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The blathering idiot and Saturdays

The blathering idiot and Lydia, his campaign manager for the Pro-Accordion Party, were driving down the road from one stump speech stop to another in his quest for the highest office in the land. It was hard to keep up with the other candidates. He had crossed paths with one of them recently and happened to catch part of what he was saying. What surprised the blathering idiot even more than the other candidates way of speech delivery was the sign on the front of his lectern. Apparently the silent majority stood with this candidate. From the way the candidate was speaking, attacking everyone and everything that wasn’t American and white, he could understand why the “majority” was silent: It couldn’t get in a word edgewise.

The blathering idiot had always wanted to adopt Saturdays.

The blathering idiot had always wanted to adopt Saturdays.

But what intrigued the blathering idiot was a sign he saw outside a business. One time when he passed, it read: “Adopt Nov. 21.” Another time, it read “Adopt Saturday.” He wondered how you could adopt a day in November or even a day of the week. If so, there was a day he wanted to adopt. So, on the way driving through town because there was not enough money in the campaign war chest to fly to the different places or even travel too far, he pulled into the parking lot, then stepped inside the store. He walked up to the counter and asked, “How do I adopt a day?”

The older woman behind the counter looked up and said, “Is this a joke?”

“I’ve always wanted to adopt Saturdays. All of them, if I could. Ever since I was a kid, it was my favorite day of the week. Wake up late, eat two bowls of my favorite cereal, watch cartoons until my eyes were about to pop, then eat popcorn for lunch, and ride bikes with my friends, pedaling so hard we wanted to throw up. I want to adopt Saturdays.”

“Who don’t adopt Saturdays here,” the woman said.

“But your sign says—”

“That sign is for dogs.”

“You mean dogs can adopt Saturdays, but I can’t?” If so, it really was a dog’s life.

“No. The sign is about adopting dogs.”

“You mean if I adopt a dog, the dog can adopt Saturdays?”

“Get out. Now!”

The blathering idiot hustled out the door and back to the campaign car and climbed inside.

“Are you okay?” Lydia asked.

The blathering idiot sighed. “I wish I was eleven and it was Saturday. Saturdays when you are eleven are the best Saturdays there are.”

He wondered if the silent majority felt that way, too.

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The blathering idiot and a word from our sponsor

The quest for the highest office in the land begins … again.

The blathering idiot and Lydia were sitting in a conference room with the consultant. The blathering idiot was about to go out to the podium and microphone and announce his candidacy for the highest office in the land.

“We have to do it now,” the consultant said. “June is National Accordion month. We are the Pro-Accordion Party. If we don’t announce now, what will people think?”

Lydia nodded. “He has a point.”

“Then why aren’t accordion makers sponsoring us?” the blathering idiot asked.

“Because there are no accordion makers in the U.S. They’re all made overseas and foreign companies and countries can’t buy elections.”
“But U.S. companies can?”

“That’s not what I meant,” the consultant said. He wiped the sweat from his brow. “Look, this was the best I could do. I will try for additional sponsors, but right now this is the only one, and unlike other parties and candidates, we need one. Hell, we need more than one.”

“I have to read all of it?”

Lydia touched his arm. “I will be out there with you. You read part of it. I’ll read part of it.”

“And the consultant will read part of it?”

“That’s not his job,” Lydia said.

“But it is mine?”

Lydia nodded. “Sadly, yes.”

Shaking his head, the blathering idiot walked to the next room and stepped up on podium. It looked out at the two, maybe three people who had come to hear his announcement.

“I, today, am again a candidate for the highest office in the land. I do this because … because …” From that point on, the blathering idiot rambled about making the country a better place, unifying the waring ideological factions, and giving a voice to the voiceless. He finished, turned, and started to leave. Lydia grabbed his arm and gently turned him around and handed him a piece of paper. The blathering idiot turned, cleared his throat, and read:

“And now a word from our sponsor: This campaign for the highest office in the land is brought to you by Puns in a Pak. Whether you buy one pack, two, or get the deep discount for buying by the gross, Puns in a Pak are shop-tested and well-lubricated – ready to slip into your casual conversation, work e-mail, or most intimate moment. Nothing lifts a trite phrase up out of the dust bin of inequity like Puns in a Pak. On sale today online or at your local grammarian shop. And for those politically minded, try our Puns in a PAC. Nothing says politics like Puns in a PAC. Ask us about our special Super-Pak PAC of puns, created especially for this election season. Puns in PAC, when nothing else will do.”

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The blathering idiot and powder

The blathering idiot and Lydia were sitting in an Italian restaurant having dinner, discussing politics, or partly discussing politics.

“You know, I really don’t know much about you,” Lydia said, waving a breadstick at him.

“Even after the last campaign.”

“And I did not know you had a daughter,” the blathering idiot said. “Does she like politics?”

“People don’t like politics these days. They just endure it.”

“Like you do?”

“I like it. It’s what gets me going in the morning. What gets you going?”

“My alarm clock,” the blathering idiot said.

“You don’t say much.”

“I say enough.”

“Maybe that can work to our advantage. The Pro-Accordion Party could say it all with music.”

The blathering idiot nodded. He liked the way her face lit up when she thought she had a good idea.

The waiter brought the food and a new basket of breadsticks. He also refilled the water glasses. The blathering idiots had a slice of lemon in it; Lydia’s did not.

“You do play the accordion, don’t you?”

The blathering idiot frowned. She had forgotten since the last election for the highest office in the land. He had told her then he didn’t play the accordion or any other instrument. Since then, he had not learned how. He never expected to be considering running again. The first time was not nearly as much fun as Lydia seemed to remember it being.

“I didn’t know you had a daughter,” the blathering idiot said.

“She will not be coming with us on the campaign trail.”

“But the consultant—”

“The consultant can go to hell. She needs her education and not to be jerked around from one campaign stop to the next.”

“What is her name?”

“Bella.”

“Bella,” the blathering idiot said.

“Short for Isabella.”

“Is she short?”

“No. Where did you get that idea?”

“You said she was short for Isabella.”

“I mean Bella is short for Isabella.”

“Okay. Does she have a dad?”

Lydia glared at him. “Does she need one?”

The blathering idiot shrugged. “You tell me.”

They ate most of their meals in silence, though the blathering idiot couldn’t help slurping his spaghetti every now and then. There was something satisfying to the sound and the feel of a noodle flipping up and down just before the end enter his mouth. He didn’t even mind if a little sauce got on his face.

Lydia looked at him and couldn’t help but giggle.

“Okay, if you want to know, Bella’s father took a powder.”

The blathering idiot wiped his face with his napkin. The napkin was not large. “Which one?”

“What?”

“Which powder did he take? A blue one? Red? Was it over the counter or a prescription powder?”

“He skipped out. Left us high and dry. Ran away.”

“Oh, and he took his powder with him?”

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The blathering idiot and the Pro-Accordion Party returns

The blathering idiot opened his front door. On the other side was Lydia and … and the consultant. The consultant was in front.

“May we come in?” the consultant asked, but was inside before he finished the question.

Lydia followed him in.

“Is your child home today?” the consultant asked.

“Child?”

“Your daughter?”

“I don’t have a daughter.”

“Xenia,” Lydia said.

“She is not my daughter,” the blathering idiot said. “It would be nice if she were, but she is my ex-girlfriend’s daughter.”

Pro-Accordion Party strikes again.

Pro-Accordion Party strikes again.

The on-again, off-again relationship with Zoey was off again. Maybe for good this time. There was some thick-glasses looking guy hanging around her these days. She said he was just a friend.

“Oh … that’s most unfortunate,” the consultant said.

“I agree,” the blathering idiot said. He missed Xenia very much. Maybe even more than his ex-girlfriend.

“Can you get another?”

“Another?”

“Daughter.”

“I guess. But I might have to get another girlfriend first. That might take some time.” The blathering idiot had not had a date in … he couldn’t remember. It had been even longer since he had had any intimacy.

“We don’t have time.” The consultant’s high forehead was covered in sweat.

The blathering idiot wondered if it had started raining. He glanced up at his ceiling: no leak.

“Let me try,” Lydia said, stepping forward.

They were all still standing inside the blathering idiot’s front door.

Lydia was as blond and as pretty as the blathering idiot remembered.

“It’s like this,” Lydia said. “The Pro-Accordion Party is gearing up for another run at the highest office in the land. We realized from the last time that one of our biggest mistakes was not starting early enough. My friend here did some polling and he found that a candidate with a daughter polled better than one without a daughter. So we were hoping you would still be interested in running and that your ex-girlfriend’s daughter would be interested in accompanying you.”

“You have a daughter,” the blathering idiot said.

“Yes she does,” the consultant said. “And she could loan her to you for the campaign.”

“My daughter is not fodder for this campaign!” Lydia said.

“We all must make sacrifices,” the consultant said.

“I sacrifice enough for Pro-Accordion Party.”

“My wife told me it was either my career or my marriage … and here I am.” He threw his arms open wide.

“Not my daughter,” Lydia said again. A tear trickled down her cheek.

The consultant put his arm around her. “We’ll talk.” He looked over at the blathering idiot. “If, you’ll excuse us for now.”

The blathering idiot opened the front door and they left.

As they walked down the steps from his porch, the blathering idiot signed and hoped it meant he would see Lydia again. Maybe even for a date.

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The blathering idiot and the envelope

The blathering idiot did not know what to do with his letter form the university. It was addressed to him, but it clearly stated on the envelope that inside were “Exciting Summer Programs for Children and Adults in Your Neighborhood.”

Really?

What about him, the blathering idiot? Was he not entitled to Exciting Summer Programs”?

But if he opened it, how disappointed would he be to find no Exciting Summer Programs for him? He could just not open it and his summer would be fine.

Then Xenia found it.

Xenia was the eleven-year-old daughter of the blathering idiot’s on-again, off-again girlfriend Zoey. Sometimes she came over to stay with the blathering idiot for a while.

"Exciting Summer Programs for Children and Adults in Your Neighborhood"

“Exciting Summer Programs for Children and Adults in Your Neighborhood”


“Why haven’t you opened this?”

“I thought maybe you would,” he said.

“I am not child in your neighborhood.”

“Not even when you’re over here, like right now?”

“But it’s addressed to you,” Xenia said.

“But it says its material is not for me.”

“Let’s call the university and see what they say we should do.”

The blathering idiot wondered why he hadn’t thought of that.

The university passed them from person to person, even once transferring them to the Chinese language professor, who was no help at all. Finally they were transferred to a man in the little known department of the studies of lost tangential and self-reverential marketing ideas.

“Actually, it’s a graduate course I taught uhm oh three years ago. I am uhm oh hoping to bring back it.” He had a heavy accent, though the blathering idiot was not sure where. It was as if the man had sucked down a vowel or two from everywhere he went.

“This envelope holds the graduate course you once taught?” the blathering idiot asked.

“It doves?”

“Isn’t that what you said?”

“I said that was course I taught.”

“And that course is an ‘Exciting Summer Program for Children and Adults in my Neighborhood’?”

“Could may be.”

“But not for me?” the blathering idiot asked.

“Who said?”

“The envelope.”

“The envelope talks to you?” the professor asked.

“No. It doesn’t. But it says—”

“Says?”

“Yes.”

“As in talk?”

“No.”

“Then it’s not my course. Good day, blather one.”

The line went dead.

“Well?” Xenia asked?

“Well, it may or may not be a marketing course.”

With that, Xenia took the envelope and ripped it open. She looked inside, then she looked at the blathering idiot.

“What is it?” the blathering idiot asked.

“Reading.”

“Okay, tell me when you’re done.”

“No. It’s about reading. Summer courses for children and adults,” Xenia said.

“Oh,” the blathering said.

“Phonics, too.”

“Oh.”

None of that seemed quite as exciting as he had imagined. He almost wished he hadn’t asked.

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The blathering idiot and the sign

The blathering idiot was not sure what to make of the new rest room sign.

The blathering idiot was not sure what to make of the new rest room sign.

There had been complaints about how some of the blathering idiot’s co-workers had been mistreating the restroom facilities, so management had devised a new sign to help everyone understand. It was all in pictures in the hopes that there would be no confusion. Still, the blathering idiot had a few questions.

He understood that an “X” through the drawing meant do something or that is was wrong to do something. And from the new chart, he saw that it was okay to sit on the commode. Though all it looked the man was doing was sitting there and resting. His pants did not look pulled down and he was sitting too erect to be doing anything. A man needed to lean forward a little more when he pooped. And good luck if he tried to pee while sitting that way.

The second drawing puzzled the blathering idiot. Why would a man pour marbles into a commode?

Then there was the third drawing. Was that man praying?

As for the fourth drawing, he wondered why any man would try to ride a commode like a jockey. Had somebody at work really done that?

And then there was fishing in the commode. He had never thought of that. But certainly what was in there was not usually worth fishing for to begin with. Even he knew that. Unless, maybe, you accidentally dropped something in before doing anything else. What do yo do then? Call your supervisor?

As for the last drawing, it was the oddest of them all. It looked like a man squatting back from the commode and taking aim with an object or some sort, maybe even a child’s toy like a missile or torpedo, and trying to aim it at the commode. Did he mean to blow up the commode? Was he trying to throw into the commode something that he hadn’t been able to get to come out until he gave up sitting on the commode the way the man in the first drawing was? He did look a little like he was squatting, after all.

The blathering idiot pondered this poster until he couldn’t come up with any answers that made sense. He went to his supervisor for guidance, but all his boss would say is that it was being used in the Olympics and that if it was clear enough for them, it should be clear enough for everybody working for him.

The blathering idiot felt it was going to be a long shift.

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The Blathering Idiot and the Big Orange Explosion

The blathering idiot was out in the country, exploring nature, enjoying the fall leaves changing color, trying to center himself, as one of his friends put it. The blathering idiot wasn’t sure what centering meant of what it would feel like once he had centered. The last time he had had anything to do with centers was back in kindergarten when the teacher would point out the different centers. The one for block. The one for stuffed animals. The one for books. He asked his friend if that was what centering would be like now?

His friend had smiled and told him, maybe, because he would feel as if everything had a place and everything was in its place.

So, the blathering idiot was wandering around the woods in the country, ignoring fences and property boundaries.

Good fences may make good neighbors – though somebody had told him the poem meant the opposite of that – but he was not looking for neighbors. He was on the quest for his center. He wanted to feel like he did in kindergarten when he had put the last block back I block center and the last book in the book center.

That was why he was surprised when he stumbled across men in military uniforms guarding an area out I the middle of day lily farm. He saw them and when they saw him, several of them yelled “Stop!” and then they pointed their weapons at him.

The blathering idiot raised his hands, just as he had seen in the movies. He next expected somebody to say, “You have the right to remain silent,” but nobody did.

Just as he was about to say something, there was a loud Phoop.

A few seconds later there was a loud thump and the blathering idiot saw a battered, old, splatter-painted VW microbus rock from side to side as something large and orange punched it in the side. The remains of the punch scattered everywhere.

A pumpkin?

His eyes moved toward his left and it was then he saw the large black propane tank with a long barrel curling up from it like an elephant’s trunk, except this one was attached with bolts and didn’t look like it was meant for somebody trying to center himself.

“Son, I bet you are wondering what that contraption is.” It was a general. At least the stars attached to his epaulettes indicated he was a high-ranking something.

The blathering idiot said nothing. If there was anything that running for the highest office in the land had taught him was that at times it’s best to say nothing.

“Well, son, word will be out soon enough I guess, so I might as well tell you, that way you get the skinny from the horse’s mouth.”

The next secret weapon.

The next secret weapon.


He took out a pipe and lit it, puffing a few times until smoke oozed out of his mouth. He blew the rest of the smoke out and turned his attention back to the blathering idiot.

“That over there, son, is a pumpkin cannon. But it’s not just any ol’ pumpkin cannon. It’s the nearly supersonic launching pumpkin cannon. Even on the low pressure setting, it can launch an eight pound pumpkin over a mile and strike the target with a force equal to 200 miles an hour at impact.

“And you know what the beauty of all this is? Why, it’s all made with off the shelf technology and off the shelf materials. We can turn out thousands of them, tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands in days. Our only limitations are making sure we have enough propane or other gas in the tank to power the pumpkin and the pumpkin crop for that year. Once our weapon is adopted by the military, we will start to work on a Strategic Pumpkin Reserve where we will store enough pumpkins to arm a war in a bad pumpkin crop year.”

The general walked over to the blathering idiot and laid a hand on his shoulder. Surprisingly, the blathering idiot had to look down to look eye to eye with the general.

“And you know the final beauty of all this young man? We don’t leave any annoying ordinance on the field of battle. There will be no shrapnel that will cause problems with the United Nations and their silly little rules or the Geneva Convention or any other treaty. The worst that will happen is the pumpkins will rot on the fields of battle, planting the seeds for future crops.”

The blathering idiot had to admit there was merit to this idea. It might even appeal to the left and right politicians. It would save money, which would appeal to the conservatives and be more environmentally friendly, which would appeal to the liberals. But then he wondered what would keep somebody from taking this idea and instead of pumpkins, using cans of pumpkin filling. It would be more compact, have a metal casing, and would be the reasonable next step. The step after that might be finding something so mix with the pumpkin, so that when it hit the target the volatile mixture would explode on impact, creating more impact damage. And then there would be….

In a matter of a few short years, it would be no different than it was now. After all, the world’s most power explosions were first created in a valley where there used to be farms and woods and trees turning color in the fall, just like here.

Suddenly, sadly, the blathering idiot felt very un-centered, and what was even worse, he no longer wanted a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.

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The blathering idiot and falling

Love hurts

Love hurts

“Do you hurt yourself when you fall out of love?” Xenia asked.

The blathering idiot didn’t have an answer when she asked him a week ago, and he didn’t have an answer now.
It had always been the woman who fell out of love with him or maybe had gotten fed up with him, had her fill, and walked away, saying she had fallen out of love with him.

He did wonder now if Xenia asking was because she had heard something Zoey, Xenia’s mother. Had said.
Was Zoey falling out of love with him?

If so, what was he supposed to do? In the past – though there were not many of them, there were a few – the woman had announced it after the fall had taken place, saying things like: “It’s not you, it’s me.” Or, “I think we should spend some time apart.” This type of announcement usually came after they had already been apart a month.
In other words, the fall had already taken place and his heart’s shins were the ones getting barked.

“I hear that when you fall in love, that can hurt too,” Xenia said. “Has that happened to you?”

They were sitting in an ice cream parlor, the leaves already falling, but the temperature staying up. At least it felt that way to him. She had come back to the subject she had started talking about last week, just before he took her back to Zoey. He liked spending time with Xenia. She usually didn’t judge him, or at least didn’t judge him too harshly.

He had to think about that, too. Had he fallen in love with Zoey or had they just sort of got along well enough to stay in each other’s company – at least some of the time?

The blathering idiot felt a sudden desire – a pang really – to call Zoey and say with as much force as he could muster, “I love you!” Blurt it out even before she said hello.

Yes, that’s what he would do. He wouldn’t think about it anymore: he’d just do it.

Right now.

He’d just do it: right now. In person!

He bolted up from the chair, knocking it over. “Come on.”

Xenia had not finished her sundae. She brought a spoon full of sundae up to her mouth, and said in a muffled voice: “Where?”

“You’ll see,” he said.

They walked west and as they got closer to the house Xenia lived in, she said, “It’s too early to take me home. Mom’s still studying.”

“This will only take a minute.”

“No,” Xenia said. “You don’t understand. Mom’s studying.”

The blathering idiot stopped outside the gate at the end of the sidewalk that led up to Zoey’s house.

He paused and looked at Xenia. She was frowning and he thought he saw some sweat on her forehead.

“Is she … ah … studying with somebody?”

“Not exactly.”

“Then what exactly?”

Xenia looked away for a moment, then looked back at the blathering idiot.

“She … ah … told me not to tell you this.” Xenia shifted from one foot to the other. “But she’s sleeping.”

“Sleeping?”

“But you were asking me about falling in love and falling out of love.”

“Oh, that. That’s ’cause I sleep in a bunk bed and I keep falling out and hurting myself. I told Mom it’s because I keep having bad dreams. Mom says she can’t wait until I’m old enough to fall in love. Then, she says, I’ll really have bad dreams and hurt myself.”

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The blathering idiot and the job interview

The blathering idiot stood in line for a job interview. He had finished writing his campaign memoir, but so far had found no publisher to accept it. His old job at the candy factory was no longer available. And his off again / on again girlfriend Zoey said she was not going to date a man without a job, even a former candidate for the highest office in the land.

So, here he was in line, down to his last ten dollars. After waiting an hour and half, he was about to be interviewed. If he didn’t get the job, he didn’t know what he was going to do.

“Next,” the woman in the office called out.

The guy who had just finished interviewing stepped out of the small room and past the blathering idiot. His face was ashen. His eyes wide, drool at the corner of his mouth.

“Next!” the woman was louder and more insistent.

The blathering idiot hesitated, unsure he wanted to step inside.

When he did, she immediately reached up and snatched his resume out of his hands.

“Don’t like to read them beforehand,” she said. “Like to feel the vibe off the paper as I look you straight in the eye. The paper can lie, but you can’t.”

She glanced over his resume, raising an eyebrow when she read something in particular. She then slapped the resume down on her desk.

“So you ran for the highest office in the land?”

The blathering nodded slightly.

“Well, did you?” She stared right at him, though he felt like it was more right through him.

“Yes,” he said.

“So, did you win?”

The blathering idiot wondered if it was a trick question. If he had won, would be here, standing before this woman, too scared to sit down? Or would she be the one who might be sweating and too scared to sit down.

“No,” he said finally, “I did not win.”

“Thought not,” she said, her voice gravelly, maybe from too many cigarettes. She had that sharp cigarette smell about her. Some smokers wore like perfume. “Don’t know anything about his Pro-Accordion Party you mentioned, but it wouldn’t have matter. I didn’t vote anyway. Waste of time.”

After a moment, the woman looked up and said, “You can go now.”

“But you didn’t ask me any other questions.”

“My vibe tells me you’re lying.”

“Lying?”

“Yeah, like a politician.”

And there he was, branded for being a lying politician and he hadn’t even won the election. He’d probably never be able to find work now.

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The blathering idiot writes his memoir

The blathering idiot stood in line at a writer’s convention. He had written his memoir about his campaign adventures and he was here to pitch it to agents and editors.

It was a long line. Seems everybody had a book of some sort to pitch: mystery, memoir, science fiction, military history. There was even a woman who came to pitch her book on breeding your own breed of dog. The working title was: The Bitches’ Guide to Breading Your Own. The woman herself looked like she might become one if she had to wait another minute in line. The small dog she held in her arm grew more snarly. The woman almost made it up to speak with an agent when her little bundle of fur leapt out of her grasp, onto the agents table, then the carpeted floor, pausing long enough to pee copiously, before darting off into the convention crowd.

The woman hesitated, looked at the agent, threw down the manuscript, said her book was an Idiot’s-like guide to breeding your own species, just like her little Yorkuaua. She then darted after her dog.

“Next,” the agent barked.

The blathering idiot swallowed and then sat down across the small table from the tall, imposing woman with short hair.

“Hi,” he said.

“And what’s your pitch?”

The blathering idiot stumbled through his pitch. He was sweating so hard, it looked like tears sliding down his face. No matter what she decided, he was glad it was about over.

She held up a hand. “And so this Pro-Accordion Party found you in a store front?”

“Not exactly. It was more like I found them.”

“But they picked you to be their candidate for the highest office in the land.”

“Not exactly. They had a candidate, but he backed out, citing an inability to campaign and maintain his music career.”

“Playing an accordion.”

“Yes.”

“Do you play?” she asked.

“Not exactly.”

She nodded. “Do you have an interest in playing?”

“Maybe.”

“So you don’t play the accordion. You stumbled across the Pro-Accordion Party and they were desperate for a candidate and they took you in. You had a ten-year-old as a running mate. The highlight of your campaign was speaking to a fourth-grade class, and you didn’t win a single state and weren’t even on the ballot in most of them. Is that correct?”

The blathering idiot swallowed and nodded. ‘But I enjoyed it.”

“And who do you see as the market for this book?”

“Uhh, my girlfriend.”

“My dear, naïve, child, unless you have at least one girlfriend in every city, town, and hamlet in this country, that’s not going to be many sales.”

The blathering idiot nodded, then got up from the table, stammered out a thank you, and left.

When he was outside the convention hall, Lydia, his former campaign manager, stepped up to him. “How did it go?”

“No hi, how are you?”

“So, how did it go?”

The blathering idiot shrugged. “I need more girlfriends.”

Sale sign

Without more girlfriends, he was probably not going to sell many copies of his memoir.

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