I was looking through mom’s high school album,
Wondering why some people were so solemn and grim,
Those who were of the business mind,
Always stayed with their own kind,
Looking serious to improve their chances,
When majoring on other people’s finances,
“That girl was the prom queen and she is married to him,”
“That girl is the CEO of a company we both know,
I haven’t heard from her for awhile, but her company continues to grow,”
“That boy is the town bum, his investments were lost in a major scam,
He’s still polite and says, “Thank you ma’am,”
The rest of the class is the salt of the earth,
With hearts of gold to prove their worth,
That’s me, dancing out of sight,
Enjoying the coolness of the night,
My friends were watching my every step,
Leaving me alone but wanting to help,
And that boy sticking out his tongue,
He seemed like such a bother,
He was the craziest of all,
That boy is your father,”
I could identify him by his smile,
But I hadn’t seen him since his trial,
He looked a lot like the class bum,
“He is, dear, the very same one.”
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Jack and Melissa spent the next several years in the crooked house just living normal lives. They now had two children and were very content. After years of abuse about his physical appearance and his name, Jack was happy that he was being treated with respect and was being left alone. Now, though, he faced a new problem.
Crime was down and court cases were few. Big time criminals as well as the street variety were wary of going to court. They liked Jack but they suspected that when he looked at them in his crooked way he knew whether they were guilty or not. Because they felt guilty many of them volunteered to make restitution to their victims and to society. At the same time it became too difficult to commit crimes and then help out in the community. It was much easier to leave the county than to face the crooked lawyer.
Because he was so successful Jack felt guilty for having idle time. Wasting taxpayers’ money went against his grain. Jack liked hard work, research, excitement, and the thrill of convincing others of the truth. Besides that, he was continually proving to himself that he was more than a crooked man. He was ready for an opportunity to step out, to be bold and to prove himself to the world.
One afternoon a long black sedan drove up the crooked road and parked in Jack’s driveway. No one got out. No one opened a door or window. The crooked dog growled but just watched.
Melissa wondered about the strange car and called Jack. He rushed home and stopped a few yards away from the car. Jack was cautious at first. He didn’t recognize the car or the license plate. Finally he walked crookedly around the black car and stood on the porch next to the dog.
The car doors opened and three men got out. Two of them leaned against the car and scanned the area while a third man walked slowly towards Jack.
“Mr. Crooked?” he asked while extending his huge hand.
Jack didn’t correct the large man. He just smiled crookedly and stuck out his hand. “Call me Jack.”
The man looked Jack over. “We’ve been hearing good things about you and we want you to run for office.”
“I’ve been thinking about that, too,” Jack responded. “Perhaps I could run for the County Board of Supervisors or maybe try to be a state assemblyman.”
A deep chuckle bubbled up from the big man. “No, sir. We have bigger plans for you. Oh yes, indeed. We want you to run for President!”
It would have been rude to laugh, but that idea was ridiculous. He was a small-town lawyer with some success. How could a crooked lawyer compete with the urbane experienced gentlemen who had spent years before cameras while gaining their respective offices?
The big man cleared his throat. “I’ve done some checking up on you. You’re inexperienced and new to the political world. You don’t have a sordid past or problems that could be potentially explosive. You’re crooked, but you would be the most honest politician around.”
Jack protested, “I haven’t been studying the issues. I haven’t decided which ones I’m for and which ones I’m against.”
“Don’t worry about that. None of the politicians think for themselves. We lay out the plans and tell them what they’re for and what they’re against. Speech writers watch the polls and try to catch the waves of concern and ride the tides of sentiment. A few votes here or there make all the difference. It’s an exciting game. The candidates have to be smooth talkers and look good.”
“Look,” said Jack. “It’s obvious that I’m crooked. I don’t look good in public. I don’t think I can follow orders either if I believe they’re wrong. I will give my honest opinion every time. I refuse to be bullied.”
The big man grinned. “Yes, we know all that. We don’t expect a crooked lawyer to win. We want you to stir up the issues so our guy looks good. In other words, you’d be a distraction and a decoy. In the meantime we’ll finance your campaign through the primaries.”
Jack thought about the offer for a few seconds. “I’ll do it. There are several issues I want to bring up. I think the American public is smarter than you think.”
The big man shook Jack’s hand. “We’ll be back. Next time we’ll have your campaign staff with us.”
Jack watched as the car sped down the narrow crooked road, the tires kicking up dust and gravel as the car touched the shoulder. When it was out of sight Jack continued to stare. “What have I gotten myself into?” he said quietly.
Melissa noticed his preoccupied look as he entered the kitchen. “Why are you scowling, Jack My Love? You’re always smiling. What’s wrong?”
“I think I’ve done something stupid. I’m running for President!”