Sunday, June 1, 2014
It's Cricket, and He's Harmless--An Indy Democrat Play in Two Acts
The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
It's Cricket, and He's Harmless:
Scene: It's an idle afternoon in 2008 in the City-County Building. Bob Grond, Jim Leftus, and the rest of the guys that allegedly really run the City of Indianapolis are having a meeting. They're trying to give Mayor Grog Bullard a big project.
Grond: Guys, we really need to give Grog a diversion so that he still thinks he's in charge, but he'll leave us alone.
Leftus: Yes, we need something that's maybe going to take him worldwide on a trade mission or something. He wants to do too much. We need to give him something to occupy his mind. Please brainstorm.
(Room brainstorms for a while coming up with a list of 10-15 things. At the top of the list are Chinatown and Cricket)
Leftus: Thanks guys. You can go.
(Room empties, but Grog Bullard walks in)
Bullard: Oh hi Bob and Jim. I thought I left my blue highlighter in here earlier.
Grond: Sorry, Mr. Mayor. I haven't seen it in here. Maybe it's out there in the flower pot where you left it before.
Leftus: Or the time before when you left it over the sink in the Mayor's Executive Bathroom.
Grond: There was that one time it was over your ear.
Bullard: Nah. I already looked in those places. What's that list?
Grond: Oh, sir...it's really nothing.
Leftus: Yeah, you don't need to concern yourself with it.
Bullard: Come on guys. I'm the Mayor of the City of Indianapolis. I need to know everything you're doing here.
Leftus: Sorry sir. You're right. Here, have a look.
Bullard reads the list slowly intently looking at every bullet point and reading each word. The silence in the room is deafening. Grond and Leftus exchange nervous looks.
Grond: Wow, Mr. Mayor. You really are taking a good look at this.
Bullard: These look like things around the city. I mean you've got wave green flag at IMS up there, there's naming Georgia Street, help implode RCA Dome, but what's this about my Chinatown idea?
Grond: Oh...yeah. One of the guys in our meeting remembered how you said you wanted to make a Chinatown here in Indianapolis.
Bullard: I DID! I thought it was a good idea, but Jim wouldn't let me! (with a pouty lip).
Leftus: Now, Mr. Mayor, we thought it was a great idea...it was too...uh...visionary. Yeah. It was...uh...too far ahead of its time. I just thought the people of Indianapolis wouldn't be ready for something so completely stupi....stupendous...stupendous...uhhh. Right Bob?
Grond: (Nervously looks at Leftus) Sure Jim, but you know what's not ahead of its time...this cricket field you said you'd like to build. That would be a great project for the city, and we believe you need to really put your time and effort behind it. I mean, we'll set you up with whatever you need, sir. You can put your personal stamp on this project, and that will allow Jim and I here to make you look good in other ways.
Bullard: Well, I'm building my ant farm in the other room right now, and I think I can work it in between the second and third nap of the day. I have to be home by six or my wife will worry.
Grond: Oh! We know, sir! Well, this isn't something that's going to happen in a day. We figure that it's going to take you a while, sir. We think you need to spend every waking moment on it. You may even need to travel a bit. Maybe tell people out there how you really feel about cricket.
Bullard: You know, when I want people to think of cricket. I want them to think of Indianapolis.
Leftus: That's great! You should use that with the media and things. Wonderful.
Grond: You know, Mr. Mayor, we were just about to finish here. Why don't you sit down with some folks and kind of sketch out what you'd like to do, and we'll see if there's a place we can make it fit for you.
Bullard: (Clearly distracted and muttering) Wanders out the door.
Leftus: Whew, that was close. Do you think he knows what we're doing?
Grond: Nah, he's clueless.
Leftus: I just hope we haven't made a mistake here.
Grond: It's cricket, and he's harmless.
It's Cricket, and He's Harmless
TWO WEEKS LATER
Scene: Bob Grond and Jim Leftus are sitting in the Mayor's Office on the 25th Floor. They're waiting for the Mayor to arrive from his latest trade mission. Suddenly, they hear an alarm clock. Then a thud followed by an "Ouch." Mayor Bullard, dressed in a Hawaiian shirt rises from under his desk.
Grond: Oh hello sir. We had no idea you were under there.
Bullard: (Rises to his knees and slides down in his overstuffed office chair.) Yeah, I saw that guy on Seinfeld that...Costanzo guy...he had one of these nap places built under his desk, so I put the guys here to work on it. Pretty comfortable.
Leftus: That's what we like about you, Mr. Mayor. You're always thinking. (Nervously looks at Grond)
Grond: So, why did you call us here today, Mr. Mayor.
Bullard: Well, this cricket thing. You know...I'm not so sure about it. I don't know if the people will buy into it.
Grond: What do you mean?
Bullard: I mean, it's kind of a dumb idea. I think the Chinatown idea was so much better.
Leftus: Why is it a dumb idea?
Bullard: I got to thinking about it, and I kept wondering why people are going to come out and watch a cricket do anything. I mean, I just usually squash the suckers when I hear them in my garage. I don't know why people are going to come out to watch a bunch of those little things run around. It just doesn't make sense.
Grond: (With a blank look) You're serious, sir?
Bullard: Oh yeah, I mean, they really aren't even that good looking of insects. I mean...if we can get a bunch of preying mantises to battle with some yellow jackets or something. But crickets...I mean...all I could think of was having some frogs eat them or something. Here are my plans.
Leftus: Sir, these are in crayon.
Bullard: Yeah, I did them on the plane on the way back from the trade mission. I figure if we build a net structure about 250-300 feet high, we can keep the insects in and that they won...
Grond: Sir, I'm sorry to interrupt, but cricket is actually a very popular sport around the world. When you said you were interested in a cricket field we just assumed you meant the sport of cricket.
Bullard: (Laughing) Well, Bob, we know what assuming does.
Leftus: We took the liberty of drawing up plans to convert one of our parks into a cricket, lacrosse, rugby, hurling...
Bullard: Hurling. I used to do that in college after a long night. Oh the memories.
Leftus: Again, this is a sport, Mr. Mayor. Anyway, we could do this for a few million dollars and maybe even attract some national exposure.
Grond: Yes. It's really a great plan, Mr. Mayor. What do you think?
Bullard: Ok boys, I'm in. I really have to go now, though. It's 5:50 p.m. My wife will be expecting me. Crap, I've got one of those Mayors Night Out thingies. Better change into my suit. (The Mayor rises from behind his desk to show he's just been wearing boxers and black socks/shoes with his Hawaiian shirt the whole meeting.)
Grond and Leftus leave the office and head for the elevator. The door closes.
Leftus: Well, that was an experience! He actually thought that a cricket field was a place for insects.
Grond: I know, right? This guy...
Leftus: Again, I just hope we haven't made a mistake.
Grond: It's cricket, and he's harmless.
Both men laugh hysterically. The door opens.