Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Call

(By American Zen's @mikeflannigan59, on loan from Ari)
 35,000 feet above, appropriately, the Jersey pine barrens---
"Mike? Where are you?"
     "I'm on my way home, Ari. I just left Philly. I should be at Logan in a few hours."
     "Wha--? The convention's only half over!"
     "No, Ari, it is over. O-V-A, ov-ah."
     "Uh uh. Not according to my calendar."
     "Ari, look. There's nothing left to write about. Yesterday, 2838 of the stupidest people on the planet just nominated for President a person dogged by more scandals than the Nixon and Harding White Houses combined."
     "Oh, don't tell me you're all butt-hurt about Clinton's nomination. C'mon, Mike, you're a journalist, for fuck's sake. You're supposed to be objective."
     "Ari, that's not the kind of journalism you hired me over 20 years ago to write and you know that. But last night..."
     "Last night what?"
     "Last night just took the wind out of our sails. The Democratic Party's finally grown up, boss- They learned from Republicans how to steal a presidential election."
     "Mike, deal with it. The delegates made their choice. That's called democracy."
     "No, Ari, that's called a coronation. The headline of today's New York Times should read, 'Wealthy Dowager Finally Comes into Inheritance, Peasants Rejoice.'"
     "Mike, what happened last night is the way we've been doing politics since 1824."
     "Yeah, especially during the heyday of Tammany Hall. You want to know what I saw on the floor just last night?"
     "That'd be nice since you didn't think enough of me to send some copy."
     "OK, lemme start by what I didn't see on the convention floor- The delegate roll call vote. Since when the fuck is that ever held during a breakfast, behind closed doors? And I heard several people say the machine Democrats were deliberately giving the Sanders delegates the wrong time and place.
     "Here's something else I didn't see from the floor- Nina Turner. You know why? Because those selfsame machine Democrats barred her from introducing Bernie Sanders. It was like Stalinist Russia, Ari, and all the dissidents needed were a blindfold and a last cigarette."
     "Don't you think you're resorting to hyperbole?"
     "Listen, boss- I personally saw a Sanders delegate asked to put down her sign. Some DNC goon told her that signs weren't allowed on the convention floor. There were more signs there than at a WWE event. Then he threatened to take away her delegate credentials. I hadn't seen her again. She's probably at a Siberian gulag pick-axing scree right now."
     "What else did you see since you don't write any more and like phoning it in?"
     "I can't get any corroboration for this since the press wasn't allowed in to the delegate roll call count. Christ, whoever heard of such a thing? Dick Cheney's energy task force meeting was more transparent."
     "Mike, what did you hear?"
     "I heard from some of the delegates afterward that Sanders actually won the roll call count. Again, I can't confirm it so I can't even write about it."
     "You better not unless you can triple source it."
     "Ari, with all the other shit going on, with Wasserman Schultz getting booted off the stage and replaced by another DNC crony, the Wikileaks data dump, the allegations of stolen election results, Cleveland was a smoothly-running, well-oiled machine by comparison. Last night was the moment the Democratic National Committee served divorce papers to the progressive wing."
     "Well, Mike, corruption during a convention is still news. Would you consider flying back to Philly after you land at Logan?"
     "Not a chance, boss. Sorry. Look, I know you're the guy who signs my checks but there's only so much you can ask of a man."
      "If you think you're bad off, think of poor Bernie Sanders and what they made him do."
     "Yeah, it was kind of like watching Comrade Rutherford confessing to crimes he didn't commit and pledging fealty to Big Brother just before they shot him behind the ear."
     "Alright, Mike, exaggeration won't get us anywhere. We still have copy to put out on the online edition. Do you at least have anything in the can besides a handful of stupid tweets?"
     "No, I put those on Pottersville. Crawford's too disgusted to write anything, either. I'll have something, don't worry."
     "OK, you realize you're speaking in future tense, right? As if you don't have something in the can."
     "I'll have something for you by the time I land in Boston, don't worry. Yes, miss, I'll take another Bushmill's."
     "You're drinking whiskey? You don't drink whiskey."
     "After last night, I do now."
     "Mike?"
     "Yeah?"
     "Is it really getting that tough for you, doing these conventions?"
     "Not nearly as tough as watching the events unfold, watching the Democrats, especially, eating their own and treating those who don't agree with the elite as political dissidents. What happened last night almost made me nostalgic for Chicago in '68."
     "I was there with Hoffman and the Yippies. That was when I ripped up my draft card and pissed on the flaming pieces."
     "I heard your prostate issues won't allow you to do that, anymore."
     "You're a real prick, Flannigan, you know that?"
     "Boy, I can just imagine Hillary's inauguration now: 'Do you solemnly swear to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic?' 'Uh, on the advice of counsel, Mr. Chief Justice, I'll have to take the 5th...' She'll be the first President to deliver her inaugural address with a lawyer standing next to her."
     "Goodbye, Mike. Have a safe trip."
     "I'll say one thing- I looked up at Bernie Sanders' face the moment Hillary clinched the nomination."
     "And...?"
     "He looked like, I don't know... he looked like a man recognizing his own martyrdom for the first time and accepting it with grace."

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