I was a reader as a little kid and I read all the time. I was voracious and pretty much devoured books, as many as a dozen a week. My mother firmly believed in letting me read everything, without any kind of censoring. And so, once she had a near-to-violent confrontation with a local librarian who had refused to let me read stuff that wasn’t in the “children’s” section of the library. I was 9 or 10 and the librarian had placed the adult section “off-limits” to me.
I remember my mother standing there, furious (she didn’t get mad much or often) yelling (she didn’t yell, either): “YOU WILL LET MY DAUGHTER READ ANYTHING SHE LIKES. YOU WILL NOT CENSOR MY DAUGHTER! SHE’S SMARTER THAN YOU ANYWAY. HOW DARE YOU!” Amazingly, it worked. She was definitely physically more imposing when she was enraged.
Now, about “Epitome.” I had read the word in books, but I had never heard it in a sentence, so when I finally used it, I call it eppy-tome. It was a conversation stopper as everyone tried to decipher what it was I was trying to say.
Finally, someone said “Ah. You must mean epitome.” And so I learned that the emphasis is on the “pit” rather than the “tome.”
I also called Tucson, Arizona “Tuckson.” Another case of not connecting the pronounced name “TOO-sahn” with the printed Tucson. Now you can look everything up, including pronunciation, on the internet, bu we didn’t have an internet. And anyway, if you don’t know you’re pronouncing it wrong in your head, why would you look it up?
I stood there by the side of the highway, hands in the air as the masked bandit grabbed the gold shipment. Now the bastard was demanding any personal property belonging to passengers which might be worth selling.
I was pissed. Really mad. Steal all the corporate gold you want, but I don’t have anything extra to help fund your wacky adventures as a highwayman.
I balked. “How about this?” I cleverly asked, proffering forth my favorite gardening fork. With the matching spade and trowel. He was not having any of it.
I suggested he do something painful and probably anatomically impossible. I could see his rage mounting.
It was all delay on my part. We were just outside of Tombstone. I knew the Earps were going to be on their way, if not to save us, then to steal from the bandits what they’d already stolen.
The meeting of the secret Political Action Committee formed by the King Brothers was about to conclude and no one was happy. Two years earlier they had planned to capture the Congress and then the Presidency. As luck would have it, they also saw the possibility of controlling the Supreme Court as well.
“Just imagine it,” Chauncey King said to his brother before the meeting, “we could control all three branches of government. If that old guy did not drop dead at our resort last month, he would have given us what we needed.” They still hoped to delay the next justice until they could actually influence the appointment.
While the Political committee had done a great job in the off-year election, their negative messages were beginning to backfire. They had been telling the public for years that Washington D.C. was a problem and the President’s party had to go. Why should it be a surprise when people began to hate the workings of capitol politicians, including many of their special, pet congressmen.
Worse yet, the few they felt they could support for President were well behind in the polls and dropping out one by one. A rogue candidate, not of the regular party, was leading in the caucuses and primaries by using the very negative rhetoric the King Brothers had been trying to perfect.
Over the past years, as the economy improved, the King Brothers dispatched their favorite politicians and “news reporters” to claim that things were still bad. When gas prices went down, they blamed the President for lack of oil exploration. When the stock market improved, they claimed the business climate was bad. There was no positive story that they could not spin in a negative fashion. As the country got better, they convinced people through campaigns and political “reporting” that things were worse than ever.
Now an outsider was taking over the party, contrary to their original scheme. It did not seem the King Brothers and their billionaire friends could buy him off. They also could not find a candidate strong enough to overtake the front-runner. This meant the good old boys at the meeting could not be convinced to get behind just one candidate. They had a LOT of money to spend on the campaign, just where should they spend it? No candidate delighted a majority of the committee.
Rather than invite everyone back to a penthouse party as originally planned, the King Brothers said good night and headed to their suite at the elegant Wilford Washington Hotel. Others headed to their rooms or left for other accommodations in the nation’s capitol. They were all in the top one per cent and could stay at the finest places.
Cal Rhodes, architect of the Congressional strategy just two years earlier, was pacing the penthouse floor when the King Brothers arrived. The brothers could tell by his demeanor that Cal was not pleased. They had seen this look after debates and primaries, so they knew things were not well.
When the campaign for President started, the boys felt they could manipulate a young Senator into place. He was handsome and made a good first impression on people. With some well placed ads, they thought he could charm his way to the top. However, he could not stand up to the bombast of the front-runner and a few others and was forced to drop out when he got crushed in the primary of his home state. Other candidates the brothers felt they wanted also dropped out, and they certainly did not like what was left at the top of the Leader Board.
“We might as well drink the Pierre Jouet,” Chauncey said of the wine that had been perfectly chilled while the meeting was taking place. Derrick agreed and a servant, standing at the ready by the wine bucket, brought over two glasses.
“You should give Rhodes one too,” Derrick instructed. “It looks like he needs it.”
Since the frontrunner of their party was not to their liking, Rhodes had developed a new strategy and the boys approved. They dispatched the previous party candidate, as well as some well-chosen spokesmen, to go forth and try to prevent the leader from gaining enough delegates to win the nomination.
“A brokered convention will suit us well,” Derrick stated. “We could even bring back one of the guys who has previously dropped out. We just need someone to sway opinion. Truth doesn’t matter, you know, just victory.” With that, they toasted and ordered another glass of the expensive French wine.
When Rhodes returned to the room after watching the latest speech of the front-runner and reading his tweets and social media proclamations, he stopped for more of the precious liquid from France. He needed a large gulp before reporting the latest.
“So,” Chauncey started, “how does Mr. Bombast like our latest strategy? Perhaps he sees we can deny him a first ballot victory at the convention.”
Rhodes looked rather pale and did not exactly know where to start. “Well, it does not seem to bother him at all. In fact, he told his supporters tonight that if he does not get a first ballot victory at the convention, he expects civil unrest not only outside the convention hall, but inside as well.”
Derrick set his drink down and stared at his brother for a long moment. Their well crafted plan had blown away like a sand castle in a wind storm. Finally he said, “Well Dr. Frankenstein, now what?”
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