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4 FASCISM SKITS

ONE

 

Jones

Hail!

 

Hattigan

Yes, hail.

 

Jones

Something wrong, comrade?

 

Hattigan

Sorry? What do you mean?

 

Jones

Your 'hail' seemed to lack energy.

 

Hattigan

You think so?

 

Jones

I do. Do you feel ill, are you seconding guessing the leadership qualities of our esteemed and righteous leader?

 

Hattigan

Certainly not!

 

Jones

And nothing else suggests you might be ill...

 

Hattigan

No, I feel fine.

 

Jones

Then comrade, I insist you explain yourself and this great offence to Chief Irwin.

 

Hattigan

I have nothing but great love and respect for Chief Irwin, let that be totally clear! I would be willing to reverse my own vasectomy with my own non-medically trained hand to be able to have a first-born child who I can donate to any of his many causes! I want that to be known and written on my gravestone.

 

Jones

Point taken. But I don't believe that explains your reluctance.

 

Hattigan

That's true. Er, comrade Jones we have known each other for quite a long time, have we not?

 

Jones

We have, comrade Hattigan.

 

Hattigan

Well, you see my concern....no, no. That's too strong a word. My...confusion...comes with the terms we're using.

 

Jones

'Terms'?

 

Hattigan

Why do we say 'hail'? Why do we use the word 'comrade' to address each other? Aren't those references to failed regimes that weren't nearly as powerful and legendary and free as our own?

 

Jones

Well...I mean the decisions for these words to describe our righteous leader and this nation come from the ministry of strategy and truth.

 

Hattigan

See? Right there! That's from a fictional all powerful regime! Why don't we have our own language for our brand new world?

 

Jones

Well, I suppose the obvious answer is that it's very difficult to create a whole new language.

 

Hattigan

But doesn't our esteemed leader deserve it?

 

Jones

It's not so much what he deserves, comrade Hattigan, but what he wants.

 

Hattigan

And this is what he wants? Because I think he wants-

 

LOUD BUZZER GOES OFF.

 

Jones

Careful there, comrade Hattigan.

 

Hattigan

God, I hate that buzzer.

 

Jones

Buzzers are for our own good.

 

Hattigan

I was going to be nothing but complimentary towards the possible wants of Chief Irwin.

 

Jones

You know that the buzzer must err on the side of caution.

 

Hattigan

Well I preferred the buzzers that gave us the benefit of the doubt.

 

Jones

The days of those particular buzzers are long gone. They must have let us slip into a negative sort of complacency. Chief Irwin was wise to remove them.

 

Hattigan

I knew someone on the old buzzer removal team. He's been permanently transferred to one of the western communities.

 

Jones

So did I. Perhaps it's the same person. Tall, thin fellow with black hair, a well groomed thin moustaches, large hands, a stutter and refused to bend down unless absolutely necessary because of terrible back pain?

 

Hattigan

No. A short, fat guy with thinning red hair and bulbous nose, missing his left pinkie finger because of an on the job injury who constantly sipped victory gin out of a portable coffee container and wore the same black boots even when it was sweltering hot in the summer. He did have a stutter, though.

 

Jones

Ah, then maybe it was the same person. That was good money, you know, replacing the buzzers. That's what Stuttering Jim said. Eventually.

 

Hattigan

Did you ever have a paying job?

 

Jones

I was offered-

 

Hattigan

Offered?!

 

Jones

Yes, I was offered a job to work in one of the state-run graveyards, but it would have required me to either commute or re-locate and the process of applying for vehicular participation or housing reassignment would have taken six months and they found someone else. Some sort of robotic shoveling device, I was told.

 

Hattigan

Ah.

 

PAUSE

 

Jones

Wait did you say earlier that you got a vasectomy?

 

Hattigan

Yes, I needed the deproduction bonus.

 

 

TWO

 

Shopkeeper

Welcome, comrade.

 

Minister

Good afternoon.

 

Shopkeeper

Can I help you with anything?

 

Minister

I hope so. Do you have anything?

 

Shopkeeper

Anything...anything...hmm...hold on, let me check if anyone left anything under the counter. Hmm...no...we don't seem to have anything in particular.

 

Minister

Well, reports on the newsfeed suggested that shipments of a series of goods have arrived in these areas.

 

Shopkeeper

Ah, the reports! I see! Well in that case, the shipments must have arrived, because the reports are never wrong.

 

Minister

So then you do have goods available purchase.

 

Shopkeeper

I'm afraid not, sir. Perhaps there was a problem with the shipments.

 

Minister

But I just said the reports were that the shipments have arrived.

 

Shopkeeper

Ah, yes! The reported shipments.

 

Minister

So the shipments have arrived?

 

Shopkeeper

If the reports said they have, then they certainly have.

 

Minister

And where are they?

 

Shopkeeper

What?

 

Minister

The shipments.

 

Shopkeeper

Oh, in the back, I would imagine, except that itís currently empty. Or perhaps under the counter. Let me check. Hmm...no... nothing seems to have changed in the last few seconds.

 

Minister

Look here, shopkeep-

 

Shopkeeper

You flatter me sir. Nobody calls me 'shopkeep' once they realize the shipments haven't arrived.

 

Minister

Well perhaps...perhaps I should add that I am a member of the corporate consortium, number #856-359.

 

Shopkeeper

Oh! I am very, very sorry sir! I didn't realize that you qualified for deluxe packages of something! Please follow me to the VIP area.

 

Minister

Okay.

 

PAUSE.

 

Minister

Are you not going to take me to the VIP area?

 

Shopkeeper

We're already here sir. The finest spot in the store, far away from the common rabble who aren't fit to lick your well-shined boots.

 

LOUD BUZZER GOES OFF

 

Minister

God, I hate that buzzer.

 

Shopkeeper

I enjoy it sir. It keeps me line. I should never have denigrated the common rabble, as they are certainly fit to lick your well-shined boots.

 

Minister

Well my boots don't need licking right now so forget that. But I am curious as to how am I now in the VIP area, since we haven't gone anywhere.

 

Shopkeeper

But doesn't it feel like a more exclusive experience, simply demanding to be taken to the VIP area?

 

Minister

Well the really measure should be in the good available in this...area.

 

Shopkeeper

Of course, of course. Let me check what I have under the counter for our most valued and wise customers. Ah, here we go. I'll put them up here for you to inspect to your heart's content.

 

Minister

But these...these are just empty boxes.

 

Shopkeeper

Yes sir. We're out that. And that. But think about all the wonderful items that were inside them at one point.

 

Minister

And what about this-

 

Shopkeeper

Please don't touch that. We're out of it.

 

Minister

What is it?

 

Shopkeeper

It's not for sale.

 

Minister

Not for sale? Look here, I'm a highly ranked member of the corporate consortium-

 

Shopkeeper

Sir, I'm sorry, I can't sell you that, even if you were Minister Huckle himself.

 

Minister

I am Minister Huckle.

 

Shopkeeper

What? You are?

 

Minister

Didn't you run my ID number on the computer?

 

Shopkeeper

Oh, it doesn't turn on, sir. I just took your word for it.

 

 

THREE

 

Lau

You think this is some sort of joke, eh?

 

Chen

What?! You burst into my apartment, arrest me, put a bag over my head and drag me to this cell in what's probably prison?! Of course I don't think this is a joke!

 

Lau

Oh please, I'm not referring to this current business trip.

 

Chen

'business trip'?!

 

Lau

Well what would you call it?

 

Chen

Insanity!

 

Lau

Ah. Aren't we all a little bit mad, in our own little way?

 

Chen

What is that supposed to mean?! What do you want with me?

 

Lau

I just want to ask some questions. I've already started. I asked, 'you think this is some sort of joke, eh?'

 

Chen

What are you talking about? I don't understand.

 

Lau

You're a writer, are you not?

 

Chen

Yes. Yes, I work for one of the largest newspapers in the nation.

 

Lau

But you do some additional writing in your spare time, correct?

 

Chen

Well...yes...some personal writing.

 

Lau

Recently you published a conversation between a high ranking minister and shopkeeper. A fiction, I would assume. Is that correct?

 

Chen

Published? No, I just...I wrote something like that a few weeks ago, but I just shared it with a few friends, I didn't publish it. It wasn't meant for publication. You... You read it?

 

Lau

This must be your first interview of this sort of thing. People who are familiar with how we operate would never drop the line 'shared it with a few friends'.

 

Chen

Wait-

 

Lau

Because now I certainly have to ask some details about these few friends.

 

Chen

Look-

 

Lau

Oh I'm looking. I'm looking at a person who's in a lot of trouble if they don't start answering some very important questions about the security of our wonderful nation.

 

Chen

But these are just...they're just silly conversations! They don't mean anything.

 

Lau

Maybe not to you. To you they're just bits of dialogue between two nonexistent people. But they suggest a failure in governance. A failure in the system. And they lay the blame at the feet of our esteemed and hallowed leader, and his most trusted advisors.

 

Chen

Well that's not exactly true...I mean, maybe it can be interpreted that way...by some people...

 

Lau

Ah! Very good! Not just another pretty face then, eh?

 

Chen

What?

 

Lau

That's the greatest danger of all. Accidental spread of reactionary propaganda. You may not think this is a call for revolution, but some people might. And then what? Then they share it with other revolutionary-like people, and those are the first cracks in the dam our leader worked so hard to build.

 

Chen

But I can't control what other people are going to think when they read what I write!

 

Lau

See? You get it. Perhaps this might turn into a job interview. There are some vacancies in my department. But before you give me some references, I need some references. Specifically the people who you shared your not-exactly-silly conversation piece with.

 

Chen

Please...please, this isn't funny anymore.

 

Lau

Then perhaps, instead, you'll learn something.

 

Chen

Lok, I'll stop, okay? I won't write anything extra, or anything remotely controversial, or critical about the government.

 

Lau

Well that's lovely to hear. And I believe you. But the damage has been done, and I need these names, or I'm sending you to a labour camp for five-ish years.

 

Chen

No! Goddamnit-

 

LOUD BUZZER GOES OFF

 

Lau

God, I love that buzzer.

 

 

FOUR

 

Chief

Is this all there is, Jenkins?

 

Jenkins

Uh...sir?

 

Chief

The crushing of my enemies, the subservience of the people, the opulence surrounding me meant to commemorate the success of the first two things I just said. Is that all there is?

 

Jenkins

I don't think I'm qualified to answer such a profound and personal question, sir. A very good question by your wondrous mind, I should add.

 

Chief

Skip the sycophantic urges for the next few minutes. I am bored in a deep and meaningful sense.

 

Jenkins

Shall I send for one of the last remaining psychiatrists? We can hold his family hostage so that he or she does not recommend anything embarrassing or difficult to you.

 

Chief

No, the last one was shaking so bad I could barely understand what they were saying. Jenkins, you're more in touch with the common man than I am, correct?

 

Jenkins

Well, I live in the second floor apartment of one of your boathouses.

 

Chief

Exactly. You must have small talk with the grounds staff and the people that maintain my fleet of speed boats. What do they think of me?

 

Jenkins

Oh, they all think you're wonderful ,sir.

 

Chief

Hmm...I wonder.

 

Jenkins

Sir! I swear to you and all things holy like yourself, I've told you the thousand percent truth.

 

Chief

I believe you, Jenkins. And I even think these workers you talked to also told the truth. But I do wonder if they all feel pressured to say this just so I don't send them to a labour camp or the front lines in our glorious and endless war against TeeBeeDee.

 

Jenkins

Well these commoners can't possibly feel pressured to lie. The opportunity to serve you in any way on one of your many personal estates is the most coveted job in the nation.

 

Chief

Yes...that is a problem.

 

Jenkins

A... 'problem'?

 

Chief

Yes. I need to go to a pub or tavern in the most dangerous, run-down neighbourhood of the capital. Only there will I hear honest, straightforward answers about my glorious and just regime.

 

Jenkins

Well sir, while that's a wonderful idea like all your ideas, I think it's a massive security risk.

 

Chief

Oh it is. So much so that I couldn't even go in disguise.

 

Jenkins

Well I'm glad you agree-

 

Chief

So you'll have to go, disguised as me, and then wearing a second disguise so they won't think you're me.

 

Jenkins

Wait...sir...

 

Chief

And of course the second disguise can't be nearly as good as the first. Perhaps some plastic surgery for the first part would be best.

 

Jenkins

But...um...wait...sir...I...I don't...

 

Chief

I can tell you're excited, but don't worry, we'll keep this operation small. No need to get the military or a security detail involved. We'll keep the people who know about this limited. Perhaps we'll get started after a nice, light lunch.

 

Jenkins

Sir, I have to say with absolute super respect that I'm not comfortable with this plan at all.

 

LOUD BUZZER GOES OFF

 

Chief

God, I hate that buzzer. What's the matter, Jenkins? Does the idea of emulating me fill you with a sort of existential dread in the sense that you can never live up to lofty grace, wit, and intelligence?

 

Jenkins

There is that sir, but there's also the fact that I don't want to get stabbed in the men's room stall of a dive bar in a bad part of town because someone thinks I'm you.

 

Tomorrow is when your best days will be behind you.