Schaefer's away, and both Rogers come to play


Good Roger and Bad Roger were going through their social calendar and noticing they were free for the rest of the millennium.

"We never get invited to parties," Good Roger said. "And that's because people know you always try to steal the silverware."

"Nonsense," Bad Roger said. "We were invited to participate in the Columbia Festival of the Arts until they got cold feet."

"Columbia withdrew your invitation when they decided to ban vulgarity," Good Roger said.

"I am a performance artist!" Bad Roger shouted. "All I wanted to do was take off my clothes, walk into the festival backward, bend over and announce that I was a Parker House roll!"

"And I can't imagine why they found that vulgar," Good Roger said, rolling his eyes. Good Roger can be very sarcastic when he wants to be.

"It's Old Man Rouse," Bad Roger said. "He's against all nudity. I hear he showers in his union suit."

"Wait a second," Good Roger said, flipping through the day's mail. "This is an invitation to the governor's mansion!"

"It's probably a bill made up to look like that," Bad Roger said. "Merchants are getting very clever."

"No, no," Good Roger said. "Listen to this: "William Donald Schaefer, Governor of Maryland, and Hilda Mae Snoops, Official Hostess for the State of Maryland, request the pleasure of your company at a Buffet Reception."

"It's a trick," Bad Roger said. "It's a sting operation. You show up and they arrest you for back taxes. I saw it on 'America's Most Wanted.' "

"Don't be silly," Good Roger said. "It's a real invitation, with gold .. embossing and everything. One thing about it is a little odd, though. The reception is being held while the governor is away in the Far East."

"In that case," Bad Roger said, "I'll go."

Good Roger put on his blue suit and polished his shoes. Bad Roger wore the same Adidas jumpsuit he always wears, the purple and gold one with the zippers, but he did agree to change the oil on his hair.

Good Roger drove. Bad Roger's license has been suspended for driving too fast on a sidewalk.

"All the stories are true!" Bad Roger yelped, when they pulled up to the mansion. "Hilda Mae has cut down every single tree! She didn't leave a flower or a bush! Not even a single blade of grass still exists!"

"Relax," Good Roger said. "This is the parking lot."

Although it was just a few minutes after 6 p.m., there was already a long line of people waiting on the mansion walkway. Just inside the doorway, Mrs. Snoops shook everyone's hand and spoke to each person briefly. Rumors of her demise seem greatly exaggerated.

"If I may be so bold," Good Roger said to her, "you look lovely tonight. And thank you for inviting us."

"What's to eat?" Bad Roger said.

Good Roger elbowed him in the ribs. "Say something nice," he whispered.

"Uh, you need anything cut down," Bad Roger said, "I got a chain saw in the trunk."

In the dining room, a group of people surrounded a long table piled high with food. There were only a few public officials and media types present. The crowd seemed made up largely of ordinary citizens who had been invited to enjoy their state's mansion for an evening.

Good Roger talked to some people who had been invited because they had written letters to their localnewspapers defending Governor Schaefer.

"Which accounts for the small crowd," Bad Roger quipped. He thinks he is very droll. He practices in front of a mirror.

A woman came up to Good Roger and Bad Roger an introduced herself. "I am Nora Linkins," she said. "I am known as the Oyster Lady of Anne Arundel County. I would like to show you this photograph." She took a photo from her purse, of two clouds that formed a cross. "I took that photograph on Dec. 7, 1989, over by the Fort McHenry Tunnel," she said.

"I admire the sincerity of your feelings and I wish you the ver best," said Bad Roger.

Good Roger was stunned by this display of good behavior. "I' very, very proud of you," he told Bad Roger.

Bad Roger then walked over to where some state troopers were standing. "Keep an eye on that dame," he said. "I think she may have lost touch with her home planet."

Just before dessert was served,Mrs. Snoops made a little speech and was very funny. Then she introduced a few people and said she was feeling fine and that everybody "should live for today and not worry about what tomorrow might bring."

Then Don O'Brien, the media conglomerate from Channel 2 and 92 Star-FM, got up and told a bunch of jokes and introduced his radio partner, Wendy Corey.

Afterward, Good Roger spent some time talking to O'Brien about urban life, politics and the future of the media in America. Bad Roger spent some time trying to look downWendy Corey's dress.

"You make me sick," Good Roger said to him later. "Don't you realize Wendy Corey is a brilliant, talented and fully realized human being in her own right? Don't you realize that what you were doing amounts to sexual harassment?"

"What I realize," Bad Roger said, "is you wear a dress like that, you expect guys to look down it."

Later, as they drove home, Good Roger grew philosophical. This is why very few people will ride with him.

"I was just thinking about what Mrs. Snoops said about living fo today," Good Roger said. "I think she meant we should live each day to its fullest, making the most of it, whether it is helping another person or just taking the time to tell the people close to us that we love them."

"Naw," Bad Roger said. "I think Mrs. Snoops meant we should be wild and crazy and do the things we never did because we were afraid of getting caught. Which is exactly what I did tonight."

"You didn't!" Good Roger gasped.

"Yep," Bad Roger said. "Stole a fork."

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