Right there inside the hall of Senators full of meat and presented to the cameras that pick him up and shoot a verdict of his face out to the world sits Mr. Stuart Alexander to testify before the political dinosaurs that will soon hobble out and question his beliefs and practices in the hope that they may stay relevant within their shrinking constituencies and maintain on their juiceless features the captivating glow of a television spotlight. Young Mr. Stuart Alexander, accustomed to getting what he wants, doesn’t fear the senatorial relics that teeter on the brink of extinction. The world belongs to the fresh.
Do you see us? asks Senator Erstwhile, chairman of the committee and grandfather to at least three dozen boys and girls who have unfortunately inherited his fryingpan face and his overactive eyebrows.
You are barely visible, says Stuart Alexander. On the edge of worthlessness and sooner gone better.
I was talking to the cameraman, says Senator Erstwhile. We still rule the world.
Beg to differ. The world belongs to the fresh.
Seismic is what would happen if average Joe Carpenter or Kathy Clerk took the seat with its microphone and waterglass and spoke as Mr. Stuart Alexander speaks before the hoary and overblown ego-centric ancients that belong in tar pits but they do not rebuke him for he is both right and rich. Their kneepans crack when they climb into bed at night to dream of how they were once fearsome. Their private parts are shriveled.
Excuse me Mr. Alexander, says Senator Elizabeth Browning from the great state of cows and cornfields, her face plowed and planted. We are in charge here. Our mirrors do not have glass.
What do you want Senator?
Respect. And maybe a bathroom break.
Look Senator, says Mr. Stuart Alexander, tech kingpin and all around rich bagman but youthy. I know why we’re here. You want me to break up my business.
Senator Mike Hanson flicks his mic switch. May I have a turn? he asks.
Chair recognizes the gentleman from somewhere it’ll come to me, says Erstwhile.
Thank you, says Senator Hanson. Now, Mr. Alexander. Let’s be clear. We only want to discuss the possibility of breaking your business and sending its pieces into parabolic orbit. It is for the good of all involved.
Dinosaurs are bones and crushed, says Stuart Alexander.
All of you guys, says Stuart. And gals. You’re all long expired, and the sooner you realize it, step aside, let go your illusions, go home to your family, give the new boys and girls a chance, the sooner we can get on with the future. You’re all stuck in the past thinking about how you got some that night after the high school prom and how you could run around the block without an ambulance. You’re still pining for the days when a man could beat his wife and kids. I bet you still drive a Ford.
I move to censure the witness, says Senator Bronze Age.
The chair has not recognized you, Senator Age.
So what? says Senator Age. I’ve got a mic switch just like everybody else and I’ll damn well speak if I want to. I’m an important man, been chewing on law for a long time, tough law like the tough jerky we make in my home state of good tough jerky. I won’t stand for this insolence from a child.
Not a child, Senator, says Stuart.
Well, you act like one. Where’s your respect?
Okay Senator, I’ll tell you, says Mr. Stuart Alexander. I flushed your respect long ago. When my brother and I went to fight in a war you wanted to keep your interest rates favorable and my brother came home with a death flag on his face. And you sat there and said no money for used up soldiers, let them collapse if they can’t pull their weight. And when your turn was on the war table long ago in another war your father started you jumped right up and hid in daddy’s pocket all patriotic dressed up in his cash.
Back when actual beasty dinosaurs roamed the earth you were there old as dirt already and part of the tribe chewing up lower orders with your dagger teeth and your prehistoric appetites. Nothing but evercrave for your maws and you just let bygones be bygones when your friends crime and lay down heavy time on anybody who steals a bag of pretzels. There. I hope that answers your question.
Is that camera still on? asks Senator Erstwhile.
Cameraman nods, holds up a fist, sings some Peter Tosh.
Well then, says Erstwhile. I move we strike the witness from the record.
The video’s already gone out, says Stuart.
It doesn’t matter, dinosaurs know how to deny, says Senator Erstwhile, chairman of the committee, an ancient force that cannot be easily bested. And deflect. And eat our enemies too. We will stand by our version of steadiness and infallibility. Let nature decide.
Senator Erstwhile bangs the gavel and nature slides onto the screens of the nation so that it may decide, form its opinions based on other opinions and upon denial of the dinosaurs who are as Senator Erstwhile says quite good at it. And excellent at survival. At least until a meteor strikes the hall of senators and wipes out outdated habits that vegetable dinosaurs chew like leafy bits of grass. Or, for the more cancerous and carnivorous types like Senator Age from the great state of irrelevance, like hard jerky or last year’s cruel meat.