I dug up the USA’s most notorious quiter-loser and quoted her extensively for a semi-retrospective looong flash fiction story. Well over 2000 words. So I’m posting this by itself, and posting the rest of the month’s stories at the end of the month.
Plain Jane Johnson*
“Please, call me ‘Plain Jane.’ Mayor Plain Jane Johnson,” the newly-elected mayor addresses the Wasilla crowd. “I’m just your average dutiful wife and ice hockey mom. A simple, honest, hard-working, gun-toting, God-fearing Christian American. Just like all of you, God bless ya.”
The crowd cheers.
“And now for my first official act as mayor.” Johnson marches to the local library and dings the bell at the front desk. Her supporters gather behind her.
“May I help you?” the librarian peers over her glasses.
“Where are your Bibles? I don’t see any Bibles!”
“Our religious materials are located-”
“But I’m sure you have plenty of liberal democrat socialist communist books, don’t you?”
“What would your response be if I asked you to remove some books from the collection?”
“We have a policy of not banning books from this library.”
Johnson studies her palm. “I’m the mayor, I can do whatever I want until the courts tell me I can’t.”
The Johnsonites cheer and carry their mayor out of the library on their shoulders.
“This is God’s country. Yeah!” Johnson proclaims as she waves down at her people. “And by ‘God,’ I mean the real god — the god of the Bible, God bless ‘im.”
The next day, Sammy “Call Me Uncle” Bain, the Republican presidential candidate, asks Johnson to be his running mate after a thorough vetting of at least ten minutes. Johnson accepts. That evening, she holds her first vice presidential candidate press conference.
“Ms. Johnson, how would you describe your vice presidential duties, if you were to become the vice president?” a reporter asks.
Johnson stares at her palm for a couple minutes. Then she stares at her other palm for another few minutes. Finally, she looks up. “As for that VP talk all the time, I’ll tell you, I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day.”
“Ms. Johnson, what measures would you support to address the atmospheric damage created by carbon emissions?” another reporter asks.
She smiles and gives two thumbs-up. “A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. I’m not one though who would attribute it to being man-made.”
“Have you ever met a foreign head of state?” another reporter asks.
“I have not, and I think if you go back in history and if you ask that question of many vice presidents, they may have the same answer that I just gave you.”
“But every vice president in the last thirty-two years has met a foreign head of state before becoming vice president.”
Johnson studies her palm. “I’m the vice president, I can do whatever I want until the courts tell me I can’t.”
“But you’re not the vice president. At least not yet.”
“Well then I have a question for you. Why is the liberal gotcha media un-American? Answer me that! Ha! I gotcha back! Your petty games aren’t so fun when the tables are turned, are they?” She winks. “Don’t retreat… reload!” she screeches. The Johnsonsites cheer and carry her on their shoulders out of the press conference.
After a full week of coaching Johnson, Bain arranges a damage-control press conference between Johnson and a fluff reporter.
“As the potential vice president of the United States, what foreign relations experience do you have?” the fluff reporter asks.
“You can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.”
“Could you elaborate?”
“Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where — where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is — from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. “
“Interesting,” the reporter says. “Moving on, do you agree with the $700 billion government bailout of Wall Street?”
“Ultimately what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the healthcare reform that is needed to help shore up our economy.”
“Er — healthcare reform?”
“Death panels are the devil!” Johnson screeches, crossing herself.
“I see. What is your opinion of our war in Afghanistan?”
“We must bring hope and opportunity to our neighboring country of Afghanistan.”
“And by ‘don’t retreat… reload,’ I meant ‘refudiate.’ And that answers my last question of this gotcha interview. Good-bye and God bless! I’ll be prayin’ for ya!” She winks.
The next week, Bain and Johnson go head-to-head against their Democratic opponents in a debate.
“Ms. Johnson, what is your proposed healthcare policy?” a panelist asks.
Johnson studies her palm. “Next!” she replies.
“Ms. Johnson, what is your proposed energy policy?” another panelist asks.
She studies her palm. “Next!” she replies.
“Ms. Johnson, why aren’t you answering the questions asked of you?” the moderator asks.
“Next!” she replies.
The moderator raises her hand. “But Ms. Johnson-”
“I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I’m going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also.”
The audience roars their approval. The next month, Bain and Johnson are elected by a landslide.
Johnson goes on a solo victory tour. Her first stop is New Hampshire.
She waves to the crowd. “I like being here because it seems like here and in our last rally too — other parts around this great Northwest– here in New Hampshire you just get it.”
The new Hampshirites cheer. “Plain Jane, plain Jane, plain Jane!” they chant.
“Okay, I’m ready for my first question, and make it an easy one,” she says.
A third-grader raises his hand.
“I’ll take a question from that cute little future Republican there!” she says.
“What do Vice Presidents do?” the boys asks.
Johnson smiles and gives two thumbs-up. “They’re in charge of the U.S. Senate so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes… Right?”
An actual reporter raises her hand.
“Any more third-graders?” Johnson says, scanning the crowd. “No? Well, okay.”
“Switching to the divisive issue of abortion, Ms. Johnson — in your opinion, are those who bomb abortion clinics, terrorists?” the reporter asks.
“I don’t know if you’re going to use the word ‘terrorist’ there.”
“What word would you use?” the reporter says.
“The First Amendment guarantees the gotcha media cannot get away with asking me gotcha questions. I have a right to call the liberals liars if I feel like it. And I will conclude this speech by saying this is God’s country. Yeah! And by ‘God,’ I mean the real God- the god of the Bible, God bless ‘im. And by the Bible, I mean the real Bible- the American Constitution Bible.”
The crowd goes wild.
The next day, Johnson leads Bain and the NRA on an aerial shooting vacation of endangered wolves. The massacre lasts one month. In the bloody excitement, President Bain has a heart attack and dies. Her vacation over, Johnson agrees to a press conference, with the understanding that she be sworn in as president immediately after.
“Could you address the rumors that you’re mercifully quitting the office of the presidency before you’re even sworn in?” a reporter says.
Johnson rolls her eyes. “It may be tempting and more comfortable to just keep your head down, plod along, and appease those who demand: ‘Sit down and shut up,’ but that’s the worthless, easy path; that’s a quitter’s way out.” She beams at the crowd.
“So are you quitting?”
Johnson studies her palm. “You betcha!”
“Why, exactly, are you resigning?”
Johnson sighs and shakes her head. “You’re naïve if you don’t see the national full-court press picking away right now: A good point guard drives through a full court press, protecting the ball, keeping her eye on the basket… and she knows exactly when to pass the ball so that the team can WIN.”
“But you haven’t even been sworn in, Madame Vice President!”
Johnson wags her finger. “How sad that Washington and the media will never understand; it’s about country. And though it’s honorable for countless others to leave their positions for a higher calling and without finishing a term, of course we know by now, for some reason a different standard applies for the decisions I make.”
A reporter stands. “If you could just indulge us with a few more answers before you decline the presidency, Madame Vice President-”
“Oh all right. But make it quick.”
“As the Vice President of the United States, how do you defend your past ethics violations?”
“I think on a national level your Department of Law there in the White House would look at some of the things that we’ve been charged with and automatically throw them out.”
“There’s no such thing as the Department of Law.”
Johnson studies her palm. “I’m the president, I can do whatever I want until the courts tell me I can’t.”
“But you’re not the president.”
“Gosh darn liberal gotcha media!”
The Johnsonites cheer and carry her off the stage on their shoulders.
“And by ‘refutiate,’ I meant ‘refute,’ ” she screeches as she’s carried to her private jet headed back to Wasilla.
A few years later, Johnson re-emerges from her Alaskan mansion to hold a book signing of her books written by ghost writers.
A fan steps up and shakes her hand.
“Gosh, Mrs. Johnson, ya sure are pretty! Too bad ya ain’t president. I could be shaking the president’s hand right now, an’ gettin’ a boner at the same time!”
“How sweet of you to say,” she replies. “But I am a plain Jane, ya know. ‘Plain Jane’ Johnson. Humble and Christian.”
“I see you still write stuff on yer hand. I always wanted to ask ya — why do ya do that?”
“I got that from the Bible. It says, hey, if it was good enough for God, scribbling on the palm of his hand, it’s good enough for me.”
“Gosh, Mrs. Johnson, yer a genius!”
“Oh, I know.” She winks.
Another fan approaches. “I can’t believe I’m actually face-to-face with Plain Jane Johnson — I’m your biggest fan. I even voted for you! I wanted you to be president so bad.”
“You’re so moral and ethical. Could you tell me how you would’ve restored law and order in American if you would’ve taken the presidential oath of office?”
“Go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant—they’re quite clear—that we would create law based on the God of the Bible and the Ten Commandments.”
Another autograph-seeker pushes forward. “Oh my god, it’s really you! It’s really Plain Jane Johnson! You’re my idol!”
“Lord’s name in vain, honey. Watch it!” She winks.
“Oh, sorry. God — I mean gosh, you’re so honorable. Woman-to-woman, may I ask a question, Mrs. Johnson?”
“How do you handle all the attention from being a woman in politics?”
“I’m not in politics anymore. I’m a celebrity. But don’t tell anybody. It’s a secret. Just between us girls.”
“Well, I mean… how do you handle the celebrity attention?”
“To be judged on or to be talked about on appearance — say chest size — it makes me wear layers, it makes me have to waste time figuring out what am I going to wear so that nobody will look in an area that I don’t need them to look at.”
“I still say you’re a better politician than all of ‘em in Washington put together!” a biker says, swaggering up to the table. “Watch this, guys,” he says to his biker buddies. “So what do ya think we should do about that pesky little oil leak down there in the Gulf of Mexico?”
“We should enlist the help of the Dutch and the Norwegians, they are known for dikes and for cleaning up water and for dealing with spills.”
“Wow! Okay, what about the Middle East war thingie?”
“I haven’t heard the president state that we’re at war. That’s why I too am not knowing — do we use the term ‘intervention’? Do we use ‘war’? Do we use ‘squirmish’? What is it?”
“Squirmish, squirmish, squirmish!” the Johnsonites chant.
“The American people have spoken — ‘squirmish’ it is!”
“Run, Jane, run! Run, Jane, run!” they chant.
“You, betcha! The American people have spoken, God bless ya, and I have listened, God bless me. Watch Jane run! See Jane run!”
The next day, Johnson’s private jet lands in Boston for the start of her presidential campaign.
She addresses the crowd. “I am just like he who warned, uh, the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms, uh, by ringing those bells, and um, makin’ sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed.”
“But Paul Revere didn’t warn the British,” a first-grader yells.
“Gosh darn liberal gotcha media!”
The next day, Johnson holds a damage-control press conference.
“I’ll take one — and only one — question today. And it has to be an easy one. No more liberal media gotcha questions.”
A reporter steps up. “What have you seen in your visit to Boston, and what will you remember from your visit?”
“Paul Revere did warn the British. And in a shout-out, gotcha-type of question that was asked of me, I answered candidly. And I know my American history. You can look it up on wiki. They changed it. I mean, the correct account of Paul Revere’s ride is right there.”
“And by ‘refute,’ I meant ‘rearm,’ as Bill Shakespeare would say. He was a simple, honest, hard-working, gun-toting, God-fearing Christian American Englishman too, God bless ‘im. Good-bye and God bless!” She runs away.
“But Ms. Johnson, what about your campaign?” The crowd runs after her.
“Drill, baby, drill!” she screeches, running to the parking lot.
“What do you think your chances are?”
“I love that smell of the emissions!” she says, stooping and sniffing a tailpipe.
“Ms. Johnson, you’re last in the polls. Can you comment on that?”
“Polls are for strippers and cross-country skiers!”
*Italicized quotes by Sarah Palin.