Quality Time With Pete and Deb — Russian Election Hacking

Peter Grosz and Debra Downing are alums of The Second City Theater, writers, actors and husband and wife, living in Brooklyn, NY. This piece was composed at home on their computer exactly as you see it. One person would write and the other would respond, essentially like an improvised written “conversation”. The content was not pre-planned. They only decided to talk about the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election. They wrote it on December 14th

PETE: I was going to write how awful and shameful it is that the Russians hacked our election but I’m worried that they’re reading this right now so I’ll just say… Long Live Putin! He can take off his shirt, slap a saddle on me and ride me off into the sunset anytime.

DEB: The Bullies have taken over the school and I’m wondering where the faculty is. The drama club, marching band and school newspaper staff are in for a world of hurt. But take heart, high school only lasts for four years then you can go out into the real world where everything is fair and just and… Uh oh.

PETE: Yeah. How long can you hide in your locker before the nerd-sniffing dogs come find you? I can’t tell which is scarier — that Trump knew about/was in cahoots with Russians or that he didn’t know and Russia is super psyched he’s been elected and he DOESN’T CARE. At least in the first scenario he’s an active participant and was smart enough to be that devious. In the second scenario he’s like Chris Klein’s dumb football player character in “Election” that Matthew Broderick tries to get elected just so Tracy Flick can’t win — i.e. he’s an idiot. So to continue your high school analogy, it’s going to be a really hard four years.

DEB: All that aside, I’m hoping you make cheerleader! I keep waiting for things to calm down so I can tell myself, “It’s really not going to be as bad as you think it will be”, and then with the nomination of Tillerson and Rick Perry I think, “Oh no. It actually may be worse.” Tillerson stands to make millions if sanctions are lifted on Russia. If Hillary had nominated this guy, Trump would be calling for her to be put in a stockade in the town square. Not that they have those anymore but maybe he could employ some local carpenters to build some (wow, maybe he is gonna Make America Great Again). And Rick Perry is very business-friendly when it comes to relaxed regulations and safety standards. And when this happens, work places and manufacturing plants become dangerous and people get killed. Remember the fertilizer plant in West, Texas that exploded? But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. This whole administration is going to be very “business” friendly. As for the rest of us, I’m afraid very unfriendly.

PETE: Yeah, it’s like he drained the swamp and then filled up the remaining hole with the board of directors of Swampcorp, America’s leader in swamp-based business solutions. But that’s actually kind of normal Republican stuff. They’re anti-regulation, anti-government and I guess in the case of Rick Perry, pro-explosion. What worries me is the Tillerson-Russia connection. Not only does he stand to make millions off of Russian oil, he won the Order of Friendship from Vladimir Putin. So he has a plaque on his wall in his office (most likely next to a desk made of elephant tusk ivory and a chair made of baby seal skulls) that says “I’m buddies with Putin” and he’s going to get confirmed. I know they used to say “What’s good for General Motors is good for America” but can you say the same thing about Exxon Mobil?

DEB: I grew up in an oil town. And there are a lot of good people who do the physical labor for those companies. There is a big difference between the lifestyle of the roughnecks and the high level folks. My Dad worked for Shell oil in the oil field for a long time. It’s hard, dangerous work and people risk their lives working on those rigs. Oil booms and busts can make or break towns, and I’m sure the same can be said when a manufacturing plant moves out. So I get the saying, and in some sense it is true, but there has to be a defining, moral line that we do not cross when it comes to mixing business with the affairs of state. What kinds of deals are going to be made here? Benefiting who? I hope it is the struggling unemployed but I am afraid the bigwigs are just going to get bigger wigs. And I’m not sure if you are aware of this but in Texas we like big hair on men and women.

PETE: I wish it were that easy to tell who was rich and powerful. Just look for the guy with the biggest wig. And the fattest cat. I totally believe “What’s good for General Motors is good for America”. You could say the same about Exxon Mobil and the roughnecks and oil field workers like your dad — but those people earn money, spend money and work here in America. Or they’re Americans who work abroad. And yes, it’s a fact of life that Exxon Mobil will look out for its own bottom line and even make shady deals with Putin to suck Russian oil out of the Arctic Sea but does their CEO have to be Secretary of State? How are people not losing their shit over this, especially in the wake of reports of Russian election meddling? Whatever happened to good old-fashioned Cold War anti-Russian paranoia?

DEB: Oh, the good old days of the cold war. People stockpiling food and building fallout shelters. Actually, I did see a commercial for a food dehydrator that could preserve food for 25 years, so for whatever reason, there must be an Apocalyptic market out there to sell to. And I did always love that Sting song, “Russians”. I don’t know why people are not making more of a fuss over this. Remember “America First!”? If the CIA reports to the Commander and Chief that another country hacked into an American election, shouldn’t he at least pretend to be bothered by that and at the very least say he will look into it? I mean I know it’s not as important as spending five years investigating where President Obama was born but it’s gotta be up there! Ugh! Good Grief! It’s all going to hell! I must order-25 year food preserver. Must move underground!!!!!

PETE: Please, Deb, nothing is as important as spending five years looking into where Obama was born. And the sad thing is we may never know exactly where he was born. Both of his parents are dead after all. Do you think that’s a coincidence? One question: Do you think Russia intervened to help Trump specifically because Trump and Putin and Tillerson spend their weekends at Trump’s secret underground golf course in Sochi, standing over a giant map of the world, laughing, drinking sacrificial ram’s blood and pointing out the parts they want to drill for oil or grab by the pussy while some Eyes Wide Shut-style sex party is going on in the next room? Or do you think the reality is not as crazy as I described it and there’s no ram’s blood?

DEB: The first one.

PETE: Me too! See this is why we’re such a good couple.

JUST THEN THE WEBCAM ON THE COMPUTER TURNS ON BY ITSELF.

PETE: Huh. That’s weird. The webcam on the computer just turned on by itself. Oh well. In all seriousness, I think the Russians hacked the DNC and released emails just to sow chaos. It didn’t matter who was elected as long as the whole process was called into question. It’s a bonus that Trump won of course but I think they would have been fine with Hillary.

AMERICA IS BAD GUY.

DEB: Who wrote that?

PETE: Not me. It wasn’t you?

DEB: Not me.

DEMOCRACY IS JOKE.

PETE: Very funny, Deb. Oh crap…

HILLARY IS CRAP

PETE: I think we’ve got a Russian hacker.

KNOCK KNOCK.

DEB: Who’s there?

BOO!

DEB: Boo Hoo?

HA! WHY YOU CRYING? CAUSE IT’S LIKE CIVIL WAR 2 ELECTRIC BUGALOO OVER THERE?! HASHTAG: BOO HOO!

PETE: Hashtag Boo Hoo? Jesus, this hacker is annoying. Hey, man can you leave us alone please?

I AM NOT MAN. I AM 12 YEAR OLD GIRL. NAME IVANA.

PETE: Ivana Who?

IVANA HACK INTO YOUR ELECTION AND RUIN YOUR COUNTRY. HA! I KILLING OVER HERE.

PETE: Shit, I walked right into that one.

THE VOICE OF SEAN CONNERY IS HEARD OVER THE COMPUTER SPEAKER.

SEAN CONNERY: This is Marko Ramius. Captain of the submarine The Red October. I’d like to apologize for the intrusion. I’m afraid the young officer who engaged you has been at sea for too long. I assure you it will not happen again. Please accept my sincere apology on behalf of my ship and country.

PETE: Oh that’s fine. It’s not a hacker. It’s just Sean Connery’s character from “The Hunt For Red October”. Thank you, Sean Connery.

SEAN CONNERY: Who’s Sean Connery? My name is Captain Marko Ramius of the submarine The Red October.

PETE: Right…

PETE TAKES HIS INDEX FINGER AND TWIRLS IT AROUND HIS EAR INDICATING TO DEB THAT HE THINKS SEAN CONNERY IS CRAZY.

DEB: Okedokee, well it was nice talking to you-

SEAN CONNERY: I was wondering if you knew how to get a hold of a Mr. Jack Ryan.

DEB: Do you want the Alec Baldwin one or the Harrison Ford one?

SEAN CONNERY: Which one handles defections?

DEB: Uhm, well the Harrison Ford one played a President once and Alec Baldwin is currently playing the President Elect. Harrison Ford also played Han Solo but Alec Baldwin was amazing in Glen Gary Glen Ross…

SEAN CONNERY: Who wasn’t? What about Kevin Spacey, he was in Glen Gary and currently plays The President in House of Cards.

DEB: Well they are all good options.

PETE: Do you want to talk to Donald Trump? He’s currently playing the president in real life.

SEAN CONNERY: Donald Trump is president? I no longer want to defect to America. No thank you. Ramius out!

THE WEBCAM TURNS OFF.

DEB: We lost another one. At least we still have Barishnikov. Right?

PETE: Don’t worry, after we get annexed by the newly formed nation of ExxonRussiaMobilTrumpSteaks there’s going to be plenty of Russians around.