Wednesday, June 01, 2011

“Hamglaze for President”


c. 2011 Rod Ice
All rights reserved
(5-11)




It was a quiet evening at the Get Go in Chardon.

A light rain dribbled over the parking lot. Inside, the crew busied themselves brewing fresh coffee and making sandwiches. Meanwhile, local iconoclast Carrie Hamglaze was holding court from her seat by the front windows.

A small group of people circled her chair. They were spellbound, and listening intently to every word.

“Geauga has the same needs as every other county in the nation,” she proclaimed. “Jobs for its citizens. Safe neighborhoods. Good schools. And leaders who can visualize our future…”

Applause resounded throughout the store.

I scribbled in my reporter’s notebook. “So Carrie, does that mean you are once again running for office?”

Laughter echoed around the table.

“No,” she whispered, bowing her head. “Those days have passed.”

Ezekiel Byler-Gregg, editor of the Burton Daily Bugle, frowned intently.

“I don’t figure you’re ready to be put out to pasture!” he said.

Rhonda Ronk, who was working at the counter, shook her head with disbelief. “I don’t believe it either! You won’t sit still for long, Mrs. Hamglaze.”

I agreed. “It isn’t in your nature, friend.”

Carrie stirred her tea, looking glum. “No, I won’t sit still. There are lots of meetings, luncheons, seminars, and spaghetti dinners to attend. But my call to public service has faded…”

Outside, a black limousine parked next to the building. The driver and a bodyguard exited first, both dressed in long, dark coats. Then, their passenger stepped out, into the night. He smiled upon seeing those huddled by the front windows.

Without a word, the trio walked inside.

Rhonda was dutifully polite as the men passed her workstation. “May I help you?”

“No,” the driver said roughly.

His passenger gestured a greeting. “But… the woman sitting at your table can help us… and help America!”

Our group stopped talking.

“Do I know you gentlemen?” Carrie said with suspicion.

The limousine occupant chuckled softly, while brushing moisture from his coat. “Let me introduce myself. I am Reince Priebus. Chairman of the Republican National Committee.”

Gasps filled the air.

“May I sit with you for a moment?” he inquired.

Rhonda hurried over with an extra chair.

“I’ve heard a lot about you, Mrs. Hamglaze,” the chairman reflected. “Most recently after you were photographed with Governor Kasich at the Rock Hall…”

“Yes,” she replied. “It was a great evening. But how does that bring you here?”

Mr. Priebus folded his hands. “It’s no secret, really. Our field of candidates for the 2012 presidential election is dreadfully thin.”

Ezekiel nearly spilled his coffee. “Hey, ain’t that a poor attitude for a fellow in your position?”

The chairman sighed loudly. “No, it is a realistic attitude. Mitt Romney carries the millstone of his health care reform in Massachusetts. Newt Gingrich was never people-friendly, even in the 90’s. Huckabee and Palin are having too much fun engaging in punditry for Fox News. And most people have never heard of Mitch Daniels or Tim Pawlenty.”

“What about Michele Bachmann?” Carrie wondered out loud.

“Please!” Priebus exploded. “Let’s get serious.”

“What about Ron Paul?” I interjected.

The chairman cleared his throat. “Ahem! A nice fellow, but too Libertarian. He’s our conscience, so to speak. A pure conservative. But someone who will never win a national election.”

“Okay, okay,” Rhonda shouted from her counter. “Then why are you here talking to Mrs. Hamglaze?”

Priebus extended his hand. “I have come to ask that you consider running next year… for the office of president!”

Carrie snorted her tea. “WHAT???”

Ezekiel slapped the table. “Hey, I kinda like that idea!”

My face went red. “Carrie Hamglaze? Versus President Obama in 2012?”

More gasps could be heard throughout the store.

Priebus was insistent. “You have charisma, passion, and experience in the political realm. Plus the kind of realism people expect in the Midwest. We need that in the White House.”

“Not to mention a good dose of Irish charm,” Ezekiel grinned.

Rhonda wiped a tear from her eye. “President… Hamglaze!”

Carrie was almost speechless. “Are you joking?”

The chairman leaned closer. “Not at all. The GOP is in trouble. Even with Tea Party protests, out-of-control spending, high gasoline prices, and a weak economy, President Obama will be a formidable candidate in the next election. Voters perceive both parties as being stale and phony. We need to shake things up… you could do that and win!”

Everyone began to cheer. “Carrie! Carrie! Carrie!”

Priebus stood up, suddenly. “Please don’t mention my presence here to anyone. But I ask that you consider this offer carefully, Mrs. Hamglaze. America is waiting!”

The trio disappeared without another word.

I dropped my notebook. “So, what just happened?”

Ezekiel stroked his beard. “I’m not real sure…”

Rhonda started a fresh pot of tea. “What happened was we just got to see history being made. Congratulations!”

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