Work at the Statehouse stalled yesterday when members of the House became locked in what one observer called “a Gordian knot of prayer.”

Before yesterday’s session began, Democratic and Republican politicians huddled — as they have each day since the short session began on Jan. 5 — to pray. This time, though, their huddle turned into a gridlock that no one could escape.

“It was very strange,” said Ralphie Deckard (R-Seyford). “One minute we were praying with our arms locked and hands on each other’s shoulders and whatnot and when we were done praying to Lord Jesus Christ, we, uh, we just couldn’t get out of our crowd.”

“I turned one way,” recalled Halson Mackary (D-Bedmore), “and there was Bob [Dolsoney, R-Evansfield] and I turned the other way and there was Olive [Nelsonson, R-Greenvilleton] and it was like nobody could move enough to let anybody out.”

One legislator, who requested anonymity, likened the inextricably knotted group as “the victims of some weird, Escher-style dimension.”

Local physicists and metaphysicists were called in, but none could solve the mystery.

Ever more fervent prayers didn’t seem to relieve the gridlock; in fact, as panic among the group increased, the Lord’s name was taken in vain by certain legislators.

“We were scared,” Deckard admitted, “though I don’t recall anyone cursing.”

The situation was finally alleviated when a crane was brought in. By lifting out a few key members from the center of the prayer huddle, the crowd was able to dissipate.

One political intern was overheard to say, “It was like a diabolical moshpit.”

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