Who wants to be the god-damned mayor? That prick Denny comes into my backyard with the whipper-snipper on his shoulder and says we gotta go right now. Right now in his truck. Jesus, that truck only gets to about half of the places it starts out for. So I grab my hat an’ we’re bumpin’ along S. Service Rd. at like 40 while the semis whistle by at 80 on the other side of the fence and over the rushes. The road is sinking into the marsh faster than a stray tomcat finds a fight. Where the fuck we goin’? I ask again. He aint bitin’. I’m in for the works. So we get to the end of S. Service Rd. and Denny hollers somethin’ about the wheel and the truck starts to swish this way and that and the next thing I know I’m upside down in the ditch with fuckin’ catfish jizz all over my face.
“I’ll say. What the fuck?”
“I been meaning to get that wheel bearing done.”
“You been meanin’?” I cringe when I see the blood runnin’ down Denny’s ear. It aint fatal but it aint pretty neither. “Where the fuck we goin’ in such a damn hurry anyways?” I say.
“You going to be the mayor,” he says.
“What the fuck?”
“Yeh, turns out the voting is all but done and nobody’s voted at all and there’s a small print that says if nobody’s gonna be the mayor, you can be a write-on.”
“A write-in? That’s dumb. Nobody’s gonna be a write-in for mayor. And whaddya mean nobody’s voted and the votin’s done?” I says.
“Did you vote?” he asks. And he don’t wait for an answer. “Did your ma vote? Did your pa vote? Didn’t did they? Neither did mine or poor Alice, or Fargie or his elderly charge, or two-handed Luke Bishop and his kin. So nobody’s voted and you gonna be the mayor.”
“What if I aint want to be mayor?”
“Don’t want it? Let me tell ya, man, the mayor is the balls! The mayor is— you get a desk and people call you all formal and you get to eat at the diner even when the sign says its closed and you get to throw out the first pitch o’ the season over at Larabe’s field when the team from Porterman’s Jailhouse comes. Don’t want to be the mayor? Jesus, man, it’s the best job in the whole damn territory.”
He smiles that wry pelican smile, like he knows where the mama catfish hangs out. “Yeah. Sir Mayor Winslow fucking Washington, the hat.”
“I aint gonna give up my moniker, you’re right about that. Mayor Hat Washington. I like it. It got a ring.”
“Fucking eh.” By now we’s up on the road, lookin’ down on the remains o’ fuckin’ Denny’s truck, all crumpled like Pastor Hildebrand’s mailbox after Tommy’s birthday bash, and Denny gets all uppity and says we gotta go. Almost time till the polls close. And if Denny and I vote for me then I get to be the mayor. The Mayor of Osterville, SD. U.S.A. Fucking Mayor Hat.