The Body

The Broadway musical Jesse Ventura never wanted you to hear

VENTURA: [bites into brat, talks with mouth full] Hey, Deano, can it for a second, won't ya? Jeez. Life is not just handed to you one fork at a time. In fact, good things never come to those who whine. Look at me: I've never been a nobody because I never learned the meaning of can't.

BARKLEY: [sighing] Yeah, I guess you're right, Jesse. I just don't know how to explain campaign finance reform to all these people while they're watching a parade.

VENTURA: Quit being such an egghead, Deano. The important thing is to go out there, meet the real people, and let them get to know you. If nothing else, make 'em hate you.

 

[Band marches past playing a shaky, off-key version of "Stars and Stripes Forever."]

BARKLEY: Jeez, Jesse, I don't know what I'd do without you. I wish you were on the campaign trail all the time, boosting my spirits...

VENTURA: Stop it! Enough with the self-pity! I am an expert at drawing attention, that's true. But we're not here for me. This is your campaign. Now get your butt in that parade. And remember: If you start to whine, I'm just a few steps behind you, and I'll kick you right in the keister if I have to.

BARKLEY: [brightening]: All right, Jesse, whatever you say.

 

[Barkley and Ventura rejoin the fray, walking alongside the floats, cheerleading squads, and marching bands.]

BARKLEY: [to member of the crowd] Hey, Karl, it's me, Dean Barkley! Remember me? We had shop class together all those years ago.

CROWD MEMBER #1: [puzzled] Who?

BARKLEY: [to another Crowd member] Anna Johnson! It's me, Dean! I'm running for U.S. Senate!

CROWD MEMBER #2: [laughing] Oh, Dean, you goof! Why would you go and do something like that?

BARKLEY: [despondent again] Good question...

 

[Suddenly there's a swell of applause as the crowd recognizes Ventura. There's hand-shaking and back-slapping. Old ladies run up to embrace him. He flexes his biceps.]

VENTURA: You people just make sure you all get out there and vote for my friend Dean Barkley! He's gonna kick some Washington-bureaucrat butt!

[More cheering. Barkley sulks.]

VENTURA: [approaching Barkley] Hey, Deano, lighten up and swing, baby! These people love me!

BARKLEY: [sighing] I know, Jesse. That's the problem.

 

[A float rolls by carrying the Annandale High homecoming queen, a rock band, and members of the high school's varsity football team. Ventura spontaneously leaps onto the float, à la Elvis inClambake, and starts high-fiving players. Then he turns around and starts scanning the crowd to find Barkley.]

VENTURA: [pointing at Barkley] This one's for you, Deano!

 

[The crowd makes a circle as an electric-guitar chord is strummed. The band kicks in, and Ventura launches into a sea-shanty song--reminiscent of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean"--entitled "Football Practice (Drop and Gimme Twenty)."]

VENTURA: [singing]

(VERSE)

My boys fall out in the morning/My boys hang around through the day/But when it comes time for football practice/My boys show up and play/They tease the girls in the lunchroom/They fumble and frolic so gay/But when they are bad/As coach I get mad/Here is what I'm wont to say

(CHORUS)

Drop and give me twenty/Don't whimper and don't whine/Drop and give me twenty/With my boot on your spine/Drop and give me twenty/Twenty-one, twenty-two/Drop and give me twenty till I'm through

(VERSE)

When the going gets tough, I get going/And I ain't got time to bleed/Listen up, my ol' pal Deano/All of these words you should heed/Muscle is stronger than money/And heart is all that you'll need/So stump and campaign/Kiss a babe in the rain/From the cameras there is no reprieve...So

(REPEAT CHORUS)

Politics is just like football/If it's not your cup of tea/Run while you can/I'll be holding your hand/Now drop and give me twenty...So

(CHORUS REPRISE)

Drop and give me twenty/For your country and your God/Drop and give me twenty/ Put your face in the sod/Drop and give me twenty/First you're red, now you're blue/

Drop and give me twenty till I'm through/

Drop and give me twenty till we're through!

 

[The crowd cheers wildly, starts chanting, "Run, Jesse, Run!"]

VENTURA: [high-fiving the parade-goers] See, Deano? That's takin' it to the people!

BARKLEY: [smiling broadly] Wow, Jesse! You sure put on a show! I think the wrong guy is running for the senate!

VENTURA: [beaming] Nah, the senate's not for me. I don't wanna mingle with those bozos in Washington. I wanna stay with my people here in Minnesota.

 

[The crowd quiets.]

VENTURA: But...I could run for governor. That's a job I could really get my mitts on!

 

[Crowd lets out one last cheer. The lights go down. A lone spotlight dances across the flag's glitter. Jimi Hendrix's guitar version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" plays as the stage fades to black.]

 

ACT II, SCENE III

 

It's more than two years later, and Citizen Ventura is on the campaign trail. Even though the media has treated Ventura's candidacy as a joke, he is gathering momentum. There are only three days left in the gubernatorial campaign, and Ventura is making his "Ride to Victory" in a cavalcade of motor homes. Ventura's wife Terry, Dean Barkley, now his campaign chair, and campaign manager Doug Friedline are along for the ride.

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