A long-overdue meeting between Gov. Paul LePage and Gary Alexander, president of The Alexander Group:

LePage: I’m not going to beat around the bush here, Gary. I’m very, very disappointed in you. This administration agrees to pay you close to a million bucks for a blueprint to reform Maine’s welfare system and all you give me is 228 pages of pure plagiarism?

Alexander: I understand you’re upset, Governor. But into each life some rain must fall.

LePage: You understand I’m upset? One minute I’m building my whole re-election campaign around the work you promised and now I’m afraid you may have cost me a second term!

Alexander: Governor, if I might, the only thing you have to fear is fear itself.

LePage: What the hell were you thinking? We’ve been waiting for months for this report – we even extended the deadlines – because we thought you were compiling all the ammunition we’d need to escalate our war on welfare. And you spent all that time cutting and pasting other people’s work?

Alexander: Sir, I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.

LePage: I don’t even know what that means. Speak English, for crying out loud!

Alexander: All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances.

LePage: Oh yeah? Then which do you think this is, Parrot Boy, your entrance or your exit?

Alexander: Like my momma always said, Governor, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

LePage: You realize that all of Augusta is laughing at me. Do you have any idea what it’s like to step out that front door each morning to pick up the newspaper – which I never read, by the way – and hear an entire city snickering behind my back?

Alexander: Ask not what Augusta can do to you, Governor. Ask what you can do to Augusta.

LePage: Wrong. What I’m asking for are some answers to exactly how this happened.

Alexander: You want answers?

LePage (shouting): I want the truth!

Alexander (shouting back): You can’t handle the truth!

LePage (rising from his seat): You have 10 seconds to rephrase what you just said before I throw you out on your ear.

Alexander (flustered): Umm, let’s see … oh yeah: Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal …

LePage: Time’s up.

Alexander: I know you’re angry, which is perfectly understandable because these are the times that try men’s souls.

LePage: You’ve got that right. Keep talking.

Alexander: I also know that for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.

LePage: Lucky? Your reputation is toast, your so-called report is at best a door stop and even the tea partiers want you tarred and feathered. How does that make you lucky?

Alexander: Easy, sir. Look on the bright side! The sun will come out … tomorrow!

LePage: I’ve gotta tell you, sometimes with you I feel like I’m talking to a wall. You’ve got an answer for everything, but it’s almost as if your head is so full of other people’s stuff that it crowds out your ability to communicate your own thoughts.

Alexander: You mean, like, “Houston – we’ve got a problem?”

LePage: Exactly.

Alexander: Well, Governor, some people look at things the way they are and ask, “Why?” I dream of things that never were and ask, “Why not?”

LePage: Things like plagiarism?

Alexander: I prefer to call it “imitation.” Did you know it’s the sincerest form of flattery?

LePage: Hmmm … I thought the sincerest form of flattery was having someone kiss my butt. Anyway, we need to talk about your fee. We’ve paid you just over half a million for this pile of moose dung. According to your contract, we still owe you another 400 grand. What do you have to say about that?

Alexander: Show me the money?

LePage: I’m thinking more along the line of Donald Trump.

Alexander: Sir?

LePage: You’re fired.

Bill Nemitz can be contacted at 791-6323 or at:

bnemitz@pressherald.com