Thursday, March 16, 2006

On democracy

Okay, so somewhere in Baghdad...

IRAQI is sitting in a recliner, reading a newspaper, when the lights go out.

IRAQI. Aww, man.

IRAQI puts his paper down and is heading for the breaker box on the wall when a flashlight comes on, illuminating the grinning, bearded face of UNCLE SAM.

UNCLE SAM. Democracy!

IRAQI. Oh, my God, what are you doing in my house?

UNCLE SAM. Democracy!

IRAQI. You're in my house.

UNCLE SAM just grins. IRAQI sighs and shakes his head.

IRAQI. Whatever. You're standing in front of the breaker box.

UNCLE SAM. I brought you democracy!

IRAQI. Listen, whatever that is, I'm having a hard enough time feeding my family. I appreciate it, but I really don't have room for another -

The front door opens and OTHER IRAQI enters, along with the sound of shouting on the street, which is muffled when the door closes.

OTHER IRAQI. Dude, the guy across the street is beating up your next-door neighbor.

UNCLE SAM. Democracy!


IRAQI. I don't know. He keeps saying that. Do you have any power at your house?

OTHER IRAQI. No, power's out all the way down the block. It's freaking my kids out; they think Saddam's coming back.

UNCLE SAM. Democracy!

IRAQI. Dude, you keep saying that.

OTHER IRAQI. Dude, your house is way darker than mine.

UNCLE SAM. You've got democracy!

IRAQI and OTHER IRAQI share a blank look.

OTHER IRAQI. Is there, like, a cream for that?

UNCLE SAM. Um, it's democracy.

IRAQI. Yeah, you mentioned. What exactly is that?


UNCLE SAM. Democracy.

IRAQI. Right.

UNCLE SAM. It's the vote.

IRAQI. We've got the vote?


IRAQI. The vote on what?

UNCLE SAM. I'm sorry?

IRAQI. The vote on what? What are we voting on?

UNCLE SAM. On... on everything.

OTHER IRAQI. Can I vote on lights?

IRAQI. Who's doing the voting?

UNCLE SAM. Come again?

IRAQI. Who gets to vote? Do we all get to vote, or only some of us? There are a lot of people -

UNCLE SAM. You get purple fingers!

IRAQI. Yeah, that's great. What if we can't agree?

OTHER IRAQI. Like, a flashlight or something?

UNCLE SAM. Agree...

IRAQI. Well, just, there are, like, three big ethnic groups, and a bunch of other little groups, and we don't always, y'know, agree. What if we can't agree on something?

UNCLE SAM. You... you vote.

OTHER IRAQI. What about a candle? I'd vote on a candle.

IRAQI. Dude, shut up. What if we vote, and we can't agree?

Silence. Outside, a dog howls. UNCLE SAM flips open his cell phone and puts it to his ear.

UNCLE SAM. Oh, yeah, hi, there.

IRAQI. Dude, that didn't even ring.

UNCLE SAM. (Mouths, "Vibrate.") Oh, wow, no way, nukes in Iran? That is - that is not good. Yeah, I'll be right there. Gotta take care of that right away. Sure thing.

UNCLE SAM flips the phone shut and heads for the door.

IRAQI. Your phone didn't even ring.

UNCLE SAM. Listen, I gotta get going. There's this thing in Iran, and - well, anyway, enjoy the democracy, and if you need anything, you just - you just give my people a shout.

IRAQI. Wait -

UNCLE SAM. Democracy!

The sounds of shouting return as UNCLE SAM opens the door, slips through, and slams it again, leaving the room in darkness.

OTHER IRAQI. So, did he, like, leave a cream or something?

IRAQI. I really, really hate you.


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