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Chompin’ Straw

September 17, 2011

It’s a big enough umbrella…

“I thank you very much, Mister Chairman. I will keep this brief and, if there is no objection, will yield the rest of my time to my esteemed colleague from Georgia.”

“There is no objection.”

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”

The transcript would read better than it sounded, to be sure. There were missing r’s and extra y’s in various words as a result of French influence in what was the Louisiana purchase.

“I have but one question for the witness. In your view, sir, is global warming manmade?”

“I thank the Senator for the question.

“In my view, it is confusing to the layman, to the public, to refer to the phenomenon as ‘global warming.’ It leaves one with the correct but imperceptible impression that…”

“I’m sorry to interrupt, but that’s not what I asked.”

“Yes. Well, it’s complica—”

“Manmade. Yes or no?”

“Uh…”

“It’s a simple question, sir. Yes or no.”

“Yes or no…”

“Yes. Or no.”

There was a titter in the room during the pause.

“If a tornado ripped through here right now and destroyed half the building, randomly killed some representatives and the staff of others, would we rebuild the building, hold special elections, and hire new staff members to replace those lost?”

“That is not what I asked, sir. Mr. Chairman…”

“The answer is ‘yes’, is it not?”

“That global—?”

“No, to my question.”

“If it will get you to answer my question, then, yes, we would rebuild, recover, etc., etc.”

“Why? The tornado wasn’t manmade.”

There was a pause and the shuffling of papers, the snapping of photos, and a single cough echoed through the room. The committee sat silently for a moment.

“No further questions, Mr. Chairman.”

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From → NKINTRA, Short Story

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