BY JASON LAWSON
Jason Lawson lives in Main River, New Brunswick. Copyright is held by the author.
“THANKS AGAIN for letting us talk to you Mrs… um, what was your name again?” provincial candidate Dan Clark asked as he and his assistant exited a house and stood on the steps.
“Mrs. Thompson. And don’t forget what I’ve told you.” the little old lady reminded him.
“Mrs. Thompson. That’s it. Thanks again, and remember. Vote for Dan cause he’s the man. A car in every driveway, two chickens in every pot.”
“She was a nice lady.” Dan’s assistant Martin remarked as the door closed.
“Uh huh.” Dan answered as he fixed his hair, already heading towards the next house.
“And she had some pretty good ideas about what should be done around here.”
“Did she?” Dan wondered as he looked into a compact mirror and checked out his features. “I think I’ve got a few new grey hairs. Damn it.”
“Sir. Didn’t you listen to her views and complaints?”
“What’s the point Martin? Everybody has their own ideas about what should take place in government. What their candidate should do. If I tried to accomplish what everyone wanted, I’d never get anything done for myself.” He paused and looked down at his slacks and blazer. “And I think I’d like to get myself a new wardrobe once I’m re-elected.”
“So you don’t really care what anyone thinks?” Martin wondered as they continued along the sidewalk.
“Of course I do. As long as they’re thinking about voting for me. So I hypnotize ’em with great slogans and sayings. Promises and more promises. You know, the two chickens in every pot drivel. Once I’m back in office for another term, I could really care less.”
“That’s pretty awful sir.”
“So’s this next house.” Dan said as he looked at the seedy looking two story building. The white siding was missing in places. Some of the windows were boarded up and the shades were drawn in others. The lawn was overgrown and trash was strewn about everywhere. “I’ll really have to give them a pep talk in here.”
“Sir, weren’t you listening to anyone? Every single person on this street has complained about this house. People coming and going at all hours. There has to be something illegal going on here.”
“People coming and going eh? Potential for a lot of votes. You there!” Dan hollered at a young, scruffy looking man with many facial piercings who’d just exited the house. “Is your mother or father home?”
The youth looked at their briefcases and political buttons. “You with the church or something?”
“No, but if you’re over 18 and elegible to vote, we can have a church built on this street if you’re the religious type. Maybe even get you a job there as a janitor or an alter boy and get you a scholarship to go to theology college so you can become a minister.” Dan answered.
“What?” the kid rolled his eyes. “Uh well I’m only 16.”
“That’s okay young man. Is your mother or father at home?”
“Dad’s in prison and mom’s well, uh mom is…” he struggled to find the right words. “Mom’s kinda like a hoe.”
“You’re mom likes to hoe? That’s good son. And if she’s handy with a spade and a rake too I can get her a good job at a greenhouse. Maybe even get her a grant to start her own gardening business. Nothing sells like fresh vegetables in the city you know. She’ll make a fortune and have a great company for you to inherit.”
“Okay…” The young man started backing away like he was afraid of Dan. “You’re crazy man. I’m getting outta here.”
“That’s fine son. Have a good day. But is you mother at home?”
“I’m not sure! I don’t live here!” he hollered as he started sprinting down the sidewalk.
“Stupid kid.” Dan muttered. “I wish he would’ve said that in the first place. I just wasted precious time talking to him.”
“You’re not going in that house are you sir?” Martin asked nervously.
“Of course I am. Why, by the time I’m done here they’ll be voting for me and cleaning up this dump at the same time.” Dan said as he strode amongst the empty beer boxes and plastic bags. “Come on Martin. Time is money. And so are votes.” As quick as a cat the wiley politican climbed the front steps and knocked on the well-worn wooden door. “Anybody home?” he asked loudly.
“What’s the password?” a raspy voice asked from behind the door.
Dan thought for a moment. “Re-elect Dan Clark!” he said loudly.
“Wrong jackass!” the voice answered. “get lost!”
“How can I know the password if I’ve never been here before?” Dan wondered aloud. “Any ideas Martin?”
“Sir we should do as he says and get out of here.” Martin said as he started to tremble. “I don’t like this.”
“Nonsense.” Dan rapped hard on the door then turned the knob. “Just a few minutes of your time sir.”
Suddenly the door flew open and a large set of hands grabbed the two and yanked them inside. In an instant they were against a wall staring down the barrell of a very large, shiny handgun.
“You looking to get shot?” the man with the raspy voice asked as he pulled back the hammer of the firearm.
“Oh my god, we’re going to die!” Martin wailed as he slumped against the cracked gyprock.
Dan blinked a few times. “This isn’t so bad. Remember when I got caught taking bribes from the animal rights activists and the slaughterhouse at the same time? The butcher’s rifle was a lot bigger than this.”
“Shut up mouthpiece!” The man with the gun barked. “Are you two feds?”
“No sir. We’re provincial. We can offer you a lot more up close and personal hands on care than the feds ever could. For instance, you seem to have an issue with home security.” Dan stated as he pointed at the pistol. “What if I told you I could get you an interest free government loan to install a state of the art security system?”
The man’s eyes rolled in his head. “Are you some kinda nut job?” Suddenly, a knock came to the door.”What’s the password?”
“Freaky fried chicken.” a voice outside said.
“Come on in.” the man with the gun opened the door, then faced Dan and Martin again. “Don’t try nothing funny you two. Don’t move!”
A dirty, dishevelled, man with glazed eyes stepped inside. “Hey Commander.” he said to the man with the gun. “I need a $20 rock.”
“You got the cash Billy?” Commander asked.
“Right here.” Billy’s hands shook as he held out a $20 bill.
“Donations. That’s great!” Dan said as he reached for the money. “Donate to my campaign and I can get you a job at a rock quarry, an affordable house with asphalt shingles and a crushed stone driveway, all the rocks you’ll ever need.”
“Get your hands off that!” Commander hollered as he snatched the twenty and opened up a desk drawer. “He wants a crack rock you idiot!”
“Sir!” Martin hissed. “This is a crack house!”
“You’re not kidding.” Dan agreed as he looked around the room. “The walls are cracked and so is the ceiling. We got to promise this guy some government sponsored renovations if we’re ever going to get his vote.”
“Vote?” Billy half-mumbled. “Are you some kinda politician?”
“Yes sir. Dan Clark at your service. And I’d like your vote.”
“I do dope. All the time. Want my vote? Legalize drugs.”
“We’re way ahead of you Billy. I’m going to make drugs as available as drive through coffee. Haven’t you heard any of my campaign slogans? A kilo in every garage with two crackheads smoking rocks. Ask not what your crackhead can do for you, but what you can do for your crackhead!”
“Wh..what?” Billy stammered. “That’s too fast man.”
“Here’s your rock Billy.” Commander passed him a baggie. “Now get the hell out of here.” He slammed the door and faced the duo. “And as for you two lunatics, I want $500 and your sworn silence about my business or I’m going to blow the two of you away.”
“Hold on just a second there.” Dan said as his face fell. “I take bribes. I’m not in the habit of giving them. How bout you donate $500 towards my campaign and I’ll get you one of those get-out-of-jail-free cards? I got a judge in my corner.”
“Are you insane?” Commander blurted. “Okay, you two asked for it! Get ready to eat some lead!”
“Wait! Hold on!” Dan begged. “I’ll give you the 500 bucks.”
“No good. I can see the only way you’ll shut up is if I whack you.”
“How bout 1000 dollars? And my secretary. She’d love pimping herself out. I’ll even throw in a drug sniffing dog that’s retired from the force!”
“What the hell do I need a drug sniffing dog for?”
“Let’s say you do a little too much smoking. You might lose your stash. The dog could find it for you and bite anybody who doesn’t pay up. Course, he doesn’t see that well anymore. That’s why he’s retired. But I hear there’s a new government optical program coming out that the dog may qualify for as he used to be a provincial employee. Can dogs wear glasses Martin?”
“Everybody down on the ground!” A voice roared as the door was smashed in. The room was instantly filled with a dozen policemen. Commander, Dan and Martin were all cuffed and dragged out into the street.
“Unhand me!” Dan hollered as two burly officers dragged him towards the back of a patrol car. “Don’t you know who I am?”
“I don’t know and I don’t care.” One of the cops grunted. “We’ll figure that out down at the station.”
They threw him into the back of the car next to Martin who was sobbing uncontrollably. “What’s wrong with you?” Dan asked.
“My life is ruined! I’ve been arrested in the company of a known felon. I could go to jail!”
“Oh relax. You didn’t have any drugs on you. We were just campaigning. This will all blow over.” He smiled as he tapped on the plexi-glass window that separated the front of the car from the back. “Excuse me officer.”
“What do you want?” the cop snorted as he put the car in gear.
“I want your vote. You look like a hard working police officer. How would you like to be promoted to seargant with a desk job and all the perks? No, better yet, a job with the justice department. Something cushy and high paying. Your own company car with all the perks.”
Martin shook his head and moaned.