Friday, February 8, 2008

Rusty Pails #13
Beans and Politics

by Rocky Macy

The Tuesday special at the Spit ‘n Whittle Café is always brown beans and cornbread. Finer eating can’t be found anywhere!

Judge Rufus T. Redbone and I were holed up in the corner booth last Tuesday discoursing on the times as we each downed our second bowl of the house specialty. The Judge, a marvel to watch in any situation, can shovel beans and spit out slander with the most seasoned of politicians.

“Rusty,” the Judge said as he pushed aside his empty bowl and wiped the bean juice from his chin with a paper napkin, “there’s something I’ve been meaning to talk to you about.”

Sensing that I was about to be tapped for a political donation, I began to mentally rummage through my file of hard luck stories. “Oh?” I responded, stalling for time.

“Me and some of the boys around town have been talking, and we think maybe you could be pulling a bigger share of the civic duty around here.”

“Now wait just a durned minute!” My pot was beginning to boil. “Old Rusty’s a good citizen! I heed the laws – leastways the important ones! And I always pay my taxes – sooner or later!”

“What we want,” he said calmly, “is for you to run for mayor of Sprung Hinge.”

When my power to speak returned, all I could think of to say was “Where in tarnation did you ever come up with a dumb idea like that?”

“Nothing dumb about it, Rusty. We figure you’ve got more friends than just about anybody in town.”

“And I’d like to keep ‘em, too.”

“There’s no pay, so it won’t affect your tax status.”

“Well, I don’t think…”

“You don’t have to! All the mayor does is sign proclamations and hand out keys to the city. Why,” the Judge continued, “any fool could do it!”

“Then I’m qualified.” I smiled at the Judge, trying to impart the notion that I was warming to his proposition. “Leastways, I have one important political asset.”

“And what would that be?” he asked.

“Gas!” We both laughed as he slid the check over to my side of the table. I might have to run for cover or run for the border, but I’ll never run for office!

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