Z: Let’s fight about Measure B.
She: OK. Why?
Z: Because everyone else in town is. Besides, a good fight sounds like fun.
She: OK. Which side do you want?
Z: I’ll take the billionaire’s side. Maybe he’ll buy me a toy.
She: Wait a minute; he’s against tall buildings. You’re the one who’s always citing “height” as the best thing you bring to the gene pool.
Z: Absolutely, but that’s only because I’ve never really been chummy with a trillionaire. For that I could be anti-height.
She: You are such a whore! I hope you and your stupid measure both explode in a ball of flame!
Z: You’re very good at this arguing thing.
She: Thank you.
Z: My turn. Stop wrecking my city! Tall buildings are ugly, and they hurt a lot more when they fall over on you.
She: You elitist pig! You don’t want affordable housing in the city because then we’d be forced to live with people who actually work.
Z: We’re building a city of ugly canyons. Sure, the echoes are fun, but the Star Wars Canyon Runners create a traffic nightmare.
She: We’re just now, for the first time ever, pricing the working class out of Santa Barbara. Where will they live?
Z: Why don’t you and comrade Steve Cushman go back to communist Russia in the 1950s where you both belong!
She: And leave you to party with the Texas villain, the destroyer of democracy, Randall Van Wolfswinkel? I don’t think so, Sell-Out-Boy.
Z: Hmm. Does it seem to you like the argument over whether to limit building height has gotten a little hostile?
She: Not at all. What makes you say that? After all, building heights are the single most important challenge facing our community. They can’t do anything about gang violence, job loss, the escalating costs of health care or the struggling school system, but doggone it, let’s fight about how tall the tallest buildings are.
Z: There do seem to be a lot of outsize responses.
She: Starting with Van Wolfswinkel’s $250,000 and counting. What’s up with that?
Z: I’m guessing it was a math error. He meant to write the check for $2,500.00, but forgot where to put the decimal point. Don’t forget, he did go to Santa Barbara High.
She: Spoken like a true Royal.
Z: He was right in-between our two grades. That must have been the year they taught people how to become zillionaire developers instead of how to do math.
She: I knew I graduated the wrong year.
Z: Then there’s a whole world of knee-jerk responses to all that money. The dark insinuations are pretty funny, but I do have to take issue with everyone calling him a Texan. That’s just mean.
She: He lives in Dallas.
Z: But he was born and went to school here. The man’s a Santa Barbarian. If we can call Oprah a Santa Barbarian, then we can call Van Wolfswinkel a Santa Barbarian. By the way — Van Wolfswinkel from Dallas? — I’m starting to think his opposition even made up his name. Seriously, this is the best they could come up with? It sounds totally fictional.
She: I don’t remember him and I knew a lot of kids at Santa Barbara High.
Z: Could it be?
She: Maybe that’s why he’s not returning any reporters’ calls except for a few: he’s a fictional character who likes to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
Z: As long as those buildings are under 40 feet tall.
She: Yes, dear.
— When She and Z aren’t debating the most important political issues of the day, they can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.