THE SCENE A battlefield. It is irrigated by Colorado River water, which will be valuable if the General succeeds in getting Thomas R. Bard back into the Senate on rubber shoes.
On one side, the Times fort. On the other, the Herald ruin. Enter an ambulance. Enter Thomas R. Bard in the ambulance.
BARD: Sometimes I think that although Frank Flint [soon to be named U.S. Senator by the Legislature (the first from Southern California)] has a hard name, he has a soft snap. But the General has made me come out to the battle, and if I dont catch a worse cold than I got the night that no one would listen at Hazards Pavilion, I am not attached to the Otis chariot wheel. Thats all, I hope. Exit Thomas R. Bard.
The General sticks his head out of the Fort. Frank Finlayson sticks his head, the red badge of courage, out of his decaying pile. Harry Chandler rushes up to watch the pile.
OTIS: Good morning, Frank. How much money did the Herald lose this week?
FINLAYSON: Good morning, General. You ought to know better than I.
OTIS: When shall the fight begin?
FINLAYSON: Six of my subscribers are here. When the other one comes, let us begin.
ENTER A MESSENGER.
MESSENGER: Is there anybody here named Otis?
OTIS: My son, there is a very influential person of the name of H.G. Otis. Speak respectfully or youll get on the blacklist.
MESSENGER: My father sent me down to tell this fellow to quit sending the Herald to our house.
OTIS: Huh! There goes our Heralds seventh subscriber. Frank, lets fight.
The battle begins. From the Herald relic comes a rapid fire of blank cartridges and blank advertising contracts.
FINLAYSON: Keep up the good work, men. Use more of those advertising contracts. We have plenty in reserve. Throwing them away is the only way we can use them.
OTIS: What ho! Look over there on the horizon. See those men coming this way.
FINLAYSON: I pray that they are coming to the support of the Herald.
OTIS: Grim war is no time for such bum jests. Save them and put them in your comic supplement, where theyre needed. If anybody comes to the support of the Herald, its me.
FINLAYSON: Fire low and hard, my brave men. Aim at that roundhouse over there.
AN EXCITED SOLDIER: That aint no round house. Thats the General.
FINLAYSON: Then dont aim at it.
OTIS: Be careful over there about what youre shooting. Dont use any bullets. You know I never did like bullets.
CHANDLER (aside): This is costing too much money.
FINLAYSON: Charge, my men, charge!
THE MEN: Whats the use? We charge all we like, but nobody pays us.
OTIS: Treason, treason. I pay you, and you know it.
FINLAYSON: May it please the court and gentlemen of the Jury. I want to go home.
HIS ARMY: Sir, let us volunteer. You need a guide to show you the way home. Well go with you. Well take you right into Otis office. Thats where you live. Anyway, wed rather be over there.
ONE OF THE SOLDIERS: I only get $11.25 a week in the Herald army. Harry Chandler has offered me $11.35.
OTIS: Chandler must be affected by the heat.
FINLAYSON (jumping out of the Herald shell before it caves in): General, you have fought bravely. Let us have peace. Ill give you my sword. Please give me my money.
OTIS: Peace has its con games no less renowned than wars. The war is over. When Im secretary of war, Ill call another one.
CHORUS: Well all be so old then that they wont let us fight.
OTIS: Whats that to you? Ive been in wars before this, and I never became demented enough to fight.
Otis and Finlayson shake hands. Chandler shakes down an advertiser or two. The gramophones bleat and