Party Planning

November 1, 2016

“Alright, so we’ll put the bobbing for gherkins bucket over here,” Jacob said to Rock, who dutifully wrote that down on the pad of paper he was carrying around.  He looked up as Lucy marched through the conference room that they had rented for their election night celebration.  “Hi, dear.”

“Jacob, what the hell are you doing?” Lucy said, looking around the room.

“I’m planning my election night watch party.  It’s going to be a blast.”

“Not if you lose.”

Jacob shrugged, and pointed to the fully stocked bar.  “That’s what that is for.”

“It’s a week until the election.  You’re supposed to be campaigning.”

“Campaigning is boring.  This is more fun.”

“It doesn’t matter if it’s boring.  You have to do it.  It’s part of being a candidate.”

“Lucy, now who’s being naïve.”

“I never said anything about naivete.”

“Whatever.  Take a look around,” Jacob said, proudly gesturing to a room that would have made Caligula blush.  “When people see what I’ve created, they will come.”

“Is that an orgy pit?”

“You don’t want my party to be lame, do you?”

“I want your party to be appealing to the mainstream public.  There may be a middle ground to find between lame and orgy pit.  Like, I don’t know, maybe serve really big food or something.”

Jacob paused for a moment, then shrugged.  “We have baby-sized burritos.”

“So, you did want to go with the burritos then, and not serve the guests actual babies, correct?” Rock interjected.

“Hmm…,” Jacob hummed.  He thought for a moment before Lucy answered for him.  “Burritos.  For the love of God, burritos.”

“And if we’re going to serve the burritos, we may want to move the “Pin the penis on Donald Trump” game away from the bathrooms,” Rock suggested.

“Good thinking,” Jacob said.

“The what?”

“The party game I made up.  You know.  To mock my opponent for having a small wang,” Jacob said.  “It’s basically like pin the tail on the donkey, but you have to find the penis first, because it’s small.  And also green.  I imagine he has a lot of diseases.”

Lucy shook her head.  “I’m not sure you should be making fun of your opponent’s genitalia.”

“Right.  I agree.  That’s why we just have a couple more of those, and then we’ll move on.”

“Move on now,” Lucy said, grabbing the planning sheet from Rock.  She looked over, then looked up.  “Why do you have religious observances planned for 9:30?  I’ve never known you to be religious.”

“I’m not.  But it’s a tribute to my roots.  An homage to that cult I used to belong to.”

“Jacob, that was a church.  It wasn’t a cult.”

“They were totally a cult.  They actually believed in this guy named Jesus that rose from the dead.”

“That’s not a cult.  It’s a mainstream religion with over half the country following it.  Get over your atheism, you arrogant prick.”

“Really?  Alright.  They were pretty nice, now that you mention it.  Plus, the virgin sacrifice and barbeque they held every weekend was a lot of fun.”

“Wait, virgin what?”

“Alright, nothing to do now but sit back and wait for the results.  Rock, let’s get this party started.”

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The Town Hall

October 22, 2016

“And that’s the real issue here,” Jacob said, turning away from the questioner and facing the rest of the crowd as he made whatever point he thought he was making.  “Liberals are using Susan Sarandon and Rosie O’Donnell to turn our Christian kids gay.  And when you look at Rosie O’Donnell, I have to say, who can blame them?”

“Um, Mr. Stanton, the question was what would you do to protect our water supply from contamination from big corporations,” the original questioner said.

“Yeah, and that question was stupid, so I answered a different one.  You really think corporations have nothing better to do than sit around all day and plot how to contaminate the drinking water of some dumpy middle aged chick?  That’s dumb.  You’re dumb.”

“Well, no, but without proper regulation, they might think it more cost effective to cut corners with regards to environmental protections.”

“Blah, blah, blah.  Why does she still have a microphone?  She’s practically putting me to sleep here,” Jacob said, shaking his head and turning to a man in the second row.  “Yeah, you.  You want to ask me about something I actually know and care about, or are your concerns stupid too?”

The man stood up and cleared his throat, which all people asking questions in town halls seem to do for some reason.  At least in fictional town halls.  “Mr. Stanton, as a father of two young children, I want to know what you are going to improve our failing schools.”

“First off, I asked for a question, not your life story.  Nobody cares about your fat, ugly kids.”

“My kids aren’t fat.”

“Whatever.  Secondly, this is an issue I’m very passionate about, and an area I know a lot about.  I love schools.  I go to schools all the time.  It’s where I meet most of my girlfriends.  And boyfriends.  The nice thing is at that age it doesn’t make much of a difference.”

“Uh, what?”

“Overall, our schools are fantastic, but there are areas they could improve.  Security, obviously, is one area.  Another is sex education.  It needs to start much earlier, because those first graders are awful at it.  By third grade, they’re usually alright, at least in the poorer areas.  Now, America’s best and brightest can compete with any students in the world, alright?  The problem with our educational system is the retards.  And we have a lot of retards.  So, when you’re asking about how to improve the educational system, what you’re really asking is how we get rid of the retarded kids.”

“So, you’re talking about improving funding for special education programs?”

Jacob laughed.  “No.  We certainly aren’t going to throw more money away.  No, I think what we need for the less academically gifted children is something more like vocational training.  Get them around a lot of electricity, farm equipment, and other heavy machinery.  Sooner or later, I figure the problem will take care of itself.  One final question.”

In the back, a young woman stood up.  “Mr. Stanton, during the course of this town hall meeting and the campaign in general, you have proven repeatedly that you don’t respect the average voter.  Why should Americans vote for you when you clearly have such a low opinion of them?”

Jacob sneered.  “Please.  You think any of the other candidates respect the average voter?  We all think average Americans are idiots.  Hell, most Americans think the average American is an idiot.  If most voters think all other voters are stupid, why would you expect the candidates to have a higher opinion?  The only difference is that at least I’m being sincere about it.  I’m not going out and plastering on a phony smile and acting like I want to shake your hand or kiss your baby, which, by the way, looks exactly like every other goddamn baby.  I hate you, you hate me, and the important thing is that we, as Americans, all come together to hate each other.  That’s what this election is all about.  Thank you, and good night.”

The Interview

October 12, 2016

“Now, as you know, this show prides itself on helping our viewers become more informed and active in the political process by exposing them to a wide range of guests who toe the liberal line,” said Neil Neilserson, the talk show host I just made up.  “To that end, I’d like to welcome our next guest, presidential candidate Jacob Stanton.”

Jacob went on stage, waved to the crowd, then shook the host’s hand and gave him that phony hug that guests always give late night talk show hosts.  Then they did that stupid faux joking around shtick and Jacob sat down.

“How are you this evening, Mr. Stanton?” the host asked.

“I’m good, Billy,” Jacob responded.

“The name is Neal,” the host said, spelling his own name wrong and apparently not realizing that he was an unimportant side character only added to advance the plot and that his name could be changed by the narrator on a whim and was now Dickhead McDickerson.

“Whatever,” Jacob said, also not caring about Cockhead’s name.

“So, did you have a good trip?” asked the host.

“It was alright, but traffic was a little backed up on the bridge coming in.”

“Oh, yeah, there was a fire on it about a week ago.  I think they’re still down to one lane.”

“It’s a pain in my ass.”

“Well, the important thing is that nobody got hurt.”

“I don’t know,” Jacob said.  “That’s what they said about 9/11.”

The host stared at Jacob for a solid minute.  “What?”

“Yeah, well, you know.  That’s what they said after the 9/11 attacks, but then years later all these people start developing emphysema or some shit.  So, it turns out that people did get hurt after all.  It just took time to realize this.”

The host stared at him for a good minute.  “Moving on.  Now, your campaign was recently hit by some controversy in the form of a twitter war, is that correct?”

“See, I told you.  Gotcha journalism,” Jacob said, standing up and ripping his microphone off.  “I come on your show, and you bust out the ambush about all the prostitutes I’ve slept with.  You people make me sick.”

“Uh, Mr. Stanton,” the host, Billy Bilsonhost or whatever, said, “your campaign manager specifically asked us to bring that up.  The whole reason you’re on this show is to give you an opportunity to address this issue.  Remember?”

“Oh, right,” Jacob said, sitting back down.  “What were we talking about?”

“Your twitter fight with an alleged prostitute.”

“Not alleged.  She is a prostitute.  Anyway, she was all on twitter, talking about our relationship and claiming that I hadn’t paid her the last time.”

“And of course, since there was no relationship, this offended you,” the host said, completing Jacob’s thoughts.

“No, that’s dead wrong, actually.  Of course we had a relationship.  Who hasn’t used at least one prostitute at some point in their life?”

“A lot of people, I would imagine.”

“And it’s possible I didn’t pay her.  I will admit to that.  I was so high on so many drugs that night, I don’t think I knew which way was up.  But I always make good, eventually.  There are like three girls, all through the same agency, that I like.  I’m obviously not going to torpedo my relationship with them.  I mean, what am I going to do?  Have sex with my wife?”

“Uh, agency?”

“Right, well, these are some high end girls.  It’s not like I was banging some Lady Gaga lookalike on the street corner.  They have agencies, so they were going to get paid eventually.  But then she starts running her mouth about having a sex tape with me.”

“And this upset you?”

“Well, the fact that she had the tape, no.  I knew that.  After all, I’m the one who sent it to her.”

“Really?”

“Sure.  I sent one out to everyone last year.  I was wearing a Santa hat, so I sent those instead of Christmas cards.  I got one, Rock got one, my wife got one.  Shit, I think I even sent one to great aunt Bernice, and I don’t even have a great aunt.  I just sent it to some random old lady in the nursing home.”

“Okay,” said the host, taking a deep breath, “so what was the problem then?”

“First off, she called the sex tape ‘Bill Cosby-esque’.  It was nothing like a Bill Cosby sex tape.  She was conscious the whole time.  Secondly, she was releasing an abbreviated version.  It was like five minutes long.  That’s slander.  I can’t have people thinking I’m some sort of minute man out there.”

“I understand,” said the host, though he didn’t.  He just thought it would make things go smoother to say that.  Scumbag media.  “After all this, why should people still vote for you?”

“Come on, nutsack.  Voters know they can’t trust Hillary.”

“Why not?”

“Bitch is left-handed.  How can you trust someone who’s left-handed?  You know who else was left handed?  Hitler.”

“I don’t think there’s any evidence to support either of those assertions, and even so, it would be irrelevant.”

“That’s exactly what I would expect from the leftist media’s propaganda machine.”

“Either way, there’s still Donald Trump.”

“Jason, Jason, Jason,” Jacob said condescendingly, shaking his head.  “You know he’s hiding something.  Now I’ve released my sex tape.  Everyone knows the size of my cock.  He won’t release his.  What’s that tell you?”

“He doesn’t have a sex tape?”

“Or it isn’t as big as he says.  Either way, he can’t be trusted until he releases his tapes.  I’ve released mine.”

“A prostitute did, but anyway, that’s all the time we have.  A special thanks to our special guest, Mr. Jacob Stanton.”

The Twitter War

October 5, 2016

“Jacob, what the hell is this?” Lucy said, walking into the campaign office and sliding a laptop across the desk to her husband.

“It would appear to be a computer,” Jacob said, obliviously.

“No, I know that.  Look at what’s on it.”

Jacob sighed, picked up the laptop, and walked it over to his desk.  “Be careful.  I don’t want you dropping it,” Lucy said as Jacob carried the laptop with one hand.

Jacob scoffed.  “Lucy, relax.  I’m not going to drop it.  I’m always careful.”

“Really?” Lucy asked.  “Because you dropped our oldest son twice when he was a baby.”

“That’s different.  This has all my documents and stuff saved on it.  I won’t drop this.  This is important.”

“And our child isn’t?”

“We can always make another child.  Do you have any idea how long it would take me to replace everything I have saved on here?  At least two or three hours.  I can make a child in like ten seconds.”

“Yeah, ten seconds for you.”

“Right, ten seconds for me.  That’s who we were talking about,” Jacob said, opening the laptop and looking at the screen.  “It’s a twitter account.  So what?”

“It’s your twitter account.”

“Right.  Again, so what?”

“So what?” Lucy said, scrolling down and pointing out a few of the tweets to Jacob.  “So what are these last few tweets?”

“Some woman said something that was untrue, and I responded.  What’s the problem?  I thought that’s what a candidate was supposed to do.”

“Yeah, to legitimate issues from legitimate sources.  This woman was a prostitute.”

“Is a prostitute.”

“You can’t allow your campaign to be sidetracked by late night twitter wars with prostitutes.”

“What was I supposed to do?  Ignore her?”

“Yes.  Absolutely.  No one was paying attention to her to begin with.  If you had ignored her, everybody would have forgotten about it by now.  Instead, you go on a late night twitter rant, and now it’s all anyone is going to talk about for the next week.”

Jacob reached out his hand and touched Lucy’s shoulder.  “Lucy, someone leveled a criticism of my campaign, and I responded with a measured, thought-out response.”

“You said she was a ‘fat whore with the Grand Canyon between her legs, if the Grand Canyon had herpes and also were a vagina instead of a geological formation.’  Do you see what the problem is?”

“I think so,” Jacob said, thoughtfully.  “It should have been ‘was a vagina’, right?”

“No.  Maybe.  I don’t know,” Lucy said.  “The problem is that you shouldn’t be drawing out negative news stories like that.  Simply don’t engage.  It takes away from your message.”

“Yeah, but I don’t really have a message.”

“Well, you have damage control to do.  I’m going to try to schedule you on a late-night talk show.”

“No,” Jacob said, drawing the word out in a whiny voice the way a drunken five-year-old would.  “Not one of those cookie cutter late night shows that pushes a textbook liberal agenda under the guise of shitty comedy.”

“There aren’t any other kinds at the moment, so you’re kind of out of options,” Lucy said taking her phone out of her pocket.  “Besides, they’re all softball interviews anyway.  What are you afraid of?”

“They’re going to play ‘gotcha’ journalism with me.”

“’Gotcha’ journalism?” Lucy said, shaking her head.  “What’s that, exactly?”

“You know.  It’s where they ask you questions and expect you to answer them.”

“Right, I’m making the call,” Lucy said, dialing and holding the phone to her ear as she walked out the door.

The Slogan

September 28, 2016

“Alright, now that we’ve developed a platform, we need to come up with a slogan,” Lucy said, tapping her fingers on the table.

“What?” Jacob said, confused.  “I don’t remember coming up with any platform.  Or really, even having a coherent political thought, for that matter.”

“I did it last night.”

“Where was I while you were coming up with my opinions?”

“Sitting on a barstool, drinking.”

“See?  That’s leadership,” Jacob said, clapping his hands.  “I effectively made sure that everyone was doing what they were best at.  Put that down for your slogan.”

Lucy shook her head.  “What?  Stanton 2016: He can sit on a barstool and drink?”

“I’d vote for him,” Rock said.

“Right.  The competition may be weak this year, but it’s not that weak.  I was thinking something catchy, like an acronym or something.  Something short, concise, and easy to remember.  Some word or phrase that summarizes what our candidate is all about.”

Jacob and Rock thought for a moment.  Suddenly, Rock sat up, as if he’d had an idea.  “I’ve got it.  Beer.”

“Beer?”

“Yeah, beer. It’s awesome.”

Lucy stared at Rock expectantly and shook her head.  “How is beer a good political slogan?”

“It’s an acronym.”

“Really?  What’s it mean?”

Rock paused.  “Wake the fuck up, see what’s going on, and vote Stanton.”

“Wow.  You are really bad at acronyms,” Lucy said.

“Well, I don’t really know what an acronym is.”

“Clearly.  Look, do you guys have any ideas, or am I going to have to do this myself?”

Jacob thought for a moment.  “Vote Stanton.  If Hillary isn’t good enough for Bill, she isn’t good enough for America.”

“What about Trump?”

“No fat dicks.  See, it’s clever, because it’s like no fat chicks, but with dudes.”

“I got it.”

“It will appeal to feminists.”

“How?”

Jacob shrugged.  “I don’t know.  By reducing men to sex objects?  Feminism seems to be all about how turnaround is fair play.”

“Are you sure, Jacob?  Until a week ago, you didn’t even know what feminism was.  Are you sure it’s not just that you wanted to make a fat joke?”

“It’s not about that,” Jacob said defensively.  He sighed.  “It’s partially about that.  But only partially.”

“Really?  What’s the other part of it?”

“I’m not that creative and couldn’t think of anything else.”

“Right.  We’re not going with either of those things.”

“Why not?”

“Why not?  Because they are both clearly below the belt, and will only serve to alienate the people you are trying to attract.”

“No, no, no, it’s okay.  The attacks may be unfair and below the belt, but it’s alright because I don’t agree with their political views,” Jacob explained.  “If I’ve learned one thing from watching Jon Stewart and other late night comics, it’s that it’s okay to treat people unfairly and attack them personally if you disagree with them politically.”

“Right.  We aren’t going with that.  Come up with something else.”

“Lucy, I have to insist,” Jacob said.  “It’s my campaign, and I’m standing by my slogan.”

“You’re standing by ‘no fat dicks’?”

“It works on so many levels, and at the end of the day, it’s the principle of the thing.”

Lucy shook her head, rightfully confused.  “What principle?”

Jacob shrugged.  “I don’t know.  I thought that was just something people said when arbitrarily standing by something stupid.”

“How about Stanton: He’s more drunk than terrible,” Rock suggested.

“Stanton: He knows how to shut up,” Lucy chimed in.

“Stanton: He only gave crystal meth to children that one time,” Jacob added.

“What?  I’m not sure that’s something we should be emphasizing.  In fact, it seems like one of those skeletons in the closet we should probably address.”

“No, no, it’s cool.  There were extenuating circumstances.”

“What extenuating circumstances could there possibly be?”

“I was trying to fuck one of them, and I thought she’d be easier if she were insanely high.”

Lucy shook her head.  “We’re going to scrap that last one.  But I think we may be making progress.  We’ll take ten minutes then reconvene.”

 

The Platform

September 21, 2016

“Wow, Jacob, this place is actually looking really great,” Lucy said as she looked around Jacob’s new campaign office.  “I’m impressed.”

“What, you didn’t think Rock and I were capable of establishing a simple campaign office?” Jacob asked, defensively.

“Jacob, we’ve been married for fifteen years.  Of course I didn’t.”

“Looks like you underestimated us, huh?”

“No, I’d say I estimated you pretty accurately.  You just over-performed.” Lucy looked around the office.  “It was bound to happen eventually.  Frankly, I’m surprised it took this long.  Is it possible I’ve actually been overestimating you two this whole time?”

“Not at all,” Rock said.  “It’s amazing what Jacob and I can accomplish when we sober up for a while.”

“So I suppose there’s no chance of that happening again?”

“Honey, it’s a campaign.  A conversation with the American people.  I need to be able to talk with them on their level,” Jacob said, taking a sip from a coffee cup.  “I gots to have my stupid juice.”

“Right.  Anyway, let’s get to work.”

“Great,” Jacob said, clapping his hands like a trained seal.  Everyone knows trained seals make the best candidates.  “Let’s make some robo-calls.”

“You take 111-111-1111, I’ll take 999-999-9999, and we’ll meet in the middle,” Rock said, picking up a phone and dialing.  “We ought to be able to have this knocked out by lunchtime.”

Lucy put her finger on the receiver, or whatever you call the little hangy up thingy, and shook her head.  “There’s so much wrong with what you guys just said I don’t know where to begin.”

Rock shrugged.  “Just jump in.  Like eating a pear.  It doesn’t matter where you start, you have to cover it all eventually.  At least, that’s what Nancy does.”

“Alright,” Lucy said.  She took a deep breath.  “First off, there’s no way you two, working alone, could dial all those numbers by noon.”

“So we’ll take a late lunch.  Maybe not go until twelve-thirty.”

“That isn’t the point.  You still couldn’t do it.”

“One?”

Lucy shook her head.  “Let’s table this aspect of the conversation for now.  Second off, you don’t make robo-calls.”

Jacob laughed.  “Well, who else is going to make them.  We don’t exactly have a huge staff here, what with you not letting us pirate your company’s resources and what not.  It’s not like we’re going to record a message and auto-dial people.  That’s just going to turn everyone off.”

“Finally,” Lucy continued.  “You aren’t even close to being ready to campaign.  Do you even have a platform yet?”

Jacob looked at Rock, then back at Lucy.  Before he could say a word, Lucy cut him off.  “And before you say anything, I don’t mean a raised surface from which to speak.  I mean a list of policy proposals and positions.”

“Yeah, I know,” Jacob said.  He looked at Lucy incredulously.  “You really thought we were going with a platform pun there?  Wow, you really don’t have any confidence in us.”

“Sorry.  Just seemed like low-hanging fruit, is all,” Lucy said.  She looked expectantly at Jacob and Rock.  “Well?”

“Well, what?”

“Do you have a platform?”

“We have the centerpiece.”

“Let’s hear it.”

“Coed, communal showers.”

“What?  Just, I’m sorry, what?”

“Yeah, we’re going to give states and local jurisdictions money to build coed, communal showers.”

“Why?”

Jacob and Rock looked at each other as if neither had anticipated this question.  To be fair, they probably hadn’t, but they really should have.  Eventually, Jacob shrugged.  “Could be cool.  Especially if we put kegs in them.”

“Right,” Lucy said.  “Look, Jacob, you’re going to need serious ideas, not jackass ones.  How are coed showers going to address poverty, or the budget deficit, or address any of the social problems in this country, such as racial tensions or gun violence?”

Jacob shrugged.  “Naked people don’t got guns.”

“Do you have any serious positions on anything?”

“Not really.”

“Right.  So let’s start by developing a set of positions on the issues facing the country,” Lucy said, opening the laptop she had brought with her.  “Abortion.  Let’s just get that out of the way.”

“Oh, that’s easy,” Rock said.  “We’re pro-abortion.”

“Great.  Pro-choice.  I’ll just write that…”

“No, no, no.  Not pro-choice,” Rock said adamantly.  “Pro.  Abortion.  I think she should get the abortion.”

“I’m sticking with pro-cho…wait a minute.  Rock, who is she?”

“Hmm?”

“You said ‘she’ should get the abortion.  Who is ‘she’, exactly?”

Rock hesitated for a moment.  “People.  People should get abortions.  For, uh, population control.  Yeah.  Population control.  Controlling the populations of little Rocks.”

“Right.  We’ll table this for now,” Lucy said.  She turned her attention to Jacob.  “Look, Jacob, you need to take this seriously.”

“I am.”

“Which means not joking about abortion.  It doesn’t matter what position you take, either way, 10% loves you, 10% hates you, and 80% doesn’t want to talk about it, but you have to at least act like you’ve given it serious thought.”

“But I haven’t.”

“I’m aware.  That’s why I said ‘act’.  As in, no jokes.”

“Lucy, you know me.  I’ll joke about anything.  I could be in a terrorist attack, or a school shooting, and my guts would be hanging out, and I’d be like ‘at least this will make it easier to lose weight’.  If life’s going to suck, it might as well suck in a funny way.”

“Mm-hmm.  School shootings and terrorist attacks are also things you shouldn’t joke about.”

“What about fat people?” Rock said, jumping in.  “Can we joke about them?”

“I wouldn’t.  In fact, I’d steer clear of offending anyone unnecessarily.”

“When are we building the showers?”

“We aren’t,” Lucy said.  “Look, you need to have something to campaign on.  And that means developing a platform that isn’t…”

“Gay?” Rock asked.

“Not the word I would use.”

“Dude, our platform isn’t gay,” Jacob said.  “Now, granted, the part about the all-male orgy is kind of gay.”

“What part about the all-male orgy?” Lucy asked.

“Have you been paying no attention this entire time?” Jacob asked.  “The communal showers, dude.  What do you think the point of them is?  It’s so the whole neighborhood can get together and bang.  Why else even have a shower?”

“But I thought they were coed?  Where are you getting the all-male part?”

Jacob arched his eyebrows at Lucy.  “You really think women are going to want to use a shower filled with a bunch of horny creepers?  Now who’s being unrealistic?”

“Alright.  Well, before we do anything, we going to have to develop a platform that isn’t asininely stupid.” Lucy looked at Jacob and Rock.  “We may have a lot of work to do.”

 

 

 

Jacob’s War Room

August 14, 2016

“Jacob, what the hell is this?” Lucy said as she walked into the conference room at her company.  Scattered around were a bunch of to go coffee cups, a whiteboard, and like twenty landline telephones, none of which were plugged in, save for the preexisting one in the middle.  “I’ve been getting complaints about you all morning, and now that I finally get the time to come in here, I see those complaints are fully justified.”

Jacob shot Lucy a confused look.  “Um, have complaints against me ever not been justified?”

“Anyway, what gives?”

“It’s our war room,” Rock said proudly.

“War…room?  For what?” Lucy asked.  “Who are we going to war with?”

“Lucy, don’t you know anything about politics?” Jacob said, condescendingly, for some reason.  “That’s what they call the center of a campaign.  We’re going to war with, you know, them.”

“Them?”

“You know, the other candidates.  The Republic and the Democratic people.”

“Jesus Christ, Jacob, you can’t even remember the names of the nominees,” Lucy said, shaking her head.  She took a deep breath and rubbed her temples.  “You can’t be serious about this.”

“Hello?  Didn’t you hear my speech last night?”

“I heard it.  You just didn’t say anything coherent.”

“Well, I was pretty plastered,” Jacob said, taking a sip from his coffee cup.  He looked around the room with satisfaction.  “We’re off to a pretty good start today, though.  Look at all the phones we have.”

“Yeah, about that,” Lucy began.  “Bethany said you took her phone.  And I’ve received a number of other complaints saying basically the same thing.”

“Haven’t you ever seen a campaign headquarters?  They have a shit ton of phones.”

“You can’t use company property to run your campaign.”

“Why not?”

Lucy sighed.  “Do you want the explanation where it violates federal law or the one where it undermines the company and costs us money?”

Jacob shrugged.  “Meh.”

“Give the people back their phones.  Bethany needs hers to do her job, as does everyone else.”

“She’ll manage.”

“She’s a secretary, Jacob.  She can’t very well do, well, almost any part of her job without a phone,” Lucy said.  She picked up the line of one of them and held it in her hand.  “Besides, these aren’t even plugged in.”

Jacob and Rock shared a laugh.  “Lucy, phones don’t need to be plugged in.  What is this, the 1930s?”

Lucy rolled her eyes.  “You two have no idea what you’re doing.”

“So?  Isn’t that all life is?” Rock asked, faux-philosophically.  “A bunch of people walking around on a big green marble with absolutely no idea how they got here or what they’re doing?”

“Deep, Rock.  Now put the phones back.  And clean up these coffee cups.”  Lucy looked around the room.  “Why the hell are there so many coffee cups?”

“Duh.  A campaign runs on coffee,” Jacob said.

“There are two of you.  Why do you need, god, there’s got to be at least twenty coffee cups in here?  And you don’t even drink coffee.”

“Well, this is mostly whiskey.”

“You’re drinking a coffee cup of whiskey?  At work?”

“Correction,” Rock interjected.  “We’re drinking twenty cups of whiskey at work.”

“You don’t even work here.”

Rock hiccupped.  “I do now.  I’m the campaign manager.”

“No, you’re not.  Because there is no campaign.  At least not here.”  Lucy looked from Rock to her husband and sighed.  “This isn’t going to be one of those things that just goes away, is it?”

“Not likely,” Jacob said.

“Fine.  First off, no company property or resources are to be used.  Set up your office elsewhere.  If you need time off, though, you can have it.”

“Really, honey?  Thanks,” Jacob said.  “You’re the best.”

“Yeah.  It’s not like you really do anything around here anyway.  Second, do you guys have anything resembling a plan?”

Jacob and Rock looked at each other.  “We hadn’t really gotten past the phones and coffee cups,” Jacob said.

“It was my idea to put whiskey in the cups,” Rock said, beaming with pride.

“That’s why you’re the campaign manager,” Jacob said as the two fist bumped.

“Do you have anything?  A slogan, a platform?”

“Yes.  I came up with a slogan this morning,” Jacob said excitedly.  He paused for dramatic effect.  “Hillary…is Hitler.”

Lucy stared at him for a few, long, moments.  “Hitler?”

“Brilliant, isn’t it?” Jacob said, failing to pick up on Lucy’s not so subtle body language.  “It’s alliterative, and people don’t like Hitler.  If I compare the two of them, people won’t like her.”

“Yeah…I’m not sure comparing someone to Hitler is the way to go.”

“You think people like Hitler?”

“I think it just makes you look crazy.”

“So?”

“You know what, let’s just table the Hitler conversation for now.  Let’s take this step by step, alright?” Lucy said, clapping her hands.  “So, step one is?”

Jacob shrugged.  “If you’re scrapping Hitler comparisons, I’m at a loss.  That was kind of the one thing we had going for us.”

“Right.  Step one, give everyone back their phones.  Think you two can manage that?”

“Maybe.  I think we can,” Jacob said slowly.  “Except for David.  He’s a dick.  Fuck him and fuck his phone.”

“Right, so give me David’s phone.  I’ll give it to him,” Lucy said.  “Then step two, I want you two to clean up the coffee cups in here.”

“Whiskey cups.”

“Whatever cups.  Just get rid of them.  Alright?”

Jacob and Rock sighed.  “Fine.”

“Good.  Then after that, take the rest of the day and look for a proper office.  Hell, take the week.  Whatever,” Lucy said.  “Just find some place that isn’t here, isn’t company property, and get your office set up.”

“Okay, then what?” Jacob asked.

“Baby steps, Jacob.  Just focus on what I’ve laid out before you.  Once you manage to get all this taken care of, tell me.  We’ll take it from there.”

 

 

Presidential Announcement

August 12, 2016

“What is this crap?” Jacob asked as he stared at the TV in his favorite bar, where he had joined his wife, Lucy, and their best friends, Nancy and Rock, for a couple of drinks to celebrate the coming of the weekend.  He clutched his beer and stared at the screen with a look of disgust on his face.

“It’s called the news,” Lucy said, sitting next to him.

“Man, and you say the stuff we watch is stupid,” Rock said.  He turned to his wife, Nancy, and shook his head.  “Do you really like this junk?”

“I don’t like it, necessarily, but it’s important,” Nancy said.  “It’s election coverage.  One of those two is going to be our next president.”

“What?” Jacob said, rolling his eyes drunkenly.  Or maybe it was stupidly.  Or both.  It could be tough to tell with him.  “You mean one of those two nitwits is going to be our president for the next, I don’t know, forever?”

“Four years, maybe,” Lucy said, correctly identifying the term of office for president.

“Well, it’s going to seem like forever.”

“Jacob, you remember when you said George W. Bush was the worst president ever and it was going to feel like an eternity before he left office?”

“Yeah.  And it has been forever with that class retard as president.  Look at how far our country has gone down the drain.”

“Jacob, he hasn’t been in office for eight years.”

“Really?  But everything isn’t better.”

“I still can’t believe people voted for him.  Bunch of toothless rednecks, voting stupidly,” Rock said, shaking his head.  “Americans are dumb.”

“It’s been twelve years since he last won an election,” Nancy said.  “I think it might be time for you to let that one go.”

“Seriously, though, I wouldn’t worry too much about it,” Rock said.  “It’s only temporary.  Nothing lasts forever.  Hell, even that soccer riot we started only lasted about six days.”

“Yeah, but I spent four of those days in jail, so I didn’t get to enjoy it,” Jacob said.  “And four more years of this crap is too much after Bush, the last president who it’s cool to criticize un-ironically.”

“Wait, you started a soccer riot?” Lucy asked, since this is not a fact that normal people gloss over.  “Why would you do that?”

“What do you mean?  Because we were at a soccer match,” Jacob said.  “We had to do something.”

“And in fifteen years of marriage you never thought to maybe mention that you were involved in a soccer riot?”

“Not involved in.  Started,” Jacob corrected his wife.

“And why didn’t you tell me about the soccer riot?”

Jacob laughed.  “Honey, we were in England at the time.  The proper term is football riot.”  He turned his attention to the television.  “Though if the orange guy wins, I may go back.  I don’t want to live in a country run by an overgrown oompa loompa with small hands.”

Rock finished swallowing his beer and wagged his finger at Jacob.  “Hey, you can’t call him orange.  The proper term is Valencian-American.”

“And cool it with the small hands comment.  This is a presidential election.  We don’t need you to be making cheap dick jokes,” Nancy said.  “Anyway, I wouldn’t worry about it.  I’m pretty sure Clinton is going to win.”

“Wasn’t Clinton already president?” Jacob asked.

“You’re thinking of her husband.  This is Hillary.  Her husband, Bill, was president for eight years.”

“Then she has already been president?”

“Pretty much, yeah.”

“My point is,” Jacob said, forgetting that he didn’t really have a point, “that neither of these people is fit to be president.”

“You’re right,” Rock said.  “There should be another choice.”

“You mean like Gary Johnson or Jill Stein?” Lucy asked.

“No, I mean like Jacob.  Jacob, you should run for president,” Rock said.  “Think about it.  You can run for president, and I’ll be your campaign manager.”

The other three laughed, thankfully recognizing what a stupid idea this was.  “I can’t see the two of you being politically involved in any way,” Lucy said.

“What do you mean?  I volunteered in an election once,” Rock said.  “I’d help people vote.  People who were disabled or required assistance would come in, tell me they wanted to vote for Bush, and I’d pull the lever for Kerry.  It was a lot of fun.”

“Really?”

“No.  I mean, yes, I volunteered, but I didn’t defraud anybody,” Rock said, taking another sip of his beer.  “Well, I defrauded a lot of people actually, but it wasn’t politically motivated.  It was just if they were rude, or smelled funny, or talked too much, or at all really, then I’d vote the opposite way to the way they wanted.  Mainly because I thought it was funny.”

“You know what, Rock, you make an excellent argument,” Jacob said, putting down his beer with determination, I guess.  I don’t really know how you put down a beer with determination, but there it is.  “I will run for president.”

“What?  Why would you even consider that?” Lucy asked.

“Exactly the reasons that Rock laid out.”

“You think it will be funny?”

“Exactly.”

“Jacob, this isn’t a joke.  You’re completely unqualified to be president.”

“Then he’ll fit right in this race,” Rock said, before standing up and clinking his glass.  This type of drunken proclamation would normally have been annoying, but they were used to Rock’s shenanigans by now.  It still embarrassed the shit out of Nancy, though, which is pretty funny.  “May I have your attention please.”

“God damn it, Rock,” Nancy said, shaking her head and hiding in her hand.

“Tonight I have the pleasure of announcing our very own presidential candidate.”

“Your husband is at it again,” Lucy said, smirking at Nancy.

“A man who I’m proud to call my friend.”

“Knock it off, now,” Nancy said, tugging at Rock’s shirt.  Rock ignored her.

“A husband, a father.  A successful businessman.  Well, semi-successful.  Well, he works for his wife’s company and shows up for work.  Usually.”

“Relax, Nancy, I think the whole bar is used to it by now,” Lucy said, reaching out and grabbing her friend’s arm.  “Just sit back and enjoy the show.”

“A man who, I’m not ashamed to say, is a much smarter man than I.”

“You should be, Rock,” Nancy said, shaking her head in sad resignation.  “You should be ashamed to say that.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Jacob Stanton.”

As Jacob got up to give his speech, Nancy looked across the table at Lucy.  “You think they’re serious about this?”

Lucy shrugged.  “Why not?  A political movement started in a bar?  What could go wrong?”

“Lucy…”

“Relax.  You know how these two are.  They’ll have forgotten about it by morning.”