The scene: Ranil at the headquarters of the Disunited National Party (DNP) with Ravi and Tissa.
Ranil: “I say Tissa where are all these people – don’t they know there is a DNP Working Committee meeting today? We have to appoint the Nominations Board and plan how to lose – sorry, win the upcoming local government elections.
Tissa: “Yes, yes, they know. But I hear some party members – Sajith and crowd - have been getting phone calls from people all over asking them to hold demonstrations in THEIR areas. These residents say their roads are in bad shape and that the quickest way to get the road fixed is to get Sajith - or Sujeewa or Buddhika or Rosy or Dayasiri or Shiral - to organize a satyagraha outside their homes. Then they say the cops will get a court order saying satyagrahas are not allowed in that area because of “road repairs,” and you have the Maga Neguma people coming to repair the road. The residents are saying this is a much easier way than writing to MPs, bribing officials and …
Ranil (turning green): Look here Tissa, why are these people calling Sajith? People should only call ME. Don’t you know what that king Louis XIV said – “L’etat c’est moi.” That means, the elephant - “etha” - is ME. Anyone who wants anything from the DNP must consult ME and no one else. Understand that Tissa.
Ravi: People are not only calling Sajith, Ranil. They are also calling the Deputy Highways Minister because it seems suddenly he is responding to requests from residents to repair roads! Didn’t you see Daily Mirror online? (goes to the computer, logs on and reads out):
Someone called ‘Abdul’ says: “Hon. Minister, I live down Bhathiya Mawatha off Saranankara Road. Bhathiya Mw is terrible, we badly need carpeting, the road is used very heavily and it will be better if we could do that road too. Please help. Alas no UNP office is there.”
Ranil: What does he mean by no UNP office …?
Ravi (continues reading):
‘Buddhika’ says “Pallidora Road at Dehiwala is terrible, shall I arrange a UNP protest rally tomorrow?” (turning to Ranil who looks alarmed) No, no, not our Buddhika!
‘Appuhamy’ says “Ane Minister, Ape parath , Bokundara Road, Maharagama. Day after tomorrow honde.....”
Ranil (impatiently): I say I have no time for this nonsense! Tissa - can you please get Sajith on the phone for me?
Tissa: Sajith has been called to Rosmead Place by some residents there. They say there is a bad patch on their road and they want to quickly book him for a demo – now that he’s in the area …
Ranil: What?? Call Sujeewa then. I have to discipline these people!
Tissa: I think Sujeewa is at Horton Place Ranil. Some VIPs living there are saying rainwater is pouring into their gardens off the road every time it rains, and they want Maga Neguma to come in and have a look. Shall I get Buddhika?
(makes a call on his mobile)
Sorry Ranil Buddhika is at Barnes Pl …
Ranil (turns red): Enough of this!!! I can have the Working Committee meeting without these people! Don’t we have a quorum?
Ravi: (changing the subject anxiously): Would you like some tea Ranil – sorry coffee? While we are waiting?
Ranil: That’s a good idea Ravi. Do we have sugar?
Tissa: No sugar but we have honey. Someone brought these bee hives that they found at Vihara Maha Devi Park. All nicely wrapped in plastic bags Ranil. We can use for coffee no?
Ranil: You must be having a bee in your bonnet Tissa. Send someone to get some sugar – here give this for bus fare -
Tissa: No need for bus fare Ranil. Gemunu will give free transport ...
Ranil: And by the way Tissa these are not bees they are WASPS. Don’t you watch Sirasa?
Ravi: Talking about Sirasa Ranil, what’s all this about the Great Rajas being mad at you over some National List seats that you refused to give …?
Ranil (turning a shade of magenta): Listen Ravi. The Great Rajas are no match for the Great Raja Paksas. Haven’t you heard their ministers always saying nice things about me? Like “may you be the Party Leader for many, many years to come,” “Ranil is a gentleman,” “He knows his politics” etc. etc. …
Tissa: No wonder they say those things. It’s because as long as you are around as Party Leader they know they can win … Err … I mean … What they mean is you always make us lose … Err … I mean … I mean they think they can win because of this ‘hora givisuma’ … Oops! What am I saying??? Ranil, you are the best leader for the DNP and long may you live!!!
Ravi (coming to the rescue): Tissa is a little confused Ranil. I think he’s over stressed, with these thousands of people staging satyagraha at Vihara Maha Devi Park with Sajith, calling for Karu to take over as leader etc. It’s all very upsetting …
(Pauses for a second)
Ravi: (In a whisper to Tissa): Are you sure we are on the right side Tissa?
Ranil: I have decreed that nobody who attends that satyagraha is a DNP member!
Tissa: Aaah, so THAT’S why there’s nobody to attend the meeting! ALL have left the party!!!
(Ranil turning purple, rises from his seat menacingly. Tissa makes a hurried exit to fetch the sugar, and Ravi dives for the coffee mugs.)