"Where's Ork?" shouted Holger Danske as Chief Security Officer Garvey Erfald stumbled through the door into another special meeting of the Community Homeland Security Committee. A cluster of 13 shivering electors huddled around Orville Jordan's milkhouse heater and grumbled loudly to let Garvey know they were upset. They've hated meetings since the "dish" became available in town. They all had one.
"Well, Ork couldn't come so I'm supposed to see that Senator Dorgan gets us that earmark for speed bumps on Main Street before he leaves office," Garvey explained. "He promised it in 1997."
"That's a stupid idea," Little Jimmy blurted out. "We had speed bumps five years ago - put in by the county road crew one week and scraped off the earth by a speeding county road grader the next."
"If that earmark is so important, why isn't Ork here to get it negotiated through this polarized committee?" asked Holger Danske.
"Just because we disagreed over naming Dog, with seven votes for Rover and seven for Fido, doesn't mean that we're polarized," Johann Kerianski argued. "It just means that Dog is stuck with a generic name even though he is a specific animal. We need another citywide vote on the issue."
"Ork can't make it because he's working on his humor," Garvey explained. "With this late-night Jeno guy being moved back past our bedtime, Ork thinks we ought to be ready with a replacement that most of us can stay up for."
"Yeah!" agreed Einar Stamstead. "I'm on my second trip to the bathroom by the time that Irishman comes on. Don't those people in New York ever sleep?" Einar faded early. The news he stayed up for was at six o'clock.
"I'd rather have Jack Benny or Jimmy Durante," suggested Old Sievert. He actually wanted Laurel and Hardy but he heard they were doing a show with Charlie Chaplin in Berlin.
"Sarah Palin and Ed Schultz would be better replacements." proposed Orville Jordan, the ex-depot agent for what was now the Buffet Railroad. "They're full of funny stuff. Of course, they don't get many laughs but that makes them even funnier, acting serious and all."
"Who's going to get an earmark for speed bumps in a town with a daily traffic count of seven?" asked Johann. It became a rhetorical question since no one answered. A lot of the town's questions were rhetorical.
"It isn't the number that's important," countered Garvey. "The world is moving too fast, especially on our Main Street. Dorgan's leaving office so he can do what he wants, even get us an earmark for speed bumps. It'll take 10 years for a new senator to get enough clout to get us speed bumps. It's now or never. "
"A contractor can't put in speed bumps until spring and Dorgan will still be in office, so why don't we just go home and watch Judge Joe Brown?" Einar suggested in a bold ploy to end the meeting.
It worked. Orville shut off his heater and everyone headed for the door, leaving speed bumps and Dog for the regular March meeting.
Lloyd Omdahl served as North Dakota's 34th Lieutenant Governor of the state from 1987 to 1992. Previously he was a professor of political science at the University of North Dakota. He continues to write columns for newspapers across the state of North Dakota.