February 26, 2015 – Violet headed up a team painting election signs for my campaign. The ladies did a terrific job! Each placard boasts an image of me on the left in a red, white and blue colander helmet. My wing is pointing toward the center of the sign where my intentions are simply stated: HAPPY… LIBRARY TRUSTEE.
Temperatures stayed in the teens thanks to a persistent wind swooping in from the north, but Violet and her crew were undeterred. Completed signs came off the easel with fresh paint threatening to drip from the canvas, but Addie and Charlotte stepped in with high-powered hair dryers sealing each coat for all eternity. By lunch, fifty-plus masterpieces were stacked neatly against the garage wall, ready for wooden stakes to be attached and packed carefully into the back of the pickup truck. Emaline handled the staking. She’s always been good with a hammer.
By two o’clock, the truck was loaded and the distribution team took over. Sawyer demanded that she drive so that I might wave and nod to passing pedestrians from the passenger side window. “Every one you see is a potential vote,” she schooled. She had already mapped out key locations to put my signs.
“What about all of this snow?” I asked Bo before we took off. He was busy pulling a tool belt around his waist. “The ground is frozen. If we have any melting between now and Election Day, my likeness will be facedown in an icy drift!”
“Relax kid,” he replied. “Have you seen how much snow is out here? Unless the planet bursts into flames, none of this is going anywhere before Memorial Day.” Then he climbed into the truck bed and slapped his wing on the roof of the cab signaling to Sawyer that it was time to get the show on the road.
The first stop was the courtyard of the school where Sawyer and I were hatched. Bo jumped down from the truck and reached for the sign that Kellie Pickler handed him. In a matter of seconds, he sent the wooden stake reeling into a six-foot snowbank. When he let go, the sign stood motionless atop its mountain of white. One down, 49 to go.
There were other signs I noticed as we drove around town. A few represented hopeful school board members, while others competed over openings for selectmen. Strangely, there were no signs imploring voters to support Eunice.
“See that, Hap?” Waffles chirped, sticking her head through the backseat window. “You’ve got nothing to worry about. Eunice probably left town after the debate. You can’t lose!”
I think I heard the calliope first. An aging motor home decked out in patriotic banners with a blaring horn and rusty speakers attached at every corner of the roof. It rolled past the old police station drawing closer to where we were parked. A vinyl billboard, tied from front to back with red bungee cords, assaulted our view with a vile message: VOTE EUNICE FOR LIBRARY TRUSTEE AND AVOID THE AVIAN FLU! To complete the experience, a woman’s craggy-voice screeched repeatedly over the loud speakers in an annoying loop. “VOTE FOR EUNICE THE HUMAN, NOT A THE HORRIBLE HEN!” “VOTE FOR EUNICE THE HUMAN, NOT A THE HORRIBLE HEN!”
As the motor home lumbered by, I could see Eunice in the passenger seat holding a black corded microphone in her hand while her sister navigated from behind the oversized steering wheel. Her sister was jovial and offered a wave as they passed. Eunice stuck out her tongue.
I slumped back into the bench seat. “How can I compete with this?” I asked Sawyer. “This is downright dirty! Everyone is going to think that I am some disease-ridden chicken! She is trying to marginalize me!”
“Oooohhh… good word,” Peaches piped up from under the dashboard. “That was one of my crossword puzzle answers last week.” Then she counted out the syllables with her pet stick.
“Happy. No one is going to think any such thing!” Lottie declared emphatically. “Everyone in this town who knows Eunice, knows that she is a mean and nasty woman.”
“But if the voters think that I can make them sick, it won’t matter!” I replied in anguish.
“Hap… trust your campaign manager,” Sawyer replied calmly. “We’ll schedule an on-the-air physical exam for you with Dr. Friday. She’ll attest that you are healthy and fit to take on this campaign.”
“Great idea!” said Addie.
“I’ll give her a call right now,” Violet offered pulling out her cell phone.
“Why don’t you get the doc to check out Eunice at the same time?” Wilma suggested. “I can only imagine what’s growing under those tail feathers. Whatever she has, I bet it smells.”
“Brilliant!” said Sawyer, and a plan was set in motion.
I don’t know how I feel about stripping down to my skivvies in front of a hundred viewers on Community Access Television, or if I’m up for such ruthless campaigning. I’m a thinker, not a bully. Sawyer says that it’s a matter of standing up for what is right and setting a positive example for other chickens. Right now, all I want to do is go home to Coop #3 and hug a cup of chamomile tea. Alas, there is still another hour of sign posting to contend with and smiling at potential voters from the truck window. Less than two weeks until Election Day. I’d kill for a mealworm.