I (played by Martha Stewart) enter the conversation room and stop just inside the entrance arch. The floor of the room is grass, interrupted here and there by some bare earth.
Standing in the center of the room is a very large elephant. The elephant is nonchalantly probing the ground with its trunk, sometimes placing something (presumably edible) in its mouth.
Seated to my left on a metal folding chair, with arms crossed, watching the elephant, is a man who looks exactly like Dwight D. Eisenhower, though he is played by Rainn Wilson. He looks extremely annoyed.
I AM extremely annoyed. I cross my arms too. “WHAT!?”
He looks at me, blinks once or twice, and then gestures with his head toward the elephant. “THAT!!”
“What about it?”
“It’s fucking HERE again!”
“I already knew that it was here. With the other conversation that’s happening, there is NO WAY you can have my undivided attention at the moment. Is pointing out to me that it is here again what was so damned important that I had to rush over here RIGHT NOW?”
The Elephant turns around, revealing a video screen embedded in its side. On the screen is an image of Edmund Burke. After about two seconds, it switches to an image of Friedrich Hayek.
Dwight (that’s how I’m thinking of him, anyway) speaks again. “It’s been here for more than two days. It has obviously made itself quite at home.” He looks at me again. “It is not an acceptable medium for the images represented on its readout!” He seems ready to spit, or perhaps to move his bowels. “We are frustrated BEYOND WORDS by its presence!”
“Again, is that what was so damned important that I had to come here NOW?”
The screen switches from William F. Buckley to Michael Oakeshott. Dwight’s gaze shifts back to the elephant. “I want it fucking OUT of here!”
“You really need to tell me something that I don’t already know. Can you tell me how to get rid of the stupid thing without rejecting its images?”
Dwight just watches the elephant for about twenty seconds, then sighs deeply and responds without looking at me. “No.”
The screen switches from P. J. O’Rourke to Russell Kirk.
“Then I’m certainly not in any position to do anything about it right now!” I’m obviously not going to get any further response. “Let me know when you actually come up with something!”
As I turn to leave, the screen switches from Hans Urs von Balthasar to Ben Stein.