Monday, December 26, 2011

L’s 2011 Doofus Awards

 

The Year of the Dumbass has almost ended, thank the Fates. 2011 has been a year of bountiful idiocy, served up in every category of life on Planet Earth.  Never in history has the list of laughable lunacy competed in length with the laudable and annually lauded achievements of homo sapiens.

Though it was extremely challenging to winnow this list of moronic behavior down to a manageable number, listed below are my picks for my First Annual Doofus Awards:

Trophy Crime

Although there were some high-profile criminals     such as Casey Anthony, Florida’s young mother who killed her three-year-old daughter (acquitted by a boneheaded jury), and Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s physician who administered the lethal dose of Propofol that took the pop star’s life (convicted and sentenced to four years), the Doofus Award for Crime must go to Tawander Simmons, the 35 year-old woman of Stone Mountain, Georgia who checked her 17 year-old son, Benny Brice and two other boys, out of Stephenson High School one Friday morning. The four then robbed a Wells Fargo bank in Lilburn, GA, 20 miles outside Atlanta.

Trophy Hollywood

There was no shortage of nominees from Hollywood, God knows.  Is there ever?  Kim Kardashian, of the Hollywood Kardashians, moguls of the famous-for-doing-nothing industry, was certainly top of mind at the time of these award considerations.  Public opinion has deemed her infamous 72-day marriage to NBA player Kris Humphries an $18 million publicity stunt, while she plays victim and he gets booed at the arena for nobody-knows-what.  But nothing holds a candle to the web-based meltdown of bad-boy Charlie Sheen.  What fool who stars in television’s number one show gets on the internet and brags about his live-in goddesses, his tiger blood and his “winning” ways?  All while looking like a drugged out mad man who is ultimately fired from his lucrative job and stages a poorly executed one-man show.  Charlie Sheen, the Doofus Award for Hollywood goes to you, Bubba.

Trophy Media

The winner in this category is getting the award solely for being the media person who I find unbearably irritating.  You might be thinking Glen Beck or Bill O’Reilly or Howard Stern or even Piers Morgan – and each of them is surely a doofus.  But my choice is a person who is really known mostly for writing memorable lines like “Read my lips, no new taxes” and catch phrases like “a thousand points of light.”  I’m sure the Elder President Bush appreciated her admirable ability to turn a phrase, but the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan is the worst political pundit on television.  Her patrician, over-enunciated whispery speaking style makes me want to slap her when she finally manages to get a sentence out.  Peggy, it gives me considerable pleasure to present the Doofus Award for Media. And yes, I know (or at least as FAR as I know) you haven’t done anything particularly stupid.  You are just irritating.

Trophy Politics

This category is a veritable cornucopia of possibilities.  Given my political leanings, one might expect this award to go to any one of the current crop of Republican Presidential hopefuls.  Rick Perry’s “oops” moment was unfortunate; Herman Cain…well, pick one, I suppose, but his brain blip on Libya made him look even stupider than his arrogant assumption that his 13-year “friendship” with Ginger White would escape undiscovered; Mitt Romney’s $10,000 wager… But no, this year’s award is going, with “certitude,” to the Peter Tweeter himself, Democrat Congressman Anthony Weiner.  Sending a snapshot of one’s junk into the perpetuity known as the internet is a boneheaded move that assures his presence on the list of all-time doofuses.

Trophy Sports

This one is no contest.  The biggest sports doofus in the land today has to be Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers.  The affable NBA phenom has reinforced the “dumb” in “dumbass” as late as today, the day after Christmas, when he is reported to be trying to save his marriage to the beautiful Vanessa “for the sake of the kids.”  Since when did bank accounts count as kids?  We first learned that Kobe was a doofus when he was accused a few years back of assaulting a hotel employee on a road trip. A $4 million ring eventually patched things up with Vanessa, but nothing was done about the fact that Kobe had no pre-nuptial agreement to protect his hundreds of millions in the bank. And Kobe continued to drop his drawers with women apparently too numerous to count.  Now that Vanessa has not only had it up to here with his philandering, but has also allegedly found another strong shoulder to lean on which is attached to boxer Victor Ortiz, Kobe is scrambling to avoid losing half his fortune.  When are these numbnuts going to understand they will have to pay to play?  Kobe should have had a tête-à-tête with Tiger.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

‘Twas Three Nights Before Christmas

 

‘Twas three nights before Christmas, with time running out;

And the Congress was deadlocked, resolution in doubt.

The plane rides were ordered, the Christmas break called.

The Senate was screaming that they were appalled.

 

The people were jumping right out of there skins,

While visions of income cuts entered their noggins.

Mom sits in her jammies and Dad in his Snuggie

Crunching the numbers and going quite buggy,

 

When out in the great room there arose such a ruckus

That Dad said “Don’t tell me they’ve come HERE to f**k us!

Away to the closet he crept on his toes

Pulled down his rifle and with it some clothes.

 

The blaze in the fireplace was casting a glow

On the ceiling and walls, on the presents, their bows.

When, who to Dad’s shock and dismay did appear

But John Boehner himself, through the window -- with beer.

 

With the nose on his kisser so red and so lit

Dad knew in a moment that ol’ John was blitzed.

More swiftly than magpies his cronies did follow

To repeat his mantras and remind him to swallow.

 

“Where’s Santa?” asked Dad, where’s Prancer and Vixen?

Where’s Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen?”

Why are you here, and who are these clowns?

Why aren’t you working to bring them around?”

 

And then, in a sudden, Dad heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As Dad lowered the rifle, his mouth all agape

Santa entered the room through the fire escape.

 

He was dressed for the evening in his usual duds,

And he looked like he and Boehner had been sharing the suds.

The humungous bag he had flung on his back

Was as empty as the souls of the Tea Party quacks.

 

His ire – how it bristled! his temper how nasty!

His cheeks were on fire, his nose wanted rhinoplasty!

His droll little mouth was drawn taut like a bow,

And he spoke in a voice that was scary and low.

 

“Boehner,” he rumbled, “you fools are quite done.

You’ve lost control of your people. Dad, give me that gun!

Your minions are crazy and don’t care a whit

About children and elderly; you are all full of sh*t!”

 

“Now give me that bottle, you drunk knucklehead!

And get your ass back to D.C., not to bed.

The children are waiting for me to show up

And you need to agree to free that cash up!”

 

Dad nodded profusely, while Santa just glowered.

John Boehner pulled up and looked less like a coward.

He turned to his cronies and called for a huddle,

Their hearts started melting; beneath them a puddle.

 

They sprang through the window, Nick leading the way

And away they all flew to catch a ride on the sleigh

They got back to Washington and called for a vote

They strong-armed their holdouts; an agreement they wrote.

 

Santa backed from the room and walked back to his sleigh

The reindeer were ready to be on their way

And John Boehner heard, as they drove out of sight,

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

 

Note from L:  I was crafting this poem when the bulletin from the Washington Times hit my email saying the House had reached an agreement to go ahead and approve the two-month extension of the payroll tax cut and the unemployment payments recommended by the Senate.  I would like to think of it as a Christmas miracle, but we all know it had more to do with political pressure and the looming elections. Whatever the reason, there will be a little more breathing room for parents who are scrambling to make sure Christmas happens for their kids.  Alleluia! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Intrepid Mr. Cooper, the Amazing Ms. Streep and Foreclosure in Cleveland

 

60 Minutes logo

I have watched 60 Minutes for as long as I can remember.  Most of the time I am absolutely absorbed by at least one, sometimes two, of the three segments presented.  Occasionally, I think the enduring CBS workhorse strikes out.

That was most decidedly NOT the case last night. 

Segment One:  Cleveland Mortgage Crisis

People have made jokes about Cleveland, Ohio for decades.  “Mistake by the Lake” (Erie) comes to mind.  Coming as I do from the Chicago area, I grew up thinking Cleveland was just a smaller, less “cool” place with lots of similarities to our own beloved environs.  Whatever the reason for all the derision, the fact is that Cleveland has been losing population for years and has been hit hard by the current failure of the American economy.

So many houses have been lost to foreclosure and stand vacant month after month, year after year, the homes have become like shopping malls to thieves who take all the wiring, the plumbing the fixtures and even the aluminum siding off the bottom levels reachable without a ladder.  The blight created by these ravaged properties has forced the city of Cleveland resort to demolishing these recently perfectly good structures in order to try to save the value of the remaining homes, most of which are worth no more than half of their current mortgages.

As the camera swept by the small, Cape Cod-style houses sitting at the back of deep, well-kept front lawns, my heart broke a little bit more than it already was.  I know a thing or two about having to make the decision to ignore all my own Midwestern values and decide to strategically default on a home so far underwater I could never make keeping it make sense.  I was lucky, though, because my house was in a market that was still very desirable, especially for people who wanted to cut down on the burden of gas prices and long commutes from the suburbs. I was able to browbeat my bank into accepting a short sale, after 18 months of intense battle.  The people interviewed on 60 Minutes last night had no chance of making such a deal.

The extent to which Americans are hurting is not abating.  It is simply not being discussed anymore.  While our collection of clowns known as Congress continue to play their silly games in Washington, Americans are quietly dying, inside and out.  One woman on the show was skeletal in physique.  When asked how she had been getting by as she steadfastly scraped together a monthly mortgage payment even after losing her nursing job 18 months before, she replied that she cut back on food and blood pressure medicine.  She went to food banks so that she didn’t have to be hungry “all the time.”  She owes $100,000 on her mortgage.  Her home is worth $50,000 today.  We are not talking about a McMansion here.

Segment Two:  Anderson Cooper, Scuba Diver

On a lighter note, as they love to say on broadcast news programs, we left Cleveland and its problems and traveled with Anderson Cooper to a coral reef located in what Christopher Columbus called the Gardens of the Queen, a secluded and largely undiscovered area of the ocean off the coast of Cuba.  With with marine biologist David Guggenheim, Cooper took the viewers on an up close tour of a pristine coral reef, untouched by the problems shared by most of the world’s more ecologically disturbed reefs.  Dodging sharks and gigantic Moray eels to explore this increasingly rare oasis, the apparently fearless Cooper went almost nose to nose with a curious, 200-pound giant grouper.

What a life this man leads.  War zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, a populist revolt in Egypt’s Tahrir Square during the “Arab Spring,” a catastrophic earthquake in Haiti with millions displaced and/or severely injured. How difficult it must be to be Ben Maisani, Cooper’s boyfriend, who owns a New York city gay nightclub, while Anderson gallivants all over the world putting his life at risk. 

Segment Three: the Consummate Pretender

Of all the female actors in Hollywood, Meryl Streep is the one I would choose first to share a meal with.  Many actors are far more interesting playing roles than they ever are in their own persona.  Streep is fascinating in her own right.  She refuses to take herself too seriously, has a rapier-sharp wit and doesn’t seem to care a whit about her considerable physical beauty.  Most recently she has inhabited the character of the Iron Lady, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. 

I remember vividly the moment I became a devoted Meryl Streep fan.  I was where I could always be found at some point of a weekend in 1982; in a movie theater, this time watching Sophie’s Choice with my then-husband. In the scene, the character Stingo (Peter MacNicol) shows up at her door wearing a seersucker suit.  Sophie, an immigrant from Poland, said in her thickest Polish accent “Stinko, you’re wearing your cocksucker suit!”

Since then I have loved her performances as everything from a all-too-familiar, pinch-faced nun in Doubt to a high-spirited,latex-wearing mother of the bride in Mama Mia. This extremely rare interview on 60 Minutes did absolutely nothing to dampen my admiration of this gifted thespian.

Sixty minutes well spent.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kim Katches a Klaim to Fame


Well praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!  Some scientist has finallyKim Kardashian Wikipedia put a label on a Kardashian that we can all grasp.  No, it’s not “annoying!” Well, yes it is, but that’s not the word I’m going for here.

Kim Kardashian is a poster child for a phenomenon called vocal fry.  As reported in today’s (12/15/11) Time.com Healthland, vocal fry refers to the low, guttural vibrations that sometimes occur in speech, often appearing at the end of sentences. Listen here.

Now this is something to celebrate.  Just last night, Barbara Walters, on her annual 10 Most Fascinating People broadcast, told the viewers that she had never, in all the years she has done this program, had she had so much bitching and moaning about her selection as she has about Kim Kardashian.


Jerry Seinfeld got rich and famous for creating a hit television sitcom, literally about nothing.  Jerry Seinfeld is a hilarious stand-up comic, so his fame and fortune is most definitely talent-based.  Kim Kardashian and her K-obsessed mother and siblings, on the other hand, have done little more than embarrass each other in public to earn their obscene number of millions dissing the intelligence of the American voyeurs known as reality show addicts.

Now Ms. Kim has a claim to fame.  She will be forever identified with the latest language fad which I will now officially dub The Kardashian Effect.  I wonder how much Mama Kris will get when she cashes in on that!

Photo from Wikipedia

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas is the Same but I’ve Changed

The act of brushing my teeth triggers some of my most interesting thoughts .  I’ve always been rather bored by the task, standing there gazing into the mirror, trying to remember not to skip the lower molars my dental hygienist nags me about.  So I allow my vagabond mind to traipse at will.

This morning it dragged me into the hackneyed but timely territory of The Holidays. This is my 68th round of the most redundant set of annual celebrations known to humanity.  Everything about it – from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day – defies change.  Sure the various accoutrements  have varied over the years.  One year our family Christmas tree was pink fiberglass hung with hot pink ornaments and illuminated by a tri-colored rotating disk lit from behind.  Then there were the aluminum years.

Mostly, though, every effort has been made to preserve the traditions that have spanned the generations.  Variations on the Thanksgiving and Christmas menus are not welcome and they are not allowed.  Recipes for the side dishes have been handed down as if by law.  For instance, the stuffing, which my family calls dressing. The only thing about the dressing that has changed in the nearly seven decades I’ve been around is the oysters.  Ever since I made the mistake of biting into one and glancing at the remaining portion on my fork, I have demanded that at least half of the dressing be mollusk-free.  (Only vegetables should be green!)

As children, my sister and I lived for Christmas.  The biggest stress we had  was caused by the endless days and nights that preceded the big night.  Everything about the season was magical.  The feast on Thanksgiving produced a table laden with scrumptious dishes and surrounded by people we seldom saw.  And the smells!  Turkey roasting in the wee hours of the morning, sugar cookies and gingerbread baking in an oven that never rested. The sweetness of candy ribbons and peppermint canes as we passed the verboten-before-dinner candy dishes on the cherry wood buffet.

My grandmother was the kind of woman who couldn’t just sit and do nothing.  Her hands, if not busy making something, would itch with restlessness.  One year she took up creating elaborately sequined and beaded Christmas tree ornaments.  Every year each grandchild received about a half-dozen new, stunningly beautiful baubles for their trees.  Today I have around fifty, lovingly wrapped and stored every New Year’s Day, ready to eventually hand down to my son.  Just as the lights and the smells of the season resurrect my childhood memories of the winter holidays, those handmade keepsakes represent my young adulthood.

When I think of my holidays as a young mother, the tone of my memories and imagery begin to change.  Stephen was only one year old when his father and I divorced, so for the next seven years creating memories for this, the next generations, was entirely my responsibility.  With a child so young and a demanding, full-time job I became physically run down and susceptible to every virus making the rounds.  If I had to describe that period with just one word, that word would be exhaustion.

I remember one particular Christmas Eve when he was three or four and asking Santa for things that required assembly.  I had a virulent sinus infection.  I sat crying in the middle of the living room floor struggling to read the instructions and put together that year’s construction project.  But my tears evaporated when, at 4 a.m. on Christmas morning I was awakened by the squeals of my delighted little guy.

As my son grew up and I grew older, the magic of Christmas gradually faded.  Anyone who is of a certain age knows that our perception of passing time speeds up exponentially.  Whereas as a child, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed an eternity, now it doesn’t seem like enough time to get ready, and I don’t even have any grandchildren yet.  And didn’t I just put all those decorations away a few weeks ago?

This year is different.  My life has calmed down almost too much.  I have time to get things done.  I am 100% debt-free for the first time since I was 21 years old, and I have the money to buy the few gifts I’m giving,  Yet most people would say I’m broke. Yes, the world is going to hell in the proverbial hand basket, our government has lost its way, and the future can sometimes seem bleak; but I am personally at peace.  My heart and spirit have opened to the things in life that have the most meaning: good health; adequate food and shelter; the beauty of nature and its ability to endure our pillaging; kindness to and from others; and the hope that resides in the faces of every little child whose laughter tickles my ears.

Something tells me this is the way it should have been all along.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Wanna Bet?


As entertainment goes, Saturday night on TV has become the epitome of an oxymoron.  If one is not in possession of the pair of chromosomes that makes a person amenable to watching gigantic men run, jump, pass and collide in a sporting event, the menu on the boob tube on Saturday night justifies in spades the old vast wasteland moniker.

I had no date (hah! as if I needed to write that) and a dull throb behind my eyes was making reading too difficult, so I honored my commitment to stay abreast with what the other side is saying and tuned in to the 176th (that’s right, right?) Republican Presidential Debate on ABC. 

Here is my review of the debate in a nutshell: I laughed, I cried, I almost puked.

Observations

Frontrunner of the week Newt Gingrich got off the best rejoinder of the evening – heck, of the loooooong campaign cycle -- in response to main rival of the week Mitt Romney’s assertion that “I am not a career politician….”  In that feisty, reedy voice that literally trilled with self-satisfaction, Newt quipped “The only reason you aren’t a career politician is because you lost the election to Teddy Kennedy in 1994!”  I laughed aloud along with the studio audience, and continued laughing while watching Mitt Romney sputter through a retort.

Speaking of sputtering, Romney looked a little green around the gills when called upon to elaborate on his “obvious differences” with Gingrich.  For a minute there, he appeared to morph into his fellow good-haired opponent Perry, comically unable to come up with a single example for what seemed like a full minute.  I don’t know.  I think I would be able to tick off those kinds of things without missing a beat.  Maybe he’s tired?

When Texas Governor Rick Perry successfully misquoted something from Romney’s book and refused to capitulate, Mitt extended his un-calloused, elegant hand and offered to bet Perry $10,000!!!!!!  The late, great Ann Richards could be heard paraphrasing her old George Bush line:  “Poor Mitt.  He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”  I mean who the hell do you know outside of Las Vegas who pulls ten grand out of his…um.. back pocket as a casual wager?  Nice, Mitt.  Way to get down with your peeps.

Then there is Ron Paul.  Now there is a guy who makes all kinds of sense, but does so in such a style that makes him seem like a composite of Pee Wee Herman, Gilbert Gottfried and Casper Milquetoast.  The word charisma has never been uttered within a country mile of that guy.  He holds steady with 18% of the votes in polls, but even the Sunday morning gab gals and guys keep forgetting to mention him.  Paul is about as Presidential as I am, which does not bode well for his election to the White House.  But when I listen to the things he consistently says – there will be no flip-flopping in the Paul campaign – he says it clearly, with total conviction and with what is commonly recognized in regular conversations as common sense.

As a woman, I found myself inwardly cheering for Michelle Bachmann last night.  Let me be clear; I do not agree with any of her thoughts, ideas or statements.  What I found myself admiring, though, is her steely ability to think on her feet, to articulate her point of view with quantitative supporting facts (at least I assume they are facts, which…well, you know), and her resistance to resorting to the Palinesque employment of her feminine wiles.  I would just love to see a debate between Bachmann and Hillary Clinton.

Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman were there, allegedly, but neither said much.  They might as well have stayed home and watched it on TV with me.

After watching for almost 90 minutes, I have to admit my mind began to wander.  I think I might of gotten weary from hearing about how President Obama is responsible for everything bad that has happened in the last century.  Diane Sawyer’s measured delivery of anything she has to say has always had a Sominex effect on me.  So, I didn’t make it to the end.  But based on the talking heads and their repetitious coverage of the debate, I didn’t miss anything. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground

Jorelys Rivera ajc
Jorelys Rivera, age 7
Her mommy had to work the night shift at the Canton, Georgia chicken processing plant.  It’s the only work available for the young mother of three. A teenage family friend was the babysitter who watched little Jorelys and her two younger siblings.  On Friday afternoon, around 5 p.m., the teen watched Jorelys leave the River Ridge apartment complex playground to return to their apartment to get a soft drink.  She never returned.

Jorelys’ mom, Joselin, hadn’t seen her since Thursday.  By the time she returned home from work Friday morning, Jorelys had left for school. After school, Joselin was sleeping while the children played outside.
A huge search ensued.  For reasons not immediately revealed, the police quickly began treating the case as an abduction.   And Joselin’s two younger children were removed from her custody by authorities who cited her for negligence in supervision.

All weekend, searchers went door to door in the huge apartment complex searching and questioning residents.  Every registered sex offender in the area was questioned.  Police searched the complex grounds and the trash dumpsters outside the buildings in the complex. Nothing turned up. 

On Monday, December 5, someone discovered the trash compactor on the grounds had not been searched.  Why?  It was an oversight, they said.  Apartment residents interviewed on the news said they had put trash in the machine several times during the weekend and hadn’t noticed anything unusual.
There she was.  The little angel, as described by her mother, appeared to have been severely stabbed, beaten, raped and murdered and thrown into the compactor.  Perhaps the killer expected her lifeless body to be compacted with the trash.

Look at that child’s face in the picture.  Imagine how that smile must have changed when she realized her abductor meant to harm her.  She was naïve, even for seven, her mother says, but eventually she had to have become terrified.  How much did she feel?  Did he knock her unconscious before he violated her innocence?  Or was he more interested in her suffering?  

Or was it even a he?  Has the world become so alien that we now must consider that a woman could commit such a heinous act of violence?

This writer is haunted by this child’s fate.  That she is dead before she even had a chance to live is a travesty.  But the images that cross my mind as I contemplate the hours that followed her snatching are nauseating.  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Fly on the Cains’ Wall


I happened to have flown into the patio door at the Cain’s suburban manse and was hanging out on the wall above the fireplace when the Pizza Man finally made his appearance.  Being a fly and all, I’m not very tuned in to  politics, presidential campaigns and such, so  what happened next came as a bit of an unexpected melodrama.

To the best of my ability, I have tried to recall what I witnessed in the family room of Gloria and Herman Cain.  Fact-checkers can go ahead and kiss my thorax now.

Gloria looked up from her needlepoint  when she heard the sounds of her returning husband struggling to push his luggage through the door from the garage.

“I see you finally dragged your sorry behind back here,” she said without looking at him.” Her Southern drawl was even stronger than usual.

“Hi, Sweetheart.  I’m so glad to see you.  I’ve had one helluva bad week.  Damned media!”

“Damned media?!?  So now it’s the media’s fault that your little bimbo spilled her hideous guts?  Don’t try that crap with me, Buster.  You are home now, where everybody in the house knows your trifling ass.  Save that disingenuous BS for your misguided “faithful.”

“Baby, I know you’re upset.  I can explain.  Just let me go upstairs and catch a shower and change my clothes.  Then I will tell you everything.”

“Why, so you can wash the stench of whichever skank you had with you in the hotel before you left?  No, let’s hear it right here, right now!”

Herman Cain ran a sweaty palm over his bald cranium.  He threw his black fedora onto the granite countertop that divided their gleaming stainless steel kitchen from the spacious living area where Gloria Cain sat, strangely calm.  I played dead, hoping nobody decided to take a swat at me before what promised to be a brouhaha began.

Herman Cain sat in his recliner, next to the sofa where Gloria sat stabbing the needlepoint project with her sharp-pointed needle – down…up…down…up – with a wild-eyed smirk adorning her pretty face.  He cleared his throat.

“The woman is lying, Glo.  I never touched her.  You know how good-hearted I am.  I saw a person who was struggling and I wanted to help.  So I let her have a little money every now and then to keep her and her kids from being out on the streets.”

Gloria Cain laid down her work, threw her dainty head back and howled with laughter.  She laughed so hard and so long, tears began to stream down her face.  Then, without warning, her laughter changed to sobs.

“How dare you try that garbage with me, you sorry piece of shit.”

“Gloria!  You never swear.  What…”

“Oh, shut up!  And don’t try bringing up God, the church or anything resembling a lecture on being a lady.  It’s just you and me in this one, and I have had it with you and your foolishness.  Now spill it, do you hear me?”

“Honey, I think somebody is paying that woman to say those things.”

“Really, Herman?   You mean the way you were paying her up to two grand a month to, what, just be your friend?  For 13 freakin’ years, you were worried she would be evicted?  Even after you paid her rent…over and over and over again?  Puh-leeze.”

“Well, I…"

“What the hell do you want from me, Herman?  You know I’m not buying your lies.  You know I never have.  You have screwed up big time this time, and I’m done with you embarrassing this family.  As far as I’m concerned, you can turn around and put those bags right back in the trunk of your car and get the hell out of here. And don’t forget to call your lawyer.”

“But, Baby, I need your help.  I need you to stand with me at the press conference.  If you want me to pull out of the race, I will, but I need the public to believe you and I are okay.”

Gloria Cain rose from the sofa and leaned into Herman Cain’s face.  “Have you lost your goddamned mind?  I don’t even want to be seen with you in this room.  Why would you think I would help you mislead the public any more than you already have?  Honestly, Herman, you are a piece of work!”

Herman cradled his face in his two hands.  His shoulders heaved as he stifled his own silent sobs.  And Gloria realized those sobs were not for what he’d done to her and their kids.  She knew his despair was all about him.

After a long silence, Gloria grabbed Herman’s chin and lifted his face to hers.  A sinister smile crossed her face.

“Tell you what.  I’ll stand up there while you lie your way out of your campaign.  I’ll even stand behind you a few steps and smile up at your lying face adoringly.  But it will be the last time I ever do it.  And it will cost you.”

Herman Cain was taken aback.  He didn’t recognize this woman who was clearly seizing an opportunity.
“Wha…what do you mean, Gloria?  Are you asking me for a divorce?”

“I’m not ASKING you for anything, Herman.  I’m TELLING you.  You will never be able to write another check to anybody ever again.  You will sign over 100% of your assets to me.  Today.  And, no.  There will be no divorce.  Ever.  But you will move away from this house into a condo that I will own.  You will be given an allowance for food and gas. Everything else will go through me.  Take it or leave it.”
“Oh, and Herman.  On your way out, take that stupid-looking hat off my counter!”


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