The Other Guys


It was Jim’s first time at the Rocky Horror Debate Show, and he was the only one with no idea there was more to this than watching a movie. Asked about gun control, he came up with exactly the kind of batcrap analogy-based Castle Doctrine excuse that makes engaged Democrats yell “Magenta IS a dog!” Do Black Lives Matter or do (F!) “all lives matter”? (K! Spells Fuck!) Another ball poinked off his head and rolled away. Days like this made him feel all twirly eyed and lost, with ambush from trees like it was back in Nam. Lemme tell ya about Nam. I’ll be damned if some slope gonna put their greasy yellow hands on this watch! Five long years I hid this watch up my ass, and —

“You’re wasting time, sir.”

“CHINAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!”

“Thank you, Captain Koons. Mr. Sanders, would you like to add to that?

“zzzzzz Huh? Oh. Is he done?”

Secretly, Link didn’t feel bad at all. Must be nice to complain about not getting called. Thinking about being called on again made his knuckles hurt and his eyes squinch up like some Exeter headmaster was waving a ruler at him. The only thing he hated more than being asked why he did things was rulers, because they were always a package deal. All the rulers are in inches, you know. He could make everything metric, and destroy them. If that Martin wasn’t there, cockblocking.

“Mr. Chafee.”

“Stop yelling at me!”

“(sigh) Gun Nut Jesus Corporation wants to sell humanity’s last hope to a sentient black hole so it can eat the universe. Your response?”

“I would ask them nicely not to? And offer them a Cinnabon. Nothing bad will happen because people are nice.”

He stopped himself from blurting out “I wanna go home”. He didn’t, he was allowed to be here, with the heavy hitters, and that Martin person. But that was what he did to shout down memories of things that still made him feel stupid. He tossed this night on the pile. An hour and a half left. Two batches of forty five minutes. Put on that big fake smile, the one you cut out of Gluten Free Living and taped to your face. Then you can go home to your Holiday Tree.

Finally, the night ended. Nurse Ratchet came for Jim. Link was suddenly not there, as though he hadn’t been. The audience filed out. Alone on the stage, Martin stared up at the klieg lights. That was awesome. 21st Century big league Democrats are not here to fuck around. Poor old Jim and Link, they’re good guys. They could go back to being Republicans and I’d still have them in my Cabinet. But for us, fucking around is over, forever. You gotta take Gandhi, Mighty Joe Young, William Shirer, and Robocop, put them in a juicer, and have the juice to put out a forest fire. Or you’re toast. And here I am, not toast.

He looked out at the theater, and there was one guy left. When Martin caught his eye, the guy went to scribbling in his book. Fucking scout, Martin thought. Here to watch me. I hope he saw the part where I laid snark on the DNC lady, right to her face. Martin turned to leave, and heard the guy get up. Fucking scout. I got what I came for.

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