President Jim Taylor laughed cheerily as his Press Secretary explained the Les Moore matter to him. Most evening briefing sessions were usually not this enjoyable. It wasn’t the first time in the last forty-eight hours someone had tried to get his attention focused on this Lester Moore character. General Frank Penland had only just the night before at dinner, seemed to be fascinated with the subject. Why would everybody be so worried about such a meaningless event? Issues like this would blow over in a few days as soon as they weren’t big news items anymore. Anyone with any political experience at all, knew these things.
The funniest part had been when Everett Balanger, his personal statistician and poll expert had come bursting into his office with a worried look on his face. Announcing that two of the country’s leading pollsters had indicated they couldn’t get more than 65% of their respondents to commit to either party’s major candidate for president, he was livid. Everett insisted that this in itself was legitimate cause for alarm and that something must be done immediately about the uprising. Certain as well that the Tea Party people were behind the scam, he assured the president that his best computer people were attempting to take down the website that had seemingly caused all the disarray.
Press Secretary Alicia Anderson, a petite five-foot-three inch blonde from Seattle, Washington was not quite as concerned. She laughed along with Taylor as he tried to calm the table with a few jokes. “Look everybody…come on now, do you seriously think a damn truck driver from Georgia is going to be written in as president in a write-in campaign?” He followed with self-induced laughter which was joined by most at the table. Everett Balanger was not one of the ones laughing.
“If it makes everybody feel better, we have computer people busy right now attempting to take this stupid website down. In two weeks you won’t be able to find a half-dozen people who know this guy’s name. What is his name anyway?” He took a sip from his glass. Incremental laughter once again began to fill the room. The President joined in and everyone laughed hard except Balanger, who merely smiled.
“So Mister Lester Moore, where have you put up stakes this fine evening?”
“I’m parked behind an abandoned supermarket just off I-35, here in Fort Worth, Texas,” he answered.
“What are you hauling, Les?”
“You aren’t a Russian double-agent are you, secretly planted to extract information from me by the use of your charm are you?”
“Very well then, I’m hauling a top-secret Urban Assault Vehicle here to Dallas. I have to drop it at a company here, I say here, I mean over in Dallas, that installs special bullet proof glass in armored vehicles.”
“Uh-huh. That is what I have had on for two days. It is supposedly one of the most super duper new anti-terrorist contraptions or something in the world. I picked it up as soon as it got off the ship from Japan where it had a newfangled electronics system installed in it.”
“That’s right. Is that hilarious or what?”
“I find it pretty funny…yes I do. So let’s see if I have the details straight. The United States has the most popular anomaly ever to hit the news, hauling the most top-secret Urban thingamajiggy ever built. Sounds par for the course to me.”
They both laughed. “I have thought it rather ironic myself,” Les added. “If only all these people knew what I have on this trailer, maybe they would stop messing with me huh? Last night a photographer tried to snap a picture of me while I was undressing for bed.”
“Oh my goodness…you’re not serious.”
“I am serious. I already had my pants down so I simply turned around and showed him my back side.”
Deborah immediately snorted out continuous laughter. Les loved the sound of her gleeful carrying on. He joined her for a minute and was extra pleased when he realized after he stopped that she was still going. She was hysterical.
“Oh God…Les…was he?…oh…(laughter)…my God, Les.”
He peeled off some more. It was now her giddiness that was making him laugh. The action was contagious. They laughed for two more minutes solid without stopping. Each time one would stop or slow, the other would harp and it would spark the continual activity again.
“I wish I could have seen his…(chuckle)…face, I just stepped out of my pants and got in bed.”
“Oh Les Moore, you are a card,” she said. “I wonder what he did with the picture?”
“I’m sure we’ll see it on the line here soon,” he answered, laughing heartily again.
“You mean online don’t you?” she corrected. “It is online, Les.”
“Oh yes…I know, online it is. I won’t forget that one again.”
“I just don’t want you to mess up and say that on television tomorrow.”
“Are you worried about me?” he asked.
“No sir, I am not,” she blurted out. “I’m sure you will do just fine. I just simply don’t…”
“Want me to look stupid?”
“You won’t look stupid, Les. I have a sneaky suspicion America is going to fall in love with Lester Moore.”
“You think so?” he asked. “Even though I am a big truck driving fat guy with health problems and a bizarre opinion about politics?”
“Well, I think everyone will want to cuddle with you, go for a ride in your truck and all you need is some good home cooking instead of those truck stops and hamburger stands for nourishment.”
“You did it.”
“Started a sentence with a deep word.”
“Oh…yea I did. I guess you want me to avoid that tomorrow also.”
“Well…,” she said. They laughed again. “I love talking to you, Les Moore, and I was serious about the country loving you. When you get on there you just be Les Moore and everything will be fine.”
“Deborah, my dang cell phone keeps beeping. I’m going to have to get another one so I can have a conversation without this happening.”
“You go ahead and answer it or whatever and we’ll talk later,” she instructed.
“Okay then. Talk to you later is okay?”
Jack Allen had spent all evening concentrating on Lester Moore. Never before had he allocated so much of his own time to a project, in fact. It was an obsession. There wasn’t going to be any way a man with his resources, such as control over the printing of the most influential political news rag in America, was going to allow the Tea Party to catapult this clown Moore into national stardom and get away with it. He had twenty-four reporters in the field working on it. He had bribes out, offers made of employment to those inside ANN, he had even considered hunting the scoundrel down himself and having the information forced out of him. The time would come however, tomorrow night, that’s right, tomorrow night he’d get a piece of Lester Moore if it was the last thing he did on earth. He was going to expose that fake for everything he was worth.
A chime lit up the air of the New York Editor’s lavish office.
“Olin Cosby on the line, Mr. Allen.”
“Put him on,” he commanded. “Hello, Olin.”
“Whad’ya got for me?”
“Some good juice on Les Moore.”
“I’m all ears, pal.” Allen was anxious to hear what his field man would report. “I’m all ears!”
“He is a member of the Libertarian Party,” said Olin. “I’m looking at his Homeland Security application for some program called Highway Watch. It’s this thing where truck drivers take this class to learn how to spot potentially dangerous people, cargo and shit like that. The Homeland Security Department requires it now for some drivers who haul government shipments.”
“Wait Jack…there is more. It seems it is mandatory for some drivers who haul some types of government shipments. On the application form there is a question about whether a person has ever belonged to any type of party other than the two majors. Some kind of fish question for extremists or something, like anybody would tell if they were from a suspect organization. Anyway…he put on there that he was a Libertarian.”
“I knew it! That fucker is a Tea Party extremist. I knew it! Way to go, Olin. Way to go, buddy.”
“Ah…sir, there is…”
“The Tea party is saturated with so-called Libertarians,” his voice getting louder as he spoke. “That guy is a fucking prop-up if I ever saw one. Those idiots planned this whole damn thing.”
“I think it is possible, Jack, but…”
“Listen here, Olin. I want all you can find out about how that article ended up in the National. I want to know who. If it was Edgar’s decision, George, Bill Bratt, Tony…whoever! I want to know where the connection is. I also want to know who put up that damn site.”
“We’ve been working on that, Jack. We’re getting nowhere,” he explained. “It is like the damn thing isn’t there. They got somebody awful good orchestrating that part of it.”
“Well then, I guarantee you they paid em’ good too. Find the trail, Olin,” Jack barked. “It is too close to air time for me not to have more crap on this guy. I’m gonna rip his ass off of him tomorrow.”
“Sir, I’m trying to tell you something.”
“The picture our Phoenix guy got in Arizona at the motel…”
“The cops got the memory card when they were arrested. The picture has shown up on the internet and it isn’t good.”
“Why would that be such a big deal?”
“The picture is of Lester Moore helping an old woman across a slippery floor in the breezeway of a motel,” he reluctantly explained.
There was silence on the line for several seconds. “It is what?”
“You heard me, Jack…the picture is Les Moore, holding the arm of about an eighty-five-year-old lady…he is helping her walk…”
“Ah…fuck it, I heard you, Olin. Shit! So now the guy is going to have every fucking old codger in the country salivating over him tomorrow about what a damn nice guy he is and how he helps old ladies cross the fucking street. How much worse can that be?”
“A little bit, Jack.”
“He’s a war hero. Decorated battle hero. Saved some lives, Jack. There is already a blog going up on the Viet Nam Veterans website…seems he is a member of that one too.”
Jack slammed the five-hundred-dollar gold trimmed transceiver down on its pedestal, burying his face in his hands. “They picked a fucking good one, didn’t they?” he screamed out. “A regular fucking boy scout.”
Mandy Moore seated herself at the computer table in her Living Room. Your inbox has 434 messages.
“My goodness, Felix.” The large Persian rubbed himself against her arm. “Daddy sure is popular, isn’t he?”
Samantha here. Wow! Your dad is like famous girl. I can’t believe all of this stuff I’m reading. Call me when you get a chance and fill me in on this.
When are we gonna get together? I’ve been trying to get your attention for weeks.
“Who is he, Felix? Oh….the guy in Trig from last year that never even looks at me when we cross paths.”
Gail and Vicki want to come down to Tampa soon. Can we stay at your place to save on a motel?
PS – What’s the deal on your dad? Is that him they are talking about in the newspapers today? Cool.
Dear Mandy Moore,
Your father will never live long enough to be president!
How cool is it that your dad is getting all this attention
My mom says she remembers your dad and wants us to get together some time soon.
Your dad must be crazy! What the hell is he doing?
Wanna get together soon?
In Pol/Sci today, Professor Franks said he thinks your dad is attached to some kind of plot to hijack the election system in America. He gave us some websites to reference. All left-wing crap. Imagine that. See you in school.
Dear Miss Moore,
You can extend your car warranty……
“Dang, Felix. Those arent’t suppose to come through the spam filter.
Open the attachment and see what you do at three in the morning, bitch!
She clicked on the attachment and saw a picture of herself standing on her back patio. She went back to the text.
I bet you think you are hot shit, don’t you? You tell your daddy he better cool this president shit or you and I are going to get to know each other real well. Don’t bother trying to track the sender. It’s a bogus account I set up at the Library. I ain’t stupid.
She got up quickly, the cat jumping to the floor. Running across the room, she pulled her curtains shut that covered the back patio door.