Scene: Backstage at the Xcel Center during the Republican National Convention. Tim Pawlenty and John McCain find themselves standing next to each other as the little knot of people they were talking with drift away. There is an uncomfortable silence for a while, then the stilted beginning of a conversation.
JM: Oh, hi Tim! It's nice to see you.
TP: [not meeting JM's gaze] Pfffft - -
JM: I'm sorry, Tim. I didn't hear you. Just had my 72nd birthday, you know! I must say you're looking good.
TP: Hullo, Senator.
JM: That's John, Tim.
TP: Thanks, Senator.
JM: Whoa! I'm sensing a little hostility here.
TP: [after a pause] No. [another pause; TP is looking at his shoes the whole time] Not really.
JM: Not really?
TP: [another pause; TPaw still looking down] Why do you like her more?
JM: [chuckles] What? You were auditioning for the job of girlfriend?
TP: [TP looks at McCain] Ha ha. Very funny. You know what I mean.
JM: [evenly] No. Tell me.
TP: How could you think that Yukon Barbie is more qualified than me?
JM: Yukon Barbie? I thought her nickname was Sarah Barracuda. But she is a beauty contestant, a vice queen or something.
TP: [becoming more animated now] Yeah! From Alaska! How many white people can there be in Alaska?
JM: Oh, come on, Tim. Be reasonable.
TP: You're a fine one to say that! What has she got that I haven't got?
JM: [chuckling again] Well, aside from the obvious, she's an evangelical.
JM: You did? I didn't know that. Why didn't you tell me that? Whatever. Sarah still seems more evangelical than you.
JM: She's just a little, well, crazier.
TP: I could have been crazier if you had wanted me to be.
JM: I didn't know until recently how much I needed crazy.
TP: Well, that's just great. I've busted my hump for you for two years, and right at the end you throw me out for some two-bit hussy you only met, what, once?
JM: [becoming angry] You're going down the girlfriend route again, Tim.
TP: [on the verge of angry tears] I don't care! Did you ever stop to think of my feelings?
JM: I'm a POW! Did you ever stop to think of my feelings?
TP: Right. Play the POW card. Doesn't work with me. How many days did I campaign for you?
JM: Well, a lot I suppose.
TP: How many did Yukon Barbie, before you picked her?
JM: None. You're starting to piss me off, Tim!
TP: I don't care. You have no idea how hard I worked to keep my conservative cred up for you. The roads and bridges in Minnesota are in crappy shape and I still opposed a gasoline tax increase. The first increase in nearly twenty years passed over my veto. I've consistently raided a fund to provide health care to low income people to balance the regular budget. That takes chutzpa! [pause] I spent last week at the DNC bleating "he's not ready," and now you pick her. Do you know how stupid that makes me look? [pause] Never mind that I've set Republicans in the Minnesota House up for an ass kicking this fall.
JM: Now it's my turn to say that I don't care.
TP: [shouting] I hope you lose!
JM: Why you little weasel. I'll wring your neck like I did Shirley the rat when she tried to steal my bread in 'Nam. Let's take it outside!
Secret Service agent who has been standing by: I'm afraid you can't do that, sir. They've just tear gassed a Grandmothers for Peace rally outside and the air is much too foul to breathe, especially for an older person.
JM: Well then, will you shoot him for me?
SS: I'm afraid I can't do that, sir.
JM: Not even wing him?
SS: Not even wing him.
JM: But he threatened me!
SS: No he didn't, sir. [speaking into his sleeve] Command, we've got some trouble with the Gray Goose here. [pause] He wants me to shoot Tim Pawlenty. [pause] Of course I'm not going to do it. But I need some help here. [pause] No, sir. I wouldn't rather guard Jenna Bush. [pause] That's a great idea, sir. [speaking now to JM] Tell you what, sir. Let's go get some pudding at the concession stand, and you can tell me again about how angry you still are at the gooks. Come on. It'll be fun!
JM: Say, that does sound like fun. Did I ever tell you that I was a POW? Well I was.
The secret service agent takes JM by the hand and leads him away. As they leave, the agent turns to TP and winks.