EXTERIOR: THE FORT FISHER HERMIT’S BUNKER—DUSK
Angry low clouds threaten and pass quickly. The camera moves closer through the waving wet dune grass. We see the flickering, warm light of a kerosene lantern inside. A large, evil-looking dog, scarred from battles, dozes in the entrance. We hear three voices.
V1: Well, we’ve got four months left to get it all done. How are we looking?
V2: I tell you, Illuminati.com is definitely the place to do this kind of business. The hospital deal proved that, once and for all. Although I don’t understand why we couldn’t just fax our blood signatures.
Right now, the Chinese are interested in the fire department. They like the fact the vehicles are already painted red. A couple of Putin’s gangster friends like the airport. They want to make sure security people will be gone for a couple hours every night and the runway lights are left on. I said we could arrange it.
V3: By the way, I was approached by someone who is interested in buying Market Street.
V2: You’re kidding! How stupid of us to never think of that! Parks, of course, but streets? Where did you meet this guy?
V3: Oh, one of those pentacle parties I go to on occasion. He bought me a horn of goat kid blood. We got to chatting. Interesting guy. His tailor is a genius with asbestos.
V1: Oh, bestill my beating heart! Was it …?
V3: Most definitely. You know, when they talk about his burning eyes, they really mean it. Next time I’m wearing sunscreen.
V2: So he says he wants to buy Market Street? Seems doable, but we need to get paid in U.S. currency. I understand he once tried to pay a hotel bill with J. Edgar Hoover’s soul. Not cool.
V3: Real money, he says. I think he’s one of the reasons Steve Mnuchin won’t release the receiving names of the $500 billion.
V1: Wait. He got federal bailout money?
V3: Steve Mnuchin is his son-in-law.
V2: Didn’t know that. So his wife, that weird wannabe actress who says she was raised in a Scottish castle…
V3: Castle Wolfenstein, to be more accurate. Turns out they have to shut off all the smoke alarms in the Treasury building if she decides to visit. Anyway, his financial offer is very generous. He’s got an LLC registered in, you guessed it—
ALL THREE VOICES TOGETHER: Delaware! [general laughter]
V1: Well, then, no problem. How do we proceed?
V2: Stick with the same old game plan. Meetings with no quorum. A consulting firm that works out of a Post Office Box in Newark. A citizens advisory board made up of anyone named Anytime Annie.
V2: It’s a joke from “42nd Street.” The character Anytime Annie always said yes before she heard a question. By the way, Market Street might be a problem ‘cause it’s a federal highway.
V3: Secretary of transportation is Elaine Chao—our mystery man’s favorite daughter. Married to Mitch McConnell.
V1: I guess that explains the eternal Yertle the Turtle look on Mitch’s face. If you’ve seen what he must have seen.
V2: So why does he want Market Street in particular?
V3: Something to do with all the churches. There’s a bunch of them. He started to explain, paused and touched my forehead, so I forgot. But I can’t imagine that anything really bad will happen. Can you?
V2: We’d better get ready for Gene Merritt, whiner-in-chief, and his bleeding-heart committee to try to make it a problem. Harper will have to get involved. Can we trust Satan to put the needs of the community first? What about minority access to Market Street? Where’s the crisis that needs this decision to be made before the end of the year?
V3: Which is why we’ve always set up a citizens advisory board. This time can we persuade the members who aren’t speaking to refrain from huffing while cameras are rolling?
V2: It’s settled. We roll out a PR campaign saying it’s time to stop being so divisive. Time for us all to work together. What gives us the right to feel morally superior to anyone, just because they have flames coming out of their eyes?
V3: Personally, I’ll make a deal with anyone who promises to paint some lines on the pavement between 23rd and 17th streets.