CHAPTER 24: COFFEE AND KARMA(continued from the prior episode, which was continued from the one before that)
Bob Ratchet and other of his laid-off co-workers have gathered at the Coffee Shop for a potent combination of caffeine, complaints and commiseration. Heath Olderman happens to stop in that morning to refill his own cup.
Olderman is soon in conversation with the crew, who are all too willing to complain to anyone interested.
"So. You didn't see this coming?"
"What? Just because housing prices were spiraling out of control, just because there was a seemingly never-ending stream of greedy investors trying to make a quick buck on real estate, just because the mortgage and loan institutions joined in the feeding frenzy? Just because every man woman and dog on the street thought he could be an investor, without thinking that this meant there had to be a never-ending supply of increasingly wealthy buyers? And finally, just because it looked eerily like the lead up to Black Monday in 1929, only with real estate instead of the stock market?"
"Well, yes. So you held out?"
"Are you kidding? I jumped in early, flipped a few houses, stuck my profit under the mattress, and retired."
"Bully for you. Why are you here?"
"Just to gloat."
"I didn't know all this. Why didn't you tell me? Before I invested in a house at double it's realistic value with a front-end loaded interest-only fraudulent loan?"
"It's called history repeats itself, kiddo. You shouldn't have slept through that class."
"I think you guys are all wet. This isn't history repeating itself. This is the Shrub in the Whitehouse, taking care of his rich buddies and throwing us working folks under the train. It's all his fault."
Yes, our friends may well hang their heads in shame, for there was a day, some years and some months back, when attention was focused on another presidential election...
"Hello. My name is Gee Whiz Shrub, but my friends and admirers call me G.W. You may not know me personally, but I’m sure you remember my father, who was President a few years back. He taught me everything I know – well, okay, maybe not everything, let’s face it, I was never good enough for him, which is why I really really really want to be president, so I can show him I’m not the dullest pencil in the pack. I mean, take my little brother, Jeb, he'll never amount to much -- stuck in a dead-end job as a governor.
"Anyway, I’m here to make a whole bunch of promises and get your vote, so here goes. I promise to give really big tax cuts to all you wealthy folks out there, and if there’s any poor working class people in this room, if you vote for me, I’ll give you a little tax cut to lull you into a sense of comfort.
"I promise to help out all my oil patch buddies here and abroad, to ignore global warming and otherwise fix things up so they can make a really big profit; same with all you CEOs in the banking and investment houses. Get rid of those pesky regulations, we got too many laws protecting the little people, anyway. It’s time we looked after the rich. They’ve been neglected far too long. I don’t think we need all those Constitutional protections either, they’re just for sissies. Okay, I think that’s everything, so please vote for me. "
"Huh? Oh. Yeah. Right. "
"And also I’m against abortion and gun control and that there ten spell research…"
"..what?....oh, right, stem bell…huh?...gotcha. Stem cell research. I’m agin’ it.”
"Yeah! Shrub, Shrub, he’s our man. If he can’t S…. us, nobody can."
“You really know what matters to us, Governor Shrub. You're a true man of the people.”
"Wait! I think I get it! Is this, like, karma?"
"You got it, sweetheart. The votes you sow today are the seeds of the crop you reap tomorrow. Take care, folks."
Heath Olderman passes out into the light of the day."Wow. Poetic justice. This is like so awesome."
"Can we tie him to the railroad tracks?"
And over at the studio...
"And there you have it, folks. As we move to the end of the final chapter of this administration, many are curious about those who voted for President Shrub and what they think now. Unfortunately, Shrub voters are unusually shy and reluctant to step into the limelight, and thus specimens have been difficult to isolate in the last months. Nevertheless, it has long been speculated that they exist in vast numbers. There is some indication that they can be found in clusters, in our own neighorhoods, in local businesses and coffee shops. I can personally attest to the fact that they do exist, as I have seen them with my own eyes. They, with the rest of the nation, have inherited the legacy of the Great User, G.W. Shrub. This is Heath Olderman, and this is Count-Up, Two thousand something rotations of the Planet since the declaration of victory on a Rock. Good night and good luck. You'll need it."