The Body

The Broadway musical Jesse Ventura never wanted you to hear

BARKLEY: [clicking his cell phone shut] Well, it's official. The Democrats and Republicans have both conceded. [To Ventura] You are going to be the next governor of Minnesota!

[Friedline and Barkley embrace and dance ecstatically across the stage. Ventura slumps despondently in a chair.]

VENTURA: I can't believe it. Are you sure those numbers are right, Deano?

 

[Dan Rather is seen on the TV screens, declaring, "People in Washington could not be more surprised if Fidel Castro came loafing through on the back of a hippopotamus."]

BARKLEY: I would never pull your leg like that, Jesse. You're gonna be the next governor of Minnesota. You really are.

VENTURA: [sulking] But nobody told me that I might actually win. Maybe there are still some votes left to count.

BARKLEY: C'mon, Jesse, buck up. This should be the happiest day of your life.

VENTURA: Yeah, I know, Deano. [looking disdainfully at his outfit, pulling at his tie] But will I have to wear dress-up clothes all the time?

BARKLEY: [exasperated] No, Jesse. You can wear whatever you want.

VENTURA: T-Shirts and jeans?

BARKLEY: Yes!

VENTURA: A do-rag?

BARKLEY: Yes!

VENTURA: Feathered boas and fatigues?

BARKLEY: Yes!

VENTURA: Well, all right then! Call me Governor Ventura!

[A long, loud drum roll leads the orchestra into "Retaliate in '98." Doug Friedline and Dean Barkley lock arms with Mae Schunk and kick up their heels, chorus-line style. The lights dim and flashbulbs pop. Images of news anchors and wildly cheering fans are projected onto the walls as a swelling chant of "Jesse! Jesse!" is heard. At center stage Ventura and Terry embrace; a spotlight follows them as they waltz across the stage. The lights go out. The crowd noise continues to swell. When the lights come back up, Ventura is at a podium.]

VENTURA: We shocked the world! Nobody thought we had a chance!

[He takes a long pause as the crowd again chants, "Jesse! Jesse! Jesse!"]

VENTURA: Remember the Rumble in the Jungle? Nobody thought Muhammad Ali could defeat George Foreman either. Nobody gave him a chance.

[He's again interrupted by raucous cheers, shouts of "We love you, Jesse!"]

VENTURA: Remember the Miracle on Ice? Nobody thought the Americans could defeat the Russians--who were, like, professionals or something. Nobody gave them a chance.

[Another pause for boisterous cheers; crowd briefly breaks into chant of "Mae Schunk! Mae Schunk! Mae Schunk!" Ventura turns and hugs his running mate.]

VENTURA: This is our Rumble in the Jungle. We sucked them in with the rope-a-dope and laid them flat on the canvas. This is our Miracle on Ice--Minnesota-style! [Pauses for dramatic effect, then shouts] We shocked the world!

 

[The crowd erupts into one last frenzy, with Jesse pumping both fists in the air. Then the noise gradually begins to fade out, the lights dim, and the podium is removed from the stage. A spotlight is focused on Ventura, now standing alone at center stage. He begins singing "I Don't Know the Meaning of Can't," an upbeat tune reminiscent of the Rat Pack's finest work.]

VENTURA: [singing]

(VERSE)

I learned to swim the Mississippi/The gridiron taught me the statue of liberty/Halfback options were never foreign to me/I knew enough to never be no hippie/But I don't know the meaning of can't

I found my way around the brothels of Reno/I fought with the SEALs/Hunting man, I know how that feels/I even learned a few words of Filipino/But I don't know the meaning of can't

(BRIDGE)

I've eaten my rations/Fatigues and Zubaz are my fashion passions/I know detonation like MacGyver/I'm an expert with the pile driver/Then I married Ms. Terry/My knowledge of merry/Became extra, extra... or-di-nary

[Stage lights come up to reveal that the crowd is now made up of ballroom dancers, who line up behind Jesse, chorus-line style. He does a little soft-shoe.]

Well...I mastered my stump on the hustings/The pundits gave me no chance/To make the big dance/And typical politicos grew scared of my bustings/But I don't know the meaning of can't

I will master the art of being gov/I'll grow to love the veto/I can tell it's really neato/And words like unicameral I'll learn to know and love/But I don't know the meaning/ No, I never learned the meaning/Hell, I just can't learn the meaning...of...ca-ya-ya-yan't!

[Ventura finishes as he started, both fists pumping the air. Fade to black.]

 

 

MORE CORRESPONDENCE

 

TO: Heath Quincy-Browne

CC: Pierre Cossette

FROM: Stephen Dolginoff

SUBJECT: Jesse

Gentlemen. I am very sorry to inform you that I must tender my resignation. The situation with the "Governor" has gone beyond the pale. The man is as dull as a month-old pedicure. He simply does not have a firm grasp of the English language! As much as I would like to see The Body Ventura through to fruition, and as proud as I am of our work thus far ("Football Practice" is an absolutely smashing number), for the sake of my mental health I must step down. I will be returning to Wales immediately for some much-needed rest and relaxation. Apologies for the hasty retreat, but drastic action is necessary. Yours, HQB

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