The Shady Pines Caucuses, and what happened there – a Cautionary TalePosted: February 13, 2012
Well, my dears, there has been much excitement at Shady Pines. Today was the second Monday in February which means, of course, that we have just held the Shady Pines Caucuses.
This is quite a long post, so you might wish to make yourself a cup of tea or have a cigarette before you start reading. Of course, if you are a reader of delicate disposition and sensitive morals, you may wish to move on to another post or, indeed, another blog. One that’s not so obsessed with poo jokes, perhaps.
Buckle up. This isn’t going to be pretty.
Those of you who paid attention in your Civics classes (Do they still have those?) will know that the Shady Pines Caucuses have been run every four years since 1960 as open caucuses which send three delegates directly to each convention.* The candidates usually attend and are each asked to give a five minute speech before the caucusing starts. That first year, Jack Kennedy bought all three Democrat spots, while the Republican side gave all of theirs to Barry Goldwater after Nixon fell off the stage during his speech and became lodged in a large ornamental vase. Apparently the swearing curdled milk for several hundred feet in either direction.
I first participated in 1984, when I caucused for Gary Hart just to fuck with that bastard Mondale’s head.
Of course, this year President Obama didn’t come – he has better things to be doing, like trolling bishops and sticking Santorum faces onto the Oval Office dart board. He did send a video message, a lovely fruit basket** and a signed picture of himself with his adorable family, all delivered by an adorable secret service officer. Because we are all so excited about the Republican race, we persuaded Marge Albrectson to be the Democrat caucus all on her own. Later she told me it was very exciting and there was a great amount of spirited debate (which actually consisted of Marge trying to strangle a squirrel for five minutes while it held on to her lower eyelids with its claws – I peeked at the security footage).
Ultimately though, the President won unopposed, and we sent a nice note of congratulations back to the White House.
The Republican caucus had to be moved into the large ballroom as almost every resident had put their name down to participate. There were gurneys and wheelchairs and machines that go ping everywhere. They even trundled in Florence Carney, who has been in an iron lung since 1952 and can only communicate by blinking, and whose last vote in any election was for Thomas E. Dewey. We put her up the front so she could see properly, the poor dear.
This year, we had a little difficulty with the press. They were mobbing the front gate dreadfully, and the candidates cars couldn’t get by. Thank heavens we had upped security for the day. It only took five minutes for the two nice “security contractors” from Academi to clear them away. I watched the tall, blond one with the muscles poke Chuck Todd in the testicles with an electrical cattle prod for at least a minute and a half, which quite made my day. Sarah Palin turned up late with a Fox newscrew. When she was turned away, she tried climbing over the back fence and was lightly mauled by Muriel Heppelthwaite’s pekinese, after which we locked her in the broom closet. I can still hear her screeching from here. Such language. It would make a crack-addicted fisherman blush.
Newt, Mitt and Santorum all arrived at about the same time. Sandra Frazer and I went to meet them in the eastern garden room, leaving Muriel to finish handing out the eggs and rotten fruit to everyone. We had a very pleasant chat over some sandwiches (egg-and-cress and foie gras). Newt immediately started to chat up Sandra, so I got lumbered with Little Ricky and the Romney.
The first time I met Romney was at his father’s house when Mitt was only four. George was giving a discreet little dinner so my husband Keith and I could meet some anti-PRI militants from Mexico whom FDR was thinking of supplying with arms just for shits and giggles. Little Willard came in to say good night to George but, when confronted with a room full of sweaty Mexicans in bad suits, all of them slurping beer through their moustaches and shouting and gesticulating with their knives, he burped twice, turned green and wet his pants. Sadly, his presentation has improved since then, but when you meet him there’s a deadness behind his eyes, simultaneously screaming to get out and pissing itself.
Santorum, on the other hand, is exactly what he seems – an oily lump of anger and smarm. A century ago he would have been, depending on accident of birth, either a fire-and-brimstone preacher who diddled the housewives in the vestry or a vaguely successful snake-oil salesman who couldn’t fake the sincerity. In this century he is, of course, a politician – one who has worked out that the rubes jump higher anyway if you truly believe the stuff you say. Up close, his eyes are squinty and his head has an odd tilt, as if he has caught a faint whiff of corruption.
On this occasion, however, he seemed a little nervous. I can’t imagine why. His eyes kept darting around the room, and when the kitchen staff brought in the tea on the trolley with the squeaky wheel, I thought he was going to bolt.
Sandra had started to talk about her Tiffany necklace and cast lascivious looks at Newt’s wallet pocket, so I quickly broke them up by passing round a lovely tray of cakes – what we like to call the “Candidates’ Surprise Selection”.
Santorum gobbled down two of my very best hash’n'eccy brownies before I could warn him that one is really enough. Newt went for a Ducolax-suppository-and-chocolate-chip cookie, while Mitt scoffed a combined total of two tabs of lsd and 15ml of propofol. Last election season, he’d gotten the laxatives, so you’d think he would have learned his lesson. Apparently not.
Ron Paul showed up late, and so we didn’t have an opportunity to give him the speed-laced battenberg we had set aside. Mind you, it was hard to tell the difference anyway.
The speech order was decided using the traditional rock paper scissors tourney, which Ron Paul won by sticking with rock until the final round.
Ron chose to go first. He ranted for five minutes about the gold standard and the “evil chinee”, provoking a hail of very ripe tomatoes from Mrs Chen who lives in 5B, gave Romney the finger and stomped off the stage and out the door.
Newt was looking decidedly queasy by this point. This wasn’t helped by the fact he was sitting between Mitt – who was swaying like rogue wave with a George-Clooney-deathwish, back and forth and back and forth, growing in amplitude with each sway, while muttering to himself, something about the Lamanites and their moustaches and the glinting of their spears – and Santorum, who giggled each time Mitt said “Lamanites”. Eventually Little Ricky got bored with that and started looking under the chairs, clicking his fingers and whispering “Come out, Mr Squirrel. I have a nut for you.”
Newt managed to tear his eyes away from them. He made it up the steps and onto the stage, fronted the podium and took a breath. A pause, which went on for quite a time. Another breath, this one seeming a little strangled. Every eye was on him. Santorum was pointing and laughing. At that moment, there was a volcanic rumbling from somewhere near the centre of the Newt. He swallowed, a long, gurgling swallow, flushed bright green and then pure white, and with a tiny sigh he let out just a little bit of poo.
A collective groan of disgust from the audience, and Barbara Hemingway called out, “Shame!” before there was complete silence.
He didn’t move for a full minute after that; he just stood there clutching the lectern and sweating, buttocks clenched as hard as could be – until Sandra came down from the back of the hall to get him. She carefully helped him off the stage, escorted him down the aisle so as not to disturb him too much, and then very courteously locked him in the broom closet (which might have something to do with why Backwoods Barbie is complaining so much about being in there).
Mitt hadn’t noticed. He was perfectly still now, except for his lips which puckered as he issued a little “bur bur bur” noise. Santorum had gotten down on his hands and knees and was searching under the front row of chairs, all the while taking mock swings at punching at the air and saying “I’m going to fuck you up you furry fucker” over and over in a sing-song voice.
Eventually, I poked Mitt in the middle of his back with my shoe until I got his attention. He stood up, turned slowly to face the people – ever so slowly, like a Greek cruise ship trying to avoid some rocks. He steadied himself with one hand on the back of his chair and seemed to be thinking about speaking.
Unfortunately, a very important message had just arrived for me (from Vivienne, asking for some help with her Spring collection). My nurse, Jesus, knows not to leave a message from Vivienne waiting, so even though he was at lunch, he rushed to the ballroom. He burst in through the door, sweating from his double-chilli tamales, brandishing a note in one hand and a fork in the other, moustache flaring with the exertion, and advanced down the aisle.
Mitt’s eyes became saucers. He turned two shades greener than Newt had been, stammered “They have come to kill the Nephi,” gave a scream like a dying rabbit with its legs in a trap, wet himself, and within ten seconds was through the plate glass window which leads out onto the garden terrace and accelerating with every step. He got quite a round of applause and Florence Carney laughed so hard her iron lung went bung and we had to call the paramedics.
We later found Mitt passed out up the nice oak tree behind the poolhouse, and the security guards are still trying to get him down with their picanas, while Mrs Thomas and Mrs Scalia (who both live in 3F, if you catch my drift) are taking potshots at his head with some rather elderly eggs.
In all the excitement we’d quite forgotten about Mr Santorum. We found him lying on his back beneath an ornamental shrubbery at the back of the room, rubbing himself through his pants and sniggering like Mutley. When we tried to get him up he just kept saying that he wanted to “play with Mr Sprinkles” and go to sleep. A few bursts of 15,000 volts and he was on his feet quick smart.
He actually gave his speech a red hot go, although he kept breaking off and smiling to himself and every time someone coughed he would jump two inches straight up in the air. His speech, so far as I can recall, went something like this:
“Everybody has some inalienable rights but… but not everyone has the privilege of… of not having a vagina … nasty hairy things, nasty, with teeth, close your eyes and think of America …. serving in the military, with or without a vagina, is a privilege, a privilege … if you want to serve you can’t be touching each others vaginas, or each other’s taut firm buttocks …. bum …. bums, buttocks and firm, firm thighs…”
Mr Sprinkles was a little excited by this point, and Rick was humping both of them against the podium, provoking visible moisture spots. A few eggs got thrown, but no one managed to hit him.
Now, I know that having two people burst into the room at two different, yet pivotal, moments in a story seems like overkill but, after all, that’s what happened. It’s not as if I’m making any of this up. Besides, it will get a laugh when Stephen Soderbergh directs the film version.
There was a bang on the doors at the back of the ballroom, followed three or four more. Santorum’s speech tailed off, and Mr Sprinkles visibly wilted.
Finally, Marge (for that is who was outside trying to get in) wandered past sanity for long enough to remember how to use a doorknob and, with an enormous crash, she slammed back the doors. She had her hair in curlers. Perched on each curler was a squirrel, six in all, with another three on each shoulder and two tucked into the pockets of her dressing gown.
She hollered “We’re finished. Obama won!”
Rick saw the squirrels and immediately Mr Sprinkles retreated as far into Rick’s body as he could. He tried to duck down behind the lectern, but only managed to stumble and fall against it, making a hell of a racket.
The squirrel which was sitting on Marge’s very front curler saw Santorum, let out a squeak of recognition and bounded down the aisle. I swear that little rodent only touched the carpet three times on its way across the entire ballroom. It landed two feet in front of Rick, sniffed at him, twitched its tail and launched itself at his head. As he batted at it with both hands, and as it made a concerted effort to eat one of his eyeballs, there was a chorus of squeaks from its 13 little friends. One after the other, they hopped off Marge, streaked down to the stage, selected a vulnerable spot and attached themselves by their teeth. Each time, Rick’s wailing became more strident. He grabbed one squirrel and tried to wrench it off his groin, but overbalanced and fell off the stage. The noise he was making was abruptly cut off.
Silence. Then, yet more squeaking, as the squirrels extricated themselves and ran back to Marge to beg for nuts, and a swift barrage of mouldy fruit from the ladies in the front rows.
We summoned the paramedics again and got on with the Caucus. We found a couple of Ron Paul supporters hiding behind the buffet. They had managed to sneak in in the hopes of having themselves declared Romney delegates, but we soon booted them out.
Frankly, after all of that it was a bit of an anticlimax. I had already managed to cobble together a coalition consisting of the more suggestible residents (who mainly still voted Republican because of that nice General Eisenhower), the few actual wingnuts we have amongst us and a bevy of my more like-minded friends, such that the winner was a foregone conclusion.
We argued for a while about the runner up, but eventually decided by show of hands that giving second place to Ron Paul was likely to produce the most entertaining news coverage.
As such, I am pleased to inform you that the winner of the Shady Pines Caucus for 2012 is Rick Santorum with 28 votes (two delegates), followed by Ron Paul with 16 votes (one delegate). Third was Mitt Romney with 2 votes, sadly leaving Newt in fourth with no votes.
Marge and I were chosen as the Santorum delegates (which I assure you came as a complete surprise to me), while Sandra Frazer volunteered to go for Ron Paul. She has a thing for Libertarians. She says men taste better after marinating in greed for a few years.
I understand Rick was very happy when he received our note in the hospital and that, once they manage to pump his stomach and transfuse some more blood into him, he’ll be back on the hustings.
I can’t wait until he sees Marge and me at the Convention. He’ll be so pleased.
* Open only to fully paid-up residents of Shady Pines, of course. I know a lot of people complain about this, saying that it’s somehow undemocratic that 47 (at last count) rich, old and often senile people get to select six delegates, to which my usual response is “Who said this was a democracy?”
** A fine selection of Hawaiian bananas, which caused no end of merriment at brunch.