Things are getting desperate for the GOP. So desperate that John Kasich and Ted Cruz have agreed to collaborate to try to stop Donald Trump from getting the nomination by divvying up the remaining primaries between each other, each pulling out of the states in which they are weak. For no reason in particular, we have decided to imagine this harebrained scheme as a detective TV show. Here are some selected scenes.
INT: THE CHIEF’S OFFICE IN A POLICE STATION. THE CHIEF’S DESK IS CLUTTERED WITH PAPERS. A CUP OF COLD COFFEE RESTS PRECARIOUSLY ON TOP OF A PILE OF MANILA FOLDERS. THE CHIEF LOOKS HARRIED AND ANNOYED. TWO PLAINCLOTHES DETECTIVES, CRUZ AND KASICH, SIT SULLENLY ACROSS FROM HIM.
THE CHIEF: I’m gonna speak real slowly and use small words so that you two knuckleheads can’t say that you didn’t understand what I was saying in two weeks when I’m giving you an official reprimand for not following my orders. So don’t interrupt me until I’m done. Get me?
[Cruz and Kasich stare at him silently.]
THE CHIEF: Good. You heard of this Trump case, right? Of course you have, you’re not total idiots. Well, the case sucks. It’s cold, we got no leads, and nobody else wants it. So since nobody else wants to be either of your partners, I’m pairing you up and giving you the case.
KASICH [Looking annoyed]: Bu—
THE CHIEF: What did I JUST tell you about interrupting me? You. Two. Are. Pairing. Up. You will work together. God help you if you don’t play this one by the book and give me reports every other day. And no god on earth can help you if you don’t solve this godforsaken case. Let me make things crystal clear for you. You’re ALREADY on my list, and this case is your chance to get OFF the list.
CRUZ: What list?
THE CHIEF: You know what list.
CRUZ [Folding hands, intertwining fingers]: No, what is a list but a set of arbitrary phrases set down by man in his vast arrogance? Who is to say what is to be and what is not to be? Who is to say who is on the list and who is—
THE CHIEF: Shut up and get out of my office.
[Cruz and Kasich stand up. Cruz leaves first.]
THE CHIEF: Kasich.
THE CHIEF: You better keep him in line. I don’t wanna hear about any ... shenanigans.
[Kasich nods and leaves.]
INT: POLICE CAR. KASICH IS DRIVING. CRUZ SLOUCHES IN THE FRONT SEAT.
[Cruz sits silently. Kasich looks over at him for a second, then rolls his eyes.]
KASICH: I figure we head down to the last scene, re-canvass, talk to witnesses [makes vague gesture], et cetera. That sound good to you?
CRUZ: Scene? The only scene I’m interested in is the tableau of the Founding Fathers. As they signed the Constitution. That’s the only scene that matters, the only thing that counts. The rest? The press of flesh? The array of bodies? The so-called march of time? That’s all just … unconstitutional details.
[Kasich looks at the road, then back at Cruz, then out at the road again.]
KASICH: I don’t know what happened to you as a child, but I’m gonna need you to cut this crap out once we get to the scene. Nothing about the “press of flesh” to the witnesses. Thanks.
[Cruz silently takes out a flask, unscrews the top, and takes a swig.]
KASICH: Ten in the morning and you’re really going to drink in the car?
CRUZ [Eyes straight forward]: This is apple juice.
[Kasich closes his eyes and shakes his head.]
INT: DINER. KASICH AND CRUZ SIT ACROSS FROM EACH OTHER. KASICH HAS A CUP OF BLACK COFFEE IN FRONT OF HIM, HALF FULL. CRUZ HAS FOUR CUPS OF COFFEE, EACH WITH VARYING AMOUNTS OF COFFEE IN THEM, A DOZEN OR SO EMPTY SUGAR PACKETS IN FRONT OF HIM.
KASICH [Frustrated]: I feel like that old woman we talked to last is hiding something. I don’t know what she’s scared of, but she seemed afraid. I think we need to circle back and talk to her again, maybe try a softer approach, offer her some protection, some reassurance. Something.
CRUZ: She shouldn’t be.
KASICH: She shouldn’t be what?
CRUZ [Picks up sugar packet and holds it up to the light.]: She shouldn’t be afraid.
KASICH: Of what? Trump?
CRUZ [Thinly smiling as he dips the empty sugar packet into one of the coffee cups and begins to ball it up.]: Of anything. She’s a rotting bag of chemical accidents, animated and given “life” by an indifferent universe. Fear is made of the same incomprehensible illusion as “life” itself.
[Cruz rolls the now-soaked empty sugar packet into a small ball between his thumb and forefinger, the coffee leaking from it and dripping down his fingers. He opens his wet-looking mouth and nestles the wad between his lower gums and the inside of his lip.]
CRUZ: When the end comes, it will a blessing to vanish into nothing. I look forward to death for her. And for me. Anyway, we should repeal and replace Obamacare.