Romney’s run winds down

Concluding a cautionary tale

"The pundits say I lost the second debate.” Romney’s eyes watered. “But I really laid him low in the first one, didn’t I?”

Romney’s adviser shook his head. “He laid himself low, sir. You only looked good in comparison. Obama was off his game that first night.”

“You’re supposed to be on my side.”

The adviser tugged at the patch over his left eye. “I am sir, but you need to hear the truth.”

Romney sneered. “Truth? Who cares about truth?”

“The voters, sir.”

Romney barked a bitter laugh. “The voters? Forty percent of them are useless scum and a good many of the others are undecided fools waiting for television advertisements to tell them who to vote for.”

The adviser put his forefinger to his lips. “Careful, sir. You never know where a camera and recorder might be these days.”

“Things will change when I’m president,” Romney said. “We’ll get rid of all those doggone middle-class whiners and make the trains run on time.”

“Actually, sir, your budget calls for doing away with all passenger trains and the freight trains will be empty because with the loss of the middle-class there will be no one to buy the stuff they carry.”

“But I’ll still be president and Paulie will be vice-president. We’ll remake this country into a place where people like me and my family can live like the kings we are intended to be.”

“Some people would call that neo-feudalism, sir.”

Romney smiled and patted him on the shoulder. “Nonsense. It’s just the natural order of things. Paulie gave me a book to read by a guy named Ayn Rand that explains it all. It’s the first novel I’ve read since my freshman year in college and it made me want to read more. He’s a good writer.”

“Ayn Rand was a woman, sir.”

Romney waved a dismissive hand in the air an inch from the adviser’s face. “That can’t be. That novel was full of ideas. Women weren’t meant to have ideas; they should be busy bearing and raising children and supporting their men.”

“Nevertheless, sir, Ayn Rand was a woman.”

Romney’s face paled in shock as his knees buckled. He clutched his adviser’s arm for support. Easing Romney into a chair, the adviser fetched him a glass of caffeine-free diet cola.

“When I’m president, women will know their place in the order of things. There will be no more birth control and we’ll put them in jail if they have abortions. Paulie and his friends in Congress will see to that.” Romney rubbed his hands together. “I am so looking forward to signing that legislation.”

The adviser briefly closed his right eye and gulped, as if aware of the risk he was taking. “Actually sir, you might not win the election.”

There was a long silence as Romney slowly rose and walked to a window overlooking the seven-story garage he was having built. He slowly turned back toward the adviser, his face red, his eyes wide. “I could fire you. I would like to fire you. It would give me immense pleasure to fire you.”

“You can’t fire me, sir. Remember, I work for the Koch brothers.”

“Rats,” Romney said. “And anyway, I didn’t do as badly in that second debate as the pundits say. Yesterday, my son Tagg told Bill LuMaye on WPTF down in Raleigh that watching Obama Tuesday night made him want to jump out of his seat and rush down to the debate stage and take a swing at him. I’m sure lots of red-blooded American men felt the same way.”

“Still, sir, you’ll have to do better in the final debate. You need to make it seem as though you’re talking specifics about your plans without being specific about them. That’s the only way to convince undecided voters that you’re the man for the job.”

“To prepare for that we need to get the iCheney back,” Romney said.

The adviser shook his head. “The iCheney’s working for Scott Brown up in Massachusetts.”

“Scotty’s another good boy,” Romney said. “He has to beat the living daylights out of that woman if I’m to control the Senate and make sure the country’s wealth is secure in the hands of those of us whose mission it is to keep it safe from commoners. Women will be the ruination of this country if we continue letting them run amok.”

“My daughters are women, sir.”

“No sons?”

“Just daughters, sir. Three of them. Susan’s a physician and doing a Ph.D. in neurobiology at Jefferson Medical College. Mary’s a state senator in California and Yvette has a doctorate in engineering from RPI.”

“No sons, eh?” Romney almost touched the adviser’s back in pity. “My five children are all men. I wouldn’t have it any other way. All you have are girls? It must be difficult for you.”

“Not at all, sir.”

Romney gave him an uncomprehending look and clucked his tongue. A secretary entered the room, waving an envelope which she handed to the adviser. “Mail for you.”

The adviser excused himself and took it to his office. Opening it, he removed the patch from his left eye and studied the absentee ballot from his home town in Ohio. Putting an X in the box in front of Barack Obama’s name, he replaced it in the envelope, put a Forever stamp on it and gave it to the secretary to mail. Checking the images and sounds on his smart phone, he patted his American flag lapel pin containing the miniature camera and put the phone in his jacket pocket. Pulling the patch back over his left eye, he returned to Romney’s office.

“I have some good ideas about the next debate,” he said.

“Excellent,” Romney said. “I’ve got to be extra good this time.”

“Have no fear, sir. I’ll help you.”

Wilson Roberts retired from GCC in 2001. He is a novelist and mediator. He is a former president of the Greenfield Town Council and lives in Greenfield.

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