“I’m a good steak served medium rare. I’ll satisfy your hunger. I give you an honest meal. But I don’t fool you about where I come from. You know that this candidate for mayor is no zombie. I’m white flesh, and I’m red blood. A man born in this place. Of this place. And though we may call this place something different from what we once did, it’s still ours. And we’re still us.”
“That’s why, come November, you’ll want to join your neighbor in voting for Henry Briscoe. You’ll be satisfied you did.”
That’s Beefcake’s stump speech. I convinced him that talking up his old business as a steak purveyor would be an asset in the election. It will remind people of simpler times, the days before the Series of Unfortunate Catastrophes, back when fat-marbled steers were raised in ghastly Nebraska feed lots where they pulsated from injections of synthetic hormones. From there, they shipped out in cattle cars to bovine concentration camps, were slaughtered, cut apart, iced-up, and shipped to Chicago. Back in the days when men were men and women were—oh, what were women again?
Doesn’t matter. Men were men. That’s what’s important.
Beefcake accepted this inane speech I wrote. Whatever I write, he delivers. What’s discomforting is that even my most asinine sentences sound convincing when Beefcake belts them out. The man’s got a gift for oratory.
I’ll have to work harder to make sure he doesn’t actually manage to get himself elected.
Jill Riddell is a writer in Chicago. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute and has a weakness for nature, magic, and pennies abandoned in sidewalk cracks.