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Slap Me Back
  by Pops McKernan  
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"Forget about running for Council!"

"Why should I?" asks Mrs. Pops.

"You don't have a prayer!"

"Why don't I?"

"You were a teacher."


"You never had to meet a payroll. You were on the public purse."

"So what? Is that supposed to mean I'm not very dependable, or hard-working, or smart?"

Oh boy.


"That fact alone will kill you. Voters around here like candidates who have made their own way in life."

"Like Businessmen. The self-employed."


"Because they do such a bang-up job."

"Voters do not like sarcasm. And they don't like candidates who seem smarter than they are! Or better educated. They like back-slapping Chamber of Commerce types."

"I'm not a back-slapper. How am I supposed to learn that?"

"You've got to join a Service Club! And you have to act like a man."

"How do I do that?"

"Weren't you a man last Halloween?"


"Now the only downside to joining a Service Club is that they expect you to do work for them. That's why I never joined. You start off in the Organization as a mere soldier and get assigned various jobs to prove your self."

"What kind of jobs?"

"It can vary. You might be doling out perch at a fish fry, for example. All of a sudden you get a phone call. It's your Lieutenant, who tells you to bundle up some fried perch in newspaper and report to a certain address."

"I have a Lieutenant? What have I joined, the Marines? To do take-out?"

"You arrive at the address. Per instructions, you jimmy the front door lock. You head straight to the master bedroom and throw off the bedcovers. Some punk is occupying it, dead to the world. You dump your perch right in his lap. Then you leave as stealthily as you arrived."

"I don't get it."

"You're sending him a message. Shape up or you'll be sleeping with the perch!"

"What's he done?"

"He could be some smart ass who dissed your Organization. Maybe a soldier from another Service Club who wants a piece of your marina. Does it matter? You do that job, you get promoted to Lieutenant. Pretty soon you get a one-on-one with the Godfather himself."


"The Godfather?"

"SSh! Never call him that in public! By day he's the mild mannered President of a local Service Club, but by night, he's the Godfather. And he's making you an offer you can't refuse!"

"What kind of offer?"

"You deaf? The kind you can't refuse! Like he'll get you elected to Council, no problem. All you have to do is be part of The Old Boy's Club! He slaps you on the back. Startled, you slap him in the face! The Godfather is shocked into a sudden realization. You're a woman!"


"That's a problem?"

"Unfortunately yes. See, your Organization doesn't accept women. They have a separate Organization for them. And you can forget about The Old Boy's Club."

"Are you trying to say that I could be easily mistaken for a guy?"

"Only because you're such a great actor. I mean actress!"

"Nice save. This all reminds me of my eight-year-old brother's Girl Hater's Clubhouse, back in the day.

"The one you burned down?"

"I was grounded that whole summer. Got any matches?"

Editor's Note: Pops McKernan is the byline of writer Patrick Harding, author of Splendiferous, which is serialized in our Regional section.

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