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by Bud Buck, 8/04/00

Dc: This is DCR, a news program not to be believed.
For months now, the presidential candidate from the Enough! Party, Senator Sam Spleen, has been out of the public eye, invisible, not making speeches or appearances of any kind. His people said he was mentally preparing for the campaign and working on position papers. But his critics have suggested that the Senator was "in hiding", or worse, that he was involved in an elaborate publicity scheme.

Stung by that charge, the Spleen campaign and the Enough! party promised to turn over one million dollars from the campaign treasury to the first registered voter to find the candidate and redeem him at the nearest party office. This appoach, they decided, would generate more attention than one million dollars spent on TV advertising.

Well, now the prize has been claimed. Bud Buck is live at the scene … Bud?

(sfx: traffic)

Bud: Yes, it was mere hours ago that this unassuming storefront office was the scene of one of the great political dramas of the week, the month, the summer, the year, and perhaps the millennium. It was here that a simple auto mechanic, Dennis Lewis, cashed in his monumental discovery for a cool one million dollars. That discovery was none other than the missing candidate … the Enough! Party's Senator Sam Spleen.
This is what it sounded like … hours ago … when Mr. Lewis and Senator Spleen showed up here at this Enough! Party campaign office.

(sfx: crowd hubub)
(sfx: cameras)

(this scene sounds very wooden and rehearsed)

Lewis: Are YOU the manager of this campaign office for the Enough! Party?

Parker: Yes, I am Louise Parker, the manager of this office.

Lewis: Here. I have someone I think You've been Looking for.

Spleen: Hello, Louise.

Parker: Why … Senator Spleen! Long time no see!

Spleen: Well, here I am. At last. Thanks to this super sharp and perceptive voter, Mr. Loomis.

Lewis: Lewis!

Spleen: Mr. Lewis. Sorry.

Parker: Thank you, Mr. Lewis. Thank you for your digilence. Villigence. Diligence and Vigilance, I mean.

Lewis: Oh, it was nothing.

Spleen: Don't forget, Louise. We owe Mr. Lewis something, don't we?

Parker: Yes we do, Senator. Here's the check.

Spleen: Mr. Lewis … you are a registered voter, are you not?

Lewis: Yes I am.

Spleen: Then your reward for finding me is this check, made out to you,
Dennis Lewis, for one million dollars. Congratulations.

(sfx: applause)

Lewis: Thank you Senator. This shows that you are a man of the people, giving your campaign money to me, an average person and a lowly auto mechanic and soccer dad, rather than throwing it away on expensive advertising and such like other political parties which I will not name.

Spleen: Glad to help you, Dennis. And I hope I can count on your vote in November.

(fade vox, cameras, hubub)

Lewis: My vote cannot be bought. But of course I will consider your qualifications compared to those of the other candidates …

Bud: (vo) Ok, enough of this. Well, you get the idea. In an age where so many so called "spontaneous" political events are painstakingly planned, this one had a very different "feel."

Dc: Fresh? Unrehearsed?

Bud: Let's say this about it: You can't find actors good enough to sound THAT wooden.

Dc: So Mr. Lewis is not a plant or a ringer, but the real thing?

Bud: Well the check is real enough anyway.
And people love to see a nobody get instantly wealthy. Moments later that admiration turns to jealousy and hatred, but for a few brief seconds, the happiness and goodwill are genuine. I suppose you could say it's "real." As real as "Survivor" or "Big Brother".

Dc: So Bud, are you saying this whole thing was a farce?

Bud: No, I would never say something as obvious as that without proof.

Dc: And you don't have any proof?

Bud: No, so I'm forced to hint at it …

Dc: And let people reach their own conclusions?

Bud: I have no idea what you're talking about.

Dc: Thanks, Bud. . The uncanny timing of this event does raise questions about what the Enough! Party is up to. Wendy Vapors has been looking into it.

Wendy: Hello.

Dc: Wendy, is it possible that the finding of Senator Spleen was orchestrated somehow by the Enough! Party to happen this week so it would draw attention away from the Republican convention?

Wendy: Gee, do you think so?

Dc: I'm asking you!

Wendy: I don't know. So I put that question to Dwight Plotz, the vice presidential candidate on the Enough! Party ticket.

Dc: The undertaker!

Wendy: Yes, but he prefers to be called a "bereavement consultant." I tracked him down at the Plotz Family Funeral Home in Festering Stump, Ohio.

(music: organ)

Plotz: Thank you for your concern, Wendy. Speaking for everyone in the Enough! Party, I want you to know how deeply touched we are that you cared enough about our campaign to imagine that we would try to steal the limelight from the Republicans through manipulation and sabotage.

Wendy: So?

Plotz: Rest assured, I stand with you in this time of deep confusion.

Wendy: But you didn't answer my question.

Plotz: Events like these make all of us ask questions, and I wish every one of them had an answer. But unfortunately …

Wendy: Well it sure looks like you did it on purpose to get attention. And if you did, then that's an awful dirty trick!

Plotz: Wendy … sometimes bad things happen for reasons that no one can explain. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go place magnetic flags on the hoods of all these cars in the procession ...

(sfx: organ)

Wendy: I didn't get very much information out of him. So! I decided to try to find someone who might give me a more straight answer, even if it's not very flattering for the Enough! Party. That led me to Governor Dick Burstyn, who came in second to Senator Spleen in a very hard fought primary battle.

Burstyn: Now Wendy, what makes you think my old friend, Senator Sam Spleen, would stoop to a trick like faking his own disappearance, setting a price on his head and then allowing himself to be discovered when it most serves his interests to be in the news?

Wendy: Because you accused him of doing the very same thing in the contest you had with him back in the Spring?

Burstyn: Yes, well, that was back then. It was the heat of a campaign. We were going at it to win the hearts and minds of the voters and a lot of things were said that … I'm sure we both wish we could take back.

Wendy: You mean like when you called him "a liar and a cheat?"

Burstyn: Yes, that would be one good example.

Wendy: Or when you said " I find it chilling that the Senator has turned this campaign into a game of hide and seek."

Burstyn: Wendy, you're indulging in a terribly unfair reporter's trick.

Wendy: Digging up your old statements and using them against you?

Burstyn: Exactly.

Wendy: What's wrong with that?

Burstyn: It's Un American.

Wendy: It IS? How do you figure?

Burstyn: Because America is the home of the second chance, Wendy.

(music: "America, the Beautiful" floats under)

It's all about people being able to shrug off the dead weight of difficult bygones … to re-make and re-define themselves. To start again … to embrace a new reality with a brighter future.
And that's all I'm trying to do.
Look at me, Wendy! In any other country in the world you would see before you a man who had bet on the wrong horse … and lost!
My attempt to become president ended in failure.
But am I a failure? No!
Thanks to the wisdom of our founding fathers, and thanks to the great American people who can forget anything, and by forgetting, forgive …
I have the opportunity to make amends!
All it takes is the bravery to look forward … not backward and not to the sides. To wear the blinders that allow a new truth to take shape. A truth that does not dwell on the difficult past. A new truth that will open doors. Doors to a Spleen administration. Doors that would allow me to be … something more than a washed up former challenger.
Is it better to say "I told you so?" Or perhaps to have a chance to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Borneo or Iceland!
That is my choice to make! And I am so grateful to have that choice!
And so I say to you … do NOT try to sabotage my future with words from my past that were uttered when I had a different agenda!
That is not who I am now! And that is NOT the American way!

(music: end)

Wendy: Wow. I never interviewed anybody who had their own music and everything.

Burstyn: Every American has the right to dramatic underscoring, Wendy.
If we didn't know it before … I think these conventions are letting us know it now!

Wendy: And so … my investigation into the possible motives of the Enough! Party has revealed that just asking the question opens the way for even more questions that may or may not have answers. And might, or might not, make the situation more or less cloudy. Or clear.
I'm Wendy Vapors, and I'm reporting.

Dc: Thanks, Wendy. In the relatively brief time since the Enough! Party announced a winner in it's contest to locate Senator Spleen, the media has surrounded the auto dealership where Dennis Lewis, a simple and honest mechanic, earns his daily pay.
Mr. Lewis, who found the Senator and received the one million dollar prize, has been refusing press interviews and says he just wants to get back to his job. The Enough! Party has arranged for a barricade to be set up around Waldo Kempster Jupiter and Intimida, to keep reporters out of the area where Mr. Lewis writes up service orders.
But it just so happens … I had a little bit of work I needed to get done on my car, so I took it in, and I took a tape recorder along.

(sfx: car repair ongoing … fade up and hold under)

While he was filling out some forms … Dennis Lewis said he had not been actively looking for Senator Spleen.

Lewis: I mean, I'd heard about it, about him being worth a million dollars to the person who found him, so I took a good look at his picture one day when it was in the newspaper. But I wasn't thinking 'bout it until a few days ago. So you want the oil change?

Dc: Yup. How did it happen?

Lewis: How does an oil change happen?

Dc: No, how did you find Spleen?

Lewis: Oh, that. Well, a car came in with a lady driving and a man on the passenger side, and she needed to have the shocks replaced and also there was this leak they wanted us to look at. OK, I'll write this up.

Dc: Oh, I'd like you to look at the brakes, too.

Lewis: (writing) Look at the brakes.

Dc: So there was a man in the car?

Lewis: Yeah. He got out. He was keeping his head kinda down, his face down, you know?

Dc: And she did all the paperwork?

Lewis: And asked a lot of questions.

Dc: What kind of questions did she ask you?

Lewis: What's my age. Am I married? Where do I live? Am I … like … a registered voter. And do I vote with one party? Do I have kids? Do they play soccer?

Dc: Really? Did you think that was odd?

Lewis: I kinda thought she was comin' on to me, you know?

Dc: Yeah, that happens a lot, I'll bet.

Lewis: OK … we'll change the oil and check the brakes. Just pull it up …

Dc: And the transmission.

Lewis: The transmission needs work?

Dc: I think it does. It sounds like it's grinding. You'd better take a look.

Lewis: (writing) Check transmission …

Dc: So the lady and the gentleman came in, and asked you all these questions … then what did you do?

Lewis: I say "Make yourself comfortable in the customer's lounge," which is what I always say, and she says "OK, but I gotta get something out of the car." So she goes back over there and talks to the guy, and at the same time I go over there and get into the car to drive it back to the shop, and they walk past me. I think they're going to the lounge, you know? But then he stops … and he looks right at me. RIGHT at me.

Dc: And you said?

Lewis: Can I help you?

Dc: Because you didn't know …

Lewis: As far as I knew, he was just a really weird guy, and a customer, so I had to be nice. I said "The customer lounge is that way."

Dc: Then what?

Lewis: He turned to her and said "now what?"
And she said, "show him your ID."
So he dug it out and showed me.

Dc: And you said …?

Lewis: I said "thanks, put it away. I don't need to see that."
So … for you … we're doing the oil, brakes and transmission, Right? Make yourself comfortable in the …

Dc: And the .. uh … differential.

Lewis: You need us to look at the differential?

Dc: It's sounding … different. Somehow.

Lewis: (writing) Ok … check differential …

Dc: So this scene was getting kind of … tense almost.

Lewis: She said "Don't you know anything? He's the candidate, the missing man! He's Spleen. Don't you recognize him?"
So I said "I wouldn't know Spleen if he fell on me."
So she uttered this expletive, and … I swear … gave him a shove and he fell right into my lap. And that's when I said … Ow! You're that guy …
But even with that, I still didn't get it, you know?

Dc: You thought maybe someone had claimed the prize already.

Lewis: I have a tough time keeping track of all the different million dollars's there are for me to win out there. There are the people on the island going for a million, and the people on the game show going for a million … But I figured it out real fast. I said "OK, if nobody else has done it, I will. I got you. You're worth a million dollars."

Dc: Did they seem shocked or surprised or anything?

Lewis: Nope. He did say … "can we get the repairs for free?"

Dc: Did you take him up on that deal?

Lewis: NO! Everybody wants their car fixed for free.
OK, so for you … we have the oil, the brakes, the transmission and the differential. Anything else?

Dc: Just this … was there anything they said that seemed … out of the ordinary? For somebody who was just in for service?

Lewis: You mean like …

Dc: Something to indicate they weren't just in for service?

Lewis: Like they came by to interview me or get information out of me or something, and that was their real reason?

Dc: Yeah. That.

Lewis: Just something she said after she asked all those questions. She went over to him and said "He's the one. He fits the demographic."

Dc: What do you think that was about?

Lewis: I don't know. It didn't make sense because these modern cars, they don't have demographics. It's all electronic now.
Your total is gonna be $333.92.

Dc: It is?

Lewis: Plus parts, if we need to put any in.

Dc: You know, Mr. Lewis … Now that I think about it …

Lewis: It's later than you figured and you've gotta leave right now cause your nephew's having a ball game, but you'll re-schedule to have the work done next week some time.

Dc: How'd you know?

Lewis: That's what Ted Koppel said before just he tore out of here an hour ago.

Dc: Dennis Lewis, the simple garage mechanic who found Senator Spleen and turned him in for the million dollar prize Thanks!

(sfx: door close)

Lewis: Yeah, and no thanks to you.

(sfx: car peel out)


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