Till death do us party

By Lasanda Kurukulasuriya

(A drama in one act)

The Scene: Ranil at his desk in the office of the Disunited Nondescript Party (DNP), talking to Karu over tea. Sorry, coffee.

Ranil: “I say Karu I want to hold a meeting. Now can you get these people together? We have to act fast, otherwise we’ll be out of jobs … err … I mean, the party must be saved.
Karu: “Yes yes Ranil, we have to get the party reforms into place quickly. The report is ready.”
Ranil: “WHAT?? I told you to delay it by another six months! What do you mean the report is ready?? Now they’ll be asking to implement the reforms and I will get kicked out!”

Karu: “I don’t know about that, but how much can you delay? People are getting impatient!”
(The sound of someone knocking on a door outside can be heard)

Ranil: “Ok, ok, you get the report together, but don’t tell them it’s ready. Tell Joseph Michael to tell them it has to be put to the Executive Committee, and then it has to be put back to the Working Committee for amendments, then it has to go back to the Parliamentary Group because the composition of the Parliamentary Group keeps changing, then it has to be endorsed by a Special Meeting of the Executive Committee … C’mon Karu you know the tactics. Karu: (rolls his eyeballs and sighs) “What about the DNP Convention?”

Ranil: “DNP Convention? Are you mad? All these Provincial Council and Pradeshiya Sabha members will descend on me saying they also want to vote in the election of office bearers. Then how can I control who gets into the top spots?

(Sound of several people banging on a door outside)

Ranil: “Who is banging on the door Karu? Don’t these visitors know to give advance notice of at least three weeks and to make an appointment before they come to meet me? Now what about this meeting? We have to get all the young people involved and take the party message to the grass roots. I am going to start a DNP Youth Movement with the young MPs, Sajith and all of them. Let’s list the people …
Karu: “There’s Dayasiri … but I believe he’s at a press conference today to announce some plan for 25 MPs who want a different seating arrangement in the House. I read something in the papers about a letter given to you signed by these 25 MPs. Actually what was all that about?”

Ranil: “Letter? What letter? I never got any letter. Anything you see in the papers or on TV about me is not true, ok Karu? Remember that.”

Karu: “Never mind. Let’s try Sujeewa. But wait a minute … Sujeewa told me he’s going to Sirasa to give a statement today about some urgent matter. Let’s try Thalatha.” (makes a phone call on his mobile). “Sorry Ranil Thalatha has also gone with Sujeewa. “
Ranil: “How about Rosie? Call Rosie now.”

Karu: (makes another hurried phone call). “Sorry Ranil, Rosie’s maid says she can’t come to the phone because she is talking to someone from a TV station who has come to her house to interview her.”
Ranil: “Hmmm …Wonder what it’s about? Call again in ten minutes. In order to revive the party we must get all our MPs to take the party message to the village. Err … by the way Karu, how many are left??
Karu: Let’s see … (starts counting on the fingers of his right hand)

Ranil: (Irritated) Come on Karu, you can’t count all of them on the fingers of one hand. You need at least two hands. Now where were we? We have to brief these people on the new party strategy. Mangala has worked out a brilliant strategy. Get Mangala please, he should also be here.”

Karu: “Mangala is at the Mirihana police station trying to bail out someone who got into trouble over the brilliant strategy. Didn’t you hear what happened? Just a second, here’s an sms on my mobile … It says … it says … (reads for a minute) … that Sajith is holding a meeting near Town Hall … and thousands are flocking there to hear him speak! They are burning a copy of the 18th Amendment. Looks like lots of other DNP MPs are also there.”

Ranil: “What?? Who else is there?”
Karu: “Gayantha, Buddhika, Niroshan, Ranjan … Harsha, Eran, Chandrani, Ruwan, Harin, Lakshman … Looks like there is no room on the phone for this long list. It’s a “short message service” no?”
(Sounds of a door being pounded and a crowd of people yelling)

Ranil: “Who is that, men? (Finally gets up, goes to the window and peers out) “Damn! It’s those pesky lawyers from the Lawyers Society! Karu can you please tell these people I have no time to meet them now and that I am busy?” (Turns back and looks around the office): “Karu … Karu where are you???

A loud crash is heard followed by sounds of a crowd stampeding up the stairs. The rest is a confusion of violent noise with people shouting incoherently.

Despite frantic phone calls by alarmed neighbours, the police were unable to make it as they were busy with traffic and crowd-control in the Town Hall area. Nobody ever found out what happened in the end because none of the print or electronic media were able to come, as they too were busy covering the hectic activity at Town Hall.

The writer is a senior freelance journalist.

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