Whew! What a way with words! But that’s why I keep her on retrainer.
Well, everybody was gung-ho on this advice. Even Art the Heartless gave a nod. As my main man and heartthrob Myles put it, “’Tis fine with me,” a thought that got quickly seconded by moi and was then passed with nary a sniff of objection.
Then came the dicey bit, which was performed by Ab and Orville the Fourth and got nitpicked by the rest of us, including two of the hired help, who keep their ears to the ground to pick up vibes from the less fortunate, those who wander in for a cold one or two or more and then stagger out when Gordo closes up shop for the night but only after calling an occasional cab for the good of those whose staggers bode ill for the wellbeing of the average citizen out for a night drive; or walk. Maybe I should add that Gordo also calls those cabs for the good of the owner of the bar, and again I speak of moi, who can get her ass sued for contributing to the cause of any accidents and/or dismemberments or deaths on the public thoroughfares. This according to the laws of Small Southwestern City and my lawyer, said Leticia, who reads ’em and gives me fair warning.
Ohmigod, wasn’t that some paragraph! I guess I should put more ink to paper after whooping it up with a coupla tall ones.
Anyway, here’s what Ab wants the voters to know about himself.
My Life in a Coconut Shell
As the presumptive candidate for president on the ticket of the Dead Rights Party, I wish to compose my best-selling autobiography in anticipation of the bombs that will be lobbed in my direction. This massive volume, to be entitled My Life in a Coconut Shell, will appear sometime between the day after all the votes in Florida and Cook County have been recounted and the day of my inauguration as the president of these United States.
There is good reason for this revolutionary step. I am already dead. The scandals and peccadillos of my past are behind me. I have been cremated and thus purified for more than half a century, though I should note that this act seems to have had no deleterious effect on my ability to arrange les mots justes into something resembling a phrase, a clause, a sentence, and the occasional paragraph.
I have already taken steps toward finishing this book. My first step was to choose from among the myriads of agents who have sought to represent me. She will remain nameless—which is not to say that I have had sex with her. (Disclosure: I have not even lusted after her; cremation will do that to a gentleman.)
My second step was to come up with a book proposal. Publishers are funny about that. They want to know what the book will be about. I have had to tell them that it will be about my life, or, more exactly, my life in the pre-ashen state. Thus the title of this piece, which, after much deliberation, I decided would consist of les mots justes.
Before signing a contract, the publisher my agent had slept with wished to have more information. He wanted to know more about my life.
To this request I could not say No. Thus I set aside fifteen minutes from my busy poker schedule (I do not play golf; I have tried it, but I could never tame the perennial slice of my tee shots) to outline on a 3 x 5 card what I wanted my editor to say about me. This outline is as follows:
1. Enemies list (someone or something, preferably a vast centrist conspiracy, to blame for any indiscretions uncovered);
2. Brief chapter on religious convictions (e.g., fervent belief in existence of God; sense of chosenness by same);
3. Hardships encountered (e.g., birth in a mud hut to an unwed teenager);
4. Courageous acts performed (e.g., singlehandedly, and under intense stress, rescuing, one by one, a large battalion of children, ages two to twelve, from an impending earthquake);
5. Courageous acts yet to be performed (rid the world of terrorism without resorting to bloodshed, get all the peoples of the earth to love America, grant suffrage to dead folks and talking parrots over the age of eighteen).
Many a candidate will take pride in laying claim to immigrant parents. I do them one better: I myself am an immigrant. And not just from the favored countries. I am a former Russian who, in 1906, escaped that czar-infested country carrying nothing but a half-full suitcase, a purse containing a dwarfish supply of money, and my brother’s passport.
Many candidates also boast of their humble beginnings. I arrived at Ellis Island with only five rubles in my underwear. I was forced to take a job in a Connecticut factory to make ends meet. When they finally did, I picked up a map of this great nation and then hopped a series of freights to Idaho, where I homesteaded and began climbing the social ladder. I ended up playing cards with the richest man in the county. Although he took me for much of what I had, we remain friends to this day, despite our cremations. As I write, he is being outfitted with what Ms. la Musa still calls “an erector set” (a metal toy that was later replaced by the plastic and thus safer Lego blocks). This device is being paid for by his poker winnings, at my expense, proving to the American electorate that I am a man of many mercies, or, to forego les mots justes, that I don’t hold grudges.
Though the candidates of the two major parties will almost certainly make much of my death, I must point out that I function as well as the majority of living citizens, a fact that makes me the equivalent of a living person. I do not suffer the pains and pangs that are said to debilitate the frail elderly. I also write fluent English and compose my own speeches. I no longer speak Russian. I am so accomplished that I once put in a stint as an award-winning columnist for the Lava Hot Springs Sentinel.
Please consider my candidacy. Please vote for me. Please read my upcoming book, and thank you for your support. Please, please, please! Thank you, thank you, thank you! God bless America!