Arts Break: “FINALLY!!! The Man Is Here!”


One of my regular customers at the pub is an accomplished musician and aspiring playwright. He’s been busy writing the score for a Broadway show with a working title of, “New Albany: The Musical.”

Here’s a preview of the big production number he’s planning at the close of Act II.


Somewhere in the battered New Albanian borough of West Endia, it’s a dark, cool and windy morning with intermittent drizzle. The weather forecast calls for hard rain. Gradually the stage lightens, and we see a half-dozen people in tattered rain gear huddled forlornly around a sewer grate. Atop a Coleman camp stove, instant coffee is being boiled in a used, institutional-sized baked beans can. One of the shadowy figures clutches a Kodak Brownie lovingly wrapped in a Bunny Bread bag. The people are chanting and mumbling as off stage, a car door loudly slams shut, and a spotlight casts a flashlight beam on the group.

Policeman: “Hey, youse ratty hobo types, youse … Ya need ta get lost, OK? Yer tresppassin’ on sewer department property, capeesh?”

$$$$$ (rising angrily from her milk crate): “Shut up, you damned gas-guzzling Garnerite toady! We’ll do no such thing! It’s our monies!”

Brambleberry: “For allllll … for alllll … for allll … ”

(An impromptu Heimlich maneuver is performed on Brambleberry, who deposits a hairball at the foot of the policeman)

Policeman: “Why, you … ”

$$$$$ (looks to the audience): “Sorry ‘bout that — his needle gets stuck sometimes.”

A Fiscally Conservative Floyd Cty Democrat: “Officer, as an antidote, I’ll share the following Appalachian story with you … ”

Citizenspeak: “Hey — you live outside the city limits, copper – you can’t arrest us New Albany taxpayers … I’d take you to city court — if we had one.”

Together (all standing and forming a phalanx): “We’re not hoboes, you swine, WE’RE THE POTTY POLICE …

(Music suddenly swells, policeman runs away in terror)


We’re waiting for our man
$44 million dollars through our hands
Up to the RE Lee, that’s no jive
Feel sick and dirty, more dead than alive
We’re waiting for our man

Hey, potty cops, what you doin’ uptown?
Hey, potty cops, you tryin’ to bring us all down?

Oh pardon us, pergessives, it’s the furthest from our minds
We’re just lookin’ for a dear, dear friend of ours
We’re waiting for our man

Here he comes, he’s all dressed in black
Government badge and a big straw hat
He’s never early, he’s always late
First thing you learn is you always gotta wait
We’re waiting for our man

(Frumpy chorus line of Luddites dressed like manhole covers enters single-file from off-stage)

Down to Falling Run, shit geysers in the air
All of it’s busted, but nobody cares
We’ve got the poop, gives us that sweet taste
And you gotta take pictures ‘cause you got no time to waste
We’re waiting for our man

(Potty Police clasp hands, while behind them two rows of superannuated dancing manhole covers undulate provocatively)

Garner don’t you holler, don’t you bawl and shout
We’re feeling good, you know, we’re going to kick you out
We’re feeling good, we’re feeling justified
Until May 2007, but that’s just some other time
We’re waiting for our man …


(all dancers and singers sprawl on the ground in abject supplication as a plain but well dressed man strolls onto the stage)

$$$$$: “Thank God you’re here. Our long local nightmare is finally over!”

Citizenspeak: “Ten long years of watching this stinky sewer grate!”

Brambleberry (digging frantically through moldering newspapers): “It says right here in the paper … it says right here in the paper … it says right here in the paper … ”

(THUMP – a ball of yarn rolls past the Man’s shoes)

$$$$$: “Here’s our records and photos, and here’s a petition we circulated for the taxpayers to sign … ”

Citizenspeak: “ … and here’s our definitive proof that the Mayor doesn’t own his own house … doesn’t pay taxes … looks at dirty pictures in his spare time … even reads books … just see our graphs and charts.”

A Fiscally Conservative Floyd Cty Democrat: “”I took that bet, and you are going to regret, because I’m the best you’ve ever seen.”

(The Man looks over the folders and photos)

The Man: “All very impressive, intrepid sewage watchdogs. You’ve performed a valuable public service, for which you’ll always be remembered, and never be forgotten. Future generations of schoolchildren will study this case along with the Ten Commandments, the Bill of Rights and the Wal-Mart employment application.

“Of course, I’ll take this data back to the regional office, have the information fully collated and compared with all applicable governmental norms, have our crack team of lawyers dissect the consent decree down to the last apostrophe, have your runoff measured, and assemble a complete report. Relief is on the way, good people.”

Citizenspeak: “We knew the EPA wouldn’t let us ratepayers down.”

The Man (laughing): “EPA? I don’t work for the EPA, ma’am … I service the slot machines at Caesar’s. But I did stay at the Holiday Inn Express last night.”

(curtain falls)

* profound apologies to Lou Reed & the Velvet Underground.

Stomach strong? See SOLNA’s FINALLY!!! The Man Is Here for your recommended daily dose of conspiratorial triumphalism.