Category Archives: Sketch

Satire Sketch

British Airways – Check-in Counter

Published by:

Blog by Richard Heagy

(The scene is a British Airways (BA) terminal on a Bank Holiday weekend during which BA has suffered another disruption of its IT system, this time a complete meltdown of its worldwide system. Lines snake back and forth in the departure hall and outside as far as the eye can see. A disgruntled male passenger finally reaches the front of the line and confronts the female agent behind the counter at one of the few check-in positions that is open. He is dressed casually, wearing a short-sleeved shirt that reveals a large bruise on his left arm and a broken wristwatch)

BA AGENT:  May I help you?

PASSENGER: I doubt it?

BA AGENT:  We are doing the best we can, Sir.

PASSENGER:  Do you know how long I have been waiting in line?

BA AGENT:  I have no idea, but if you like I can make a guess.

PASSENGER:  Never mind.

(The PASSENGER looks at the broken watch on his left wrist and places his hand on the counter with a thump)

PASSENGER (continuing):  What time is it? As you can see my watch is broken and my arm is bruised.

BA AGENT:  Sorry about that.

PASSENGER:  Would you like to hear how it happened?

BA AGENT: Not really, Sir. Right now we are very busy.

PASSENGER:  I will tell you anyway, since it is BA’s fault.

(The BA AGENT drums her fingers on the counter impatiently)

PASSENGER:  After queueing for several hours I finally made it inside the terminal and eventually found a place to lie down alongside several other passengers in close quarters where we were furnished with yoga mats. I must have dozed off for a bit, but woke up suddenly with a lot of pain in my arm. One of the passengers was trying to step over me, but ended up stepping on my arm and breaking my watch.

BA AGENT: That’s unfortunate, but all of the passengers are suffering some kind of inconvenience because of the delays.

PASSENGER:  I expect the airline to reimburse me.

BA AGENT:  You will have to file your claim for compensation online.

PASSENGER:  How can I do that when your IT system is dead?

BA AGENT:  I really don’t know, Sir. It’s not my department. You might phone customer service for information. They may be able to help.

PASSENGER: When pigs fly.

BA AGENT:  Excuse me?

PASSENGER: As I said, we were furnished with yoga mats but after a while I started getting a stiff neck. When I asked one of your staff about pillows, he said it would cost £7.

BA AGENT:  That’s not right, Sir.

PASSENGER: Probably wanted to take advantage of the situation and make a little money on the side.

BA AGENT:  Not at all, Sir. Our new CEO raised the price to £12 for pillows.

PASSENGER: You got to be kidding.

BA AGENT: No, Sir. We at BA take our pricing very seriously.

PASSENGER: Pretty soon you will probably cut out all amenities on board.

BA AGENT:  There are no plans for that. Instead, we will charge for everything, no matter how small. Everything is being phased in, as you can see from the notice behind me.

(The PASSENGER looks up and reads the notice out loud)

PASSENGER: Peanuts, 5 p each; paper napkin, 10 p; recycled water, £1.50; plastic cup to hold the water, 75p; key to unlock and lower tray table, £1; toilet paper, £3; use of toilet (3 minute limit), £5.

BA AGENT:  You will need to have exact change as no change will be given on board.

PASSENGER:  You will probably start charging for a cushion on the seats inside the plane next.

BA AGENT:  What an excellent idea. If I submit that as an employee suggestion I may get an award.

PASSENGER:  What about the air outside the terminal while queueing for a delayed flight?

(The BA AGENT looks at the line behind the PASSENGER)

BA AGENT:  Is there anything else I can help you with?

PASSENGER:  Yes, I need a new boarding pass since my flight was changed.

BA AGENT:  I’m sorry but the printer is not working.

PASSENGER:  Maybe you can just write one out by hand.

BA AGENT: Even if I could do that, I don’t have any paper.

PASSENGER:  Use this. Be careful; it’s the only one I have.

(The PASSENGER places a paper napkin of the counter. The BA AGENT looks at the napkin; then at her watch)

BA AGENT:  Oh, look what time it is. My shift is over. Good luck and thank you for choosing BA.

(The BA AGENT walks off and is soon replaced with a new agent)

PASSENGER:  I would like …

NEW AGENT:  Sorry, but my shift doesn’t start for five more minutes.

(The NEW AGENT takes a bottle of nail polish from her purse and places it on the counter)

NEW AGENT (continuing):  I know you have been waiting for quite some time, so a few more minutes should not matter.

ANNOUNCEMENT (over loudspeaker):  We at British Airways are truly sorry for the delays that you have experienced and are doing everything possible to remedy the situation and get you to your destinations. You will hear a personal message from our CEO just as soon as he has finished his afternoon tea.

PASSENGER: Cobblers.

NEW AGENT: What did you say?

(The NEW AGENT starts polishing her nails, spills a few drops of polish on the counter and picks up the napkin to wipe it up)

PASSENGER:  I mean to say bollocks.

(The PASSENGER slams his right fist of the counter and the bottle of nail polish spills all over)

NEW AGENT:  Well, really. There is no need to get upset over a delay; it happens all the time.

 THE END

Sketch

President Strangelove: or How to Win Friends and Influence Elections

Published by:

Blog by Edward Sherman

The Oval office: President Trump, on his knees, before a portrait of Abraham Lincoln.

Trump: Dear Abraham, how do I unite this house divided? When so few believe I’m doing a good job … and the rest think I’m doing a terrific one?

(A female aid enters the room and gingerly “ahems” to get his attention)

Presidential Aid: Mr. President, Vladimir Putin is on the phone.

Trump (picks up the phone and places his hand over the mouthpiece): Thank you … and you’re fired.

Trump: Vladimir, how are you?

Putin: Fine, my friend. I just wanted to congratulate you on your inauguration.

Trump: It was a terrific inauguration. The greatest since Lincoln’s. Big crowd; bigger than Obama’s.

Putin: Yes, aerial photographs can be deceiving. For instance, how many people were in the port-a-johns at the moment the pictures were snapped?

Trump: Thousands, I bet. Americans spend a lot of time in the bathroom. Part of my “Make America Great Again” campaign is to reduce that. Those are productive hours being wasted.

Putin: You will make America great again …

Trump: On the other hand, I did come up with some terrific campaign ideas on the can. For instance, I decided on the Muslim ban after I ate a bad kabob.

Putin: You do see all sides. You’re very reasonable.

Trump: Nobody is more reasonable. Certainly not Obama bin Laden.

Putin: Anyway, I want to assure you, we had nothing to do with your victory. I agree with your assessment, the hacking was probably done by someone else; it very well could have been, as you say, “some fat guy living in his mother’s basement.”

Trump: Or the Chinese.

Putin: Or the Chinese.

Trump: Or a fat Chinese guy, living in his mother’s basement.

Putin: But it was not us. I want to assure you.

Trump: Vladimir, I believe you. And I’m someone that cannot be played. I’m too smart.

Putin: Believe me; we in Russia know just how smart you are. And, unlike the rest of Europe, we appreciate it.

Trump: And I appreciate you. The rest of Europe can kiss my ass, and Merkel’s a six at best.

Putin:  I wish your corrupt media could see how well we get along; that Russia and the U.S. can be the best of friends. Your interests are our interests.

Trump: I’ve been saying it all along – The media is corrupt. And what’s wrong with being friends with Russia?

Putin: Nothing!  We should be enemies?

Trump: We should?

Putin: No, I was just being sarcastic; like old Jewish people from your Miami speak sometimes.

Trump: Right, Jews do speak like that. I get you.

Putin: Of course you get it. Nothing gets past you. But the press will say, “He’ll manipulate Trump.” I say, “Impossible! Trump is far more clever than me”.

Trump: And so am I!

Putin: Uh, right. And I love your ideas. For instance, parading your military through the streets; nothing like a grand spectacle to get the respect of the rest of the world.

Trump: Yes, a show of American might through the streets of Washington that reverberates throughout the world. And I’ll make Mexico pay for it!

Putin: A terrific idea. So good that we were thinking we might, in a much inferior way of course, do the same; parade our modest tanks and little missile launchers through the streets of Estonia and Latvia. I think it would inspire the people there to show their love of Mother Russia. After all, they really are Russian at heart. Of course, NATO isn’t into such displays of grandeur. And Obama didn’t think it …

Trump: That damn Kenyan! He’s no longer president! I am! Don’t you worry, Vladimir, I’ll handle NATO.

Putin: That’s great, Mr. President.

Trump: Please, call me Mr. President.

Putin: And I also love your idea of reducing, yet expanding, your nuclear arsenal. It’s a complex yet brilliant idea.

Trump: Most presidents do one or the other. How many can say they’ve done both?

Putin: Just you.

Trump: Just me. Military parades, nuclear expansion and don’t forget waterboarding. No one will ever question the erection of Donald Trump again.

Putin: The what?

Trump: I said, no one will ever question the election of Donald Trump again.

Putin: Yes, we’ve elected the right man. I’m using the royal “We”, of course.

Trump: Of course. Hmm … maybe it is time America had a King …

Putin: Oh, and don’t you worry about that whole dossier thing. I’m going to make that go away.

(Silence)

Trump:  Personally, I don’t recall doing anything wrong when I was last in Russia. I remember waking up early to jog, breaking ground on a terrific new building, judging a beauty pageant, defeating your grandmaster at chess and calling it a day – I may have saved a baby from a burning building and gotten a cat out of a tree also. But that’s neither here nor there – However, making that dossier go away is probably the politically sound thing to do. Who should we have killed?

Putin: Well, I don’t think that is necessary … yet. I was thinking more along the lines of, as you like to say in America, “I’ll scratch your back and you scratch mine”.

Trump: Frankly, my son-in-law gave me a long wooden stick for that; the end is shaped like fingers …

Putin: Maybe I was not speaking clearly. What I meant is, you, after all, are the man who wrote, The Art of the Deal

Trump: You’re damn right I wrote it. I wrote every word of it, despite what that Schwartz is saying. Maybe he helped with some punctuation; you know, threw him a bone, because I’m pro-Israel – You know my son-in-law is a Jew. So how can they say I’m anti-Semitic?

Putin: I really don’t know.

Trump: And neither do they. Nobody knows what’s in a man’s heart – except my doctor; he says mine is clogged with fat and cholesterol and I should have been dead years ago. But I showed him, a good diet and a pact with the Devil later and I’m still here.

Putin: You certainly are. And it is intimidating for me to try and make a deal with a master dealmaker. After all, who am I but a simple former KGB agent who has only dealt with highly trained and educated assassins in the past. You, sir, are in another league.

Trump: A terrific league. So what falsehoods are in this dossier?

Putin: It does have a slightly different take on your stay here. Of course, the security camera tapes can be misleading; for instance, it appears you were not actually playing chess with a grandmaster.

Trump: No? Then what, pray-tell, was I doing? Who was I dominating with my guile and genius, then?

Putin: It appears you were playing tic-tac-toe with a chicken.

Trump: I still won, right?

Putin: Well, no. But it was a narrow defeat to a highly skilled opponent.

Trump:  I want that chicken killed! But first get him to admit the game was rigged. Can you water board a chicken?

Putin: Well, we deep fry them, so … But it’s really not the more salacious details that may cause you trouble. It’s the thought that you may have borrowed money from Russian mobsters that may be more troubling than having a couple prostitutes pee on each other or being outwitted by a chicken.

Trump: What kind of world do we live in? They had to go to the bathroom. I’m used to the bladders of American women. Who am I to make them hold it?

Putin: Look, I’m on your side. If it were up to me I’d split the planet down the middle, rename it planet “Trumputin”, and call it a day.

Trump: You’ve done your homework, haven’t you, Vladimir? That’s always been a modest goal of mine.

Putin: That’s what I think of your integrity, my friend.

Trump: From the time my father gave me that small loan of a bil-million dollars to start a business, I thought, I want to change the world, starting with the name. I didn’t want to be just another all-talk billionaire. The Trump name has always stood for quality: steaks, universities, why not planets? That way when the aliens land here they will know it’s a quality planet.  Face it, Mars is a disaster. Venusians are living in hell. But when they see the lights of planet Trumputin, they will know they’re on a winning planet.

Putin: Okay … In light of all that, I do feel we can make a deal that will be beneficial to both you, me and our countries.

Trump: In that order or it’s a deal breaker.

Putin: You drive a hard bargain, but I agree. You’ve worn me down.

Trump: What did you have in mind?

Putin: You know how neighbors will often exchange keys for the safety of each other?

Trump: You want to swap wives?

Putin: No, not quite. Well maybe, but not now. What I was thinking …

(Cut To – Press Secretary, Sean Spicer’s news conference in progress)

Spicer (pointing to a member of the Press Corp): Yes?

Press Corp: Did the President speak with Vladimir Putin and if so what did they talk about?

Spicer: Yes he did and nothing that went horribly wrong. Yes?

Press Corp: Are you trying not to tell us something?

Spicer: I think you press members need to stop jumping to conclusions.

Press Corp: Then why are you sweating profusely?

Spicer: That’s your opinion.

Press Corp: I think that’s a fact. Is there something you’re trying not to tell us?

Spicer: Like what?

Press Corp: Like how did the President’s conversation with Vladimir Putin go?

Spicer: It went.

Press Corp: You’ve gone pale.

Spicer: That’s not a question.

Press Corp: Can you tell us what they discussed?

Spicer: You know … this and that.

Press Corp: Can you tell us anything about the exchange?

Spicer: We did not exchange nuclear codes with Russia.

Press Corp: What?

Spicer: Did I say that out loud?

Press Corp: Did the President exchange nuclear codes with Putin?

Spicer: Look, we were going to have a cyber-security team working around the clock to re-set those codes anyway.

Press Corp: So it’s true?

Spicer: It was a joke, between a couple of buddies, locker room banter. I mean, Putin’s codes were: URADUM@ss.

Press Corp: Did Trump give away our real codes?

Spicer: Define real.

Press Corp: The ones that work.

Spicer: Then, yes.

Press Corp: Dear God! He may have killed us all. How can you continue to lie for this man? How naive can you continue to pretend to be?

Spicer: Kellyanne! Steve!

(Spicer steps from behind the podium and slips into a Japanese kimono. He is joined by Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon. They, too, are dressed in Japanese kimonos)

Spicer: One, two, three. (Music starts …)

(Spicer, Conway and Bannon start dancing with choppy little steps, while holding folding fans in front of their faces. They lower the fans and begin to sing … )

Three little aides from school are we.
Pert as a school-girl well can be.
Filled to the brim with girlish glee.
Three little aides from school.

(A loud boom; lights flicker; dust falls from the ceiling)

Everything is a source of fun.

(Another boom)

Nobody’s safe for we care for none.

(Chunks of ceiling fall)

Life is a joke that’s just begun.

(Screams, as people run for cover)

Three little aides from school.
Three little aides from school …

(A GIGANTIC BOOM!)

THE END?

EDITOR’s NOTE

The above blog is a work of fiction. It is SATIRE, not “FAKE NEWS”

Please read our DISCLAIMER page if you are confused

 

Humour Satire Sketch

French Incivility Brigade vs Dog Poop Street Art

Published by:

Blog by Richard Heagy

The hearings of the Committee on Legal Affairs, on recommendation of the Working Group on Copyright, take place in one of the EU’s modern cost-is-no-object buildings, with ceilings in the lobby so high that Michelangelo could never have painted murals on it unless he wore an oxygen mask and learned to levitate. The hearings today are being held in one of the smaller rooms of the cost-is-no-object building as not all members of the Committee on Legal Affairs are scheduled to be present.

Two members in long black robes with white wing collars are seated on a dais, three steps—not a mere one or two steps—above the floor in the small but well-appointed meeting room. Their shoes, no doubt expensive, are hidden from view by a long mahogany piece of furniture, similar to a long bench or credenza, which curves at an angle of 10 mm per 10 cm of length—the same as the maximum EU curvature rules allow for Class I cucumbers.  The EU flag flies from a pole at either end of the dais.

Their serious faces cast an impression that they have been frozen in time, possibly waiting for Doctor Who to appear. Actually, they are waiting for the third member—the Chairman—to arrive before they begin. In front of the dais are several rows of chairs, divided by a wide aisle in the middle. An usher walks up and down the aisle, quietly offering peanuts or popcorn for three Euros; beer is 6 Euros. The members are not happy about this, but it was one of the conditions of the vendor for selling his shop and small piece of land to the EU.

A Page enters, dressed similar to the Swiss Guards at the Vatican, and blows a trumpet.

PAGE: All rise.

(Everyone stands as the CHAIRMAN enters. The PAGE walks to a small stand, pushes a button and the national anthem of the EU starts rolling. The CHAIRMAN puts both hands to his head in agony)

CHAIRMAN: Turn that thing off. I have an awful hangover…I mean headache. No offence to Schiller or Beethoven, but I do not need ‘Ode to Joy’ this morning, not after last night.

(The music stops. The CHAIRMAN takes his place the centre of the dais and the PAGE tells those in the audience to be seated)

VICE-CHAIRMAN: It looks more like a hangover.

CHAIRMAN: Last night I violated one of most important principles of civilisation.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Which one?

CHAIRMAN: Never drink cheap wine.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: You drank cheap wine? I am appalled.

CHAIRMAN: It was not my fault. We had guests over last night and one of them brought a cheap bottle of wine, the name of which I would never utter in your presence.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: I certainly hope not, but why did you drink it?

CHAIRMAN: My wife opened the bottle, filled the glasses and passed them around before I could say anything. I had no choice.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: There is always a choice.

CHAIRMAN: Not when your brother-in-law brings the wine. Unfortunately, he is above even the slightest criticism in our house; I have to pretend to be nice to him when he visits.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: That must be difficult.

CHAIRMAN: Not really; I took several acting lessons some time ago.

(The PAGE departs and is replaced by the CLERK, dressed in a dark suit, much like a funeral director )

CHAIRMAN (to the CLERK): What is the first item on today’s agenda?

CLERK: There is a conflict between the recently introduced French Incivility Brigade and the rights of street artists, one in particular. That is all I know, being a lowly civil servant and not privy to the documents filed in this matter.

CHAIRMAN: Well, I have not seen them either. Are representatives here to represent all of the stakeholders who have an interest in this matter?

CLERK: Yes—the injured party and representatives of the French Incivility Brigade, Paris street artists, the French Patrolmen’s Association, and Professor Mockingbird, a copyright expert and author of Soft Sculpture and Copyright.

CHAIRMAN: Call the first witness.

CLERK: First witness, representing the French Incivility Brigade.

CHAIRMAN (to BRIGADE WITNESS): Can you explain what the French Incivility Brigade is?

BRIGADE WITNESS: Yes, Your Excellency.

CHAIRMAN: That sounds nice, but Your Chairmanship will do.

BRIGADE WITNESS: A little history, if I may?

CHAIRMAN: Be brief.

BRIGADE WITNESS: Of course. Several years ago Paris had a fleet of Motocrottes, but …

VICE-CHAIRMAN (interrupting): What is a Motocrotte?

BRIGADE WITNESS: A motorised pooper-scooper, used to pick up dog poop. They were expensive and later abandoned after it was determined that they were only collecting about 20% of the dog shit on the streets of Paris.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: I got here on time to hear about dog shit in Paris?

BRIGADE WITNESS: There are more important issues involved.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: I certainly hope so.

BRIGADE WITNESS:  Paris has recently established an Incivility Brigade of about 2,000 security agents to hand out warnings and fines to those who commit antisocial behaviour. They will be uniformed and armed with teargas spray and wooden-handled truncheons.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: So, they are going to deal with bank robbers, jewellery store heists and other serious crimes.

BRIGADE WITNESS: Not exactly. They are going to track down and punish men who urinate against walls in public, litter-bugs who toss cigarette butts on the street and dog owners who do not clean up after their dogs poop on the sidewalk.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: I do not understand how this involves the EU.

BRIGADE WITNESS: The legality of the Incivility Brigade has been challenged by certain street art groups and artists in Paris. Artists in other parts of Europe are likely to encounter similar problems.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: That is an odd one; I would have thought that the dog owners in Paris would be the ones against it.

BRIGADE WITNESS: There have been some demonstrations but no legal action… well, only one.

CHAIRMAN: Please explain, but be brief.

BRIGADE WITNESS: The Mayor was finishing lunch at his favourite outdoor café and an angry dog owner approached him and complained about the new Incivility Brigade. One of the Mayor’s aides stood and told the dog owner to leave or he would be arrested; then stamped his foot to scare off the dog, sat and asked for the bill. Unnoticed by the Mayor or his aide, the dog made a deposit under the Mayor’s chair before running off. After the bill was paid, the Mayor slipped in a pile of dog shit when he got up to leave. A nearby policeman was called to chase after the dog owner and arrest him.

CHAIRMAN: We need to move along. Who is next?

CLERK: The representative of the French Patrolmen’s Association.

CHAIRMAN (to ASSOCIATION WITNESS): Are you here in support of the Incivility Brigade?

ASSOCIATION WITNESS: Not at all. We are against them.

CHAIRMAN: Please explain.

ASSOCIATION WITNESS: We are all in favour of cleaning up crime in Paris, even cigarette butts.

CHAIRMAN: Not dog shit?

ASSOCIATION WITNESS: No. First, Parisians love their dogs and are extremely unhappy with the Incivility Brigade; they will express their anger at all law enforcement officers, including us. Second, it is easier to catch criminals engaged in street crime when they slip on dog shit. We have special non-skid boots, so it is not a problem for us.

CHAIRMAN: Thank you for your insight; you are excused.  Is there someone here to represent the street artists?

STREET ARTIST WITNESS (standing): Right here.

CHAIRMAN: What do street artists have against the activities of the French Incivility Brigade?

STREET ARTIST WITNESS: Their enforcement actions will in some cases violate the protections of street artists under copyright laws.

CHAIRMAN: Such as?

STREET ARTIST WITNESS: The right to integrity—not to have your work altered, or the right to reproduce and sell your work—which disappears if your work is removed or destroyed by overzealous officers.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: Have there been any cases of street art being removed or destroyed?

STREET ARTIST WITNESS: Yes. We brought a victim—the person who filed the initial complaint.

CHAIRMAN: Very well, next witness.

(The next witness is a dog owner, but not the one arrested by the Mayor)

DOG OWNER: I live in Paris in the 20th Arrondissement, where street art is encouraged, at least if it is on a wall.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: Where is yours?

DOG OWNER: On the ground.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: Be more specific—the sidewalk, the pavement?

DOG OWNER: On the sidewalk, but either would qualify for copyright protection. An idea or artistic expression, such as street art, requires basically no creativity, but it must be fixed in some tangible form to be protected under copyright laws.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: We all know the basic principles of copyright law. Why are you here?

DOG OWNER: Because the EU has been revising its rules to provide harmonization of copyright law throughout the 28 member nations. Criminal and copyright laws are in conflict in France; now it the time to sort this out and provide uniformity throughout the EU.

CHAIRMAN: Proceed, if you must.

DOG OWNER: The French Incivility Brigade destroyed one of my sculptures and gave me three fines.

CHAIRMAN: You are talking about street art, correct?

DOG OWNER: Yes. The first fine was for my dog pissing on a fire hydrant. I did not challenge that because the dog piss just went down into the gutter instead of creating anything in a fixed form. Next, my dog started walking away and the officer yelled at him. The poor thing was so scared that he made an extra big poop on the sidewalk. I lit a cigarette to calm down, looked at the poop and could not believe what I saw. It looked very much like a face, with an uncanny resemblance to the officer. I started laughing and stubbed out my cigarette. Then I stuck the butt in the dog shit just where the mouth should be.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: I bet that went over well with the officer.

DOG OWNER: He gave me a fine for dog litter and another for the cigarette butt. When I refused to clean it up he shoved me with his truncheon and I stumbled onto the dog shit, destroying my street art.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: I believe that there is a case pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit—Naruto vs Slater—which involves the question of whether or not an animal may be a copyright owner. If we adopted such a rule in the EU, your dog would own the copyright, not you, in the event that this particular dog poop constituted an artistic expression in fixed form. On the other hand, you might be the author of the dog poop face if you directed your dog where and when to shit, also taking into account your placement of the cigarette butt.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: Let me interject. Depending on the consistency of the dog poop, it may be in fixed form only temporarily; and thus not entitled to copyright protection by anyone.

DOG OWNER: I would like Professor Mockingbird to testify on that point.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: Professor, do you have a first name?

PROFESSOR MOCKINGBIRD: Yes, but I prefer not to say it.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: I am afraid we need it for the record if you are going to testify.

PROFESSOR MOCKINGBIRD (in a soft voice): Elmo.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: Professor, could you please speak up?

PROFESSOR MOCKINGBIRD (louder): Elmo.

(Everyone in the committee room starts laughing, until silenced by the CHAIRMAN)

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: I am sorry to hear that, but what are your qualifications?

PROFESSOR MOCKINGBIRD: I am the author of Soft Sculpture and Copyright, available in either French or English. If you would care to buy a copy, it is available online from Amazon and other booksellers. I am also a guest lecturer on the topic of street art at many universities throughout Europe.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: My understanding is that for purposes of copyright law, a work is considered to be fixed when it is embodied in a tangible, stable and concrete form. Works that are transitory in nature are not protectable under copyright law as they are not fixed. Would you not agree with that, Professor?

PROFESSOR MOCKINGBIRD: Yes, as to dog piss, but not as to street art in the form of soft sculpture.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: Would you care to define soft sculpture.

PROFESSOR MOCKINGBIRD: Street art is typically painted on a wall, on the side of a building or sometimes on the pavement. Soft sculpture is often attached to something, such as a building or a park bench, but can be placed on the ground or pavement. Although soft sculpture typically is made from rubber, latex or cloth, there is no reason why soft sculpture cannot consist of dog shit.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: How can dog poop on the sidewalk be deemed to be in fixed form? It is transitory, ready to be swept away or washed away in the rain.

PROFESSOR MOCKINGBIRD: That is not necessarily so, especially in the non-rainy season. Once in fixed form, copyright attaches, even though the creation may subsequently be destroyed. For example, suppose I write a lecture on a piece of paper, read it to an audience and then destroy the paper; my copyright continues.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Professor, are you sure that you want your lecture notes to be compared with a pile of dog shit?

PROFESSOR MOCKINGBIRD: Never mind.

CHAIRMAN: The EU has received more than enough criticism over the volume of its directives and regulations.  We do not need to add dog shit to the list. Hearing adjourned.

CLERK: All rise. Watch your step when you leave the building.

THE END

 

Satire Sketch

EU OFFICIALS SUMMONED TO MOUNT OLYMPUS

Published by:

Blog by Richard Heagy

After an all-day session hammering out the latest economic rescue proposal for Greece, if you could call a take or leave it deal a proposal, the meeting adjourned. The underlings leave the room, leaving only those who really matter: the Presidents of the European Council (‘TUSK’), the European Commission (‘JUNCKER’) and the European Central Bank (‘DRAGHI’), as well as the President of France (‘HOLLAND’) and the Chancellor of Germany (‘MERKEL’). It is late but many restaurants are still open—though only a few suitable to the standards of the esteemed group. It is ironic that the one they end up at is a Greek restaurant, fortunately one with a Michelin rating—only two stars, but sometimes sacrifices have to be made. The ensemble in elegant dress enters the restaurant where they fit in seamlessly with the other expensively dressed patrons and are ushered into one of the restaurant’s elegant private dining rooms.

Appropriate to their status, the meal commences with French champagne, followed by a choice of several house specialties: Roasted figs stuffed with feta cheese; Santorini Fava, with caramelised onions and black truffle vinaigrette, encircled with grilled octopus slices; Greek lamb quince stew; Fried sardines; and finally desert, Yogurt mouse with sour cherry preserves. Later, an after dinner aperitif—a sweet light wine with a unique but pleasant taste—is served by a surly waiter with unruly hair in a uniform that he must have borrowed from someone else. His eyes seem to radiate malice as he quickly refills their glasses. Unknown to them, and in spite of the rules that make it virtually impossible to fire employees of the European Union, he is the only employee known to have been fired by the EU. The effects of the aperitif are quickly realised as the diners motions slow; their speech slurs as they fall asleep in their chairs. They will eventually awaken, only to find themselves at a distant location.

A short time later the BUS DRIVER looks at his watch, then at the ancient Mercedes bus, one he had never seen or driven before. It was from another era, evidenced by its short stubby length and two-toned finish of blue and white (or was it once crème), or what was left of it. The elements had eaten into the finish, leaving ugly splotches of rust on the sides and top of the vehicle. Still in working order were large round headlights, one on either side of the round Mercedes emblem on the front. The windshield wipers had no doubt once worked, but the BUS DRIVER was not going to test them before he set out. No need to start with a negative omen; it wasn’t supposed to rain anyway.

The BUS DRIVER climbs aboard and counts his passengers—one woman with short hair and four gentlemen, or so they might be described if their manner of dress is any guide. The condition of the interior of the bus is no better than the outside, but the passengers do not notice as all are in a deep sleep. The engine sputters, then starts and the bus moves forward. That’s when the BUS DRIVER notices that there are no outside mirrors.

The bus drives for several hours, passing through a few towns before stopping at Katerini for gas; then it continues onward to Litichoro, the last small village at the foot of Mount Olympus before the journey is interrupted. The old Mercedes bus is travelling at a slow speed, but when it stops suddenly the passengers are thrown forward. Curses in sleepy voices break out in various languages. The bus driver looks through the front window and blows the horn several times without any response. Finally he opens the door, climbs out and approaches an object blocking the road—a wooden bathtub with a man crawled up inside.

DRIVER: What the bloody hell are you doing in the middle of the road?

DIOGENES: Waiting for the bus.

DRIVER: The bus doesn’t stop here.

DIOGNES: It just did.

DRIVER: Get that thing out of the way.

DIOGENES: Help me put it on the top of the bus; I’m going with you.

DRIVER: Certainly not.

DIOGENES: Then I am not moving.

(They stare at each other, neither wanting to budge first, until someone in the bus starts blowing the horn)

DRIVER: Oh, very well.

(DIOGENES crawls out of the tub and places a lamp on the ground. They carry the tub to the back of the bus. The DRIVER climbs up the ladder and DIOGENES hoists the tub up to him. The DRIVER pushes the tub onto the roof of the bus and secures it with a rope)

DRIVER (continuing): I hope you are satisfied.

DIOGENES: I will give you a good rating if you have a passenger satisfaction survey to fill out.

DRIVER: Do you realise that we are now behind schedule; there are some very important people on the bus.

DIOGENES: No doubt they think they are.

(DIOGENES gets on the bus and walks to the back, swinging his lamp to get a look at the weary passengers. The DRIVER jumps in and starts the bus; DIOGNENES falls into a seat as the bus lurches forward. The passengers doze off as the bus continues its long journey in the darkness along a narrow road that slowly winds its way up the mountain until it reaches Prionia, where the road ends)

DRIVER: All change please. Mind the gap.

(MERKEL gets off the bus while the others slowly wake up, wondering how they ended up on a bus)

DIOGENES: Are you bozos going to stay here all night?

(The DRIVER hits the horn a few times to wake up the stragglers)

HOLLAND: Who is that rude bum in the back of the bus?

DIOGENES: I am Diogenes, often called ‘Diogenes the Dog.’

HOLLAND: No wonder. You could use a bath and a haircut.

BUS DRIVER (from the front of the bus): Hey, no comments about haircuts.

DIOGENES: I lead a simple life. At least I don’t spend 10,000 euros a month on haircuts, not that your stylist has much to work with.

HOLLAND: It’s only 9,895 euros.

(One by one the remaining passengers get off the bus and look around, shivering in the cold)

TUSK: Where are we going?

DIOGENES: I thought that you knew everything, especially what is best for others.

TUSK: I wasn’t talking to you.

DIOGENES: Were you talking to yourself? If you were, I can recommend a good book on the subject.

(TUSK walks away from DIOGENES)

DRAGHI: What’s that awful smell?

DIOGENES: Don’t look at me,

(A LARGE MAN in a sheepskin coat and a cigarette dangling from his lips approaches, followed by several donkeys)

JUNCKER: I demand to know what’s going on.

LARGE MAN: All aboard. Mount up.

(The group looks around, puzzled and uncertain about what to do)

LARGE MAN: You can either ride or walk, but the mountain gets a bit sleep and sometimes the rocks loosen and fall. You are lucky because the donkeys usually haul supplies, not people.

JUNCKER: I am going nowhere.

LARGE MAN: You’re already there—nowhere. If you stay here you will freeze to death by morning.

BUS DRIVER: That would be a big loss, wouldn’t it?

(The BUS DRIVER takes off his cap and JUNCKER realises that he is looking at BORIS JOHNSON)

JUNCKER: It’s you.

BORIS JOHNSON: Sorry I can’t continue on with you. Maybe we can meet for tea next time you are in London.

(JUNCKER turns away and looks around. Although it is still dark, he realises that there is nothing for hundreds of kilometres and reluctantly mounts a donkey)

LARGE MAN (to DIOGENES): You going to walk?

DIOGENES: These well-fed bureaucrats must weigh more than the donkeys.

LARGE MAN: Don’t concern yourself about the donkeys. They usually carry much heavier loads.

DIOGENES (to MERKEL): I understand that you like hiking. Care to join me?

MERKEL (climbing onto a donkey): Not in these shoes.

(The next day the morning sun is slowly rising above the mist as the passengers begin to awaken in their new surroundings, feeling sore and stiff, wondering where the hell they are)

MERKEL (turning over): Who kicked me?

HOLLAND: It wasn’t me.

(They look around and realise that they have been asleep all night in a makeshift barn, together with the donkeys; the one next to MERKEL gets to its feet and moves away. They all fully awaken in response to a loud blast from a trumpet)

DIOGENES: Rise and shine. Today is your big day.

TUSK: What’s he talking about?

DIOGENES: Were you speaking to me?

(TUSK turns away from DIOGENES. The trumpet sounds again as a STABLE GROOM enters, dressed like a race track jockey in black cap, red jacket and white pants)

STABLE GROON: Sorry we can’t offer you a shower. This will have to do.

(He dusts off the straw with a whisk broom as they object. HOLLAND adjusts his glasses and brushes his hair back with his hands. MERKEL touches up her hair)

STABLE GROOM: This way, if you please.

(He leads them up to the Pantheon, the highest peak on Mount Olympus, nowadays more commonly known as Mytikas.  At the entrance of a courtyard they are welcomed by HERMES, god of travellers and hospitality, as well as thievery and other things. Inside, on a large gold throne at the far end sits ZEUS, surrounded by the other Olympians. The mist makes it appear as though they are suspended on a cloud; perhaps they are. The puzzled travellers walk forward and come to a halt)

HOLLAND: What is this—some kind of Greek theatre?

MERKEL: Maybe a Hollywood movie set.

DRAGHI: No, they are wearing Greek costumes.

DIOGENES: Don’t you fools know where you are?

HERMES (to the uninformed): You are on Mount Olympus—in the presence of the twelve Olympians.

(A thunderbolt strikes the ground, and the assembled group jumps)

ZEUS: I see that I now have everyone’s attention. MINISTER, you may present your case.

JUNCKER: What’s the meaning of this?

ZEUS: Silence, mortal.

(ZEUS throws his hand forward and a thunderbolt lands at JUNCKER’s feet)

FINANCE MINISTER: The bailout and austerity measures that have been imposed on the Greek people by the EU have caused widespread suffering, economic hardship and social unrest. The billions provided by this so called ‘rescue plan’ have gone 95% to the European banks.

TUSK (to ZEUS): You have no authority over the European Union.

DRAGHI: I say we leave.

(ZEUS shoots repeated thunderbolts at the feet of JUNCKER, TUSK and DRAGHI. They jump each time and their motion is similar to bullet dancing—shooting close to a victim’s feet—in an old western movie.

DIOGENES: I haven’t had this much fun in a long time.

(The thunderbolts stop and JUNCKER, TUSK and DRAGHI compose themselves)

DIOGENES: You are all fools, suffering from ‘endemic tower phobia.’

FINANCE MINISTER: That’s a new one on me. What does it mean?

DIOGENES:  It is a psychological condition that starts each morning during the chauffeur-driven ride by a high-level bureaucrat, most often unelected, to an expensively furnished office in a modern skyscraper that often reaches above the clouds. The condition accelerates faster for those who reach the top floor in a private non-stop elevator in less than sixty seconds. Once seated behind a desk that would have been the envy of the mighty ZEUS …

ZEUS: What’s that?

(DIOGENE’s explanation is interrupted by a loud thunderbolt)

DIOGENES: Begging your pardon, mighty ZEUS. I meant to say King Farouk.

FINANCE MINISTER (to DIOGENES): You were saying …

DIOGENES: Once seated behind a typically gold inlayed desk, the high atmosphere causes the close fitting tailor-made suits of these know-it-all big shots to compress, forcing pressure upwards into their heads, which then swell with self-importance.

FINANCE MINISTER: That explains a lot about dealing with the European Council, the European Commission and the European Central Bank.

JUNCKER: I’m not going to listen to any more of this.

DRAGHI: Nor am I.

TUSK: I didn’t come here to be insulted; in fact, I didn’t even ask to come here at all.

(ZEUS sends thunderbolts that barely miss the trio’s shoes)

ZEUS: One more peep out of you overpaid bureaucrats and the next thunderbolt will make those expensive shoes into open-toed ones.

(Another thunderbolt is shot as a warning)

ZEUS (to FINANCE MINISTER): You may proceed.

MERKEL (to the others): It’s not just a bad dream, is it?

THE END

Satire Sketch

ALL ABOARD – Last Bus to Canada

Published by:

Blog by Richard Heagy

(The hallway of the office building is lined on both sides with folding chairs as far as the eye can see; not one seat is empty as the occupants nervously await their turn. A desk has been placed at the end of the hallway, occupied by the bored RECEPTIONIST who is nevertheless busy at work—polishing her nails)

RECEPTIONIST:  Next—number 293.

(Number 293 approaches the RECEPTIONIST, hands her a card with the number on it)

RECEPTIONIST:  You can go in now, Mr. Smith.

ALAN SMITHEE:  My name is Smithee, not Smith.

RECEPTIONIST:  Whatever.

(ALAN SMITHEE opens the door and enters a room with a large wooden desk decorated with an overflowing in-box stacked with applications. Behind it sits a friendly well-fed man in his sixties, wearing a dark pinstripe suit, crisp white shirt and solid yellow necktie. He adjusts his cuff links as he motions for ALAN SMITHEE to sit in the chair in front of the desk)

CHIEF OF STAFF:  I can only give you ten minutes.

ALAN SMITHEE:  I have been waiting for over two hours.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  I am sorry about that Mr. Smith, but we have 4,000 positions to fill.

ALAN SMITHEE:  It’s Smithee, not Smith.

CHIEF OF STAFF: Name sounds familiar—Alan Smithee—can’t quite place it. Have we met before?

ALAN SMITHEE:  No.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  I know I’ve heard that name before.

ALAN SMITHEE:  Many years ago, Hollywood directors who wanted to avoid being named as the director of a film they were unhappy with used a pseudonym, which most often was ‘Alan Smithee.’

CHIEF OF STAFF:  Oh, so you are a movie director?

ALAN SMITHEE:  No.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  Then it’s your real name?

ALAN SMITHEE:  Not at all. I just want to remain anonymous.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  Anonymous! How can we hire you if we don’t know your name?

ALAN SMITHEE:  I am not here about a job. I have a plan to get the President-elect off to a good start.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  Why don’t you send it to me in writing and I will have someone take a look at it.

(The CHIEF OF STAFF writes an email address on the back of a business card and hands it to ALAN SMITHEE)

ALAN SMITHEE:  I can’t do that, I want to remain anonymous.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  Well, then, I don’t think I can help you.

ALAN SMITHEE:  It’s a question of helping the President-elect, not me. I have a plan to make a goodwill gesture to those who did not vote for the President-elect, unite the country and start rebuilding the infrastructure immediately, all in one step.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  It sounds very noble, but I don’t have time right now to listen to something that involved.

ALAN SMITHEE:  I can explain it very quickly—you said you would give me ten minutes.

(The CHIEF OF STAFF looks at his watch and nods affirmatively)

CHIEF OF STAFF:  OK, you have five more minutes.

ALAN SMITHEE:  Thank you, you won’t be sorry.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  Let’s hear it.

ALAN SMITHEE:  First, California did not vote for the President-elect, so a goodwill gesture would be to start rebuilding the infrastructure in Southern California.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  Why there?

ALAN SMITHEE:  That’s where Hollywood is.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  I’m sure that must make sense, but the reasoning escapes me for the moment.

ALAN SMITHEE:  That is because the Hollywood community is quite depressed about the election results. Several psychologists and therapists have reported that many of their clients, who are always under extreme pressure anyway, are sinking into depression. That may indirectly cause the population to become depressed and negative.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  I don’t see the connection.

ALAN SMITHEE:  These are the people who produce our motion pictures and TV shows, constantly being watched by millions, especially with streaming these days.  What would the mood be if they were suddenly faced with watching only sombre, depressing movies and TV shows?

CHIEF OF STAFF:  I see your point.

ALAN SMITHEE:  Good.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  But how is starting to rebuild the infrastructure in Southern California going to help?

ALAN SMITHEE:  You start by rebuilding the highways from Los Angeles to Vancouver.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  Vancouver?

ALAN SMITHEE:  Well, of course you would stop at the US border.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  Obviously.

ALAN SMITHEE:  You might even repair a few bridges along the way, and make detours here and there to avoid any ‘Christmas tree’ for sale signs when you go through the wooded areas of Oregon and Washington.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  You are talking about a project that spans California, Oregon and Washington. How is all of this going to raise the mood in Hollywood?

ALAN SMITHEE:  Many of them threatened to move to Canada if their candidate lost.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  If they do, they will fly.

ALAN SMITHEE:  Not at all. They can be shamed into not flying in their private jets or driving in their gas guzzling Hummers.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  Hmm.

ALAN SMITHEE:  The government can offer free transportation on Greyhound buses, praising how these passengers are helping the environment by not using their private planes.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  Are these people used to riding the bus?

ALAN SMITHEE:  Musicians often tour the country on luxury buses; movie stars stay on location in luxury trailers. The Greyhound buses can be spruced up to add some luxury and they will be travelling on new highways.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  Even so, it would be a very long ride.

ALAN SMITHEE:  I have a solution for that.

(The CHIEF OF STAFF looks sceptical, but remains interested)

CHIEF OF STAFF:  I’m listening.

ALAN SMITHEE:  Local employment can be increased by building comfortable rest stops along the way, maybe spaced two or three hours apart. They could be decorated with posters from Hollywood films and directors’ chairs, with the latest editions of Variety and The Hollywood Reporter available. Perhaps offer fresh mountain spring water and vegan appetisers free of charge.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  I’m not convinced yet. We’re still talking about a long ride for a bunch of depressed people in a small space.

ALAN SMITHEE:  You haven’t heard the best part yet.

CHIEF OF STAFF: Tell me.

ALAN SMITHEE:  Each rest stop will have a specially designed room, with soft music, comfortable chairs and a long leather couch.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  What’s the couch for?

ALAN SMITHEE:  Each rest stop will be manned by a free psychiatrist or analyst—more employment.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  That’s fine, but it will slow down the trip if too many of them need a consultation at a particular stop.

ALAN SMITHEE:  I don’t think that will be a problem because the rest stops will not be placed that far apart.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  Anything else?

ALAN SMITHEE:  Yes. Each rest stop will have a drive-through window for those who prefer driving their own car instead of taking the bus.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  You seem to have thought of everything.

ALAN SMITHEE:  The only problem is if too many of them try to move to Canada.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  You mean the cost might escalate.

ALAN SMITHEE:  No, Canada might build a wall.

 THE END

All aboard. Last bus to Canada.

      All aboard

Satire Sketch

Chinese Anyone? ask Justice Scalia

Published by:

Blog by Richard Heagy

ISABEL was a nice looking woman in her fifties, until a large beer, delivery truck came out of nowhere, went through a stop sign, and totalled her small car. She was driving on a county road on her way to a schoolhouse, but she could not remember why; all she remembered was the crash. The schoolhouse was serving as a temporary courthouse while the official one was undergoing repairs. Because of a shortage of judges, initial motions on her case (a discrimination lawsuit for failure to hire ISABEL [also referred to as the PLAINTIFF] to teach Chinese, even though she spoke no Chinese) were to be re-scheduled.

Everything seemed cloudy to ISABEL, but slowly it all came into focus. Instead of being in a hospital room, she found herself walking slowly up a stairway that suddenly branched out towards five different entrances, actually arched gates with names above. The two on the left said ‘UK’ and ‘EU’, the two on the right ‘US’ and ‘CHINA’, respectively; the one in the middle, much larger, said ‘MAIN ENTRANCE TO HEAVEN’.

It suddenly occurred to ISABEL that she was dead; she had died in the car accident. What lousy timing; she had just commenced an important discrimination lawsuit against the city’s only school district.

ISABEL (looking around): Where am I?

VOICE (O.S.): What does it look like?

ISABEL: The Pearly Gates.

VOICE (O.S.): They don’t like people to call it that.

ISABEL: Sorry.

VOICE (O.S.): The name is Heaven.

ISABEL: I want to talk to God.

VOICE (O.S.): Walk up to the main entrance.

(ISABEL walks up to the main entrance and finds a short, old man smoking a cigar)

ISABEL: You are not God.

VOICE: Well, I played God in the movies.

OTHER VOICES (O.S.) – Richard Pryor and Charlton Heston: Me to.

VOICE: Ignore them. I played God in two movies. I am George Burns, or I used to be.

(ST. PETER returns from his break and looks at all the gates)

ST. PETER (to GEORGE BURNS): What have you done? Why are there so many gates?

GEORGE BURNS: It is April 1st; God took away my life but not my sense of humour.

(ST. PETER snaps his fingers; there is a loud clap of thunder and the four extra gates disappear)

ISABEL: I have a complaint. It’s about my Chinese …

ST. PETER: I handle admissions, not complaints. Go back down the stairs, exactly 40 steps, and turn left.

(ISABEL cautiously walks down the stairs, counting each step; then sees a path on the left, which she follows until she comes to a counter, which seems to be floating in the air. Behind the counter stands a pious-looking man (MAN) with a long beard and a strong resemblance to Confucius)

MAN (in Mandarin): Help you?

(They converse for a while, ISABEL in English and the MAN in Mandarin, their voices raising as they speak in frustration at their inability to understand each other)

ISABEL (yelling): I did not ask for someone who speaks Chinese. This is about a Chinese class, but it is a legal matter.  Doesn’t anyone here speak English?

(An angel—ST. IVES—appears next to the MAN and taps him on the shoulder. The MAN bows and in response ST. IVES nods his head, whereupon the MAN fades from sight)

ST. IVES: I speak English.

ISABEL: What about the Chinese man? I thought everyone in Heaven could speak all languages.

ST. IVES: Only the Saints have that ability.

ISABEL: Who are you?

ST. IVES: I am ST. IVES, the patron Saint of the legal profession.

ISABEL: I should not be here.

ST. IVES: How many times have I heard that?

ISABEL: I started legal proceedings that involve important issues concerning racial discrimination. I must return to earth, at least long enough to resolve the case.

ST. IVES: This is quite an unusual request.

ISABEL: I think it has happened many times before.

ST. IVES: That is only in the movies. God is the only one who can grant your request.

GEORGE BURNS (O.S.): Did someone call me?

ST. IVES: Another one of your April Fools pranks, I guess.

GEORGE BURNS (O.S.): There is not much else to do up here.

ST. IVES (to ISABEL): I will be right back.

ISABEL: You’re going to consult God?

ST. IVES: No, ST. PETER. You have to go through channels up here just like everywhere else.

(ST. IVES leaves for what seems to be a long time, although time is irrelevant in Heaven. ISABEL paces back and forth until ST. IVES returns)

ISABEL: Well?

ST. IVES: You are in luck. This has never happened before, but God is totally against discrimination.

ISABEL: Do you mean I can return?

ST. IVES: Yes.

ISABEL: It is a miracle.

ST. IVES: That is one of God’s specialties—miracles.

ISABEL: When do I leave?

ST. IVES: As soon as we discuss the terms and conditions.

ISABEL: You sound like a lawyer. Sorry, I forgot.

ST. IVES: You have 48 hours; then you must return. Whatever decision the court makes will be final. You may not stay longer to appeal if you receive an unfavourable decision.

ISABEL: There is a problem with the 48 hours.

ST. IVES: What would that be?

ISABEL: The trial is to be postponed because of a shortage of local judges. Two went to jail last week for corruption and three went on a hunting trip together. The rest have full calendars.

ST. IVES: No problem. We will send someone from here. I have a recent arrival in mind.

ISABEL: Wait; I can’t go back looking like this, not after a deadly car crash.

ST. IVES: You will appear just as you were before the accident.

(ST. IVES claps his hands, followed by a loud thunderbolt. ISABEL finds herself in the courtroom, in reality a school classroom. She looks round and sees several others, all seated in typical classroom chairs with writing tops. They include PLAINTFF’s ATTORNEY, DEFENDANT’s ATTORNEY, as well as the JANITOR; up front behind a table sits a large man, the recently deceased JUSTICE SCALIA)

JUSTICE SCALIA: Where is the BALIFF?

DEFENDANT’s ATTORNEY: We don’t have one.

JUSTICE SCALIA: We cannot proceed without one.

PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY: Why don’t we use the JANITOR.

DEFENDANT’s ATTORNEY: I will agree to that. I am sure he has seen enough TV programs to know what to do.

JUSTICE SCALIA: Very well, but we need a gavel.

JANITOR: I think there is one on the wall in the Principal’s office; he got is as some kind of award.

(He leaves and goes to the principal’s office, which is next door. There are sounds of pounding and breaking glass before the JANITOR returns, gavel in hand. He hands it to JUSTICE SCALIA, who places it on the table)

JANITOR: Sorry about the noise, but I had to break the glass case on the wall.

JUSTICE SCALIA (to the JANITOR): I hereby appoint you as BAILIFF of this court. Now, we may proceed.

BAILIFF: All rise. Court is in session.

(JUSTICE SCALIA nods his head to the BAILIFF in approval as the others rise, with some difficulty, from the small sized classroom chairs)

JUSTICE SCALIA:  BAILIFF, read the complaint.

BAILIFF: It is kind of long, and has some big words.

JUSTICE SCALIA: Just give us a summary.

(The BAILIFF reads over the complaint quickly)

BAILIFF: PLAINTIFF has filed a discrimination suit against the DEFENDANT for failure to hire her for some Chinese job; all the other applicants are all Chinese persons.

JUSTICE SCALIA (to PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY): Counsellor, you may make your opening statement.

(PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY is young and has been a member of the bar for just over a year. The lighting is poor in the room, and as he approaches the bench, he recognises the famous justice, but then he is unsure)

PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY: Is that really you? I just returned from being abroad for eight months and I heard that you had died. I have not seen any mention of you in the local papers since I returned. I guess rumours of your death are premature—like Mark Twain.

JUSTICE SCALIA:  Well, here I am, acting as a circuit judge. Please proceed.

PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY: PLAINTIFF’s suit alleges employment discrimination based on race. She is white and all of the other applicants are Chinese.

JUSTICE SCALIA: Does this involve a Chinese restaurant?

PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY: No. I am afraid the BAILIFF’s summary of the complaint was too brief. PLAINTIFF is suing the DEFENDANT school district for failing to hire her to teach classes in Chinese; I mean Mandarin. As the BAILIFF stated, the PLAINTIFF is white and the other applicants are all Chinese.

JUSTICE SCALIA: Is that it?

PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY: This community has a large number of companies of various sizes that import products made in China to their specifications. Several of their employees need to learn Chinese. The DEFENDANT offers adult education classes, mostly at night, including Chinese, or more specifically Mandarin. All applicants are required to teach a minimum of two classes per week. There are only two unfilled positions; PLAINTIFF can teach the one in English and have someone else teach the Chinese class for her.

JUSTICE SCALIA: What damages are you seeking?

PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY: In addition to a job, she is seeking damages for emotional distress, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life.

JUSTICE SCALIA (to DEFENDANT’s ATTORNEY): Counsellor, you may present your defence.

DEFENDANT’s ATTORNEY: The school district has a clear rule, applied to all persons equally: you must teach a minimum of two classes. PLAINTIFF works fulltime during the day and is only available to teach adult education classes at night. There are only two unfilled evening positions at this time: How to Write a Short Story, which PLAINTIFF is qualified to teach, and Mandarin, which she is not. Failure to hire PLAINTIFF has nothing to do with race.

JUSTICE SCALIA: Who are these other potential applicants?

DEFENDANT’s ATTORNEY: Chinese suppliers to some of our local companies have sent a few employees here to learn technology. They are also well educated and qualified to teach Mandarin, it being their native language. Employment is based on knowledge of Mandarin, not race or nationality.

PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY: Aren’t they also supposed to teach two classes, or are you making an exception for them—further discrimination.

DEFENDANT’s ATTORNEY: Some of them are teaching Chinese cooking.

PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY: Oh.

DEFENDANT’s ATTORNEY: PLAINTIFF’s complaint fails to state a cause of action with respect to inconvenience and loss of enjoyment of life. Furthermore, we will introduce evidence to show that the latter claim is false and that the PLAINTIFF suffers no emotional distress or mental anguish.

JUSTICE SCALIA (to PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY): Counsellor, are you telling me that the PLAINTIFF does not speak Chinese; I mean Mandarin.

PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY: Yes, but she is willing to learn and has already started. I have a witness who will testify as to her progress. Let me make a call and he will be here in 15 minutes or less.

(They take a break until there is a knock on the door and a Chinese man enters with several bags of Chinese food)

JUSTICE SCALIA: What is this? I would have preferred Italian food.

PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY: This is my witness, the owner (OWNER) of a Chinese restaurant nearby.

(JUSTICE SCALIA decides that they might as well eat before the witness testifies. When they finish, the OWNER is sworn in by the BAILIFF)

PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY: If the court decides that PLAINTIFF must teach the Mandarin class herself, then, as I have already stated, PLAINTIFF is willing to learn Mandarin, and has already started. She eats Chinese food several times a week and always asks for a handful of extra fortune cookies so that she can learn new words.

JUSTICE SCALIA: Did you say that the PLAINTIFF is learning Mandarin from fortune cookies?

PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY:  Yes, and I will present testimony as to her progress.

DEFENDANT’s ATTORNEY (to JUSTICE SCALIA): I believe last year in Obergefell vs Hodges you referred to the level of wisdom delivered to diners at the end of a Chinese meal. Your dissenting opinion stated, in part, ‘The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie’.

JUSTICE SCALIA: The witness is excused; with our thanks for lunch.

PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY: I don’t understand.

JUSTICE SCALIA: Maybe you will find some wisdom in your fortune cookie, or maybe not. I was in Hong Kong recently for a conference; Chinese restaurants do not have fortune cookies there.

PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY: I would like to present an expert witness to testify as to the emotional distress and mental anguish that has caused PLAINTIFF’s loss of enjoyment of life. I will also call the PLAINTIFF to testify as to her emotional distress and mental suffering.

DEFENDANT’s ATTORNEY: First, PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY has given no notice that he would introduce an expert witness to testify about PLAINTIFF’s alleged emotional distress and mental anguish.

(PLAINTIFF, getting ready to go to the witness stand fluffs up her hair and takes out her makeup. She is horrified when she looks in a pocket mirror and sees no reflection; then remembers that she is dead)

DEFENDANT’s ATTORNEY: Second, such testimony is not necessary, as PLAINTIFF has not suffered any loss of enjoyment of life as will be established by the exhibits I wish to introduce into evidence. In addition, if you will look at PLAINTIFF’s attire you will see the results of her recent shopping spree at the mall the day after she was disqualified for the Mandarin teaching job: new shoes, nice dress, and an expensive Apple watch. We also have some Facebook posts of PLAINTIFF and her friends laughing and eating ice cream in the mall on the same day, and more later on in a bar, drinking Champagne, not the drink of a depressed person.

PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY: I object to the admission of PLAINTIFF’s Facebook posts into evidence.

DEFENDANT’s ATTORNEY: Someone told me to save the best for last. Instead of offering the Facebook posts into evidence, I offer the following document.

(DEFENDANT’s ATTORNEY approaches the bench and hands a formal looking document to JUSTICE SCALIA and points out that it has been notarised and authenticated)

JUSTICE SCALIA (to PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY):  How much do you know about the PLAINTIFF?

PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY: She was an English teacher in a small town in New Jersey for several years; then lost her job when the school burnt down and she moved here.

JUSTICE SCALIA: Did you know that her father was a sales representative abroad for an American company?

PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY (looking worried): Where is this going?

JUSTICE SCALIA: Look at this.

(He hands the document to PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY and waits)

PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY: It is a birth certificate.

JUSTICE SCALIA: No Kidding. Read PLAINTIFF’s place of birth, for everyone to hear.

PLAINTIFF’s ATTORNEY: Shanghai.

DEFENDANT’s ATTORNEY: That makes the PLAINTIFF Chinese, so there is no discrimination in favour of Chinese.

JUSTICE SCALIA: Case dismissed, with prejudice.

(With that, he bangs the gavel and there is a crack of thunder, followed by a loud swishing sound. PLAINTIFF finds herself back in Heaven, in front of the Complaint desk)

ST. IVES: Back so soon?

THE END

25 x 50 SizeFortune Cookie 25 x 50 SizeFortune Cookie 25 x 50 SizeFortune Cookie

Satire Sketch

BREXIT – Cameron thank you dinner for Obama

Published by:

Blog by Richard Heagy

The UK Prime Minister and the US President sit at a table in the far corner of a small upscale restaurant in Mayfair on a quiet street in London; nearby, but out of sight are several secret service agents and security guards. The WAITER approaches the table and asks what they would like to drink.

CAMERON: Whiskey.

OBAMA: Beer.

WAITER: I am sorry sir, but we no longer serve beer. Perhaps you would like something from the bar or maybe a glass of wine.

OBAMA: Wine will be fine.

CAMERON: I will have wine also; cancel the whiskey.

WAITER: Very good, sir, I will send over the sommelier.

(OBAMA and CAMERON listen to the sommelier’s suggestions and finally agree on one)

OBAMA: I brought you a present.

CAMERON: How nice. I hope it did not cost too much.

OBAMA: Not at all, but it is one of your favourites; at least that is what I saw on TV.

(OBAMA hands a nicely wrapped box to CAMERON, who holds up the box and shakes it. Something inside makes a noise and the contents shift a bit)

OBAMA: You will never guess what it is; might as well just open it.

CAMERON: You are right.

OBAMA: I am always right. It comes with being a Harvard law professor; no one questions you until you go into politics.

(CAMERON carefully tears off the wrapping and opens the box; then pulls out the gift—a tube of Pringles)

OBAMA (smiling): They are Paprika Pringles.

CAMERON: How did you know I liked these?

OBAMA: There was a video of you on the internet; you were on a budget flight eating Paprika Pringles.

CAMERON: How thoughtful.

OBAMA: Oh, I really cannot take all the credit, maybe most of it. You know how so many gifts are not what somebody wants at all. I had a White House intern do an internet search to find out what you really like—and here it is.

CAMERON: I do not know what to say, except thanks.

(He opens the tube, inhales, takes one out and tastes it)

CAMERON (to OBAMA): Would you like to try one?

(Before OBAMA can respond, a WAITER walks over to the table)

WAITER: Excuse me sir, I mean Prime Minister, but you may not bring food into the restaurant.

(The WAITER reaches out and takes the tube of Pringles from CAMERON, but unnoticed by either of them a SECRET SERVICE AGENT appears from nowhere, turns the WAITER round and butts him in the head. The tube falls on the table and the Pringles scatter on the floor)

OBAMA: I brought those all the way from Washington.

OBAMA (to SECRET SERVICE AGENT): Pick those up.

SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Yes, sir.

(The SECRET SERVICE AGENT squats, picks up the Pringles one by one, and blows the dirt off them before putting them back in the tube)

OBAMA: It is hard to get good help these days, even if you are the President of the United States.

(Blood drips from the forehead of the WAITER to his crisply starched white shirt as he holds his head in pain. The MAÎTRE D’ rushes over and helps the WAITER walk away)

CAMERON: Tell me about it.

(ANOTHER WAITER arrives to serve the drinks, followed by the MAÎTRE D’, who serves the starters in enclosed silver covers)

MAÎTRE D’: Compliments of the chef, in honour of the American President.

(He uncovers the dishes to reveal a surprise)

CAMERON: Looks like a tiny square hamburger to me.

OBAMA: It is a White Castle.

(He takes a bite and smiles at the MAÎTRE D’)

OBAMA (continuing): Please give my thanks to the chef.

(Dinner continues with a salad, bread with a plate of olive oil, followed by the main entre, all of which takes a few hours)

CAMERON: Had enough to eat?

OBAMA: It is probably enough to last all week. I should walk it off in Hyde Park in the morning, but my secret service agents will complain.

(As CAMERON and OBAMA are enjoying after dinner drinks, the WAITER returns to the table with several bandages on his forehead)

OBAMA: I am sorry about what happened. I was beginning to get worried—it took you so long.

WAITER: First, I called the nearest hospital emergency room and asked for an ambulance. When I described my injuries, they said it was not serious enough for an ambulance, and suggested that I take a taxi.

OBAMA: Looks like they fixed you up. Your socialised medicine is excellent, so I hear.

WAITER: Where did you hear that?

OBAMA: Uh …

WAITER: I waited in a large room full of tired and angry people, some coughing and sneezing, for four hours; no it was 3 hours and 48 minutes, as they must release you in 4 hours.

OBAMA: Well, anyway the exam must have been thorough.

WAITER: What exam? They dabbed my forehead with some stinging substance, slapped on three small bandages, and gave be two paracetamol—what you would call aspirin.

OBAMA: Again, I am very sorry about what happened. You should go home and get some rest.

(The WAITER nods and leaves)

CAMERON: I invited you here to express my appreciation for your support with the EU referendum, especially your recommendation that the United Kingdom stay in the European Union.

OBAMA: Remaining in the EU gives the UK more influence and is important for economic prosperity and security. It is most unfortunate that the Leave vote prevailed.

CAMERON: I should have never authorised the referendum. The Leave vote has been a shock to everyone, even the Leave supporters. The financial markets are in disarray and the pound is in the toilet.

(A tall stocky man with unruly blonde hair, much like a miniature haystack, approaches the table and pulls out a chair. He is BORIS JOHNSON, former Mayor of London and now a Member of Parliament)

BORIS (as he sits down): May I join you?

CAMERON: You already have.

OBAMA: I thought that the referendum was primarily about the economy and security, but it seems that immigration became a more significant factor as the vote neared.

BORIS: Maybe so, but substantial support for the Leave vote already existed for other important reasons. This is also about representative democracy. Unelected faceless EU civil servants impose endless rules, regulations and financial obligations on the UK. The press and the elite have neglected the obstacles the EU has created for business, especially small shopkeepers, as well as unduly interfering with the daily private lives of ordinary people with petty overregulation. The European Court of Justice overrules English laws and judges, something the US would never stand for, as evidenced by their refusing to recognise the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.

CAMERON: I did negotiate with the EU and got them to agree to some changes in our favour.

BORIS (to CAMERON): I know you tried your best, but you really did not get much. The bloated EU bureaucracy is extremely inflexible from top to bottom, starting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. He is so rigid that I would not be surprised if he could not even bend over to tie his shoelaces. The man has this ever-closer phobia and keeps pushing the EU down a one-way road to failure. What started as an economic union—with the European Economic Community in 1975—morphed into the European Union in 1993, a political union with an insatiable hunger for fiscal, diplomatic and unchecked legislative powers.

(Although OBAMA finished his dinner some time ago, a small piece of bread remains on the table. He picks it up and dips it in a small plate of olive oil)

BORIS (to OBAMA): It is much healthier to dip bread in olive oil than to smoother it with butter, do you not agree?

OBAMA: I believe everyone knows that.

BORIS: Dip away while you can. In 2014, the EU tried to ban the use of refillable bottles and dipping bowls of olive oil at restaurant tables. There was an unusual groundswell against the proposal across Europe by consumers and restaurant owners.  It was one of the very few times that the EU backed down and reversed one of its rules, never admitting it was wrong, but excusing itself by saying that the ban was not formulated so as to achieve wide support from the public, as if the EU has ever given a rat’s ass about public opinion. They always know better and want to impose their way of thinking by re-educating the public, a common trait of those in unelected positions. I would not be surprised if they tried something like this again; the UK will still be subject to EU regulations until they negotiate the terms of withdrawal from the EU.

ANOTHER WAITER (arrives out of nowhere, pushing a cart): Gentlemen, I have the pleasure of preparing Bananas Foster at your table.

(The cart contains a large skillet on an alcohol burner, brown sugar, butter, rum, banana liquor, and several bananas)

OBAMA: I have not eaten Bananas Foster for quite some time.

(An elderly man—the MINDER—with white hair, a face with more wrinkles than his tired ill-fitting soviet era brown suit, and a short military style haircut suddenly appears and pulls out a small tool—a digital angle finder, picks up a banana and measures its curvature or bend. He speaks with an East German accent)

MINDER (to ANOTHER WAITER): You will take these bananas back; their bend violates EU regulations.

(The MINDER puts the banana back on the cart and ANOTHER WAITER pushes the cart away)

CAMERON: I thought that the bend rules applied to cucumbers.

BORIS: Yes, but it is more complicated for cucumbers than bananas because there are two cucumber categories. Class I and Extra Class cucumbers allow a bend of 10mm per 10cm of length, whereas Class II cumbers can bend twice as much.

CAMERON: Wait a minute. I think the rule on bananas was modified in the UK a few years back.

MINDER: Nobody told me. I will have to fill out a report concerning this violation.

(He takes out a pad of forms and makes notations on the top one)

MINDER: Your names.

CAMERON: I am the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

MINDER: And I am the King of Bavaria.

BORIS: He really is the Prime Minister.

BORIS and OBAMA (to themselves): Not for long.

MINDER: And, I suppose you are the Mayor of London

(pause)

MINDER (continuing): For the pittance they pay me, I am not going to verify your names. I just need to write something in each blank on this form so none of the highly paid comrades in Brussels sends it back.

(He starts filling out the form and turns to OBAMA)

MINDER (to OBAMA): Don’t think I have forgotten about you. You look like a university professor. I’ll just write “professor”, since you gentlemen are playing games with me over your real names. They don’t matter because the guilty party subject to a fine is the restaurant.

OBAMA: That’s OK; I can get some Bananas Foster next time I am in New Orleans.

(OBAMA picks up a thin briefcase and pulls out a group of articles that mention Cameron and the EU referendum. He holds them out to CAMERON, but the MINDER grabs them and pulls off the large paperclip holding them together)

MINDER: What have we here?

BORIS: This does not look good.

OBAMA: The articles are not all negative.

BORIS: That is not the problem; it is the petty EU bureaucracy.

(The MINDER pulls out a small ruler and measures the length of the paper clip)

MINDER: Just as I suspected; this clip exceeds the allowable size under EU regulations.

(He bends the paperclip and it snaps in two)

MINDER: Oh, my, look at this. This clip appears to be made of materials that violate EU safety regulations. I’ll have to confiscate it and write another report.

(The Minder places the unclipped papers on the table, fills out another form and departs. Before he leaves, he clicks his heels together and raises his right arm in a Nazi salute)

MINDER: Sorry. Old habits are hard to break.

OBAMA: First it’s bananas; now it’s paper clips.

(He straightens the articles and hands them to CAMERON)

CAMERON: Thank you. I am sure I will find them interesting.

OBAMA: Who was that fellow?

BORIS: A minder.

OBAMA: Did you say a miner?

BORIS: No, a minder—one of those low-level officials assigned to follow you around if you visited Soviet controlled countries in the old days. They would stick to you like glue.

OBAMA: I thought that all went out with the end of the Cold War.

CAMERON: It is just something the EU is trying on a temporary basis.

BORIS: There is no such thing as temporary where the EU is concerned. They will make this so-called experiment permanent and expand it.

OBAMA: Why was that fellow measuring the bananas?

CAMERON: The EU wants to ensure that its rules and regulations are being followed. They have placed staff members in a few restaurants on a test basis to oversee compliance in the food service industry.

BORIS: Staff members, bloody hell. These are former minders from East Germany here to spy on us for the EU; a relic from the Cold War, straight out of Alexanderplatz central casting in Berlin. They are state employees who cannot be retrained for other jobs. An invasive program our Prime Minister has allowed into the UK.

CAMERON: I saw his resume—he comes with a recommendation, somewhat dated, from Erich Honecker.

BORIS: Wonderful fellow as far as apparatchiks go, especially known for organising the building of the Berlin Wall.

OBAMA (to himself): I wonder if Donald Trump has heard of him?

CAMERON: Don’t blame me; the UK has to follow the EU directives or they raise a big stink or take legal action.

BORIS (to OBAMA):  You probably thought the EU referendum was just about security and the economy.

OBAMA: Well yes. That is what first comes to mind.

BORIS: The problem that mostly affects the daily lives of UK citizens is the constant generation of new regulations, most of them quite petty.  Job security is sacred at the European Commission. It is almost impossible to be fired, but people still like to give the appearance of being busy.  I would not be surprised to find that they have classes to teach civil servants how to look busy when they have nothing to do.  More than 10,000 EU officials make more than our Prime Minister does.  The latest proposal, so I hear, is to offer an incentive system for lower-paid employees who submit three ideas each week for new things to regulate.

OBAMA: There is nothing wrong with big government, but I don’t know about that kind of incentive system.

OBAMA (to BORIS): You were a major supporter of the Leave campaign. What are their plans for carrying out the Brexit?

BORIS (ignoring the question): Do you own a dog?

OBAMA: Two.

BORIS: Well, you probably have the same rules as in the UK; you must carry a plastic bag and pick up after your dog makes a deposit.

OBAMA: Yes, but it is not a big inconvenience.

BORIS: You might have a problem with your dogs if you move to London after you leave the White House, at least until we are out of the EU.

OBAMA: I wasn’t planning to, but why is that?

BORIS: The EU regulators in their concern for the environment are going all out after plastic.

OBAMA: I see nothing wrong with that.

BORIS: They are considering banning the use of plastic bags for dog walkers.

OBAMA: Then, how are you going to clean up the dog deposits?

BORIS: Dog owners will have to train their dogs to sit on the pot to take a crap before they go for a walk. Quite an inconvenience for dog owners, but it will be good for business.

OBAMA: How is that?

BORIS: They already make special potty seats for small children and disabled persons. Now they will need to design special ones for dogs, and one size will not fit all. Even so, the solicitors will be concerned about liability if an owner uses the wrong size and a dog falls in and drowns, so more work for them. Potty manufacturers and the owners of pet stores will also benefit from increased sales.

(ANOTHER WAITER appears with the dessert menu and asks to take their orders)

OBAMA: I am not hungry anymore.

CAMERON: Me neither.

BORIS (to ANOTHER WAITER): Bring those bananas back. I’ll take them home and make my own Bananas Foster.

ANOTHER WAITER: I am sorry but the MINDER confiscated them.

BORIS: What is he going to do—send them with his report to Brussels?

ANOTHER WAITER: No. I saw him through the window, standing at the bus stop. He was eating the bananas.

THE END

Small banana X

Satire Sketch

Zombie Tech Award – for the iPhone

Published by:

Blog by Richard Heagy

It is a sunny day, and a line of people of all shapes and sizes wait on the steps of an endless stairway that winds its way upward; all ages and ethnic groups are included. At the top of the stairs is a man (CONCIERGE) about forty years old with a short white beard standing behind a pedestal. He is wearing a black tuxedo and sandals with no socks.

CONCIERGE: Next.

(Down the line, a man wearing a long-sleeved turtleneck, blue jeans and sneakers counts the number of people in front of him, about twenty or so; then looks back at the hundreds behind him. He stands in line impatiently and looks at his watch but he is not wearing a watch. His name is JOBS, or at least it used to be when he was alive. In front of him is a young person wearing a pizza delivery hat (PIZZA GUY) and an “I Love New York” T-shirt; he carries a small black umbrella, but he is wet)

USHER (to PIZZA GUY): Here you are, sir. Just fill it out and I will pick it up when you are ready.

(Up and down the line are ushers, all dressed in white togas, handing out questionnaires mounted on clipboards with ballpoint pens. The PIZZA GUY puts his umbrella on the step ahead of him to be hands free. The USHER next hands a clipboard and a pen to JOBS)

JOBS: What’s this for?

USHER: All applicants have to fill them out.

JOBS: Applicants?

USHER: You don’t think just anyone can walk through the Pearly Gates, do you?

(JOBS takes the clipboard and glances over the questions, then tries to return it to the USHER)

JOBS: Why should I fill this out? You already know everything about me.

USHER: Yes, but we like to see if people are lying.

JOBS: It’s a waste of time.

USHER: Time is something we have an endless supply of here.

(Some clouds come drifting over, then a few raindrops)

PIZZA GUY (to JOBS): Hey, buddy, you want to buy my umbrella?

JOBS (to the USHER): I didn’t know you had rain up here.

USHER: On occasion, a cloud finds its way up here, but you will not need an umbrella. Even if some rain falls on you, you will remain dry.

JOBS (pointing to the step above him): What about him?

USHER: Oh, he was wet when he arrived, so he will stay wet for the duration of his stay.

JOBS: He might get sick.

USHER: No, his condition will remain the same as when he arrived.

(The PIZZA GUY takes out a cigarette and places it between his lips, searches unsuccessfully in his pockets for a match, then motions to the USHER)

PIZZA GUY: Hey, buddy, you got a light?

USHER: Smoking is not allowed here.

PIZZA GUY: Where’s the sign says so?

USHER: There is no place to put a sign.

(The PIZZA GUY tosses his cigarette away, and it lands nearby, suspended in the air)

USHER: No littering.

(The USHER retrieves the cigarette and hands it to the PIZZA GUY, who puts it in his pocket. The PIZZA GUY starts to say something, but the USHER cuts him off)

USHER: I know, there’s no sign.

(JOBS starts to fill out the questionnaire, but the pen will not work. He shakes it, tries again, then hands it back to the USHER)

USHER: I will be right back as soon as I find another pen.

(The USHER leaves and someone suddenly appears out of nowhere)

DEVIL: Psst—would you mind stepping over here for a minute?

JOBS: How am I going to do that? There’s nothing to stand on if I get off the stairs.

DEVIL: Not at all, sir, you will be standing on air.

JOBS: Why should I believe you?

DEVIL: Look at me; there’s nothing underneath my feet.

JOBS: So I see, but I don’t want to lose my place in line.

(The line is slowly moving forward as all this takes place)

DEVIL: I’ll see to it that you don’t.

JOBS: Who are you anyway?

DEVIL: An usher, but not just any usher.

JOBS: You are not dressed the same; well, maybe you are, except that you clothes are off white, even kind of soiled looking.

DEVIL: Step over here. I want to have a little chat with you.

(They move away from the stairs, far enough for the others not to overhear. JOBS looks down nervously as he walks on the air)

JOBS: Are you trying to solicit a bribe to ease my way through the Pearly Gates?

DEVIL: Nothing of the kind. Getting you through the Pearly Gates is last thing I would ever do.

JOBS: By the way, who is that young man behind the pedestal? I thought that St. Peter was supposed to admit people.

DEVIL: He’s the CONCIERGE. They are trying to upgrade the place to improve their ratings.

(JOBS looks at his watch, forgetting again that it is not there)

JOBS: How long have I been in line?

DEVIL: Three days.

JOBS: Three days? That’s impossible.

DEVIL: You will never experience time again, only eternity.

JOBS: Who are you?

DEVIL: I have been known by many names—Lucifer, Beelzebub, Satan, or more commonly the Devil. I prefer Prince of Darkness myself.

JOBS: I have been called many names myself.

DEVIL: Yes—tyrant, genius and jerk, to name a few.

JOBS: How do I know that you are the devil?

DEVIL: What if I perform a miracle before your very eyes?

JOBS: OK, try me.

(The DEVIL waves his hand in the air and instantly he is holding a deck of cards, which he fans)

DEVIL: Pick a card, any card.

JOBS: That is a cheap card trick, not a miracle.

DEVIL: I don’t want to draw attention to myself this close to the Pearly Gates; I can’t do anything splashy. Go on; pick a card.

(JOBS takes a card)

JOBS: Now what?

DEVIL: Put it back in the deck.

(The devil shuffles the deck and holds it in the palm of his hand)

DEVIL: Turn over the top card.

(JOBS turns over the top card and holds it up, showing a three of clubs)

DEVIL: What did I tell you?

JOBS: It’s not my card.

DEVIL: Are you sure?

JOBS: It is not my card; I had a seven of diamonds.

DEVIL: I must be out of practice.

JOBS: Assuming that you are the devil, why are here—to tempt me?

DEVIL: No.

JOBS: What do you want?

DEVIL: I want to thank you.

JOBS: For what? I have led an exemplary life, no bad habits of any significance that come to mind.

DEVIL: It’s results that count, not the intention to do bad things.

JOBS: I have no idea what you are talking about.

DEVIL: Let’s take the iPhone, for example.

JOBS: What about it?

DEVIL: First, let’s clear up something. Who invented the iPhone?

JOBS: I did. Everyone knows that.

DEVIL: Not everyone. Some Congresswoman said the government invented the iPhone, not you or Apple.

JOBS: Sour grapes.

DEVIL: Sour grapes invented the iPhone instead of Apple, or you.

JOBS: That’s not what I meant.

DEVIL: Then you take credit for its invention.

JOBS: Absolutely. Just because engineers were working under my direction does not make me any less the inventor.

DEVIL: Thank God—oops—I shouldn’t use that expression. Then I didn’t come all this way for nothing. I suppose you consider the iPhone to be the greatest benefit to humanity in modern times.

JOBS: It’s the best thing since sliced bread.

DEVIL: Not a good example; bread contains gluten and other unhealthy ingredients.

JOBS: It’s just an expression, not a comparison. The iPhone has brought people closer together all around the world, made communications easier and improved their lives.

DEVIL: What about the negatives?

JOBS: I can’t think of any, although some people complain about the price.

DEVIL: First, you have not made communication and interaction between people better, aside from a technical standpoint. Communication online is faceless; many hours are wasted each day by exchanging meaningless twaddle. For example, what is the importance of letting all of the people you are deluded into thinking are your friends know that you are spending the weekend cleaning out your closet.

JOBS: Not everyone spends the weekend cleaning closets.

DEVIL: They spend the rest of the weekend telling their friends, and I use the term loosely, all about it.

JOBS: Why are we talking about this?

DEVIL: Look what you are doing to education.

JOBS: Increasing educational levels by making more information available.

DEVIL: Hogwash. Everyone is texting; no one knows how to write a complete sentence anymore, not even a short one.

JOBS: Everyone is too busy these days.

DEVIL: Busy doing what? Nothing of any great importance that I can see.

JOBS: One of the biggest benefits to people is mobility, the ability to communicate with friends and business associates, shop and do other things from anywhere, twenty-four hours a day.

DEVIL: Your award may be posthumous, but it is never too late to give recognition to one deserving it.

JOBS: Are you giving me an award?

DEVIL: Almost everyone with an iPhone uses it while walking, wherever he or she is, crossing the street through traffic, riding a bicycle, skate boarding or even texting while driving.

JOBS: It is convenient.

DEVIL: You idiot. People walk into each other and cause automobile accidents while texting. Just look at how many people in line behind you are talking on their mobile phones or trying to send text messages.

JOBS (looking pleased): I am surprised it works up here.

DEVIL: I doesn’t. They were on their mobile phones when they died. They continue as if nothing has happened and don’t realise that their conversations and text messages are not going anywhere. You have created an entire world of self-centred zombies, something I could never do. That is why you have earned the Devil’s Award for Outstanding Achievement—for disservice to humanity. This year we are naming it the Zombie Tech Award in your honour.

JOBS: What if I don’t want it.

DEVIL: It’s too late. The award is all over the internet and available on every iPhone as we speak.

JOBS: Take it down.

DEVIL: Impossible. You have made your technology so secure that even I cannot break into it.

(The line has steadily moved up as JOBS and the DEVIL talk. JOBS goes back to the line and tries to squeeze back in between the PIZZA GUY with the umbrella, now number one in the line, and the woman who was previously behind JOBS)

WOMAN: What do you think you are doing?

JOBS: Reclaiming my place in line.

WOMAN: Buzz off, bozo. The back of the line is that way, at the bottom of the stairs

DEVIL: Madam, this gentleman …

WOMAN: Who is this, your brother? You both have the same eyebrows and piercing eyes.

JOBS: You don’t want to know who he is.

WOMAN (pondering): I recognise you now. You are the big cheese who fired me on the spot in front of my co-workers.

JOBS: I don’t recall, but you are not the only one that I fired in person.

(JOBS has worked his way in front of the woman and is now first in line)

CONCIERGE: Next.

(The USHER takes the questionnaire from JOBS and looks at it)

USHER (to the CONCIERGE): He didn’t fill it out completely.

CONCIERGE: Send him back to the end of the line.

(The USHER hands the questionnaire back to JOBS and points down the stairs)

CONCIERGE: Next.

THE END

Satire Sketch

Hitler’s Erasure – EU Article 17

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Blog by Richard Heagy

Someone long thought to be dead recently filed a complaint with the European Commission for violation of his human rights, in particular, the right to be forgotten and erasure of personal data no longer relevant pursuant to Article 17. They wondered if perhaps a relative or descendant filed the complaint. The European Commission, not burdened with budget restraints, dispatched one of its highly paid bureaucrats to the far ends of the globe to investigate the complaint, and in particular verify the identity of the complainant. After a flight from Brussels to Buenos Aires, followed by a lengthy train ride, and change of buses, the highly paid bureaucrat (unaccustomed to such uncomfortable travel accommodations) arrived at his fact-finding destination in Argentina.

BUS DRIVER: End of the line.

(The bus stops at the corner of a side street that abuts the town plaza and all depart, including a few chickens. The EU OFFICIAL is the last one off the bus. He holds a briefcase in one hand and with the other dusts off his jacket; then looks round as everyone seems to disappear. Small shops and cafés line the plaza, accompanied by a few kiosks or food stands here and there. Suddenly, what appears to be a taxi approaches, belching exhaust, and comes to a sudden halt)

DRIVER: Señor, at your service.

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Satire Sketch

A Pot to Piss In – an interview with Berne

Published by:

Blog by Richard Heagy

BERNIE: Well, young man, I am very glad you came out to hear me today.

(He reaches out and shakes the YOUNG MAN’s hand)

YOUNG MAN: I didn’t have nothin’ else to do. All they got on TV right now is reruns.

BERNIE: Nevertheless, I am glad you came.

YOUNG MAN: Whatever!

(Looks at his watch)

BERNIE: You are not in a hurry to get back to work, are you?

YOUNG MAN: No. I got laid off at the factory

BERNIE (looking sympathetic): I am sorry to hear that.

YOUNG MAN: It was a crappy job anyway.

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