I wanted to release excerpts from Chapter 4 on Labor Day, but I didn’t. Uh, that doesn’t really sound like a good excuse or explanation. Pretty lame. Let’s just agree that the important thing is that excerpts from the Chapter 4 rough draft follow below.
Now for those that haven’t read along with MPTWTBP up to this point, good for you. Don’t waste your time. Go for a walk. Climb a mountain. Pick wildflowers. Take hallucinogens. Enjoy life. For those of you who are resistant to most of those ideas, but open to the hallucinogens, here are the links to the first 3 chapters. Note: Take the hallucinogens first.
This chapter is the longest, so there are many yuks, laughs, giggles, and guffaws that didn’t make it into these excepts. Take it from me … my side is still split from laughing so hard. Very messy and inconvenient though. Anyway, here we go with some Chapter 4 excerpts.
Chapter Four – The Announcements, August, 2019
From the beginning, Ray had planned to declare his candidacy over the 4th of July weekend. He thought that would be darn patriotic and fit in well with the rest of the festivities in Okawana. Even before Iowa legalized fireworks back in 2017, the townfolk’s been gathering in the grove of trees by the diner on the 4th for a little town picnic and games. My favorite game was to see whose pet looked most like their owner. Wanda Bixley’s bulldog, Brutus, won most years I can recall. Oh, there was one year when that nerdy writer fella who bought the Pike’s old farmhouse as a quiet place to write his big, fancy novel came to the picnic. Someone nominated the fella’s goldfish since that writer had a sorta fish face with thick glasses that made his eyes look bulgy. Who knows if the guy even had a goldfish, but you can be sure that goldfish won and the writer never came back. Brutus was back to winning the next year even though Wanda was wearing her hair long at the time.
Ray wanted to get some press and publicity at the announcement, so he sent an email to the Des Moines Register newspaper. Then he sent another, and another, and another. Finally, they sent Ray back a response asking for some campaign literature. Ray and I just looked at each other. There’s another thing we still had to do.
Off we went to Ben’s farm outside of town. He’s a soybean farmer, but sometimes he prints an edition of the Okawana Observer when the spirit moves him to write about something interesting. The Chinese tariffs are raising cain with his soybean crop, so Ben’s on the dole now taking government aid. And he’s not very happy about it. “I’m a farmer, not disabled,” Ben always says. That hurts Ray and me a bit when he says that, like it’s a bad thing to be disabled. On the other hand, it’s nice that I don’t think Ben sees us as being disabled. He just sees two fellas named Ray and Gary Czylzyck. Anyway, Ben is not very happy with Trump’s trade war with China that Ben says we’re losing.
We didn’t mention the Des Moines Register with Ben so as not to hurt his feelings. We just told him what we was planning on doing, and he jumped into action. Before we knew it, Ben had his old mimeograph machine set-up on his kitchen table. He said that he would run as many copies as we want for free, as long as we supply the paper. That got us very excited. Duane charges 5 cents a copy at the general store, and the copies tend to be crappy since he is always running low on toner. Plus, I love the smell of the blue ink from the mimeo machine. When we was in school for that short spell, I always offered to run copies on the mimeo machine so I could breathe in those fumes. I can tell you from experience that the blue ink don’t taste as good as it smells.
Ben not only offered to print us up some campaign literature, but he also offered to run off a special edition of the Okawana Observer. Ben said that he’d tease the campaign announcement event without giving away too much information. In Okawana, offering folks free pie and coffee is enough to raise a crowd without any campaign announcement necessary.
(some big guffaws omitted here)
Uncle Ern showed up with a mysterious lady friend we didn’t recognize. He introduced her as Betty. Nothing more, but she seemed awful nice, and was real interested in Alice’s pies. Someone taking such an interest in her pies made Alice real happy. Maude Chappenheim hauled her brother Joe to the diner, even though he didn’t like events where he and his 12 toes weren’t the center of attention. The widow Billingham came and brought along her spinster sister, Gladys. There’s some folks round town that swear Gladys killed Mrs. Billingham’s husband so she could have her all to herself. That makes for a good gossipy story, but don’t explain Mr. Billingham’s cancer.
Trish and Jim McDonald came and brought all 7 of their kids. Geez Louise, can those kids eat pie! I swear their parents didn’t feed them breakfast or lunch before bringing them for pie. But Alice brought out more pies from the kitchen. She was prepared for a big crowd, and we got it. I counted 32 people, not including Ray and me.
(2 paragraphs omitted due to possible trademark infringement)
In particular, Ray told me that we was going to the Iowa State Fair, just like the Democratic candidates did. They sure did get a lot of attention at the fair, so Ray thought that might be a good way to really launch his campaign. But we didn’t have much time left since the fair closed on August 18th, and Ray just declared his candidacy the week before. We went over to Uncle Ern’s place to see if he could drive us the 2+ hours to Des Moines.
(omission due to dangling participles)
Fortunately, Uncle Ern had Sunday free to drive us to the fair for the last day. I got busy calling the fair people to see if they could accommodate a throng gathered for Ray to address, like they did for the Democrats. Well, they was a little hesitant until I told them I was Ray’s campaign manager. I think that impressed them a bit that Ray had a campaign manager. I made sure I used a fake last name so they couldn’t tell Ray and me are brothers. I used Bond as a last name, like in Secret Agent 007 James Bond. Gary Bond, Campaign Manager for Ray Czylzyck. That kinda has a nice ring to it.
(yadda, yadda, yadda)
Next, we went over to Butter Sculpting at 10AM. That’s always a good event, but only in the morning. You don’t want to wait until the heat of the afternoon if you’re sculpting butter. The earlier the better. Ray didn’t want his hand to be too slick when he’s meeting people, so I sculpted while Ray shook hands. I made a butter house using the sticks like Lincoln Logs. Ray’s hand got pretty slick anyway from shaking hands with the other butter sculptors. Mmm, licking the butter off my hands sure did taste good. Ray used a couple napkins, but his hand still glistened like a bird pulled from an oil slick.
(wow, so many words omitted, and it still is a long post)
We took a lunch break and I grabbed me a pork belly on a stick so I could walk around the tent and eat while I set-up for Ray’s event. I also treated myself to a deep-fried Twinkie for dessert and surprised Ray with a slice of deep-fried cherry pie on a stick for him to suck on. We didn’t bring his spit bucket along, but there were plenty of garbage cans in the area for Ray to use. I didn’t even care if he swallowed some.
Uncle Ern met us at the tent with the big monitor and got that all hooked up. There was a nice sign out front that read “Meet Ray Czylzyck for President – 1PM.” The fair folks came by to make sure we had what we needed. They seemed a bit surprised by Ray’s appearance. Maybe they were just in awe of meeting the next President of the United States. The fair people made sure that the mic worked and people in the back of the tent could hear. Except there weren’t no people in the back. There were a few folks who came in to set a spell and beat the heat, but it was not a good crowd for announcing Ray’s candidacy.
Uncle Ern had an idea. Turns out that the Betty from the Pies by Betty show is the same Betty he brought to Ray’s campaign announcement. She’s from Emmetsburg of all places. Small world, right? Not only was he dating Betty (along with the widow Peterson), but he had a few of her pies with him. He looked at Ray and said, “You owe me, boy.” Then he proceeded to whip out the pies, grab the microphone, and announce “free pie” to everyone walking past outside the tent. That got the tent crowded in no time at all. I swear, people will walk into a burning building for a free piece of pie. We’d have had to turn people away if we had ice cream to go with the pie. I made a note of that for the next event. The fair people were nice enough to bring over some plates and forks. Uncle Ern used his hunting knife that is always strapped to his leg to cut the pie into little slices so everyone got a taste of the pie and maybe a few of Ern’s leg hairs.
(more unnecessary blather omitted)
The big show that draws thousands of people to the main stage is at 8PM. We decided to head over at 7 to hand out campaign info to the people walking in. Too bad the show was Hootie and the Blowfish. I smelled a crowd heavy on Democrats. They wanted $55 per ticket for that show. Sometimes Ray and me can get by with buying one ticket, but I’m not even buying 1 ticket for 55 bucks to see Hootie and his Blowfish. We missed the show that I wanted to see earlier in the week. Keith Urban for 20 bucks. Now that’s a good deal for some great country music, and we could have found a lot more Republicans at that show.
We passed out campaign flyers until they were just about gone, and Ray shook hands with folks until his hand was sore. Thanks to Ray shaking hands with the butter sculptors earlier in the day, his hand stayed nice and smooth and moist. Uncle Ern met us at the truck around 9PM, and we couldn’t help notice he had more pies from Betty. She must be real sweet on him. I took a nap on the way home while Ray started work on a campaign website on his phone. Can you believe that? Making a website from the cab of Uncle Ern’s old Ford pick-up? Hey, a candidate’s life is a hard one. I ain’t running for nothing, so I told Ray I was gonna get caught up on my beauty sleep. Whenever I say that, Ray always says, “If that’s the case, see you next year.” I’m gonna say my line about beauty sleep on New Year’s Eve once, and we’ll see what smart line Ray has to say then.
He’s a jokester all right, but now that he’s announced his candidacy, Ray’s gonna have to get serious about the campaigning. I don’t think he had a clue about how tough the campaign would get in September.
So that’s part of Chapter 4. Chapter 5 is being typed now.
Once that’s done, we’ll be halfway to a completed book. Perhaps a crappy book, but a book. Perhaps too short to be called a novel, but we can call it a novella. Perhaps loaded with stolen jokes, but plagiarism is the highest form of flattery. Perhaps Chapter 5 will get done, but only if I end this post.