Undecided on pancakes: A one-act play about Angus King

As for the possibility of joining with Republicans, [Sen.-elect Angus] King said in an interview with The Washington Post recently, “I’m not ruling it out, I’m not ruling it in. I’m not ruling it out with the Democrats one way or the other, either.” On Wednesday, King announced he will caucus with Democrats.

Scene: An International House of Pancakes in Arlington, Va. Sen.-elect Angus King is in the waiting area with Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

HOSTESS: King, party of one.

KING: Actually, there are three of us, but I’m an independent.

HOSTESS: Whatever. Follow me.

KING: So, you fellas are probably wondering why I’ve asked you to meet with me today.

MCCONNELL: No, we’re not. You’re trying to exploit your apolitical image for political gain. This is Washington — we get it.

KING: I’m not being coy. I honestly can’t decide which party to caucus with.

WAITRESS: Good morning, gentlemen. Coffee?

MCCONNELL: Yes, ma’am.

REID: Decaf, please.

KING: Coffee … coffee … Do I want coffee? I am kinda tired, but I don’t want to get jumpy. Maybe tea? No, too elitist. Hot chocolate? Nah, that’s for kids. (To the waitress) Can I get back to you on that?

WAITRESS: Sure. Here are some menus. I’ll be right back.

REID: So, Angus, I can’t believe you’re even considering caucusing with the Republicans, given all the attack ads they ran against you and the fact we retained our majority in the Senate.

KING: Oh, God. Look at this menu. It’s longer than the federal tax code!

MCCONNELL: Let’s cut to the chase, Mr. King. You’re rich, we’re rich. None of us want to lose the big tax cut Bush gave us. We both want to slash regulations on big business and keep assault weapons in Americans’ hands. What’s to decide?

WAITRESS: Here are your coffees. Did you decide on a beverage, sir?

KING: I think so. I’ll have half a cup of regular topped off with a splash of decaf. And can you throw in some of those mini-marshmallows?

WAITRESS: I suppose I can do that.

REID: You want a deal, Angus? Here’s the deal. You can spend the next six years soaking up the wit and wisdom of Orrin Hatch and company, or you can sit at the cool kids’ table and actually accomplish something.

MCCONNELL: When did John Kerry become “cool”?

REID: He still windsurfs.

WAITRESS: Is everyone ready to order?

MCCONNELL: I’ll have the country omelette with wheat toast and a side of scrapple.

REID: Plain white toast for me, please ­— no butter.

KING: I’m going to need more time. Can you come back in an hour?

WAITRESS: An hour, sir?

KING: Look, this is not a stunt. I have a commitment to the people of Maine to order a meal that’s healthy and reasonably priced, since, like you guys, I’m expensing this meeting.

WAITRESS: May I suggest a basic egg-and-pancake combo?

KING: OK, fine.

WAITRESS: How would you like your two eggs?

KING: I was afraid you were gonna ask that. Hmmm. Let’s see … I’m gonna say fried.

WAITRESS: Sunnyside up or over easy?

KING: You’re killing me.


WAITRESS: I’ll just ask the cook to flip one over. Now, buttermilk pancakes or blueberry?

KING: Hmmm … That’s a stumper … Are the blueberries from Maine?

WAITRESS: I don’t know, sir. They come in a big can.

KING: Well, I’m not ruling out blueberries, and I’m not ruling them in at this point, either. Is the maple syrup from Maine?

WAITRESS: I’m not sure, sir. It comes in a big plastic jug.

KING: Let’s just skip the pancakes.

WAITRESS: OK. And for your toast: white, wheat or rye?

KING: Hmmm … Is it light rye or dark rye?


MCCONNELL: (Getting up to leave) Mr. King, you’ll have to excuse me. I just remembered I left a loophole open back at the office. Gotta run. Harry, you guys can have this guy.

REID: (Also getting up to leave) I’m outta here, too. Got a one o’clock strategy session with the forces trying to destroy American values. Have your people text my people when you finally make up your mind.

KING: OK, guys. So long. (To waitress) What are my jelly options?

WAITRESS: Strawberry, blueberry, apple …

KING: Any chance the apples are from Maine?


Chris Busby

About Chris Busby

Chris Busby is editor and publisher of The Bollard, a monthly magazine about Portland. He writes a weekly column for the BDN.