MERLE HACKETT: The first finalist, an auto mechanic from Visalia, California.
KENDALL METZGER: the second finalist who works as a self-employed accountant from Round Lake Beach, Illinois.
ALLAN FINCH: A jolly, good old country boy salesman type who serves as the announcer.
ANNOUNCER: Awrright! We are here at the Finals of the 2006 ‘Beaver Craw Chewing Tobacco’ Rock-Scissors-Paper Championships at Caesar’s Palace. I’m Allan Finch and these here are your finalists, Merle Hackett, who hails from Visalia, California and Kendall Metzger, who comes all the way from Round Lake Beach, Illinois!
Tell me, gentlemen, what in tarnation motivated you to enter this here contest?
MERLE HACKETT: Well, I’ll tell ya, Allan, back where I come from, my family, friends and in-laws take Rock-Paper-Scissors very seriously. Every time we have a get together, we have our own tournament. We have a barbecue, a couple keggars—
ALLAN FINCH: [laughing] Listen, here, Merle, even though we have beer signs up everywhere, we don’t want to broadcast that, seeing that it’s family hour for most of our constituent’s homes. Let’s try that again…
MERLE HACKETT: Well, I’ll tell ya, Allan, back where I come from, my family, friends and in-laws take Rock-Paper-Scissors very seriously. Every time we have a get together, we have our own tournament. We have a barbecue, lotsa root beer, some chewin’ tabbacky and—
ALLAN FINCH: That’s Beaver Craw Chewing Tobacco, right?
MERLE HACKETT: No, actually, that’s Copenhagen snuff…
ALLAN FINCH: Cut! Cut! Listen here, son, this tournament is sponsored by Beaver Craw Chewing Tobacco. If they’re putting up a million dollars for first place and get a fancy place like this, chances are, they really, really don’t want to here the name, Copenhagen, anywhere on the broadcast! You get my drift?
MERLE HACKETT: Yeah, I see your point. But what about artistic integrity and all?
ALLAN FINCH: Artistic integrity? In a Rock-Paper-Scissors Contest? You’ve got to be jokin’!
MERLE HACKETT: Hey, I’ve grown up chewin’ Copenhagen snuff since I was 11 years old. I already compromised by taking that hat off and putting on one of yours, along with your T-shirt. I’m a genuine, dyed-in-the-wool, Copenhagen Snuff powered Rock-Scissors-Paper machine! Forgive me, Allan, but I don’t want to be a sell-out, you know what I mean?
ALLAN FINCH: That’s good and dandy, Mr. Hackett, but selling’s what we do. You see all those fancy lights, cameras, and this big, fancy hotel? The president of Beaver Craw saw fit to sink tons of money into this tournament so he could sell the shit out of his product, namely Beaver Craw Chewing Tobacco.
Now, if you have a problem with that, maybe you’ll scratch on a ‘technicality’ and we’ll get Bubba Cummings to replace you. Is your ‘artistic integrity worth dropping out of the championship, let your family down and all?
MERLE HACKETT: No, sir, when you put it that way! I read you loud and clear.
MERLE HACKETT: Well, I’ll tell ya, Allan, back where I come from, my family, friends and in-laws take Rock-Paper-Scissors real serious like. Every time we have a get together, we have our own tournament. We have a barbecue, a bunch of root beer and sodie pop, and some—um—Beaver Claw…
ALLAN FINCH: Beaver Craw!
MERLE HACKETT: Beaver Craw Chewing Tobacco! Sorry about that, sir!
ALLAN FINCH: That’s okay, Merle, ha, ha, ha! Just a little nerves, that’s all. Tell us more!
MERLE HACKETT: [laughing nervously] Needless to say, things can get really heated in our family competitions. In fact, last Thanksgiving, we had a few fist fights break out in the semi-finals between Jo Ann, my second cousin; Velma Marie, my sister, and Rex and Charles, who are twins. I mean, we take it real serious!
ALLAN FINCH: So, is this where you developed your competitive drive, Merle?
MERLE HACKETT: Yes, sirree. But, as good as I am, there’s at least thee others that can whup my butt in Rock-Paper-Scissors in my family. It’s just we figgered that being the first one in my family to go to college—I’m just a few credits shy of my associates—and being the most photogenic, I’d be the best one to represent the family—you know what I mean?
ALLAN FINCH: We here at Beaver Craw Chewing Tobacco really appreciate a humble, yet fierce competitor. Best of luck to you, Merle!
MERLE HACKETT: Yes sir!
ALLAN FINCH: And what about you, Kendall?
KENDALL METZGER: Honestly, Mr. Finch, I got into this to meet girls because I hardly meet them on the job. I don’t have a voice for karaoke and feel really awkward at a bar, but for some reason, when I get into a Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament, it’s as if I’m a different person. The thing is, I’ve discovered I’ve got a real gift at this sport.
ALLAN FINCH: And how are the girls treating you these days?
KENDALL METZGER: Oh, it goes without saying, Mr. Finch! I’ve got more girls than I know what to do with! In fact, I’ve got three lined up so far tonight after the championship round and I got me a ‘quickie’ just a few minutes ago—
ALLAN FINCH: Cut, cut! Damn it, son! Listen here, Metzger, this is a show watched by all sorts of decent folk, including lots of god-fearing families, seeing that it’s being broadcast over the Bible belt and all. You’re going to have to tone it down a bit.
KENDALL METZGER: But, I thought you asked—
ALLAN FINCH: I was asking in general terms, like you met a couple of nice girlfriends or something like that. God almighty, we don’t want to broadcast to grandmas, grandpas and kids everywhere that you’re doing groupies at a Beaver Craw event. Jesus, son, come on!
KENDALL METZGER: I’m sorry.
ALLAN FINCH: Son of a bitch! You’re sorry? Now, let’s do that again…
(By Juan C. Ayllon, Copyright 2006)