Monday, June 26, 2006

Mr. Tice come quick!

Mister Tice come quick!

What’s the matter Lileks?

It’s Katie, I mean Katherine Kersten. She’s slumped over her Underwood!

Oh my God! Lileks, run and get Anders and meet me at Katie’s desk! Go!

Doug Tice hurries over to Kersten’s desk and finds a crowd is gathering there. The atmosphere is, well, festive.

Make room! Give her some air! bellows Tice. He rushes to Kersten’s desk and she is indeed slumped over her typewriter, apparently not breathing. Anders, who has now joined them, says Let’s get her off this typewriter on to the floor! Maybe that’ll help. They lay Katie carefully out on the coffee-stained newsroom floor, and peer cautiously, and expectantly, into her face. An ellipse of curious heads forms around Kersten’s prostrate form.

Kersten is even grayer than usual, and after a few moments, it is clear that some intervention is required. Who knows how to perform CPR? shouts Anders. In response there is a scraping and scuffing of shoes and everyone in the crowd takes a couple of steps back. Anders say to Tice, You do it!

Me? I’m not gonna do it. You do it! replies Tice.

I’m not gonna do it! Anders says, and then adds Let’s get Coleman!

Just then, Nick Coleman saunters out of the men’s room where he had been composing a cable to Crawford. What’s the fuss? he asks. Coleman, get over here and help Katie! bellows Anders. So Coleman walks over and gives Katie’s prostrate form a glance. Help me get her on her feet! Coleman orders.

What? Are you crazy? says Anders. Humor me – for once, replies Coleman. So, Anders, Tice, and Coleman struggle to erect a vertical Katie. When they do, Coleman circles behind Katie, puts his arms around her waist, cinches them tight, and gives a mighty heave upward and backward.

There is a rumbling and a shaking in the room and the lights seem to dim just briefly. Then with a mighty explosive foom, Katie ejects a baseball-sized bilious green viscous blob that hits Tice in the chest, knocking him over. The air pressure in the room drops noticeably as Katie draws her first breath in a couple of minutes. Somebody sets her in a chair where she wheezes nosily until her normal pallor returns.

How did you know what to do? asks Anders. Pretty easy, replies Coleman. You see, I know that Katie was writing a column condemning 200 wealthy Minnesotans for taking an ad in the paper last week suggesting that the state raise income taxes. She had to be choking on her own bile. I hear it almost happened to Captain Fishsticks over at the Pioneer Press too!


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