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Satori On Pennsyvania Avenue

The Setting: The Oval Office of the White House,Washington,D.C. circa Spring 1973

The Characters:

Richard M. Nixon:37th President of the United States.He is attired in his customary dark business suit with a white shirt and black tie.He is nervously pacing the carpet in front of his large desk which bears the Presidential Seal.He is almost hunched over,skulking.His eyes dart furtively around the room.He is wearing that familiar Nixonian frown;and he speaks in an almost growl.

Little Old Asian Man:Obviously a peasant.He wears the baggy,loose fitting clothes of a rice picker.In sandals,with his scraggly,thin white hair;he is mostly nondescript except for the bright,penetrating twinkle that emanates from the eyes of his ancient,wrinkled face.

Miles Davis:African-American jazz musician and innovator extraordinaire.He is dressed in a dark,blue crushed leather jump suit and light turquoise fedora.Wearing his rose tinted,wrap around sunglasses,he embodies the concept of “cool”.He stands off to theĀ  left of Nixon’s desk.His knees are slightly bent,almost in a crouching position.He seems totally absorbed in blowing his trumpet.He plays a very soft,very soulful rendition of “Time After Time”.He seems almost impervious to the other people in the room.

(Clutching at his collar,raving,addressing no one in particular…)

Nixon: Why’s it so damn stuffy in here?!Let’s open some windows.Haldeman!Ehrlichman!Where the hell are they?!Let’s get some fresh air in here…

Little Old Asian Man:(comments to Nixon in a matter of fact tone)You never seemed to mind hot air before.

Nixon:(stopping dead in his tracks)What are you doing in here?!I know who you are.

Little Old Asian Man:I am not Ho Chi Minh if that’s what you think.I don’t think that you know who I am.In fact you do not even know who you are.

Nixon:(defensively) Whadda ya mean,I don’t know who I am?I’m Richard Milhous Nixon Commander-in-Chief of the mightiest nation on earth!

Little Old Asian Man:Is it possible that you got so stuck on that one aspect of your so called personality that you forgot about all the other potential Richard Nixons?

Nixon:(accusatorially) What are you talking about?There’s only one Richard Nixon-and that’s me!Commander-in-Chief of the mightiest nation on earth!Whadda ya trying to say-that I’m one of those schizoid characters?

Little Old Asian Man:(calmly)Not at all.I am only saying that you have gotten so stuck in your identity as the authoritarian Richard Nixon that all the other many dimensions of Richard Nixon never get to see the light of day.

Nixon:Wait just a minute! You don’t know what you are talking about.I have to be an authority figure.I have to be presidential.

(Miles Davis ceases his soft,nearly inaudible playing.He takes his trumpet from his lips.Not really addressing anyone;he speaks almost to himself,low but distinctly.)

Davis:Improvise.You come back to the main melody,but you go out there.You improvise.

Little Old Asian Man:Did you hear him,Mister President?

Nixon:Yes,I heard him.

Little Old Asian Man:But did you really hear him?And while you are at it,why not open up that Third Eye of yours and see what he is talking about?

Nixon:(stammering) But…what’s he know? He’s just a dope taking,womanizing…

Little Old Asian Man:You are stuck again.This time in your judgmental mode.Not allowing the many potentialities of Miles Davis to emerge.

Davis:Dig what the ancient one’s saying,Dick.Lighten up.Think of it as Zen and the art of being presidential.

Little Old Asian Man:Or non-attachment.It takes practice though.As they say,”Walking on water wasn’t built in a day”.

Nixon:You guys are talking nutty.You’re spaced out.

Little Old Asian Man:Spaced in is more like it.I know that you have traveled widely,but have you ever explored your own inner space?

Nixon:Contemplating one’s navel is not very presidential.

Little Old Asian Man:So try contemplating no space.Nothingness.That might be your middle path into the realm of Infinite Possibilities.Why not try it?

Davis:Remember you can always come back to the main melody.

Nixon:So how do I find this middle path?

Little Old Asian Man:You do not have to go to China or even Japan.Just sit still and quiet your mind.

(Nixon has finally stopped his nervous pacing.He sits at his desk.Back straight.Eyes closed.He looks almost peaceful.)

Nixon: I’m not sure that I understand;but it does feel good.

Little Old Asian Man:Ah!At last.Now,just rest in the present.Be here now.

Nixon:(hesitantly with a bit of a grumble)Okay.Okay.If you say so…

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