The Crooked Man and the Primaries


Jack Bauer is...

Jack Bauer is... (Photo credit: ikelee)

(part 3)

Jack sorted through the issues and began assembling a list.  He searched the social media, newspapers, and polls for the hot topics.  He wanted to research each one.  If he didn’t know an issue how could he defend or debate it effectively?  Jack wanted to be prepared.  He built a case for and against each topic.  When he felt he could argue both sides he made his decision based on facts.

On his list were the following items:  Foreclosures, troop withdrawals, more jobs, Pro choice, environmental protection, religious freedom, school vouchers, border control, drug wars, Social Security, debt reduction.

There were other issues but this was his main list.  He couldn’t let others tell him how he felt or what he believed.  Jack had to be honest because that was the only way he wanted to be.  He wanted to be known as the Presidential candidate who took a stand and stood by it.  He also wanted to be the candidate who was well informed and wanted to help.  Jack hoped it wouldn’t matter that he was crooked.  It did matter to him that he was compassionate and honest.

Jack had several slogans that he used.  “If you’re not doing your best you’ve failed the rest.”  “If you’re not helping others, then who are you helping?”  “I may be crooked, but I’m honest.”  Every day he would quote at least one of them before he started off to work.

The schedule for the primaries was tough.  At the Iowa caucus he was barely noticed except for a few remarks about a crooked lawyer trying to squeeze into the party.  N.H., S.C., Fla.  In the early going the primaries flew by.

There were a few debates but he was left out because he wasn’t in the top four.  Slowly he gained ground as candidates dropped out of the race.  Some of them were caught in scandals while others made ill advised comments about Pro Choice or foreclosures.  One of them said, “I think banks need to be more aggressive and chase these deadbeats out of their homes.  What if businesses were allowed to skip payments?”  Another candidate said, “Pro choice?  I think players should be able to go on strikes.”

Jack shook his head.  How had these men gotten elected in the first place?  Then he remembered the big man and the group behind the candidates.  Had these candidates been selected to drop out or were they just careless?

Jack practiced his speech and refused to use the one written for him.  He was determined to give his honest opinions.

His speech:  Our country says all are equal, yet we are often intolerant.  We say we love nature but we destroy our beautiful environment.  I think we are the greatest country because we are a generous people and we stand up for freedom, but we cannot rest on our past performance.  We will continue to prove what we are made of.  We are proud to serve those who need a hand up.  At the same time we expect and deserve respect.”

Super Tuesday rolled around and Jack surged in the polls when his straight talk stood out.  The big prize was proclaimed in a large headline which read, “Crooked Lawyer Takes Texas by Storm”.

The big man paid him a visit.  “It’s getting time for you to drop out.  Our man wants this race to be decided before the convention.  A crooked man will never be President. We appreciated your honesty but enough is enough.  The American people are stupid and we have to guide them.  I’ll give you a call when you do your dive.”

The big man was right about one thing.  Voters had noticed Jack’s odd way of smiling and the strange way he walked.  But more importantly they had listened to him as he talked.  His physical appearance had only been a slight distraction. Each person had come away from a speech thinking, “Jack, the crooked man, was talking to me”.  Each one felt a connection.  Each one felt important.

The national party committee was disturbed when Jack refused to drop out of the race.  They were very upset when the polls indicated a larger interest in politics than ever before.  They were counting on apathy to get their candidate elected.

On June 5, Jack swept California’s primary.  His campaign manager and staff had expected Jack to drop out long ago but now they were caught up in the enthusiasm of this election phenomenon.  They began writing new slogans and soon slogans were posted everywhere.  “A vote for the crooked man will straighten the country!” “Honesty is the crooked man’s way!” “Show the world some love!” “Love Our Country!” “Be proud to serve!”  “I need you, our country needs you!”

Straw polls were taken and the results were unbelievable.  Jack’s rapid ascension put him in a strong second place.  The front runner was annoyed that Jack was still in the race.  The national committee dropped all pretense of support for Jack and began a mudslinging campaign.  “He’s a small town lawyer who was crooked.”  “Would you trust a crooked man?”  The attacks didn’t work. These and other remarks only made Jack work harder.  His followers rallied behind him.

Jack’s comments on an early morning national television were splashed across the internet and repeated often.   “We, the people,” Jack said, “have a mission to get this country back on track.  In order to form a more perfect union we all need to help each other.  Each person is unique and what you do is important.  Because of you America is strong and will continue to be strong.  I want you walking alongside of me as we face new challenges.”

At the convention big money was clearly evident and backing the national committee’s man.  But Jack My love had stolen hearts and convinced the public that reasonable plans can work.

The delegates were abuzz with excitement.  It was the old guard facing off against a new honest candidate.  It was the straight laced versus the crooked.  It was old money against grass roots.  It was a proud moment in history.

On the first official vote of the convention the front runner had the lead but could not muster enough votes to win.  On the second vote the voting was even closer.  Defectors moved over to the crooked lawyer’s camp.  On the third vote Jack took control of the convention.

It was time for the crooked lawyer to challenge the opposing party’s smooth talking incumbent. It was a chance for an honest crooked man to become President and live in the biggest crooked house.

A Crooked Man for President


Jack Bauer is...

Jack Bauer is... (Photo credit: ikelee)

(Part 2)

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!”

 

 

A Crooked Man


A photograph of author Jack London on his ranc...

Image via Wikipedia

The birth was normal but somehow the baby was strangely misshapen.  One leg was shorter than the other and he twisted a bit to one side. “He’s a crooked little fellow,” the doctor muttered.

“Oh, no, he’s beautiful,” his mother insisted.   “I’m so proud of him!”  And to prove how much she loved her baby she gave him a strange name, as mothers sometimes do.

Jack My love Bartholomew” the nurse wrote on the chart.  “Are you sure you want to give this boy a strange name like that? He’s going to have a hard enough time in the world.”

His mom was insistent and the name stayed.  Of course, in his early years Jack’s full name was rarely used.   Only when his mother was mad did she call him Jack My love Bartholomew and then there were other names liberally sprinkled in.

When he entered school the situation changed.  The kids taunted him because of his crooked way of smiling and the way he walked.  His name became a special target and he learned to endure the bullies and their little slaves.  Jack always thought of the helpers as slaves because they were afraid to challenge any decision made. Suggestions from bullies were commands to be carried out.

“Jack My love”, do this.  “Jack My love”, do that.  Jack grew tired of hearing his name in jest and sometimes he ignored the tease or refused to answer anything other than Jack.

In high school he began getting recognition in sports as an excellent runner.  As a running back in football his slants and cutbacks were different.  His crooked way of running gave him unusual opportunities.  In cross country and track he became known for his “crooked” miles.

His opponents and some of his teammates asked the coaches to “Make him run right”.  He ran at angles but within bounds.  Although his coaches listened to complaints they saw how his awkward style led to wins.  It was not in their best interests to change him. Therefore the coaches left him alone.

In addition to his talents in sports his writing skills were superior.  Because he had spent hours brooding about the taunts and teasing, he kept a journal.  At first his teachers tried to change his penmanship because it was so horribly crooked and even left handed students refused to accept him.

As a consequence of his crooked writing his papers were hard to read and were often marked down drastically.  Eventually his teachers adapted and began discovering his raw talent.  His poems and short stories were wonderful though decidedly crooked.  They, not Jack, petitioned the school board for a laptop Jack could carry with him.

Jack’s romantic life was simply nonexistent.  Girls remarked that Jack walked funny and when he smiled, his smile was crooked.  They would say, “You’re a good friend but………….. and Jack would listen to a range of excuses but never got a date.

After college he thought about becoming a politician but since he was already “the crooked man” he thought that might be a bad idea.  He became a lawyer instead.

Jack’s success as a county prosecutor brought publicity about his relentless pursuit of those on the wrong side of the law.  His fame spread and he obtained a certain measure of respect but people still made references to his odd name and his peculiar way of walking.

Jack bought an old house on the outskirts of town.  It needed renovation and repairs and he went right to work restoring the old mansion. Once it had been a beautiful landmark in town but a series of mobsters had lived there briefly and left it in disrepair.  Townsfolk said it was filled with bullet holes and weird stories.  Jack was the only one brave enough to buy it and move in.

It was located, oddly enough, on South Crooked Way and situated on the side of a small hill.  Everyone who saw it claimed it leaned to one side.  For that and other reasons they referred to it as “the crooked house”.

During this time Jack acquired a few animals, hereafter referred to as one crooked dog and one crooked cat.  Field mice in the vicinity were decimated by the crooked cat, although there were rumors about town that a couple of malformed mice were ignored by the cat.  The crooked dog looked ferocious and strangers did not venture down his road without making a hasty departure.

Jack was lonely, especially at night when the crickets started chirping and the moon rose up full of bright promise.  He tried internet dating sites but he could not keep a normal schedule.  His “ewomen” gradually drifted away into cyberspace.

During a Purple Passion Poetry posting contest Jack decided to compete and see if his writing talent would give him a chance at winning.  He had forgotten one aspect of the contest.  The top five writers were required to make a public appearance and read a few poems in front of a live audience.

One of the judges took him aside and asked, “Jack, could you please wear a specially built shoe so you look normal? Oh, and would you please take the time to work on that crooked smile?”

He won the contest which upset most of the long time gentry.  While onstage at the awards presentation Jack enraged them more by removing his uncomfortable shoe and smiling at the audience.

The next day newspaper banners read, “Crooked Man Wins Contest!”   When some people objected to a crooked man winning, one of the judges was quoted as saying, “I had no choice.  It was crooked all the way!”

Jack was not at all pleased with the publicity and the way the public treated him.  In spite of the publicity he was offered a partnership with a local law firm that wanted a crooked lawyer.  When he accepted their offer he received a large increase of pay, his income doubling immediately.

His crooked smile was front page news in the local paper and one of the top ten internet stories. “Crooked Lawyer Leaves Public Practice to Defend Crooks.”

“Why don’t you sue those insensitive clods on the newspaper?” his partners asked.  “They’ve gone way too far.  If you won’t do it for yourself, then sue for the sake of all those kids who have to face bullies.  Then donate the money to charity.”

His partners were urging him to sue but that wasn’t Jack’s style.  They became more insistent, telling Jack he had to be ruthless if he continued with their firm.  He resigned and opened an office on the main street of town.  The sign above it read simply “THE CROOKED LAWYER”.  Rather than fight with those who were ridiculing him, he took the insult as a badge of honor.

The building was nondescript and there were no flashy directions to his office.  People would say, “It’s located on the third floor somewhere.  You’ll know it when you see it.”  Sure enough when visitors made it to the third floor they saw hand painted signs with arrows pointing the way.  One sign said, “Love instead of sue.”  Another was more dramatic. “Love first, shoot last.”

Across the country the name caught fire.  People laughed but when they needed legal help they remembered his sign.  Jack’s reputation and his tenacity brought in more clients.  It seemed almost everyone wanted the most hardworking, most honest crooked lawyer in the business.

Mob bosses, ministers, thieves, rich men, and poor men wanted Jack to represent them.  In his normal crooked way Jack would put up a brilliant defense as he paced back and forth, similar to the slants of his football glory days. The jury was always mesmerized and his victories continued to mount.  For Jack it wasn’t all about the money.  He wanted to believe in his clients and get them respect.

Because of this honest crooked lawyer many of his crooked clients decided to go straight.  They continued to prosper in spite of being honest in their dealings.  More importantly, they vowed to remember all that Jack had done for them.

Next door to his office was a quaint coffee shop.  Jack enjoyed reading the newspaper and checking the internet over a cup of coffee.   There Jack met Melissa, a waitress, who did interest him.  As she poured him a coffee each day she talked about her world and wanted to know about his.  She never mentioned Jack’s crooked smile.  She just seemed happier when he smiled at her.  She knew he had an odd way of walking but that didn’t really matter.  She saw him go out of his way to say kind words to people and to pet dogs and cats.

The world came alive to Melissa when Jack was there.  “Jack My love” took on new meaning after she said, “I love your name.”   He excited her and made her feel comfortable at the same time.  He, in turn, began sharing his childhood and found she had a genuine interest in this life. Their friendship blossomed.  Shortly thereafter they married and lived together in the big crooked house.

It wasn’t long before Jack’s name was bandied about in political circles.  “He was okay as a crooked lawyer,” one woman said.  “I think he would make an excellent crooked politician.”

(But that’s another story.)

Neither Silver nor Gold


Neither Silver nor Gold

Randy burst into the room,

And began to shout,

“My debts have been paid,

They’ve all been wiped out!

 

Someone paid all my debts,

I don’t owe any more!

My debts have been paid,

Someone’s evened the score!”

 

“Are you serious?” his friend snorted,

“Who would help a poor bum?

There’s more to this story that you’re not telling,

Who would do something that dumb?

 

This is so unbelievable,

It can’t really be true,

Someone’s pulling your chain,

And he’s probably scamming you,

 

Who paid off your debts,

What’s his given name?

If you find out who he’s working for,

You’ll understand his real game,”

 

There was silence only for a moment,

Before Randy said, “I know he paid my debts,

My burden has been lifted,

I’m at peace and I have no regrets,

 

Small problems became mountains,

Before I met him I feared each day,

There were always things I owed,

That I knew I could never pay,

 

I was already in a state of ruin,

There was no way out I could tell,

I had given up all hope,

I was trapped in a financial hell,

 

Out of nowhere came this man,

Who said the debts I had faced,

Were gone and solved forever,

They were paid and now erased,

 

My friend was still shocked, “It can’t be true,

The only way to stop debts is to create wealth,

Save wisely, and save till you die,

Money is even more important than health,

 

Family can wait, stay on your job,

There’s no miracle waiting out there,

No one pays your debts for free,

You’re talking dreams, mirrors, and smoke in the air,

 

Be shrewd in a world like this,

It’s the only way to get someplace,

So forget the idea your debts are paid,

There’s only one way to win this race!”

 

Randy answered, “But I tell you it’s true,

The road will be tough but I have no regrets,

When he told me to follow him,

There was no question, he had paid my debts,

 

I’ve determined that his way is best,

The strangest part of the story I’ve told,

Is about this stranger who paid,

He had neither silver nor gold,

 

Nothing was uncommon, he fit right in,

He talked as if he had always known me,

His father had always been a family friend,

Then he shared his vision of eternity,

 

He said I won’t need money in this faraway place,

All my needs and wants will be cared for,

I just need to get myself ready,

When he comes knocking at my door,”

 

My friend was livid, boiling hot mad,

“I want him arrested and thrown into jail,

He’ll destroy the economy and dreams I had,

Without silver and gold it’ll be pure hell!

 

He should be murdered or hung on a tree,

Stretched out before us so all can see,

There’s no way he can pay all the debts,

“You’ll always owe, you can never be free!”

 

After that outburst my friend stormed out,

“I hope he doesn’t kill someone,” Randy said out loud,

But he worried about the way his friend reacted,

Violence unleashed only needs one voice in a crowd,

 

The stranger was calm, as Randy followed him that day,

He touched the crippled, downtrodden, those with sores,

The stranger performed miracles to Randy’s surprise,

Then he said, “Come to me for I am the door,”

 

Was this man crazy, for now Randy had doubts,

Everything was happening fast and was so unknown,

Randy could leave the life the stranger offered,

Before he changed all that Randy had ever known,

 

The stranger’s small group met late one night,

He explained how he would die without a fight,

“Not so,” Randy blurted, “that won’t be right,

I’ll protect you and keep you in sight,”

 

“When the time comes,” said the stranger,

“You’ll claim you’ve never seen my face,”

Randy denied it but knew in his heart,

That something profound had taken place,

 

This garden was a new beginning,

Different from when Adam had failed the test,

But it all came about as expected,

And someday Randy will know the rest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Into This World


World! Wide! Love!

Image via Wikipedia

Nothing but love I brought into this world,

I was transparent to all who cared,

I had no need for extra things,

Because I had lots of love to share,

As I grew older the world was mine,

To explore the treasures she had,

And to her bosom I often went,

For I was a curious lad,

Barefoot and rambunctious I grew up,

With few possessions to my name,

Only what nature so freely gave,

Were part of the rules of the game,

Splendid colors did the earth display,

From pastels to brilliant shades,

As she twirled on her destined way,

The world watched as I emulated her lead,

I shared my belongings along the way,

And love was all I ever needed,

To keep my greed at bay,

But the pretenders of love did not stop,

I fought through loneliness and tears,

All I had left was love, sweet love,

And it’s stayed with me for years,

There’s nothing else but love,

That’ll fit between those pearly gates,

And everything else will slip right down,

And fall through the sewer’s grates.

 

“Marriage Is a Rose Garden”


English: Sahara rose - Bagatelle Rose Garden (...

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We were arguing while waiting in a long line,

There was a concert we wanted to see,

We were newlyweds and things were wrong,

I blamed you and you blamed me,

I expected home to be the Garden of Eden,

Where I could rule my kingdom every day,

Then I discovered you were a princess,

Used to getting your own way,

Neither of us was ready to give in,

Already our love was wearing thin,

We wondered if our love could be mended,

And if we could still remain friends,

The elderly couple behind us was in love,

We could see it in their eyes,

“Could you give me the secret of love?”

What they shared seemed true and wise,

The man smiled and hugged his wife,

Penny and I learned long ago,

That a marriage is built day by day,

And there was much we each had to know,

Penny taught me warmth and love,

And that friendship is a must,

When others try to tear you apart,

You still have to continue to trust,”

“Love is just the icing on the cake,”

He continued, “Respect is something you need,

If respect and support are missing,

Your marriage is in trouble indeed,

We like to think love is a living plant,

That thrives when tended well,

When it is given the proper nutrients,

It gets stronger as time will tell,”

Penny said, “Marriage is a rose garden,

And often the beauty brings tears,

All the blooms are not yours alone,

They are to be shared for years and years,

Foolish hearts often give up too quick,

Before the garden has a chance to bloom,

They forget that roses thrive best,

When given lots of light and room,

In the first year when new growth appears,

And you’re considering what seeds to sow,

Talk to God about your spouse,

And what the marriage needs to grow,

Give your rose garden tender loving care,

A rose garden blooms profusely when fed,

But don’t forget the most important part,

Prune any part of you that is dead,

Ask yourself the reasons you fell in love,

Challenge each other to revisit them again,

This is one time to dig up the past,

For this time both can win,

With maturity your world will expand a lot,

So be prepared for both to change,

If either was stagnant and did not grow,

Wouldn’t that have been strange?

Marriage is a rose garden,

You have to twist and bend,

When you keep love in sight,

You fall in love again,

There is one secret to ensure success,

To stay married to your best friend,

Think of the good your spouse does each day,

And you’ll fall in love again,

Seek God out for perfect advice,

For patience when troubles brew,

It would be wise to explore your own heart,

Instead of what your spouse should do,

Daily remind yourself you made a great choice,

And found the perfect person for you,

Then falling in love and over again,

Will be easier and easier to do,”

We entered the doors and found our seats,

The music was powerful and loud,

But as we sat there thinking things over,

We realized it’s hard to think in a crowd,

Our hearts were troubled and we left midway,

We found a place where we could walk,

Then in a diner we shared coffee and a slice of pie,

We opened up and had a heart to heart talk,

It was like a flame from friendship grew,

We were connected by our hearts once more,

And in the early hours I fell in love,

And worried what the future had in store,

My wife also had made her choice,

I would always be her man,

Then we decided that a rose garden,

Would keep us focused on a plan,

In the morning when the sun came up,

While the dew was still on the ground,

We planted a single rose bush,

To remind us of the love we found,

Every year we’ll add yet another,

Then share what our hearts have learned,

The garden will fill with bouquets of rose buds,

The rewards our marriage has earned.

Last Words


Scuba diver. Found at Plongée sous-marine & ob...

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Last Words That Were Easy to Remember

(Last words are in parenthesis)

 

There have been times I’ve said,

Last words I hoped were true,

I said them so sweet they’d be good to eat,

If they were returned by you,

 

The words (I Love You) were special,

And when I gave you a Valentine’s card,

In the fifth grade that was a problem,

Friends teased me often on the school yard,

 

When we went on the scuba diving trip,

And you assured me (no sharks) were there,

Why did you get so excited,

When one whispered in your ear?

 

You got into an argument with your friend,

And you said I could take care of us,

You didn’t tell me he was a karate instructor,

(What happened?)  I got run over by a bus!

 

Last words were easy to remember,

Especially when their meaning rang true,

In dreams they came to spice up my nights,

But the words I treasured most were (“I do”),

 

You might have thought I’d have memorized,

Those phrases that were difficult to hear,

But the two words that drove me to the edge,

Were short and simple, (“Yes, dear”),

 

You were drinking a tea and on your phone,

While driving with your knees,

You said you had (perfect control),

Except for that awful tree,

 

You didn’t wait as you vowed you’d do,

I don’t want to see your silly grin,

You’ve closed your book one last time,

It’s over, finished, (Amen).

 

For once I got the last word.