Current Affairs: A Fake Interview Show – Episode 3

(A sequel to the earlier Current Affairs short plays, episode 3 continues the theme of the absurdly failed political career of the obstreperous Arnie Fowler, a comically tragic fictitious congressman inspired by the current political landscape, which also drove me to reference a famous American drama about a woman who loses her grip on reality.)

 

CAST OF CHARACTERS

CLAIR FUNSTON – HOST

BLAINE DURBIN – INTERVIEWEE

DOCTOR

NURSE

PLACE: A television studio

TIME: The present

CLAIR
Hello, welcome to Current Affairs, I am your host Clair Funston. Well, the controversial congressional term of Arnie Fowler has finally come to an end, but not before careening into new heights of absurdity. Not content with his victory over Sylvia Brown when he was first elected just over two years ago, he consistently called for her arrest, trial, conviction, and deportation even though she’s a lifelong US citizen. He continues to hold rallies even though the election is over, and enjoys stirring up his followers into a frenzy with blatantly false information. Among his more audacious statements is that the American Revolution was won because the colonists had AK-47s, and the British lost because, quote, they were too busy having gay sex, unquote. He also repeatedly claims that he personally saved 9/11 victims by lifting up girders with his superhuman strength even though he’s never been to New York, and was actually here in town guaranteeing that he would, as he put it, personally take out Bin Laden and then urinate on his corpse. But when asked if he was going to enlist and join the military so he could make good on his promise, he said he couldn’t because he was unable to read the application. Also alarming are his repeated attacks aimed at the media, who he alleges, despite liable laws, fabricate all news stories about everything, except for news items that praise him, which he insists are 100% accurate. His more egregious accusations are recycled from old stereotypes about a certain people who own the media, their imagined conspiracy with other people who he stereotypes as welfare recipients, and how they’re all plotting to make Christian white men look ridiculous, an accusation that’s further made hollow by Fowler’s recent embrace of Christianity even though in the past he has mocked religion and claimed that forgiveness is for losers. When confronted about these patently false allegations, the former congressman continues to fly into rages. In one recent incident, he swore at a reporter who asked him to clarify what he just said because his speech was a bit slurred. Fowler insisted he had perfect diction, then he pulled out his dentures, threw them at the reporter, and further insisted his teeth were perfect. To help get to the bottom of all this tomfoolery, I’m speaking with Blaine Durbin, one of the few Fowler staffers who has not quit, been fired, arrested, investigated, skipped town, gone missing, or found dead in a motel room. Thank you for being here, Blaine.

BLAINE
The pleasure is all mine, Clair. And might I say this is a lovely house, so beautifully decorated.

CLAIR
Well, this is actually a television studio, but thank you just the same. Now about the congressman, as the pressure for him to resign intensified throughout his term, he became more intransigent and seemed remarkably ignorant and tone deaf to the forces against him. Did he really think he was going to get reelected with that message?

BLAINE
Of course, it got him elected the first time.

CLAIR
Yes, but he also rode in on a wave of racist fears and name calling.

BLAINE
Lies concocted by the crooked media that was so accurately described by Mr. Fowler.

CLAIR
And gerrymandered voting districts.

BLAINE
That’s funny, I just assumed all of Mr. Fowler’s enemies would love the crazy shapes of the new voting districts because they’re all high on acid.

CLAIR
And voter intimidation.

BLAINE
So a few Sylvia Brown supporters were manhandled and thrown into dumpsters, big deal. In my home, we call that Thursday.

CLAIR
Not everyone agrees with that.

BLAINE
Then they need to learn how to take a joke.

CLAIR
So if it’s all joking, how come Congressman Fowler always gets angry at people who make jokes about him?

BLAINE
Because those aren’t harmless jokes, they’re all conspiracy theories funded by George Soros, and the anti-Fowler caravan who are all fueled by super drugs brought in by illegal immigrants that they welcome with open arms because they’ll illegally vote for them.

CLAIR
That sounds incredibly far fetched.

BLAINE
Oh yeah? Well all those illegals are furnished with welfare, free cars, and a pipeline of young white women. They are living a life of luxury funded by the good, hard working Americans.

CLAIR
Now, Mr. Durbin, do you have any evidence supporting any of those racially charged and outrageously dubious claims?

BLAINE
Evidence? Don’t be silly, this isn’t a court of law.

CLAIR
No, but those are still false claims and defamation of character, which are not covered by free speech.

BLAINE
Oh, I see, just throw the First Amendment out the window.

CLAIR
But since those things are not considered free speech, they are not covered by the First Amendment.

BLAINE
Says who?

CLAIR
Well, I just said it, but it’s also because of years and years of legal precedent.

BLAINE
(Sarcastically)
Oh, I didn’t know you were a lawyer as well. I guess you just know everything.

CLAIR
Knowing the basics of the law does not make one a lawyer, just an informed citizen.

BLAINE
(Accusingly)
That is what guilty people say.

CLAIR
I think we’ve gotten off track here. Now what I also wanted to ask about are the reports that Congressman Fowler has a tendency to lose his temper and take it out on his staff.

BLAINE
Oh my god that is so false!

CLAIR
So no truth to those allegations?

BLAINE
Not an iota of truth.

CLAIR
And the people making those claims are wrong?

BLAINE
If attacking an insubordinate employee with a golf club is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.

CLAIR
I’m almost one hundred percent positive that’s assault and battery.

BLAINE
Again with the fancy legalese. Are you sure you’re not Johnny Cochrane?

CLAIR
Everyone know what assault and battery is. And what defines insubordinate?

BLAINE
Well that particular employee did something really terrible.

CLAIR
How terrible?

BLAINE
I mean he really crossed a line.

CLAIR
So what did he do?

BLAINE
He disagreed with Mr. Fowler.

CLAIR
In a hostile way?

BLAINE
Very hostile. He said, and I quote, I don’t think that’s a good idea, sir.

CLAIR
(Pause)
That’s it?

BLAINE
Yes, isn’t it terrible?

CLAIR
Um…

BLAINE
And you should have seen Mr. Fowler spring into action!

CLAIR
That does not sound like a case of self defense.

BLAINE
It doesn’t have to be, he was merely maintaining order and administrating discipline.

CLAIR
By attacking someone with a golf club?

BLAINE
And what is unusual about that? Why my dad used to punish me with a nine iron on a regular basis, and it made me into the well adjusted person I am today.

CLAIR
(Wants to respond, but is unsure what to say)
Another unsettling aspect of Congressman Fowler is his refusal to accept as fact previous statements he himself made even though they’ve been recorded and broadcast to the public across all mediums.

BLAINE
That’s impossible. Tell me an example.

CLAIR
Well, after the Bring Back the Third Reich march and rally, he said they were fine Americans who were being unfairly maligned by the media.

BLAINE
But they were!

CLAIR
And a number of them ended up committing violent crimes and said they were inspired by Congressman Fowler, but when when he was asked about his statement, he denied ever stating it. And when a video of him saying that was played for him, he still denied it. And when further asked if he had suffered a psychotic break from reality, he screamed, ‘I’m not crazy, you’re the one who’s crazy!’ Then he attempted to eat the flash drive that contained the video. And when told that the video had already been broadcast, he screamed, ‘No! You can’t make me! I’m running away! Then you’ll be sorry!’ After which he ran into a closet and locked himself inside for twelve hours.

BLAINE
(Proudly)
Say what you will about Congressman Fowler, he never gives in.

CLAIR
But accepting reality is not giving in, it’s how people get through life.

BLAINE
Maybe for the libtards and the welfare queens and other godless enemies of the state, but not for us hard working, patriotic, Fowlerites!

CLAIR
That sounds cult-like.

BLAINE
I’ll tell you who has a cult, Sylvia Brown!

CLAIR
(Pause of exasperation)
I know I shouldn’t be asking this because it’ll encourage that line of thought, but where do you get such an idea?

BLAINE
Who are all those people surrounding her at her office?

CLAIR
That is her paid staff. All elected officials have them.

BLAINE
How about all those people that went to her speeches?

CLAIR
Public citizens there on their own free will.

BLAINE
Then what about all those people at her house who are there all the time? And no doubt influencing her every move, some of them even look like younger versions of her! Like she’s cloning herself!

CLAIR
That would be her family.

BLAINE
Well you just have an answer for everything.

CLAIR
They were rather easy questions.

BLAINE
It must be nice being such a smarty pants.

CLAIR
Honestly, I’m not trying to offend you. I’m just asking some serious questions that are on a lot of people’s minds during these tumultuous times.

BLAINE
But why must you continue to persecute such a great man?

CLAIR
Asking questions is not persecuting.

BLAINE
(Enlightened)
Oh, I’m starting to get it now.

CLAIR
How do you mean?

BLAINE
You’re jealous!

CLAIR
I don’t understand.

BLAINE
How can you not? It all makes sense now!

CLAIR
(Pause)
Another question I know I shouldn’t be asking, but how do you conclude that?

BLAINE
You’ll never be as smart as Arnie Fowler! You’ll never be as rich as Arnie Fowler! You’ll never be as good looking as Arnie Fowler!

CLAIR
Are you okay?

BLAINE
I’ve never been better! Just because beloved master lost by thirty five points doesn’t mean this is over! We’ll take to the streets! We’ll occupy city hall! We will not relinquish control!

CLAIR
Am I going to have to call security again?

BLAINE
We will rain down a hell fire the likes of which have never been seen!

(A DOCTOR and a NURSE enter.)

DOCTOR
Hello, Blaine.

BLAINE
(Shocked)
Who are you?

DOCTOR
We’re here for you, Blaine.

BLAINE
You’re thugs sent by Sylvia Brown! You’re going to kidnap me and torture me!

NURSE
(Produces a mallet)
Shall I administer the sedative, Doctor?

DOCTOR
No, that’s okay.
(To Blaine)
Blaine?

BLAINE
(Pause)
You’re not the gentleman I was expecting.
(Looks around in a panic)
I…I think I forgot something.

NURSE
(Moves toward Blaine)
No matter, Blaine, we can pick it up on the way.

BLAINE
I don’t know you! I want to be left alone!

NURSE
Now, Blaine.

(BLAINE gets up and tried to escape, but NURSE restrains him and DOCTOR joins them.)

NURSE
We may need to get the body harness.

DOCTOR
No, that won’t be necessary.
(To BLAINE)
Mr. Durbin?

BLAINE
Could you ask her to let go of me?

DOCTOR
(To NURSE)
Yes, let go.

(NURSE releases hold. BLAINE holds his hand out to DOCTOR, he takes his hand and helps him up.  DOCTOR removes his hat with one hand, and offers BLAINE his arm.)

DOCTOR
Shall we?

BLAINE
(Cautiously places his arm into the DOCTOR’S, they begin to exit)
Whoever you are, I’ve always depended upon the kindness of strangers.

(DOCTOR escorts BLAINE out of the studio, followed by the NURSE.)

CLAIR
(To audience)
Normally at a time like this, I would say, ‘I didn’t see that coming,’ but that just doesn’t seem to apply anymore. All I know is that after what we’ve all been through, and for what challenges lay ahead, we could all use a drink about now.
(Produces a flask)
I know I can. This has been Current Affairs, and I have been your host, Clair Funston. Good night.
(Takes a long drink as credits roll)
©2019 Robert Kirkendall

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