Failing forward in one act.
BY ALLAN UTHMAN
[Scene takes place in the interior of an auto repair garage. Charles Krauthammer is seated behind a counter. America walks up and addresses Krauthammer.]
America: Hey, I’ve got a problem here.
Krauthammer: Welcome to Kristol and Krauthammer Kollision. Can I help you?
America: Uh—yeah I was just in here… I paid you guys to fix my car? It was making a knocking sound?
America: Yeah, it broke down in your driveway right there.
Krauthammer: Oh dear.
America: Yeah, and…uh…
Krauthammer: Let me get the guys. Bill! Tom! Peter!
[William Kristol, Thomas Friedman and Peter Beinart approach. They are well dressed and clean, bearing no signs of having been engaged in auto repair work.]
Krauthammer: This guy says we messed up his car.
Kristol: No way, hehe.
Beinart: Damn, I knew it.
America: Listen, it’s not just you didn’t fix it. I looked under the hood—
Kristol: Damn, hehe.
America: [Growing impatient] Yeah, I looked under the hood, and—I can’t believe I’m saying this—I looked under the hood, and my engine’s not there. And uh… instead of the engine, there’s a… a pig in there, on a treadmill, and a monkey. The monkey’s not moving.
Friedman: Yeah, we had to replace the engine.
America: Replace it? There’s a pig and a dead monkey in there! What the hell? You guys are supposed to be good at this?
Beinart: Dead? Oh god…
Kristol: Well, hehe, that explains your problem, hehe.
America: Yes, dead. There’s a dead monkey with a whip taped to his hand and two wires stuck into his side. And a goddamn pig in a harness on a treadmill!
Krauthammer: [Amused] What’s going on here, guys?
Friedman: Well, how else were we going to get the pig to run, besides training a monkey to whip it when electrically shocked?
America: That’s completely insane! Why not just fix the damn engine?
Friedman: Look, the problems your engine faced were like a Superbowl halftime show: powerful and flashy, and everywhere. But fixing it would have been costly, difficult and time-consuming, like going to the moon and back. So, actually fixing your engine would have been like eradicating a Superbowl halftime show on the moon. And who wants to do that? I like the Superbowl halftime show.
America: What the hell is this guy talking about?
Beinart: Just humor him.
Friedman: I’m not done. So, you see, the halftime show—so that’s too hard, actually fixing your engine. But simply removing and replacing it with a pig and a monkey, now that is inspired, audacious thinking. We are totally, 110% outside of the box here. The box is around the corner behind us. A homeless man has moved into it.
America: But it doesn’t work!
Friedman: But just imagine how incredible, how wonderful everything would be if it had! It would be like magic donuts, but cooler! I mean, sure, the results have been disappointing, but what kind of people would we be if we hadn’t at least tried? We’d be like uneaten donuts!
Beinart: Look, it was a mistake to replace your engine with a pig and a monkey, and I can admit it. In fact, looking back, I can see how disingenuous I was really being at the time, and that I might have done things differently if it was my engine. That saddens me. But, at any rate, I am still a fabulous mechanic.
Friedman: The Chinese are going to save the world!
Kristol: Shut up, hehe. I have seen no evidence of any pig or monkey, heh. The engine is fine, hehehe. Obviously, the our maintenance hasn’t, heh heh heh, been exactly to your liking, but clearly progress is being made, and anyone arguing against moving forward on this auto repair is only rooting for failure, and undermining the morale of our brave auto technicians, hehe.
America: Why do you keep snickering like that?
Kristol: I can’t help it, hehe.
America: Look, you guys are unbelievable. I can’t believe you came so highly recommended. You obviously know nothing about fixing cars, and don’t give a damn about your customers’ well-being. That monkey died because of your irresponsible actions and your lazy thinking. This isn’t a game. You should be ashamed. You should close up shop, go home and hang your heads in shame for the rest of your lives.
Beinart: Yeah… You’re right. Sorry.
Friedman: You know, you’re really great.
America: Who, me?
Kristol: He’s right, you know. You are spectacular and wonderful.
America: [Blushing] Come on…
Beinart: No, really. You’re special and you deserve the world.
America: Shucks. You guys are so nice.
Krauthammer: Um, so you need a new engine, huh?
America: Yeah, I guess I do.
Krauthammer: Can we get that for you?
America: [Perking up]: Well, I don’t see why not!
Krauthammer: Okay! We’ll need the cash up front again, of course.
America: No problem! You take credit?