“You know how I’m always saying I should run for office?” Aaron broke the silence with quite the conversation starter.
“Yes, I do,” Holly replied with a smile, “because every time you say it, I reply by stating that it is a horrible idea.”
“Well, you’re going to need to change your attitude about that once I’m elected, and name you my Chief of Staff.”
Holly rolled her eyes and sipped her coffee.
It was a gorgeous Sunday morning, and the best friends sat on their usual bench overlooking the river. Now that the heat wave had finally broken, the path behind them was busy with runners, walkers, and bikers.
All those people were blissfully unaware that they were future constituents of the man sipping his Snapple and doing his best to ignore them.
“So what has you eager to run for office and become a man of the people you despise so much?” she teased.
“It’s the weather!” he exclaimed without a moment’s pause. “It was too damn hot the last couple of days, and that is unacceptable in Maine. I’d run on a anti-heatwave platform, which I guarantee will sweep me into office because no other Mainer wants to deal with sweltering temperatures.”
Aaron laughed and slapped her playfully on the leg.
“Don’t be so naive,” he advised. “This is the twenty-first century. There’s an app for that, or technology to make it possible. Hell, this is Stephen King Country, so we can just have him drop a dome over the state to allow us to control the climate.”
Holly took another sip of her coffee to buy some time to strategize how to play this. There was no dealing with Aaron when he was in one of these moods, so she had two options. She could play straight man and feed him lines that would allow him to keep ranting, which would, in turn, keep her entertained. Or she could just shut him down and change the subject.
She thought about her day, remembered she had no other plans, and decided to settle in for a wild ride with the Mayor of Crazy Town.
“Okay, but where does it say that Maine can’t be hot?” she challenged. “After all, it is summer and people enjoy getting a tan and going to the beach.”
Aaron rolled his eyes at the sheer audacity of her comment. “Haven’t you ever heard of the famous saying? If you can’t stand the heat…”
“Stay out of the kitchen,” Holly finished the line for him.
Aaron looked at her like she had three heads. “Stay out of the kitchen? Did you hit your head or something? If you can’t stand the heat, move to Maine. That’s the saying. Everyone knows it but you apparently. Maine is so cold and snowy for six months of the year that the residents deserve the guarantee of no extreme temperatures in the other direction. I don’t make the rules. Those are just the facts.”
Aaron took a long sip of his Snapple.
“Who’s the bad guy in all this?” Holly decided to take a new, exciting tact. “You’re not a true politician in this day and age unless you can villainize someone who contradicts your beliefs. Who’s your fall guy for the heat wave? Who are you going to skewer on social media, and have your follows chant against at your rallies?”
Aaron did not even hesitate. “Big Air Conditioning, obviously. Everyone knows they are messing with the climate so they can jack up the cost of their product and make millions, if not billions every summer. What not everyone knows, though, is that the leaders of Big A/C only get their monster annual bonus if sales go up in all fifty states.”
“That must be very difficult to pull off in Alaska,” Holly quipped as she figuratively patted herself on the back for steering him down this highly entertaining rabbit hole.
“Those monsters could sell ice to an Eskimo,” Aaron answered. “Air conditioners last way longer than ice.”
Holly nodded that it all checked out logically. “You’ve convinced me. I say go for it. I’ve even got your campaign slogan: Vote for Aaron and be as cool as he is.”
“This is why you’ll be Chief of Staff and Campaign Manager,” he said excitedly.
“Obviously,” Holly replied and flashed a sly, beautiful smile.