SCENE I: A busy urban street. Two middle-aged white men, BOB and JOE, are waiting at a stoplight, having a spirited political discussion. They have been friends for years and the discussion has the feel of ritual.
BOB: Look, I just don’t trust the government to run my health care. In fact, I don’t want ‘em doing anything for me at all. I just want to live my life without government interference. What’s wrong with that? Besides, the American health care system is the best in the world!
JOE (sighing): Oh, forgawd’ssake, BOB, give it a rest already. I wish just for once you could live in that Libertarian Paradise you’re always talking about. I’d bet you’d be begging for government to come back in about half a second!
(The light changes. BOB and JOE start walking across the street, too absorbed in their conversation to pay much attention to where they’re going.)
BOB: No, seriously, JOE. The only thing to do is make government so small we can drown it in a bathtub. Every man for himself. It’s the only way we can be free!
JOE: Ahhh, BOB, don’t you get that all corporations care about is their bottom line? I’m telling you –
(Out of nowhere, a bus, out of control, careens into the intersection and smacks right into the hapless friends. Strangely, the marquee on the top of the bus reads “Liberty Express.” BOB and JOE fly in opposite directions as the scene fades to black.)
SCENE II: A lush island Paradise. The sky is a lovely blue festooned with decorative, puffy white clouds. BOB is lying on a hammock strung between two palm trees. Behind him, the facade of an impossibly luxurious resort hotel can be seen; in front of him is a beautifully landscaped infinity pool, complete with waterfall and fat-free bathing beauties in bikinis. BOB is unconscious, but appears to be otherwise unharmed by his encounter with the Liberty Express. Slowly, he opens his eyes and takes in his surroundings.
BOB (wonderingly): What the fuck?!
(One of the bikini-clad babes, perfectly tan and blonde, strolls over to BOB with a drink in her hand.)
BLONDE (liltingly): Hello, Bob! Welcome to Libertarian Island. Care for a complimentary beverage?
BOB (confused): What – what happened?
BLONDE (comfortingly): That’s really not important, Bob. Everything will be explained to you shortly. I’m just here to provide you with your complimentary beverage. Do you want it or not? It’s got a cute little umbrella and everything!
BOB (totally lost): Uh…yes???
(The BLONDE hands him the drink, which he sips tentatively. A huge smile blossoms across his face.)
BOB: Wow! That’s the best martini I’ve ever had. How did you know it was my favorite?
BLONDE (wagging her finger, flirtily stern): Uh-uh-uh! Drink up!
(BOB finishes his drink. His eyelids lower to half mast as the potent alcohol kicks in.)
BOB (tipsy): Thanks, uh…what did you say your name was?
BLONDE (coldly): I didn’t. (lifts her wrist to her mouth) Okay, he’s ready.
(She walks away, completely indifferent now that she has performed her duty, and happily situates herself on the lounge chair from whence she came.)
BOB: What – where are you going?
(He starts to follow her, but a man clad all in white robes steps in front of him, blocking his access to the BLONDE. The man looks like a Ken doll, the ultimate Republican idea of perfection. In fact, his name is KEN. Cool, huh?)
KEN: Now, BOB, let’s just calm down. My name is KEN, and I’m here to officially welcome you to – Libertarian Island!
(A banner unfurls from the palm trees between which BOB’s hammock is tied. The pristine white, beautifully-inked banner reads, of course, “Welcome to Libertarian Island.” Below that declaration are the words “Freedom IS Free! Free, Freedy, Freedelicious Freedom!”)
BOB (in awe): Cool!
KEN: I’m here to be your guide and to help make your stay more enjoyable.
BOB: How could it be more enjoyable? I mean, (gesturing) LOOK at this place!
KEN: Well, BOB, this place certainly is beautiful. But this is not where you’re going to be staying. Step this way, please.
(KEN leads BOB past the bikini babes, who loftily ignore him, and towards a dirt path in the elegant green sward. After a minute of walking, BOB notices something strange.)
BOB: Hey KEN – is that a door?!
KEN: Yes it is, BOB. You see, you were in the visitor’s section of Libertarian Island. When you go through this door, you will see the rest of the island. I promise, you’re going to love it!
BOB (confidently): Of course I will. I mean, this is Libertarian Island, so I’m assuming we’ve got that damn government out of our lives and are free to create a better society through choice and competition!
KEN: Ab-so-LUTELY! (opening the door) And heeeeerrrre we are!
(The door has opened on a completely alien world. Somehow, BOB and KEN appear to be looking down from a great height.)
BOB (beyond surprise now): I can see everything! Wow, this is incredible! (Pointing) Hey, is that a bio-dome or something? It’s huge!
KEN (dryly): Or something, yes. That’s Freedy-Freedom Headquarters.
BOB: Say what now?
KEN (overly patient): That’s the Freedy-Freedom Company, BOB. You know, there’s only one company here. Deregulation made it easy for FF to buy up all the other companies. (dutifully reciting the company slogan) “Freedy Freedom, the Best Company There Is!” Yup, they provide all the services and make all the consumer goods here, yes sirree.
BOB (slightly uncomfortable): Uh, gosh. I didn’t know that’s what would happen. I was always told that free markets would lead to greater choice and competition! (comforting himself) Oh well, this must just be a fluke.
KEN (rolling his eyes): Sure it is, BOB.
BOB (missing the sarcasm): Great! I knew it! All we need is MORE deregulation. (with smug superiority) Obviously someone wasn’t doing something right here.
KEN (sighing and ignoring BOB): Anyway, take a look around the company. What do you see?
BOB (sheepishly): Um, I hate to admit it but I’m a little tipsy from that martini. Can you zoom it in a little?
(KEN waves his hand and suddenly, BOB can see the surroundings of the FREEDY-FREEDOM company.)
BOB (confused): Ewww! Those look like slums. And – are those people living in boxes on the street? Why isn’t anyone helping them?
KEN: Why do you think, BOB?
BOB (indignantly): Why doesn’t the church do something? Or – or charities?
KEN: Well, actually, there’s only one church – the church of Freedy Freedom. The Company just bought out all the other churches, mosques and temples and blew them to smithereens. So, if you want to go to any place of worship at all, you have to be a Freedy-Freedomite. Catchy name, huh? The thing is, it costs a lot of money to join. Those people you’re looking at can’t afford it. As for charities – are you kidding? Nobody bothers to create those any more. If it doesn’t make money, it’s worthless here on Libertarian Island.
BOB (comforting himself): Ah well. Those people were probably all lazy and had too many kids. That’s why they’re out of work and on the street.
KEN (who’s seen it all before): Sure, they were. Even that disabled veteran over there. And that 70-year-old woman searching the trash for food. (KEN stares with undisguised contempt into BOB’s eyes.) Right, BOB?
BOB (starting to get uncomfortable again): Wait a minute – don’t those people qualify for Medicare or something? Isn’t there a -
(He stops as he realizes what he is saying.)
KEN (sarcastically): Gosh, BOB, did you almost say the word “government?”
BOB (stubbornly): No! I didn’t! I – I don’t care about those people. I’d rather be free to live my life the way I want to than have to worry about Big Brother always watching me and getting in my damn business!
KEN (his full evil starting to come out): I’m so glad you said that, BOB.
(While BOB has been spouting his free-market catechism, he has not noticed that he and KEN have arrived in front of a crumbling box in a filthy, crowded street. It is part of a vast sea of similar boxes. Emaciated people dressed in rags are staring at him with varying degrees of suspicion, ennui and hatred. He will be taking up resources that they could be using, you see.)
BOB (indignant and frightened): What the hell is this?
KEN: Why, BOB! Don’t you like your new home?
BOB: EXCUSE ME?
KEN: Yes, BOB, welcome to your new home, provided entirely for FREE by the Freedy-Freedom Company! Of course, you will need to “supplement the freeness” through your wages. But hey, the company will work you so hard, you’ll hardly ever be here. And they’ll be providing your meals and wardrobe too for free! That freeness will also be supplemented by your wages. Great system, huh?
(BOB looks at KEN, stunned and disbelieving. KEN’s arched eyebrow is his only response.)
BOB (with horror): This – this is a joke, right? I wanna go back to the hotel with the beautiful blondes and the drinks and the hammock!
KEN: That area is only for Freedy-Freedom executives, BOB.
BOB (with a glimmer of hope): Okay. Okay. How do I get to be one of those?
KEN (with emphasis): Those executives…are chosen for life.
BOB: You mean I gotta wait for someone to DIE? What the hell kinda place is this?
KEN: You already know, don’t you? You just said the real name.
BOB (light slowly dawning): Wait a minute. I was hit by a bus, wasn’t I? (Finally remembering) Where’s JOE? Oh my God. Is JOE dead too?
KEN: Yes, your friend has unfortunately passed on. But he isn’t here. You see, when a person is a Libertarian in life, he comes here in death. This is a specially designed Hell just for you, BOB. Aren’t you pleased with it?
BOB: No! It sucks! I wanna go back! I wanna go back!
KEN: Sorry, BOB. But for Libertarians, Hell is exactly what they have claimed to want their entire lives. There’s no government interference at all. Every man for himself, you know! (looking at his watch) Well, enjoy your box! I’ve got another orientation to perform.
(He vanishes into thin air. The inhabitants of Hell begin to cluster threateningly around him as the lights FADE OUT.)
SCENE THREE: The same busy urban street seen in SCENE I. BOB and JOE are on the other side of the street, totally unharmed and still talking.
BOB (noticing that JOE is not paying attention): JOE? JOE?
JOE (in a reverie): Huh?
BOB (smiling): Jeez, JOE, where’d you go?
JOE (with a secret smile): Trust me, buddy, you don’t want to know. Now (clapping his friend on the back), how about a martini?