The Perils of Louella:
Chapter 187: Louella Gets Snubbed|
LOUELLA sat at the far end of a very long row of candidates for Mayor. Why do they always arrange us by alphabet? she fumed, cursing her father for the name Pryzbylewski. She tried to refrain from wagging her foot up and down, for fear the audience would notice and interpret the movement for the boredom it signified.
If this is democracy, it sure stinks, she thought. Imagine all these yahoos blabbing away for their two-minutes-a-question just because they could pay the filing fee! At least I have something to say! But I guess all of these people think they have something important to say. The insight troubled her.
The man beside her began speaking into the microphone. What we need is more po-leese! he bellowed. I say, no more crime! Weve had enough! Elect me, and Ill get rid of drugs on the street and make sure this city is a safe place for everyone!
He rambled on until stopped in mid-sentence by the moderator. Then it was Louellas turn. She flashed her orthodontically enhanced smile at the audience arrayed in the darkness of the auditorium, thankful for the modeling classes she took in high school. Hello, everyone, she said, projecting a confidence she didnt feel. Her heart was racing. I cant believe Im doing this! Like you, my family and I have been touched by crime, and Id say almost all of it was due to drugs. The other candidates are acting like drug addicts have a choice about whether they have to get high, but that addiction is a powerful thing, and can push people to do things they otherwise would never do to get a fix.
So my anti-crime program would be based on reality. And that reality is, we have to take the profits out of drugs.
Hey, thats my line! wisecracked candidate A. Robert Kaufman, to audience laughter.
Louella ignored him. The way to do this is to get addicts into treatment and keep them there until they dont crave drugs any more. We would pay the addicts a living wage while theyre in treatment, and make sure they have a way to support themselves legally once they leave treatment. We would pay for this with proceeds from a special Lottery fund.
Times up! barked the moderator. There was a scattering of applause. Better than for my response on education, thought Louella. They didnt seem to like my idea of closing all the schools for six months to retool them. But I mean, the kids arent improving, so why bother sending them to school?
Three more candidates put in their two minutes worth. Finally the ordeal was over--four hours on the stage with no bathroom breaks, all to answer five questions for two minutes apiece.
Louella rose to go. Another candidate tapped her shoulder. Are you going to be at the forum tomorrow night?
The one at that big Baptist church, you know the one--
I wasnt invited, snapped Louella. Nobody told me anything about it. Thanks for the tip! Ill be sure to show up. They cant pull this kind of stunt on me!
But suppose youre not wanted, you know what I mean?
Ill make them want me.
- TO BE CONTINUED -
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This story was published on August 4, 1999.