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A Good Reason to Get Drunk

(A Short Play)

Parts: Mark, Ryan, Sheila, Jerome, Brad

(A group of three people are sitting around a table at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown St. Louis, at the Missouri Democratic Party's Victory Celebration, on November 2nd, 2004. Mark is looking down, Sheila is staring ahead, and Ryan is observing something off stage. Beer bottles litter the table.)

MARK: Have they called Pennsylvania yet?

RYAN: Uh, no, not yet.

MARK: This is not good. Polls have been closed for hours. It shouldn't be this close.

SHEILA: But that Union guy we talked to said turnout was huge in Philly - maybe they're just taking a long time to report. Right?

MARK: Sure, maybe. But turnout was huge in New York too, and that one didn't take long to call.

(After this, whenever Mark isn't speaking, he should be drinking a beer.)

RYAN: HEY BOSLEY, MOVE YOUR HEAD.

MARK: Is that really the best way to talk to the former mayor?

RYAN: He's a two-time loser. And his head was blocking the TV. I'm reading the vote counts on the crawl.

SHEILA: I voted for him both those times.

MARK: I'm getting more beer.

(He gets up and exits)

RYAN: So did I.

SHEILA: They can't really win this, can they? The exit polls had us up in Florida and Ohio all day.

RYAN: Exit polls are shit. That's why I'm watching the actuals. Where's Jerome with my laptop?

(Offstage, a huge roar of cheers)

SHEILA: What was that?

(Mark returns, with beer.)

MARK: Hannaway's conceding.

(Offstage someone yells "Stake her!")

SHEILA: How are the rest of the local races?

MARK: It's a rout. Apparently the only way for a Democrat to be elected in Missouri is to have the last name Carnahan. Speaking of Carnahan's, I almost puked on Russ's shoes a minute ago.

RYAN: That asshole.

SHEILA: Asshole. He won, right?

RYAN: Yeah, but he's still an asshole. By the way, they called Pennsylvania for Kerry when you were gone.

MARK: What's the use? They should've called it hours ago. We're doomed. -pause- But speaking of calling states you owe me a dollar.

SHEILA: What for?

MARK: I was right about Vermont. First state called for the good guys, once again.

SHEILA: So much for my faith in the liberal bastion of Massachusetts. We all should've bet on Vermont.

(Enter Jerome, swigging a beer, bringing a couple more.)

SHEILA: Where've you been?

JEROME: Bekki Cook's "War Room". It's quite the sight. Bekki's in one half of the suite, working on her hair, and trying to talk to reporters. Her campaign staff is in the other half, and her campaign manager is sitting at a laptop, checking the Secretary of State's website every three seconds, chugging Miller Lite and chainsmoking. I know what I want to be when I grow up now.

RYAN: Hey, where's my laptop?

JEROME: I put it in the car. This place is getting crazy and I didn't want to lose it. Some bums figured out there was free beer and free admittance to this thing.

MARK: Good for them.

JEROME: And you know some guy puked on Russ Carnahan's shoes? Serves the asshole right.

SHEILA: Asshole.

RYAN: Asshole.

MARK: Asshole. -mumbles- Guess my aim's better than I thought…

RYAN: Shit. There goes Florida.

MARK: Fuck Florida. Fuck old people. Kerry should've tried scaring the shit out of them about Social Security, like Gore did. The next Democrat needs to campaign on the issue that REPUBLICANS EAT BABIES.

SHEILA: Oh, but we can still win, can't we? Ohio's still out, and turnout was really high!

JEROME: Speaking of that, how was canvassing? Get a lot of new turnout?

SHEILA: It went really well, we were out all day and we talked to 80% of our people. Everyone seemed to really appreciate us coming out.

MARK: It sucked. Everyone we talked to had already voted earlier, and I question the wisdom of sending a bunch of white college kids to canvass a predominantly black neighborhood. Black people LOVE it when white people show up and tell them what to do.

RYAN: -turns his head away from the TV slightly- Hey, is that the guy from Channel Four?

JEROME: -looks- Yeah, Barry Donnors…

SHEILA: And that is not his wife.

(All four make a face)

ALL FOUR: Ewww…

MARK: Well, some people will do a lot for positive media coverage.

(Enter Brad, eating a plate of hors d'oeuvres, and bringing yet more beer.)

BRAD: Claire's got quite the spread upstairs.

JEROME: Has she conceded yet?

BRAD: Not yet, I think they're waiting for Holden's diehard union guys to get too drunk to make a scene. A fair number of her aides are wandering around muttering "Well, parts of the city are still out, we could still win" like zombies.

SHEILA: The city's votes haven't been counted yet? She could still win!

BRAD: Yeah, kind of like that. Oh, and I ran into Jeff earlier.

MARK: Is he drinking?

BRAD: No, he's networking. I escorted him to a meeting with some money men. He's important now. Everyone in this building knows he would've won the primary if that asshole Russ hadn't inherited his father's rolodex.

MARK: Asshole.

RYAN: Asshole.

SHEILA: Asshole.

JEROME: Asshole.

BRAD: They're already talking about Jeff for Senate in ‘06.

RYAN: Think he's interested?

BRAD: Honestly, I think he just wants to go back to teaching. He was never meant to be a politician, he's not full of enough shit.

(Dire sounds of impending doom, a thunderclap)

(Sheila covers her face with her hands. Mark chugs the last of his beer. Brad and Jerome stare vacantly off into space.)

RYAN: Ohio.

(Sheila starts crying.)

MARK: Bush Unleashed.

JEROME: Well, that makes it official. Every candidate I've ever worked for has lost.

BRAD: That's a pretty stunning record, if you think about it. Maybe you should stop volunteering for scrappy underdogs.

RYAN: C'mon hon, let's go home. Back to true blue Illinois, and away from this land filled with savages.

(Sheila nods through her tears, and the two exit)

(Mark's cell phone rings, he looks at the Caller ID and picks up)

MARK: FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU AND YOUR ENTIRE STATE. EVERYTHING IS YOUR FAULT. I'M GOING TO COME OVER TO YOUR HOUSE AND CUT YOUR MOTHER'S HEAD OFF. FUCK OFF.

(He hangs up the phone)

MARK: -shrugs- Buddy of mine from Ohio. He was too busy to volunteer.

JEROME: -gestures to someone offstage- That's the chairwoman of the Missouri Democratic Party. She gave you a pretty strange look.

MARK: Fuck her, she's a fucking failure too. I'm going to go find some Tequila.

(Mark exits.)

BRAD: So, Dean ‘08?

JEROME: I was thinking Feingold.

BRAD: Oh, and who's that gal, Governor of Arizona?

JEROME: Janet Napolitano?

BRAD: Yeah, maybe her…

(lights fade out as they're talking)

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