Friday, January 27, 2012

“Hamglaze: 2012”


c. 2012 Rod Ice
All rights reserved
(1-12)



Note to Readers: What follows here is the result of too many pots of coffee, and crashing in my chair at the Icehouse home office. Do not be alarmed or offended. Thank you.

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

Light snow settled over the parking lot as customers hurried to fill their vehicles before the next winter storm arrived. Inside, the crew busied themselves brewing fresh coffee and making sandwiches. By the front windows, local iconoclast Carrie Hamglaze was holding court. 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. “Not this time...”

Mack Prindl, editor of the Parkman Register, frowned intently.

“You don’t seem ready to sit on the porch!” he yowled.

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

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

Carrie stirred her tea, looking glum. “No, I won’t be quiet. There are lots of prayer meetings, luncheons, seminars, tree plantings and spaghetti dinners to attend…”

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?”

“Yes, indeed!” the driver said, adjusting his military cap. “We are looking for Mrs. Carrie O’ Malley Hamglaze.”

“Carrie?” the clerk laughed. “Well… she’s at her table, like always!”

The driver nodded. “Thank you.”

All three men walked across the store, in unison. Then, the driver and bodyguard stepped aside. Their passenger bowed, gracefully.

“Mrs. Hamglaze,” he said dramatically. “We meet again! May I join your group?”

Carrie was puzzled. She nearly spilled her tea. “Again? What do you mean?”

“I am Reince Priebus,” he continued, “Chairman of the Republican Party. Don’t you remember our meeting in May of last year?”

She wrinkled her nose. “Oh yes… but…”

“Haven’t you pondered your duty to the nation?” he asked. “America needs you!”

Carrie sighed loudly. “I thought you were an actor… maybe from the Geauga Lyric Theater Guild. My friends from the library put you up to this, right?”

Chairman Priebus was visibly irritated. “Please, Mrs. Hamglaze. This is not a prank!”

I put down my pen. “Really? Then why would a national party leader come to a fuel depot in Geauga County?”

He gestured like a college professor. “This part of Ohio represents the best of American values. You have talented elected officials on both sides of the aisle. Like Sheriff McClelland and Judge Diane Grendell. That is why I feel you can rescue us from the doldrums of 2012.”

“Doldrums?” I wondered out loud.

Mack stiffened in his seat. “No, I get it! Look at the GOP primary field. Romney is a flip-flop artist without genuine conservative principles. The Republican base won’t forgive him for supporting healthcare reform in Massachusetts. Gingrich is a loose cannon, even worse than in the 90’s. And recently, he’s been sounding like Michael Moore. Perry is a buffoon who evokes bad memories of George W. Bush. And Santorum is unknown. Not enough money or stamina for national competition.”

Chairman Priebus was unashamedly direct. “Umm… not exactly what I would have observed, but close enough to the mark.”

I grabbed my notebook again. “Isn’t that a bit harsh?”

Silence filled the room.

“Let’s be honest,” Priebus asked. “Will any of you be supporting one of these candidates in the fall?”

Mack snorted like a defiant bull. “I’m voting for President Obama! Again!”

“Sorry,” I replied after a pause. “It’s the Libertarian ticket for me.”

Carrie tugged at the brim of her red hat. “Well honestly, I haven’t made up my mind… though I like Senator Santorum.”

“Indeed,” Priebus responded. “A recent Fox News poll said that seventy-five percent of primary voters are still undecided. Even after Sarah Palin came out with an endorsement of Speaker Gingrich. It is obvious that the game has not yet been won.”

Mack celebrated like an athlete. “Your best candidates are sitting on the sidelines, like Governor Christie of New Jersey. Meanwhile, our friends in the ‘Occupy’ movement will tear Romney apart. It’ll be a slam-dunk for the president!”

Chairman Priebus looked tired. “That is why we need you, Mrs. Hamglaze.”

Rhonda cheered from her counter. “Yayyy Carrie! Hamglaze in 2012!”

I scribbled in my notebook. “What an incredible story. I could write about this for months. Maybe even publish another book.”

Mack grinned with sarcasm. “There’s no doubt that you could talk your way through a national debate, Carrie. Your mouth never stops moving.”

“Shut up, Pringle!” She hissed.

“That’s P-R-I-N-D-L!” he growled, forcefully.

Priebus stood up, suddenly. “Please say that you will consider my invitation seriously. I need your help, Mrs. Hamglaze. The Republican Party needs you. America needs you!”

Rhonda bounced up and down. “Carrie! Carrie! Carrie!”

Postscript: I woke up around midnight. The computer had slipped into standby mode. My coffee was chilly. Last week’s issue of the Maple Leaf waited on the desk. But I wanted to slumber just a moment more, to discover – would Carrie run for the nation’s highest office, or not?

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