rather sticky in explaining your policy. After all, some are sharp enough to know that a new interest day doesn’t begin every time a cloud passes the sun.
Big K: Ach du lieber! Take dem out und haf dem chot mit der gun. Dis people haf too much freedom.
Whosebutt: That’s what I say. Put me on secret record for agreeing with Big K.
Teddycares: Hump, you might as well can it. You’re not slated for Marshal, or even for Sheriff again.
Dave: I’m afraid he’s right, Whosebutt. We need a younger fellow who can project a good front for us. That’s why we made Jiminy Peanut. And speaking of him, I better visit next door. You boys relax while Big K takes over. (Exit.)
SCENE III. Another small room. Sitting in a triangle are Breezy, Wormkey and Futura. Jiminy sits on the floor inside the triangle.
Dave: Well, boys, let’s get down to affairs. What’s the trouble, Breezy?
Breezy: It seems our competitive shopkeeper is worried about the future if we siphon off our water supplies. He doesn’t feel you can control the Redskin once they get our reserves.
Futura: Hai! How do we know they won’t hold their superior water reserves as a club against us? They might undam one of the lakes and flood either this county or my own shop.
Dave: Don’t worry about them. Let’s remember who made them what they are. And also--remember who can unmake any here. I own the law, and it can either ride you or protect your shop.
Jiminy: Ah hope y’all don’t mahnd if Ah say that our three-way group is all tagethah ta make one New Community Co-op.
Dave: But without the Sodbusters!
Jiminy: Ah’ll drink ta that.
[All drink a toast.]
Breezy: I suggest we conclude here and proceed with the swearing in of Wormkey.
Wormkey: You promised I’d get the job, Dave. I did a lot in the past for you, and I’m itching to do even more on this job. Don’t allow those Sodbusters to squash me.
Dave: Don’t fret about it, Bootlick. Of course you’ll get the job. However, in order to cool things down, I’m going to have a few of the boys vote against you. That way the Townsfolk and Sodbusters will feel better.
I’ll get Baggy Abby, Mort Uhaul and Art Bernie to vote against you, Bootlick. And I think we can even get Nextime out of jail long enough to put in a bad word, too. The rest of us will back you up. Right. Let’s go in now.
SCENE IV. In the main room of the Saloon. The Sodbusters and Uhaul are sitting. Baggy swills liquor from a keg. Doors of the two back rooms open simultaneously.
[Enter CFR and 3-Way groups, swaggering.]
Deathknell: (Stands on a chair for attention.) Awright, all a youse slobs shuddup an listen ta me, Speaker a da Saloon.
Baggy: Ain’t no one flapping their jaws ‘cepting fer you, ya dumb fool.
Teddycares: Baggy, can’t you act civil while in the halls of the body politic?
Baggy: Well, Mr. College Boy, I can so speak proper if I’ve a mind to. Hey, Deathknell, ya ain’t a dumb fool. Yer a ignorant harlequin.
Deathknell: I had enough a dat filthy-mouthed female! She ain’t got no respect fer me position. Big K, shove a bag over da bag’s head an dump ‘er outside.
Big K: Ja wohl, mein herr. However, Ich must point out dat ve haf better tinks to vorry about.
Dave: (To Breezy.) Get the show rolling along. That jackass brother of mine can’t do anything right. I want you to slip out and bring in ex-Marshal Nextime.
Breezy: Yes sir, I’ll expedite the matter promptly. (Exit.)
Stevie: I don’t see how Deathknell reckons that he’s Speaker of the Saloon. In fact, he’s not even Sheriff anymore. Just because Sheriff Momsdel was sent off on a gopher-counting mission to Piker’s Peak doesn’t mean Deathknell can fill the gap.
Art: Oh, it’s merely Deathknell’s boyhood dream. He won’t believe Sheriff isn’t a position for life; and he still pushes for Marshal.
Baggy: Fat chance fer that! He weren’t ever elected Sheriff.
Jiminy: Hey now, y’all. As Marshal, Ah wannah state that mah friend Wormkey is the best man fuh the job. Now y’all know Ah’d nevah lie ‘bout gov’ment hep!
Laramie: Then how do you explain appointing Cauliflower, your pal Burnt Last and that other dude, who pushes herbal panaceas, as county pharmacist?
Jiminy: Well, since there don’t seem ta be any questions, Ah’ll just remind y’all ta steer clear of Dolly’s an live a moral lahf lahk mahn.
Whosebutt: I want to go on record for pointing out that this Council has wasted time nitpicking when it ought to be swearing in Wormkey. We’ve got to let the Redskin know that the Water Rights Spokesman is backed by the Council, so he can be in a strong bargaining position.
Stevie: We wouldn’t need a bargaining position if your kind hadn’t built the Redskin dams and filled in many of our irrigation canals.
Teddycares: (Stands on a table and waves a red bandanna.) Typical capitalist blather designed to lull us into a euphoric complacency while the wreckers and divisionist agents sabotage our system. Townsfolk unite! Throw off the shackles of Sodbuster tyranny.
I has a dream!
(All but the Sodbusters chant: He has a dream.)
I see the people, the people free.
(Yeah man, we’s gonna be free.)
I see ‘em free from labor.
(Hallelujah. He sees da vision.)
I see county handouts: Free bread; free beans; free booze.
(Glory, glory. Free booze.)
(Tell us; tell us. What da ya see, man?)
(He sees; he sees it all.)
I see a NEW COMMUNITY CO-OP!
Uhaul: (Lifting a hand.) In the mouths of two witless fools, let every word be established for the good of the New Community Co-op.
Hearken unto me. As I sat pondering upon weighty matters in the privacy of my closet, behold, a messenger did appear. Yea, even a messenger from the mighty Loan Company did rap on my door. And he bade me give strict heed to the contents of a bulky packet. And notwithstanding the inappropriateness of the moment, nevertheless, I did safely deposit the packet and hastened hither in compliance to the word of the mighty Loan Company.
Be it known that I, Mort Uhaul, County Mortician, shall vote nay to the nomination of Bootlick Wormkey. Thus I have spoken. Now, let all bribes be thrust into mine hands under the table, and let all pork-barreling be done in the proper season thereof.
Laramie: Thus begins parliamentary procedure.
Baggy: Being a religious sort, I’ll string along with Mort. I wouldn’t give the spit off my boot fer Wormkey anyways. ‘Sides, Mort knows where the cash flows.
Jiminy: (Looking sad.) Hey now y’all, don’t spoil mah reign. Y’all promised ta trust me.
Art: In lieu of possible economic fluctuations, impending stock market debauchery, an escalating fiscal gerrymandering, and the fact that the per capita per annum sharecropper compensatory statute as expressed in the simplified manual of revenue standards has been influential in necessitating a hyped-up program of personal vested interests confiscation, I cannot, in good conscience, support Mr. Wormkey’s confirmation.
Stevie: The nays are stacking up. I reckon the yeas will start rolling in. Yup, here comes the first.
Whosebutt: (Strutting forward like a bantam rooster.) What’s all this talk? This is the way a free government is disrupted. I’m going on record against this bias, detrimental perversion of traditional procedure. If I hear anymore such talk, I’m going to filibuster against the right to investigate!
SCENE I. Enter Breezy with Nextime. Nextime is dressed in a Mao coat, cowboy boots and golf cap. Dave raps Deathknell on the head.
Deathknell: Sit down, Hump. I ain’t gave ya da floor yet. Me broder says we’s gonna let da ex-distinguished Marshal gargle a few lies—-er, lines, what like ‘e used to deal out ta da rubes.
[All notice Nextime.]
Big K: Himmel! Vat ist dis nincompoop needed for? Ich tought ve vas kerput mit him after givink him der sandbag treatment at der Vashinkgate Boardink House.
Baggy: Who let that no-account Pontiac-pusher in?
[Nextime glides forward to an empty chair at center stage. He waves both hands in victory “Vs” above his head before slumping down in the chair.]
Wormkey: I protest the ex-Marshal’s appearance at these proceedings. He hasn’t anything to do with water rights any longer.
Deathknell: Tough luck fer all a youse what don’t like da poor jerk. We’s givin’ ‘im a opportunity ta blab tings ‘e knows ‘bout our ferign friends.
Nextime: (Aside.) Here’s a rare plum of a chance to bedazzle them with my political astuteness and resiliency.
[Stands in a humble manner.]
(Aloud.) My dear colleagues, some have expressed concern over my alleged misdeeds. Let me say this about that, and I want to make it perfectly clear, that I feel a certain degree of sorrow, as it were, at having been caught in a frame-up to discredit my credibility. But, that’s all bye the by now.
I have been summoned, and you should pay close heed to this, to share my professional views as concerning the Water Rights Allocation Treaty II with the Redskin. Let me just say this about that important piece of legislation; it could be construed to jeopardize the county’s internal water security if appropriate measures are not adequately taken prior to finalizing drafts of treaty agreements, due in part, and I emphasize this, to lack of accurate, on-sight verification devices.
Whosebutt: Enough balderdash! Even if the people could understand it, they wouldn’t believe you. The Townsfolk and Sodbusters of this great county trust our gifted guidance and talent to obfuscate.
Laramie: I can agree with that last statement, Whosebutt. And to reveal your “guidance” to the public, I reckon we ought to…
Whosebutt: Out of order! Out of order! You’re out of order! I was speaking first!
Stevie: (Stands menacingly in front of Whosebutt.) Pipe down, pip-squeak! We’re mighty riled up with coyotes and asinine fops like you. Smoke-screens ain’t about to blind us to why Wormkey was nominated, nor lead us to forget whose brand he wears.
Howdy, Jess. We’re right glad to see you. Now we can really lay into these hombres.
[Jiminy draws Jess aside from the group.]
Jiminy: Jess, as one good ole boy to anothah, why don’t y’all recollect how Ah was made Marshal. Play it rahght and y’all just mahght land a posh job as a Co-op Directah; wrong, and y’all mahght nevah be a D.C. Councilman no mo’. Comprende?
Jess: Marshal Peanut, y’all bettah look out for this good ole boy. Unlike y’all, I am a gentleman who can distinguish between smile and subterfuge, decency and deceit. Now, kindly remove your carcass out of mah path, suh.
[Moves to center stage.]
Good to see y’all, Laramie and Stevie. I believe I have some documented evidence, which we can use to prove Wormkey’s smooth-tongued lack of character.
Wormkey: I vigorously protest introduction of any late evidence. This august body of impeccably honest and dedicated lawmakers has found my past devoid of misdeed, and their acceptance of my credentials must be upheld. I demand that whatever evidence the Sodbuster Spokesman has be ruled out and not heard.
Whosebutt: That’s right! We already found him to be our type. What better credentials could he have?
Big K: Das ist zehr gut, Whosebutt. Dis county haf ein responsibility to negotiate mit der Redskin und reduce friction over vasser rights, especially as der New Community Co-op ist closer to completion. Ve must remember der Redskin are peaceful under der détente und peace mit honor Ich secretly made mit dem.
Breezy: Let me likewise urge the Council to ignore the Sodbusters. Both Big K and I are deeply concerned with the magnitude of repercussions which would result once Wormkey’s nomination is blocked. The Redskin, particularly the powerful Bear Tribe, would conclude that his refused appointment is an affront to their cultivation of Wormkey’s confidence and friendship. Surely, the Council can recognize such overriding assets and repress hearsay evidence, which may libel our choice for Water Rights Spokesman.
Jess: Now if that don’t beat all! That is exactly the kind of drivel, which demands that the Townsfolk and Sodbusters hear my evidence. I’ve got the goods on Wormkey and, by gum, I’m going to expose the scalawag!
Laramie: While you’re at it, let’s shine a spotlight on the clowns in Dave’s new 3-Way Mediation Commission.
Stevie: And explain the true goal of their much-touted New Community Co-op.
Teddycares: Empty words and bankrupt mouthings! I deplore such trivia when this Council is confronted with more pressing matters. We must redress the people’s wrongs suffered under capitalistic profiteering. I propose to unveil a county-controlled, mandatory plan of volunteer health care.
Jiminy: And Ah’ll propose a short list of goodies: revamp county gov’ment so mo’ good ole boys can get easy money; conclude givin’ way the wuhthless South Bridge to mah friend, Two-Time Tortilla; and a reprehensive—-Ah mean, a comprehensive energy plan to protect our wood supply fuh the stoves.
Uhaul: Conservation is next to orderliness. Oh, my heart doth rejoice in the curtailment of progress and in the preservation of nature; yea, even in the salvation of mugworts and slime-bellied tater-toads from extinction.
Deathknell: Hot digs, dis is da kind action what parches da whistle! Gimme a beer whilst we vote up da gents’ idears. What say, broder?
Dave: I say, let’s have an immediate Council vote to overrule Jess’s evidence and swear in Wormkey. Teddycares performed exceptionally well in diverting attention from the Sodbuster Spokesman’s volatile accusations.
Art: A vote, let’s have a vote everyone.
Baggy: Cool it! (All stop talking.) Stop yammering and let’s vote out the Sodbuster evidence.
Whosebutt: And vote in Bootlick Wormkey.
Jess: Not till my evidence is heard!
Futura: Ah so, too late for that now.
Jess: What? You’re not a Councilman, or even a county resident. You can’t vote.
Whosebutt: He can so. We voted him an honorary Councilman when your kind was unable to attend a short-notice, special session.
Deathknell: Awright! Dem opposed ta da evidence an in favor a Bootlick, shout out.
[All but the Sodbusters: Aye!]
Deathknell: Any dumb enough ta believe in da old republican way, speak up.
Deathknell: Hah! Tough luck, you lose!
Jess: Round one. But the Townsfolk and Sodbusters will speak out shortly.
SCENE II. Inside a plush room at Dave’s bank. Dave sits behind a massive, polished desk. Big K, Art Bernie and Breezy sit facing Dave.
Art: Dave, we really can’t afford to print up more funny money. Minting coins out of mica and fool’s gold caused quite a stir from the few prospectors who can distinguish counterfeit currency, but putting portraits of CFR cronies on the bills just wouldn’t hold water. Even the Townsfolk wouldn’t stand still for such a scheme, let alone the Sodbusters.
Big K: Ach! Vorry about it later. Der Vasser Rights Allocation Treaty ist more important. Once signed, ve haf dis county in der pocket.
Breezy: That is essentially correct. Without WRAT I, we could not have built such strong reserves for the Redskin. The Sodbusters are too close to the earth; they know that water keeps the county secure and independent.
Dave: We need a slick shyster to head up a PR snow job—-someone unscrupulous and dense enough to believe the claptrap needed to sell WRAT II. The lowest, yellow-bellied ignoramus I know of is McGrovel.
Breezy: Excellent choice, chief. He will support any perverse or hedonistic doctrine, so long as fame and cash are included. Should I send for him?
Dave: Absolutely. I want a program devised and running before those Sodbusters can cramp my plans.
Now, Bernie, here’s what I want done about expanding cash and credit to bring on a massive recession…
SCENE III. Inside the Sodbusters’ room. Stevie paces beside Jess and Laramie, who are seated.
Stevie: I say it’s time to whip up a vigilante posse and put the skids on their treaty. Worming Wormkey into office ain’t gonna do our cause no good. If we aim to represent the Sodbusters and Townsfolk, then we can’t let them get away with that kangaroo court.
Jess: Simmer down, Stevie. Course we can’t allow them to pervert justice and go against the county’s demands, even though they don’t give a hoot for the people.
Laramie: I reckon they’ll round up some sneak to push their plans. We best make tracks and head ‘em off at the pass. Our best bet is a full expose, especially about how little water will be allotted to us.
Jess: Hmm. Astute cogitation, Laramie. Course they control Coward Smitty’s newspaper, which means we haven’t a coon’s chance of our views being printed. A regular stump through the county at a grassroots level is more likely to hep us. Let’s get cracking on how to lay out facts to the people.
SCENE IV. In a backroom of the D.C. Saloon. Seated at a rude table are Big K, Breezy and Teddycares.
Big K: Achtung! Make mit der booze already, und bring in McGrovel. Ich hates like da dickens to handle such a schlep.
Teddycares: What difference does that matter? We must exploit every possible opening. Besides, not only does it follow the path of historic determinism, but it might prove to be a boon in boosting my future bid for Marshal.
Breezy: That seems to indicate that you intend running in the next county election, despite repeated assertions to the contrary.
Teddycares: Pooh. I’m surprised at you, Breezy. You don’t suppose that for one minute I mean anything that I say, do you? Even Peanut was propped in place as a forerunner to my leadership. I’ve a tradition to follow, and the New Community Co-op is the key. Not even that imbecile, Deathknell, rates as highly in Dave’s ulterior plans. And my bombastic tirades are designed as a veneer to attract the county’s idealists and other assorted uninformed or unsuspecting cretins.
Big K: Enough a dis fancy talk. Ver ist der dummkopf, McGrovel?
Breezy: He will be here presently. Whosebutt is sure to locate him; they are, after all, of similar nature.
[Enter Whosebutt with McGrovel. McGrovel wears western clothes, a large peace symbol, Redskin headdress and carries an ornate white flag.]
Whosebutt: Well, here we are. Let me introduce McGrovel.
Big K: Hmph! Ve know dat twerp. Sit down und clam up, Whosebutt. Ve vill handle der creep mitout interruption.
McGrovel: Oh, my. What a mean, nasty way to interlocute. (Stamps his foot.) I say, I just will not abide such scandalous treatment!
Whosebutt: (Pats McGrovel on the back and hands him a kerchief.) Now, now there, McGrovel. Don’t feel bad. He didn’t mean to hurt you.
Look here, Big K. You’ve got to be more considerate when speaking to sensitive individuals. After all, we did invite him here.
Big K: Shut der mouth already. Ve need dat crumbum in sellink der treaty, but Ich vill not put on ein false face vhile der public ist not lookink at us. Put cash in his grubby paws und explain vat ve vant done. Und do it mach schnell! Der Sodbusters vill not vait for our loiterink.
Teddycares: I think a bit of suave salesmanship is more likely to attract McGrovel’s attention and loyalty.
Big K: Vat’s mit der loyalty? Ve buy him und he vorks for us till his usefulness ist kerput.
McGrovel: Well, I’ve never been so insulted!
Teddycares: (Pulling out a thick wad of bills.) McGrovel, this is a miniscule portion of the remuneration we will render for your spearheading a drive to sell WRAT II to the county.
McGrovel: Oh, let me touch it. (Caresses the bills.) How delightfully crisp they are, and the smell tantalizes the olfactory with a rich odor.
Just specify what you desire, Teddycares, and I’ll muster my bag of dirty tricks and band of raggamuffins to parade the patriotism of all who support WRAT II. By the way, what is WRAT II?
Whosebutt: It’s an agreement to help our Redskin friends. And that, as you know, is paramount in promoting our New Community Co-op.
McGrovel: Oh, goody! I really must do my utmost to hasten Utopia. Besides, I’m an honorary Redskin.
Big K: Hokay, ve go now. Whosebutt, tell dat bum der details so he von’t foul up der vorks. (Exit with Breezy and Teddycares.)
Whosebutt: I admire your style, McGrovel. And I wouldn’t impose by telling you how to sell WRAT II. But, maybe you could claim it was necessary for the future security of the county.
McGrovel: It is necessary for the county’s future security! It’s the patriotic duty of each resident to support whatever secret agreements are made, no matter what they might be.
Whosebutt: Very convincing. How is it that you can sound so sincere about something you don’t understand?
McGrovel: That’s the simplistic beauty of being an ignoramus. Knowledge of wrongdoing and guilty feelings don’t clutter the mind. I’m so vacuous that any idea, no matter how radical or abhorrent, is cheerfully accepted until a higher bidder offers a counter opinion. So you see, I am absolved of responsibility for my actions because I have no prejudices—-no sense of morality. Everything is relative.
Whosebutt: That sounds familiar.
McGrovel: It should! The great medicine man, Jerknee the Brown, promulgated the doctrine after he was entranced by the valiant genuflecting of Janey before Redskin pictographs. Her vociferous cheerleading at a Redskin massacre endeared her to him. And I must say (Giving a wink.), she certainly is a red-hot pickup.
SCENE I. Inside the D.C. Saloon. Councilmen, Dude Ranchers and Sodbusters are seated at tables. Whosebutt stands at center stage giving an oration. All others lounge in chairs, heads either nodding or resting on table tops. A few snore.
Whosebutt: …and that’s not all; we must remember the words of our great ex-Marshal, Lynch. He said it is the profound duty of each man to…
[Baggy lets out a loud belch, staggers to her feet, and throws a beer keg at Whosebutt. He is bowled over.]
Baggy: Dadblast it! Ya good-fer-nothin’ polecat. You’ve droned on fer three hours and ain’t said nothin’ yet. Don’t make another peep or I’ll bust yer jaw!
Deathknell: Wah! Somebody put a muzzle on da bag. Leave us have a bit ‘o peace whilst we’s deliberatin’ on da WRAT.
Teddycares: (Strides to center stage.) Fellow Councilmen, we must present a popular front in support of the Treaty. Other groups around the county have organized, such as the People’s Democratic Action Committee for a Unified Struggle to Support WRAT II. And, I am pleased to note, the astute prognosticator himself, McGrovel, has demonstrated that county demand for the Water Rights Treaty is surging ahead. The proletariat want quick action.
Stevie: Well, now we know who your sneak to push the Treaty is. But while your highfalutin talk may pull the wool over some eyes, it ain’t about to fool every cowpoke in the county. In fact, my partner, Georgie, is roundin’ up objections to WRAT II, even though a passel of Dave’s gunslingers have tried to dry-gulch him out west.
Dave: Be careful of those allegations, Sodbuster. My lawyers can whittle a wet-behind-the-ears snotnose like you down to size.
Stevie: Yup, I reckon they can. And slipping the judge a few Simoleans on the side is down your alley, too.
Art: Fellows, calm down. Remember where you are.
Dave: Thank you, Bernie. You’re right. A cool head is needed as we discuss the Treaty.
Laramie: Hold your horses, Stevie. We’ll get the drop on those dudes in short order. Just don’t make it a personal grudge.
Stevie: Sure, but I get steamed up when I hear about how Dave and his boys have been trying to railroad Georgie out of being a Spokesman.
Jess: He’s not the first; and he certainly won’t be the last if the Rocky Bunch gets complete control of the county. The county residents are slowly wising up to its past schemes, but we’ve got to be careful not to spook the more credulous into their corral.
[Enter Andy, swaggering. He wears a cowboy hat, Redskin outfit and carries a bloody spear, which has olive laurels dangling from its haft.]
Andy: I is here, man. As the Representative to Universal Nihilism, I brings peace tokens and tidings of the imminent Redskin Powwow. They is comin’ soon, and I am tellin’ all of you not to rock the canoe about this Treaty.
Now, I will answer questions which I feel are pertinent. But make it snappy; I has more important work to do than lollygag with D.C. Councilmen.
Laramie: Watch that insolent tongue, boy! Sure as shooting, your days at that blamed U.N. are numbered. Didn’t you claim the Code of the West should be replaced with the Wild Ways?
Andy: Right on, man! The degenerate, capitalistic profiteering on human misery via a universal imperialism must give way to the progressive state, as determined by history.
Jiminy: Andy, mah deah pal, Ah think y’all had best keep mum ‘bout personal beliefs. Tell us when the Redskin chiefs are comin’ heah.
Big K: (To Breezy.) Vat did Ich tell you, eh, Breezy? Der Peanut ist ein halfvit boob. Und his sad choice for U.N. Representative vas merely ein sop to get elected Marshal.
Breezy: (To Big K.) Yes, Andy seems to have a penchant for spilling the beans at an inopportune time. But I am certain the magniloquent Teddycares poses a greater threat, as well as a boon, to the inauguration of our New Community Co-op. As I cautioned Dave, we can always count on pulling the strings of a dodo like Jiminy, but a cagey megalomaniac can raise havoc with our plans.
Oh, what have we here?
[Enter Brazeneck, Poncho and Janey. Both chieftains come armed and painted. Poncho walks behind Brazeneck and puffs on a cigar. Janey is dressed in a sleek, red bargirl’s outfit.]
Janey: What we have are the brave and wise chiefs who come with peace pipe in hand. Oh, if you Councilmen only realized what the Redskin intentions are, you would kneel down and worship their preachments. Come, plead for them to blanket the county with their Wild Ways, and thus smother the rank weed of free initiative.
Andy: Hey, all right. Give me five, Floozy.
McGrovel: Is it any wonder that Jerknee could embrace the hallucinogenic fantasy of such a female?
Whosebutt: Magnificently stated. Janey, my dear…
Janey: Hands off, blowbag. My experience as a dancehall girl has taught me how to handle jerks like you. Back off, homesteader!
[She pushes Whosebutt onto Baggy’s lap.]
Baggy: Masher! (Throws him down as she flails with her ten-gallon hat.)
Teddycares: (Pulling Whosebutt to his feet.) Whoa. Hold up, Baggy.
Baggy: I might a knowed you’d be the one to pull a man to safety. But ya wouldn’t do it to save a woman, not even if she was drowning in a pool of troubles.
Art: That was a low blow.
Deathknell: Hmph. If ya ax me, ‘e’s a low blackguard.
Baggy: No one asked fer yer two cents, ding dong. So, butt out.
Uhaul: For shame! O thou unruly members, dost thou so easily denigrate the lofty title which shalt soon be bestowed upon Teddycares? For surely has it been oft spoken in the halls of the mighty Loan Company that his name shall be held in exceeding high esteem, yea, even that he shall be like unto a big brother. And he shall utterly redistribute the bounty of this great county.
Brazeneck: (Shakes a spear, whose dangling scalps jiggle.) Ugh. We help him, capitalist warmonger. Me no can speak with fork-tongue like roaders and divisionist saboteurs. Tell you true, paleface honkie, Peanut not too bad, but Teddycares heap better.
Cuthroat: ¡Hay caramba! Señores, I demand to geeve a short ten-hour speech about the dialectical movement on our banana plantations, and how the feelthy Sodbusters, herding their peegs onto my South-forty, have acted out another aggressive form of eemperialism. Amigos, we must reseest the petty bourgeois.
McGrovel: (On his knees.) Please save us from the slavering Sodbusters and their discriminatory Code of the West! Janey and Jerknee have shone us the light of your fires.
Stevie: I’ll be hornswoggled! Git up off your knees, you lily-livered, yellow-bellied snake-in-the-grass! You must be either plumb loco or addle-brained to think such a pernicious thought. Here’s the point of my boot to jostle your brain. (Gives McGrovel a kick in the rump.)
Wormkey: Stop this petty bickering. The Redskin chiefs have honored us by coming directly to the D.C. Saloon for the express purpose of negotiating a just Water Rights Treaty. Let us concentrate on that issue.
Andy: Right on, man. You turkeys cool it, and give our comrades the respect due such noble savages.
Laramie: (To Jess.) I’d just as soon plug the varmints as deal with them.
Jess: (To Laramie and Stevie.) Yes, however, we dare not act rashly. The Rocky Bunch and other brigands of their ilk have, as y’all rightly know, secretly been supplying tools and designs to modernize the Redskin irrigation system. In many ways it’s more efficient and rapid than our own.
Stevie: (To Jess and Laramie.) And no wonder! Our system has steadily been eroded or clogged by those who mollycoddle Wild Ways proponents.
Dave: (To Jiminy.) Call a recess, Peanut. I have a few things to say to the boys.
Jiminy: Y’all listen! We’uns gotta be a mite careful, so Ah am callin’ a recess ta, uh, uh…(Looks at Dave.)
Dave: (Rolls his eyes and whispers.) To organize for the WRAT II debate.
Jiminy: (Smiling.) Ta organahz fuh the WRAT II debaht.
Brazeneck: (Guffaws.) A squaw lead them! Cuthroat, get firewater. We wait Peanut; he need find backbone.
SCENE II. In the CFR room. Sitting in a circle are Dave, Teddycares, Big K, Breezy, Deathknell, Whosebutt and Jiminy.
Dave: (Glaring at Jiminy.) Get this straight! I exerted a great deal of energy and cash to manipulate as much of Prairie County politics as I could. I won’t allow foolish buffoonery or (Looks at all.) individual lime lighting. I’ve enough trouble getting those dimwitted Redskin to follow my tack. Despite our years of deliberate preparation and dissemination of misinformation, an expose could seriously retard the ultimate objective of our organizations. Remember, all of you will suffer if our true motives are unmasked.
Big K: Zieg heil! Der New Community Co-op über alles.
[Enter ghost of Lynch. He is dressed in a slightly soiled and singed, off-white cowboy outfit and a large Stetson. He hovers a few feet off the floor.]
Lynch: (In a hollow voice.) Mah fellow countymen, let us reason tagethah.
Whosebutt: Oh! The ghost of Lynch. Kneel, all of you. (He kneels and attempts to kiss a mud-spattered boot.)
Lynch: (Kicking Whosebutt away.) Down bo’—-down, Ah say! Ah am hyuh ta learn y’all ‘bout what we all down—-er, up hyuh has knowed. Y’all be bad off if’n them Sodbusters catch on.
Teddycares: Balderdash. I see no reason to gawk in awe at the apparition of a nondescript Marshal.
Lynch: Don’t y’all go mean-mouthin’ me, bo’! Ah nevah did cotton ta Yankees.
Jiminy: Teddycares, y’all best hush up and give a listen ta Lynch.
Deathknell: (Trembling.) Dat’s right.
Dave: We’re all pleased as punch with your unlooked for visitation, Marshal. Please, do proceed with your admonitions. I’m sure your lucid insight, coupled with a lurid sense of priorities, will avail the consummation of our mutual interest.
Lynch: Yankees! Y’all nevah could tell an honest lie. But Ah mahght could jostled a few memories ta hep y’all one mo’ tahm. Bewayuh the Thuteen Movement! If’n y’all ignore the County Howards, y’all will cook in y’all’s own bittah juice. (Exit cackling.)
Whosebutt: Thirteen is an unlucky number. It suggests too much independence, and runs counter to our desire for a regulated interdependence. Oh, woe is us if taxes drop.
Dave: Enough blubbering, Whosebutt. Lynch called the shots correctly; we’ve got to be wary of mounting disgruntlement around the county. More devious forms of duplicity must be devised quickly.
But, for now, the Redskin are waiting. Jiminy, have Bootlick relate the proposals I gave Breezy to write for you. Let’s go.
SCENE III. In the CFR D.C. Saloon.
[Enter group from the CFR room.]
Jess: Y’all get ready to refute any of their outlandish claims.
Stevie: I’m itching to bulldog down whoever sidles up to the Redskin.
Laramie: Marshal Peanut is beginning.
Jiminy: Howdy, y’all. Ah just have a few concessions ta propose ta prove our friendship. But Ah ‘spose y’all should heyuh them from Bootlick Wormkey, the Watah Rahghts Spokesman.
Wormkey: Thank you, Marshal. The proffered points are:
1. Councilmen shall kiss dirt in greeting the Redskin.
2. A neutral area for final negotiations should be chosen. A Redskin wigwam or teepee would be ideal.
3. We should present all chiefs with county maps, which list major points of interest.
4. Groups of their Kimosabe Geronimo Braves should be encouraged to sightsee, especially here in D.C.
McGrovel: (Clapping.) Wonderful! Simply wizard gestures of conciliation.
Stevie: That’s downright treachery! Bootlick, you’re in cahoots with Dave and the Red…
Brazeneck: (Pounding his moccasin on a table top.) Nyet! Nyet! Imperialist dog!
Cuthroat: (Brandishing a banana machete.) ¡Hay Chihuahua! Now we keel you, capitalist landlord!
Whosebutt: Enough of this! Sodbuster, you must apologize this instant. These friends have come to us in good faith, and you insult them with petty, outdated notions of countyism.
Stevie: Look out, Hump! My dander’s up. Another squeak from you and the fat will be in the fire.
SCENE IV. Enter Huzhu, Aizmean and Two-Time Tortilla. Huzhu wears a Mao coat and clutches a little red book. Aizmean is garbed in a loin cloth, crisscrossing bandoliers and a beret; he holds a submachine gun. Tortilla sports a generalissimo’s cap and stars, but is otherwise dressed as a peasant. He is barefoot, and staggers under the weight of a large bunch of green bananas and a western cash register.
Aizmean: (To Whosebutt.) I say, be a good chap and bring us a spot of tea and a platter of flesh. This beastly weather and that ghastly stage ride have fatigued us. Quickly, be off with you, oaf!
Whosebutt: Yes, yes, of course, sir. Right away. (Exit.)
Jiminy: Howdy there. Ah welcome y’all ta D.C. and invaht any thoughts ‘bout hepin’ long our mutual, born-again furin policy.
Tortilla: Con permiso. Me and me plantation workers demands you return our South Bridge, which (how you say?) imperialist exploiters steal from us humble peoples.
Cuthroat: Si! Amigo, my warriors weell ride to your oppressed land and leeberate eet, and also those of your neighbors.
Tortilla: Muchas gracias, señor Cuthroat.
Cuthroat: Now, I have a few teengs to say…
Baggy: No time fer yer drivel, greaseball. We’re here to discuss WRAT II. What’s the yellowfoot creep say, anyway?
Breezy: Not diplomatically expressed, Baggy, but nonetheless it is an apposite query.
Big K: Das vat Ich tinks. Huzhu, vas ist den los?
Deathknell: Wah! What’d ‘e say? Sounded like a bloated frog what’s got da hiccups.
Futura: He said, “We cannot tolerate foreign bandits in our land.”
Stevie: That’s a good sentiment. And if we take the chief’s advice, we’ll send he and all the rest of you two-bit varmints packing. The good folk of the county deserve better Councilmen than the saddle tramps and city-slickers they're roped to now.
Janey: Insult upon insult! Where do you get off, daring to shoot off your mouth like that to these solons of ability?
Stevie: Stifle it! I’m in no mood for moralizing from a honky-tonk floozy.
Wormkey: Attention please. Let’s get organized for consideration of the Water Rights Allocation Treaty II. That is why we have gathered here.
Jiminy: Hey, y’all, Wormkey is rahght. Ain’t he rahght, Dave?
Dave: Indeed he is, Marshal.
Jess: We don’t need to dilly-dally more. We are already prepared to expose WRAT II, so let’s get into the meat of the matter.
SCENE I. In the D.C. Saloon.
[Enter Whosebutt with a tray.]
Whosebutt: Mr. Aizmean, here is your order.
Aizmean: Set it down, old boy.
Deathknell: Enough wit da beans an beer stuff. (Aside.) Though a wee bit a suds would do meself some good now.
I declares da WRAT II discussion open. Go ahead, Bootlick.
Wormkey: Thank you, ex-Sheriff Rocky.
Baggy: Just a blamed-blasted minute! That drunken sot ain’t got the right to open any Council discussion. It’s up to the Peanut.
Jiminy: Why shucks, y’all. It don’t make no nevah mahnd ta little ole me. Y’all go ahead, Bootlick.
Wormkey: Thank you, Marshal Peanut. Now folks, I really believe that the Treaty should not be completely made public until after the Council rubberstamps—-that is to say—-after our worthy Councilmen sign and begin implementation of each provision set forth therein.
Whosebutt: That sounds perfectly reasonable to me.
McGrovel: Oh my, yes indeed. It is crystal clear, most definitely in the county’s interests.
Laramie: It’s a lot of hogwash! Let’s tote out a list of Redskin activities and take a gander at Wormkey’s “concessions.”
Wormkey: That would be counterproductive. Really now, Councilmen, must we put up with crude remonstrations, which detract from the admirable intentions of this conference?
Whosebutt: You bet your bippy we don’t.
Andy: Hey man, like the cat done said, it’s a waste of time. Them Redskin warriors has did the county a service; they done stabilized the wild range.
Jess: Y’all just shoved a foot in y’all’s mouth, Andy.
Laramie: Let’s get back on track. First, any concessions the Redskin offer don’t amount to a hill of beans, whereas Wormkey’s list paves the way for more appeasement and a shootout. Both Sodbusters and Townsfolk would just as soon avoid slapping leather, but waving a white flag ain’t in the cards, mister.
Wormkey: You exaggerate the gravity of the Water Rights Treaty. A few gestures of friendship will enhance our strength and buttress a feeling of détente.
People, let’s sit down and discuss the matter like gentlemen. Here, move the tables up.
SCENE II. Inside the D.C. Saloon. Two tables face each other at center stage. Redskin chiefs sit at one; behind the other are Wormkey, Jiminy, Dave, Jess, Laramie and Teddycares. All others sit at tables away from center stage.
Dave: Keep this brief. Other pressing matters await the Council.
Laramie: Well then, to be brief, WRAT II ain’t worth the paper it’s written on. It guarantees Redskin control of county water.
Breezy: That complaint is of little consequence, for, a current, objective analysis of the parameters behind WRAT II will conclusively reveal that Prairie County need only stockpile a sufficiency of water as a deterrent to hostile action vis-ŕ-vis the Redskin. Either side would be mad to engage in a policy of mutual flooding of lands. Besides, they would triumph by launching an underhanded first-strike against Prairie County and friends; they would be ill-prepared to wage a conflict of attrition.
Jiminy: That’s good ‘nuff fo’ me. Ah feel snug as a boll weevil in a cotton ball.
Teddycares: Breezy’s erudite examination should ease Sodbuster concern. The county’s military-industrial complex must give way to more social programs.
Stevie: (Standing abruptly.) Buffalo chips! It’s ding-busted Pollyannas like you that will nudge us into a showdown.
Deathknell: Yer out a order, punk. Sit down an button yer lip afore it gets fat.
Stevie: (Faces Deathknell.) Go ahead and reach for your hogleg, Rocky. I reckon I can plug you through the bean before your six-shooter leaves its holster.
Deathknell: (Backing down.) I ain’t gonna do nuthin’ ta mess up dis here conference. I’ll get ya later.
Stevie: Yeah? Most likely in a dark alley and in the back.
Jess: Lay off him, Stevie. Let’s listen to Laramie’s objections.
Laramie: Going back to Bootlick Wormkey’s concessions, let’s peer at them a mite closer.
1. Only a lickspittle toady would think of kissing dirt to the Redskin.
Dave: I’ll grant that is a bit much.
Wormkey: But Dave, the Redskin protocol dictates use of gestures normally repugnant to us. Other ranches and tribes they subjugated greet them in a like manner.
Laramie: We won’t!
2. Their own rangeland sure ain’t a neutral area.
3. Giving out county maps! Landsakes, if that isn’t a jackass idea, what is?
Whosebutt: I didn’t notice anything wrong with that.
Baggy: That’s ‘cause yer a sap.
Laramie: 4. Why should their KGB have the run of the county? Our Scouts have been all but turned out to pasture since Churchy ramrodded a passel of asinine regulations through the Council.
McGrovel: Shame on you! Churchy did what was best for the county.
Stevie: Churchy did what he figured would guarantee him a higher post in Dave’s CFR. He don’t give a hoot nor a holler for the Sodbusters he represents.
Art: I suggest we allow our Redskin guests a chance to comment on the Treaty.
SCENE III. Inside the D.C. Saloon.
Brazeneck: (Standing.) Da. We tells you same thing Krewchief say. We bury capitalistic, warmongering imperialists. What for you not trusts us? We gives good deal: You gives us long-term credit, advanced technology and Favorite Tribe status; then we lets you study traditional tribe dance and folk arts. Some big deal, eh?
Janey: It’s simply wonderful, a magnanimous exchange. But you forgot to mention the student exchange; you know, those who train cadres in how to whoop, mix paints and ambush low-lifes for ransom.
Brazeneck: Close trap, squaw!
Cuthroat: ¡Vaya, señorita strumpet! You get theese machete across throat eef our plans are exposed to Yankee pirates.
McGrovel: Yes, do be careful, Janey. Some items are best left as a surprise.
Jess: Y’all won’t surprise us none, suh. We all are cognizant of Redskin motives—as we also are of certain Councilmen’s.
Big K: Ich vants to hear Huzhu. Ve can use our Yellowfoot card against der Bear. Ja wohl?
Deathknell: Argh. Da hiccupin’ frog bit again.
Futura: He said, “No way, Mac. We’re looking out for ourselves. Go climb a tree, imperialist.”
Jiminy: But don’t he remembuh we recognahzed his tribe as the only Yellow-feet?
Futura: He say you a number one turtle egg.
SCENE IV. Inside the D.C. Saloon.
[Fanfare from a distance.]
Jiminy: Oh, y’all it’s neahly tahm fuh the county election. Ah heah the music playin’.
Teddycares: That offkey note sounds rather familiar.
Janey: It’s Jerknee the Brown! He’s circling the county steam generator plant. Come blow your horns with us, and we’ll watch the walls come tumbling down. We’ll revolutionize the county with hot air, not fallout. (Exit.)
Jiminy: (Calling after Janey.) Ah dasn’t follow just now, sugah.
Teddycares: Gentlemen, it seems the political horn is playing our tune. I urge the Council to pass the Treaty as is, so that we can all devote energy to reelection.
Laramie: Nope. That won’t cut mustard now, Teddycares.
Jess: Allow me, Laramie. I have a map of the whole territory. (Shows a map.)
Deathknell: What er all dem purty red splotches fer?
Jess: They represent ranches the Redskin have gained influence over since Jiminy Peanut became Marshal. Of course, a few such as Whiptnam, Lout, Campbody and A-1 Cola were negotiated away by Big K when Nextime was Marshal.
Big K: Vait ein minute. Dat vas mine doink; und remember, Ich von a prize for it.
Stevie: Some prize! Do you and Peanut know the Bear tribe has used poison vapors against farmers in Lout and Halfagram? How come you ain’t spoken for their rights?
Jiminy: Jeepuhs creepuhs, Ah knows ‘bout them po’ folk, but y’all can’t ‘spect me ta go outside mah priority list. Look at mah record.
Jess: Exactly to the point. Y’all recognized Bear rights to ranches they subjugated already; y’all also dumped our Yellowfeet friends in favor of Huzhu’s tribe, and clamored against unsanitary conditions in the hoosegow of Nicetoargue. Now So-m-so has been forced to run, while both Tortilla’s and Cuthroat’s boys have joined the renegades whom you helped.
Jiminy: Ah have no ‘scuse me ta make ‘bout hepin’ bring down a tyrant.
Art: Very good, Marshal.
Jiminy: Y’all wouldn’t be joshin’ now? Ah’m getting’ all set fuh the election.
Breezy: Excuse me, Marshal. We agreed that your popularity would surge forward by temporarily acting decisive, but that was to be after the signing of WRAT II.
Teddycares: This is no time for internal divisiveness or politicking. The county residents are looking for strong leadership. Come rally round my banner in support of WRAT II.
Tortilla: (Tosses Jiminy a banana.) Señor Peanut, we is good caballeros, si? When you gives me South Bridge in Banana Land? If not soon, amigo, we fill it with bananas, and me lead field hands against Yankee deputies there.
Breezy: Oh dear, a general uprising down there would render the South Bridge inoperative. It would necessitate an inordinate number of additional deputies to defend the bridge; meanwhile, large bands of determined plantation workers might indeed succeed in clogging the passage with surplus fruit.
Stevie: Pure bunk. Even a greenhorn wouldn’t swallow that yarn. I suppose you think armed deputies will rest on their backsides while a mob of machete-toting peons rushes them with banana carts?
McGrovel: They certainly couldn’t fight back. None of the southern ranchers would be our friend or respect us anymore.
Dave: (To Jiminy.) Hold off on WRAT II a bit. I believe the time is ripe for giving away the South Bridge to Tortilla. His plantation owes my bank a tidy bundle, and he can’t even keep up with payments on the interest. Tolls from the bridge and a handout from county taxpayers should cover what he owes me.
You do this and maybe you’ll get reelected, Marshal.
Jiminy: (Smiling.) Say y’all, let’s hold off on the Treaty. Ah do declare, mah friend Tortilla has a good complaint. So, Ah ask y’all ta suppo’t givin’ him the wuthless South Bridge.
Baggy: (Waving her hat.) Huzza, huzza!
Teddycares: (Waving a red bandanna.) Liberation, social equality, progress!
McGrovel: (Dancing a jig together.) Oh, the dove of peace sings in the air. Let’s all rejoice with our friend the Bear.
Uhaul: (Stands on a chair and raises his hands above the multitude.) Peace and prosperity be unto all who vote favorably.
[Tortilla and Cuthroat slap each other’s backs. Aizmean yelps and fires a few bursts in the air. Brazeneck and Huzhu wink at each other.]
Dave: (To Deathknell.) Quick, get a vote before the Sodbusters can alter the festive feeling.
Deathknell: Awright, all dem in favor a givin’ way da South Bridge, say aye.
[All but the Sodbusters: Aye!]
Deathknell: And (Laughing) dem what still believe in democracy, vote nay.
Deathknell: We win again!
Jess: That’s the last straw! The election will see the Sodbusters and Townsfolk getting new blood in the Council.
Brazeneck: This some kind of people’s democratic action. Soon they be like us, eh, Cuthroat?
SCENE I. Inside the D.C. Saloon.
[Enter Itoldya Kilmany. He is dressed in a long, black robe and wears a black turban. A meat cleaver hangs from his butcher’s apron. He slinks to center stage, spreads a mat, and squats facing Councilmen at their table.]
Baggy: (Holding her nose.) Who’s this stinking camel jockey?
Art: My, he does exude a mephitic odor.
Deathknell: (Gasps.) Smells like a livin’ sewer system. Where’d ‘e blow in from?
[General hubbub of surprise.]
Jiminy: (Stands.) Y’all, this is the new butcher of Iam, the born-again Itoldya Kilmany. He needed hep ta run out his old foe, the Shawl. So Ah done what Ah could.
Jess: Do y’all mean to say that another friend of the county has been sold out?
Whosebutt: He wasn’t a friend—-he wouldn’t follow CFR directives.
Laramie: Whoa. Back up. So this prune-faced old geezer is the new head honcho of the Iam ranch?
[Itoldya pulls out a string of scalps.]
McGrovel: (Swooning.) Scalps!
Itoldya: Hear me, ye craven dogs. In the name of my holiness (blessed be the Itoldya), I have taken hostage the clerks of Prairie County, who infested Iam. Such spies cannot be tolerated. Though I bring their scalps, yet they all survive.
Listen and tremble, capitalistic infidels, return the Shawl to my hand, that I may hack apart his body, or only the heads of those clerks will be returned to you.
[Sodbusters all point revolvers at Kilmany. Dave leans back with a smirk.]
Stevie: Eat lead, Kilmany!
Laramie: You’ll return them pronto or be pumped full of holes!
Jess: Y’all are our hostage now.
Itoldya: (Looking frightened.) Brazeneck!
Brazeneck: No shoot him! Redskin warriors ride warpath if Sodbusters hurt comrade Kilmany.
Jiminy: Y’all put up the guns. Ah am the Marshal and Ah o’duh y’all ta be calm. Itoldya, y’all remembuh how Ah hep’d by getting’ rid of the Shawl.
Itoldya: But he is now in Prairie County.
Jiminy: Not no mo’; Dave and Big K packed him off ta Banana Land aftuh the doc examined him. Please return mah clerks.
Itoldya: (Sneering.) No Shawl, no hostages.
Jiminy: Return them, purtty please with sugah and cream on top.
Itoldya: No Shawl, no hostages!
Jiminy: Now folks, we all got ta stay united unduh mah plan fuh the hostages ta be returned.
Stevie: What a spineless milksop.
Laramie: We got that buzzard dead to rights, Peanut. You let him go and you’re finished as Marshal.
McGrovel: Give the Marshal a chance, fellows.
Jiminy: Uh—-uh, Ah got it! Look heah, Kilmany, we’uns will boycott y’all’s kerosene if the clerks aren’t freed.
Itoldya: Satanic imperialist, all shipments of kerosene to you are ended.
Jiminy: Oh yeah? No mo’ calico dresses fuh y’all’s gal.
Itoldya: (Snaps his fingers.) Phew. All deposits in the Prairie County bank and Dave’s Loan Company are to be immediately withdrawn.
Dave: Marshal, his assets must be frozen!
Jiminy: Y’all’s assets are heahby frozen.
[Kilmany takes out a thermos, fruit and a pack of cards. They are placed on his mat, and he begins to play solitaire.]
Art: It would appear that he intends to wait you out, Marshal.
Jiminy: Well, Ah ‘spose he can leave. The clerks will be alrahght.
Jess: All right? They lose their scalps, the county is insulted, an unofficial range war has begun, and y’all can’t decide what to do!
Teddycares: It’s time to unseat the Marshal from his high horse. Councilmen, we need an aggressive leader. Here I am!
Baggy: We sure don’t have use fer a weak sister!
Whosebutt: Why not string up the Marshal?
Big K: Sandbag der Peanut!
Breezy: You have botched up this crisis, Marshal. Your popularity has sunk lower than that of any previous Marshal.
Jiminy: (Crying.) Oh, what can Ah do? Dave, tell them ‘bout how y’all and Big K caused the trouble by havin’ the Shawl come heah. He was demandin’ his cash from y’all’s Loan Company if y’all didn’t hep him escape to Banana Land.
Dave: Marshal, you are mistaken.
[Confused denunciations against Jiminy, Kilmany and Dave.]
SCENE II. Inside the D.C. Saloon.
[Jess fires a shot to quell the noise.]
Jess: Y’all shush up. I have just learned that the Bear tribe has sent warriors onto the Halfagram ranch.
Laramie: Why, that’s downright thievery; but it’s the usual method for scamps.
Brazeneck: Redskin no attack Halfagram. We invited in by foreman, who afraid capitalist imperialists kill him.
Breezy: Does it not appear odd that he would request Bear protection against Prairie County invasion, and then be disposed of when your warriors took control of his ranch?
Brazeneck: Nyet. Is tribe custom from first ancestors.
Laramie: Marshal, WRAT II better be sent down a lonesome trail into the sunset. The Bear action has proven they can’t be trusted on water rights.
Jiminy: Gosh, thought Ah could trust them, but now Ah see they may not be so nice aftuh all.
[Redskin laugh at Jiminy.]
Stevie: Ain’t it dandy that the Marshal has just learned what school marms and babes have always known?
Jess: Those in favor of shelving WRAT II indicate yea.
[All but Redskin, McGrovel, Andy and Wormkey: Yea!]
Jess: Any opposed?
McGrovel: Gee Willikers, I think it is a good Treaty.
Andy: I votes for the Treaty, man. The county has oppressed enlightened revolutionaries too long. It’s time to burn the reactionary system.
Jiminy: Ah’m ‘fraid y’all must give up bein’ the U.N. Representative, Andy.
Laramie: You can hit the trail with your Redskin pals and that bloody gun-slinger.
[Exit Redskin chiefs, Andy, Tortilla and Aizmean.]
SCENE III. Inside the D.C. Saloon.
Whosebutt: What do we do with Kilmany?
Wormkey: Well, no matter what it is, I’m sure I don’t care. If WRAT II is cancelled, I won’t be needed. In protest of the Council’s action, I now resign. (Exit.)
Stevie: No loss for the county. (Points to Kilmany.) As for this scruffy bag of bones, I say it’s time for him to dance.
[Kilmany stands with meat cleaver in hand. Stevie fires a few rounds near Itoldya’s feet. Kilmany hops about center stage.]
Itoldya: (Throws the cleaver but misses Stevie.) Unholy desert thieves, listen to the great Itoldya. I have no need to hold unclean clerks. They will be released so that Iam may be rid of capitalist dogs.
Stevie: (Fires a last round.) Let’s see your dust!
[Exit Kilmany, running.]
That’s how Peanut should have handled him.
SCENE IV. Inside the D.C. Saloon.
[Fanfare from a distance.]
Teddycares: The election. We must concern ourselves with the most important aspect of public life—-getting reelected. I am prepared to debate any issue with Marshal Peanut. I propose economic controls, social controls, tax controls and all controls, which can be imposed on the Sodbusters and Townsfolk. Bring on more socialism and welfarism.
Jiminy: And Ah hope y’all will remembuh mah good record. See how Ah fought ta guarantee county security. Ah gave away the South Bridge, and am ready ta notice defects in our friends’ ranches. See what Ah hep’d do ta So-m-so, the Shawl and the Free Yellowfeet.
Whosebutt: I urge the Townsfolk and Sodbusters to vote for Teddycares. He cares for social reform, and will make an excellent Big Brother.
McGrovel: Actually, I think we should vote for Brazeneck, although my second choice is Teddycares. It frosts my cookie to see good men lose.
Baggy: You dumb clowns ain’t getting my vote till women’s rights are forced into the county.
Art: I have no personal preference, so long as the CFR and 3-Way Mediation Commission retain leadership positions in the county. What do you say, Mort?
Uhaul: Thus it is written: The ways of the mighty Loan Company are miraculous. If Teddycares or Jiminy Peanut stumble, a new candidate shall be made.
Big K: Himmel! Ich tinks dis people haf too much freedom.
Breezy: Yes, Big K. But surely our erosion of traditional values through an emphasis on humanistic doctrine will pay off in the long run. Liberalism is such a pleasant method for mellowing a work ethic, undermining pride in forefathers’ achievements, and scuttling a belief in deity.
Futura: Honorable Loan Shark, what do you plan?
Dave: Time to work. Power and money above pleasure, that’s the motto. We must prepare our CFR and 3-Way Mediation Commission friend for candidacy. Georgy Bushby may be a good one to field against true conservatives, whom the Sodbusters root for.
Deathknell: Hey, what’s wit youse Sodbusters? Ya ain’t said nuthin’ whilst da fellers was gabbin’ away. Howz ‘bout a snort fer old times sake?
Jess: I believe I can speak for the others. (Stevie and Laramie nod in assent.) While all of y’all have verbalized grandiose schemes to further undermine free agency in the county, we have marshaled Sodbuster and Townsfolk support throughout the county to recognize the fallacy of believing in big government.
Private initiative, a free market system, personal responsibility, racial cooperation, “outmoded” countyism, and belief in God are part and parcel of our platform. We feel most voters will support a plan of freedom rather than foolish programs of welfarism, which feed on inflation, greed, corruption and ignorance.
Y’all notice that we will eventually expose deceitful activity and regain a truly constitutional form of county gov’ment. So, we smile while y’all scheme.