Franken and Coleman: A dream encounter


"Hey, Al, wake up. Wake up! It's me, Norm."

"What the hell are you doing, Coleman? It's 2:30 in the morning."

"I want to talk to you, Al."

"You couldn't call? Why are you throwing rocks at my window?"

"They're pebbles. Can you come down here?"

"Jesus, hold on..."

"Thanks for getting up and seeing me, Al. Can we sit on the stoop here for a spell?"

"Norm, what the hell is this about?"

"I couldn't sleep, Al. I got to thinking about how crazy this last year has been, how otherworldly it's seemed. And something hit me. This whole thing's jacked."


"Yeah, that's how it feels. It's as though you and I have been the architects of an extraordinarily strange and perverse thing, and that only you and I can make it right."

"What are you talking about, Norm?"

"This entire war, Al. This whole grand battle we've fought. We didn't do right by each other. We didn't do right by the people. We ended up making this whole thing about us, when it should have been about something larger. I think we mucked the whole thing up. And in the process came to despise one another. We can't lay it on anyone else, Al. It wasn't the system. It wasn't the process. We did this."

"So what is your point?"

"My point is we need to be the ones to start to repair it, at least what part of it we can, beginning with this distaste we have for each other. Al, I realized tonight that, in the days when you were writing for Saturday Night Live, you and I could easily have been drinking buddies. We probably had more in common than not. I think I would have really liked you. You know, a lot of what you believe, I've believed at one time or another. My views evolved. Change is the only constant, right? My views have shifted some, and not always because my conscience demanded it. Sometimes it was simple political expediency. But that's just the nature of the game, right? You've probably done the same thing yourself. It's not that we sold our souls. It's just that certain positions in politics are, well, sort of fluid. I mean, who the hell knows what's right all the time. Ain't it often just tossing darts in the dark?

"Al, if we were to call upon the better angels of our natures and could do this whole thing over, we'd do it differently, right? We'd take our personalities off the main stage and put the people front and center. We want folks to have decent lives, that's all—my people, your people, they're the same people, Minnesotans. How did we let it become something else?

"I'm a baby boomer, you're a baby boomer. I'm a Jew, you're a Jew. I'm a Minnesota guy, you're a Minnesota guy. I'm interested in government, and so are you. We're damn near blood brothers for God's sake. What happened to us?

"If nothing else, Al, I was hoping tonight you and I could sit down, under the stars, on this concrete stoop of yours, and share a joint. I know, it's probably been a while for you. It's been a while for me, too. But I got one from an aide this afternoon, and I want to smoke it with you. I want to do something, right now, that no one in the state of Minnesota could ever imagine possible. Let's create a scene that years from now no one will believe ever existed. Let's do it just because we can, Al, just because life is short, and because it's a better ending to this whole sordid affair than any other we could write. Let's laugh and talk about our wives and our lives and this strange career path we've chosen. If you want to, we can loathe each other again tomorrow. But for one night let's get away from all the bullshit. What do you say?"

"Norm, you crazy son-of-a-bitch, the way you're talking I'd swear you smoked something already. You got balls coming over here, I'll give you that much. But, what the hell. You want to sit and get stoned with me? Fair enough. Pass me that spleef, you weird bastard. I'll probably wake up in the morning and decide this was all a dream anyway."