by Richard Donnelly
Chet Wilhart adjusted the lapels on his $1,000 barn coat. Dressed for work, he wouldn't be pitching hay. Or shoveling manure. His goal had nothing to do with farming, although it seemed to carry the same smell.
Chet would hand out hundreds of "I CARE" buttons at the annual Minneapolis Worker's Rights and Craft Beer Contest. "I CARE" stood for "I Cancel Republican Greed". Of course the acronym should have spelled "I CARG", but the executive committee felt this lacked style. And Chet was all about style. He slipped a gold St. Pierre Artaude watch onto his wrist, then slung the now-heavy Monet Claire vintage satchel over one shoulder. Disdaining the purely mercenary nature of his task, he winked at a heavily carved mirror, and headed for the ballroom.
Was this what a job felt like, he wondered? If so, the working poor deserved every nickel they could find, the poor devils. Chet, thank the Powers That Be, had never in his life been disadvantaged, but made up for this with a passionate, almost fanatical concern for the poor. It was the Republicans who didn't care. It was the Republicans who spit in the faces of the rank and file. Working people only existed to serve them, the contemptible bastards.
Even worse, Republicans had no style.
They wore crew cuts. Or Reagan pompadours. They knotted red ties around fat necks, parading down Hennepin Avenue in suits so tight their asses begged for a whipping. And Chet was ready to do it. Oh, was he ready.
But then the Democrats would do it for him, bless their souls. The Democrats. They knew how to dress. In Glen Faheely Bourbon Street Jackets. Or the latest retro Woodstock scarves, or something from Blueboy Workboot. That was how to dress. Like an honest working man. Not some Donald Trump look-alike.
Chet opened the door of his Range Rover, throwing the satchel of buttons into the back seat. The vehicle had been bought on a whim, a foolish indulgence, and hardly one that endeared him to his progressive friends. He told them he intended to ferry the disadvantaged, the underfed, the desperate to jobs in such hellish burgs as Fridley, South St. Paul, and Hugo. But somehow this had never come about. Well, he'd let the doorman park the gleaming SUV. It would be the height of that particular working man's night.
Or would it? At the ballroom he slowed, then quickly drove around the block. He had caught sight of the doorman in that absurd drum-major outfit, bowing and tipping his hat, grinning like an ape. Suddenly Chet wanted nothing to do with him.
What a hellish job. Or any job. Chet poured the red buttons into the trash. He "Carged" about as much as the next guy, which was very little. Suddenly thirsty, he hoped the latest small batch ale was flowing, and the hell with Budweiser. After all, there was such a thing as style.
Richard Donnelly lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. Classic flyover land. Which make us feel just a little superior. Richard Donnelly's first book, The Melancholy MBA, is published by Brick Road Poetry Press of Columbus, Georgia.
Pieces Inspired by this Image
'I Wish I Were A Shoe'