“Howdy, I’d like to buy me a huntin’ licence,” said John Kerry.
“What kind?” said the ruddy-face store owner.
“Don’t matter. I love killin’ anything that walks or flies.”
“What about fish?”
“Gut those babies with my teeth.”
“Right now, it’s geese season.”
“Okay, partner,” said Kerry. “I reckon that’ll do.”
“You from around these parts?” said the Ohioan.
“Pretty much. Massachusetts.”
“Yeah, northern, cold, and tough, just like this territory.”
“Okay, here you are.”
“God bless you and all the decent folks around here.”
John Kerry, standing tall as John Wayne, shoved the license into a pocket of his glistening new camouflage hunting uniform. Then, followed by a phalanx of photographers and reporters, he was driven to a very fine kill zone. The media people had to stay back. It might be dangerous. Kerry, a decorated and oft-wounded war veteran, and three comrades, presumably also bearing wounds and decorations, would stalk the geese alone.
While on patrol, Kerry and his men could sometimes be seen. Often, though, there was only silence from a seemingly empty field. Occasionally, the media people heard gunfire. A few minutes after one volley, Kerry was spotted as he picked up something next to a distant tree. A reporter with a zoom lens snapped a photo. Sure enough, the senator had killed a goose – at least someone had – and his right hand was bloody from picking up the trophy.
When the four hunters returned, the photographers shouted, “Senator, can we get a shot of your right hand. Senator, please.”
Kerry, right hand immersed in his sleeve, waved them off with his left.
“Senator, I’m no reporter. I’m a legendary Ohio hunter, and I’d like to know why you aren’t carrying your own kill. That’s what a real man does.”
“I don’t have a bird bag.”
“A true hunter never goes out without his bird bag.”
“What if he’s huntin’ deer,” Kerry said.
“Did you clean that bird yourself?”
“We haven’t cleaned any of ‘em yet.”
“An honorable hunter always cleans his own game.”
“I guarantee you I’ll clean my own goose and my buddies’ geese, too.”
“That would dishonor them,” said the hunter. “And that’s not all, Senator. How in the hell did you get to hunt on this premium land? Most of us would kill to hunt in a place like this.”
“Close personal friends invited me,” said the senator.
“Who are they?” shouted a reporter.
Kerry stroked his chin with his shiny left hand, glanced at an aide, who glanced at another aide. “We gotta respect their privacy,” said tall John.
That night at a political rally, John Kerry came under fire.
“Senator,” a journalist reported, “at a speech this afternoon Vice President Cheney said, ‘My fellow sportsmen, don’t be fooled. John Kerry’s new camouflage jacket is an October surprise to disguise the fact that he votes against gun owner rights every time.’”
“That’s horse hooey. I love guns. I just recently went skeet shooting, and I went hunting earlier this year in Iowa before the caucuses. The citizens there damn sure saw a straight-shooter.”
“Senator,” said another journalist, “a representative of the National Rifle Association has just said you’re ‘no friend’ of sports shooters.”
“What’s he talkin’ about? I’ll bet he wasn’t out huntin’ today.”
“He’s referring to your desire to ban assault rifles.”
“A real marksman doesn’t need fancy weapons to shoot geese. Only noncombatant slackers like the incumbents need guns like that. Those guys and the criminals, of course.”
“Many Republicans have characterized your hunting trip as a transparent political ploy,” said a TV newswoman. “What’s your response?”
“I began huntin’ at age twelve, the same time I became an altar boy. My early training, and the fact I always carried my rosary, convinced God to save me during countless firefights in Viet Nam. I guarantee you, I’ll always love guns. And I’m against gay marriage, too.”
“Senator, what’s your response to the president’s comment today?”
“What did that tinhorn say?”
“The president said, ‘He can run, even in a cam suit, but he can’t hide.”
“Not only am I not hidin’, I promise right here that next week I’m gonna go huntin’ on the president’s ranch, and I’m gonna shoot as many animals as possible, including dogs and cats.”
“What if the president tries to stop you?” said a reporter.
“Let him try.”
“Senator, can we please talk about politics?” asked a man from a national magazine.
“Sure, but only for a short spell.”
“The Republican Party in Ohio has hired and trained almost four thousand recruits to challenge voters at the polls. They can ask a poll worker to question anyone who doesn’t look like a citizen, or who doesn’t appear to be at least eighteen, or who doesn’t look like a resident, or who seems like he hasn’t lived in Ohio for thirty days.”
“We all know the Republicans want to limit the number of people who vote. They’ll try to create long lines and force some people to go away. Don’t worry, though. The Democrats’ll have two thousand recruits there to protect legitimate voters.”
“Your recruits will still be outnumbered two to one in a state that could very well decide the election.”
“No big deal,” said the Senator. “After doin’ my patriotic duty in Massachusetts, I’ll jet to Ohio in my cam suit, and armed with an assault rifle – only for that occasion – I’ll personally patrol dozens of voting booths.”
“Are you worried Arnold Schwarzenegger will be campaigning here the weekend before Election Day?”
“Not a whit. That’ll just give me a chance to beat his butt before he runs against me in 2008.”