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The Shutdown: Trick Or Treat Edition

This article is more than 8 years old.

Scene: A suburban house on Halloween, shortly before dark.  Two men walk to the front door and knock.  A woman answers…

Woman: Can I help you?

Man 1: Hello ma’am. We’ve come for your things. Oh, and trick or treat!

Woman: I’m sorry? My things?

Man 1: Yes, ma’am.

Man 2: Your TV, laptop, maybe some jewels.

Woman: I don’t understand.

Man 1: We’re burglars, ma’am, but instead of breaking in and getting what we want the traditional way, we thought it would be best to negotiate with you about what we’ll take.

Man 2: Yes. We’re willing to compromise.

Woman: But…what? These are our things. Why would we give them to you? If you want things go out and buy them yourselves.

Man 2: Are you saying you won’t even negotiate?

Woman: Negotiate? About what?

Man 1: Ma’am, as we explained, we’re perfectly willing to compromise, but if you won’t even negotiate with us we’ll have no other choice than to shut you down.

Woman: Shut us down?

Man 2: It’s Halloween, ma’am. No trick-or-treaters in, no candy out.

Woman: You wouldn’t!

Man 1: We don’t want to, but you’re giving us no choice. Be reasonable. All we’re asking for is a compromise.

Woman: This is absurd. The law is the law. You have no right to any of our things. Compromise? About giving you our legally-purchased things? This is absurd.

Man 1: Have it your way.

A van appears. Several men get out and wrap yellow tape emblazoned with elephants around the house. Just then a large group of trick-or-treaters approach.

Man 1: Sorry, kids. We’ve approached these people with a very reasonable request, and they won’t even sit down to negotiate with us. So we think it best that we shut them down.

Trick-or-treater: But they give the best candy in the neighborhood! And the most!

Man 1: I understand. But they’ve shot down every one of our attempts to have a serious discussion about a reasonable compromise. They’ve brought this upon themselves. And all of you are victims of their arrogance.

The trick-or-treater crowd grows larger. Some trick-or-treaters in soldier costumes push against the tape but it holds fast. They glare at Man 1. He walks back to the house.

Man 1: How about if I let you give candy to just the trick-or-treaters in soldier costumes?

Woman: But I don’t think it’s fair to pick and choose who gets candy and who doesn’t!

Man 1: I don’t understand why you keep rejecting my sincere attempts to make this situation work for everyone. It’s like you think you know what’s best for all of us…

Woman: YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO ANY OF OUR THINGS AND NO STANDING TO NEGOTIATE!

Man 2: Now, now. Stubbornness isn’t going to get us anywhere. That’s what’s caused this whole situation.

A TV satellite truck pulls up to the house. A reporter and a cameraman clamber out. They talk to some of the trick-or-treaters, then to Man 1 and Man 2. The Woman leaves the house and walks toward them. The reporter sees her.

Reporter: Whose fault is this?

Woman: His. (Pointing at Man 1.)

Man 1: Her’s. (Pointing at the Woman.)

Reporter: How come you both can’t reach some sort of compromise that will make these trick-or-treaters happy? Shouldn’t they be the top concern?

Man 1: That’s all we’ve asked for. I want these kids to get their candy.

Woman: So do I!

Reporter: And yet there they are with no candy.

Man 1: If she was only willing to negotiate we could have avoided all of this.

Woman: But…there’s…nothing…to…negotiate!

The reporter and cameraman move away to set up their live shot. The cameraman counts 3, 2, 1…

Reporter: A sad situation today that left a lot of trick-or-treaters with empty baskets and broken hearts, all because two parties couldn’t resolve their differences…

This program aired on October 3, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

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