JULY 24, 2016
PRESIDENT OF THE BUMS
So anyway, recent days have been filled with animal portents. Deer galloping across the road, foxes appearing on the edge of parking lots, raccoons lumbering up the tree trunks, hawks crying and displaying themselves with sudden abandon.
All around the Island-Life Offices the high pitch cree-cree of a lone hawk searching for a mate echoed through the lonely trees.
Over at the Native Sons of the Golden West, the Severely Conservative Convention ended a couple days ago after Ronald Rump obtained the nod for the SC candidacy for the Presidency of the Bums after a bitterly fought primary election. The AC failed during this massive heat wave and all the delegates flung sweat as they spoke and gestured. As part of his concession speech, former candidate Ned "Red" Cross refused to endorse the party's nominee due to the acrimonious nature of the Primary contest.
"I lost, I guess. And looking at what we get, I guess all of us lost. Certainly we did lose civility during this contest."
Sound of boos and "Up yer Rump!" chants from the partisan gallery.
"But I tell ya, we agreed, we all agreed, if you remember way back in Elementary, there is one rule we all gotta obey . . . ".
More boos and calls for an abolishment of all rules and regulation, especially for debates and political parties that have the most money at hand.
"But I swear the main golden rule of all still stands. No mothers! You can kick and punch like a girl, Except if you are Rhonda Rousey. You can use loogies and wedgies, but no mothers! Aint it true? Moms are sacred! No mothers man!"
From the side Ronald Rump responded to the concession speech with his usual grace, magnanimity, and generosity large as elephants.
"AHHHHHH, LOSER! LOSER! YOU AINT NOTHIN' BUT A LOOOOOOOOOOSER! BLFTHFTHPT!"
Some felt the Bronx cheer was moderately excessive. Others felt that Rump indicated true Presidential quality. It was difficult to determine what people really felt as everyone who was not a true Rumper, as the Rump adherents were called, had been ejected from the hall by men wearing brown shirts and black armbands.
Some of this theater may seem strange to people not familiar with the Lost Coast and California's hidden traditions. Every four years the bums gather in Northern California to elect from among themselves the person who most exemplifies California Bum values.
For years, members of the Hippie party dominated this caucus, but latterly the Severely Conservative Party and the Pee Tardy Party have overwhelmed opposition, largely by means of the tactic of shouting the loudest. The SCP espouses a government that does virtually nothing, which, if you think about it, perfectly embodies the epitome of bum values with regards to indolence. The SCP has the motto of "Do no harm and do no work!"
The radical Pee Tardy people hold such an extreme Conservative point of view that people should be compelled to pee less than once per day so as to east the strain on the Infrastructure.
There were few PTP people in evidence at the Convention, largely because gangs supporting Rump went around beating them up and setting their homes on fire.
A lot of people with sensitive eardrums were glad when the SCP Convention ended, only to endure the Somewhat Liberal (If You Don't Mind) Convention that followed. This campaign also was characterized by some acrimony, with the young Ernie supporters reacting with dismay and disappointment when their beloved icon failed to gather sufficient delegates to become the nominee over Hilarious Blimpton, who nevertheless made history as the first woman in history to snag this pole spot,
The outgoing President made an appearance to endorse the new candidate.
"I am sorry I may have failed y'all. I fixed the Nation's economic system when it was heading for a tailspin, I rescued Detroit, I reassured our allies we are not all nutcases ready to invade other countries on a whim, I jumpstarted renovation of the collapsing health care system for everybody in a way even the insurance companies like, I repaired relations with Cuba, I brokered a multinational deal on nuclear arms proliferation with one of our former enemies in the Middle East, I also successfully brokered bipartisan budget deals 8 times to minimize and avert total government shutdown that would have permanently damaged the nation's international credit, and I did a whole lotta other stuff people don't remember.
So I am sorry, I failed you; I just did not get around to giving the White House a new coat of paint and fixing Climate Change. I guess I just was working too hard trying to keep the Country from looking ridiculous."
"It's okay Mr. President," Hilarious said. "It seems the SCP people -- and we know who they are -- never expected that a Black Man could roll up his sleeves and work harder than anybody else. I guess they expected you to be a Bum. This seems to have upset them a bit."
"It does look like they can't get over something," agreed the President. "I am sorry I am not a good bum."
After the Convention was over, Jose, Denby, and Pahrump went to work taking down bunting, sweeping up confetti and tossing banners into the trash.
"You sorry that your main man Ernie Sandman didn't get the nomination?" Jose asked Denby.
"At least he changed the process a bit," Denby said. "Never expected the Establishment would allow him in."
"So what he do?" Jose asked
"He turned a circus that involved two red-faced people shouting extreme inanities at each other into a three-ring." Denby said. "Which makes for better TV.
"O!" Jose said.
As they dragged the stuffed garbage bags out to the dumpster, they heard a high pitched "Cree! Cree!" overhead.
"What about you, Pahrump?" asked Denby. "What do you make of all this?"
Pahrump wearily heaved his sack into the dumpster. "We been hoping for years the White Man would just go away, watching his imaginary kingdom shrink to the point even a people as blinkered as they cannot ignore it any more. Now they wanna restore a kingdom that never existed in reality. Nothing any of them gonna do will bring back our homelands and the big steelhead runs up in the Lost Coast. This country been around for 400 years -- it can stand a little twist and tug. It aint gonna melt away like bee pee on cigarette paper."
"Fo' shizzle," Jose said, who was significantly younger than Pahrump.
After they were done they sat out on the front steps looking out over the marina and the white effulgence of the waning moon, still gibbous after last week. Everything was silvered over -- the trees, the lawn, the houses, the boats and the wavelets out on the cove. Ship masts clinkered in the distance although there was not a breath of air on this hot summer's night.
"CREEEEE! CREEEEE!" came from the trees where the hawk had found shelter.
The long howl of the throughpassing train ululated from far across the water where the gantries of the Port of Oaktown stood glowing with their multi-kilowatt sentry lights; it quavered across the waves of the estuary, the riprap embankments, the moonlit grasses of the Buena Vista flats and the open spaces of the former Beltline railway; it moaned through the cracked brick of the old abandoned Cannery with its ghosts and weedy railbed and chainlink fences as the locomotive glided past the shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, headed off on its patriotic journey to parts unknown.