Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Election by Tom Perrotta (Berkley Books 1998)


 “SO TELL ME,” said Dad. “Who's gonna win this election?”

Lisa shot me a surprised glance, her pretty eyes widening with alarm. Tammy stared blankly at her pancakes. Mom twisted her head, apparently searching for our waitress. Dad pressed on.

“What's the matter? We're all intelligent people. Doesn't anyone have an opinion?”

The whole brunch had gone like that, Dad playing teacher, the rest of us fumbling for answers. Mom was stiff and tongue-tied, Tammy sullen, Lisa polite. I'd done my best to keep the conversation afloat, but I was starting to lose heart.

“I'm a lifelong Republican,” he went on, “but I'm actually thinking about pulling the lever for Jerry Brown.”

The sense of relief around the table was immediate and conspicuous.

“Jerry Brown?” Mom scoffed. “You've got to be kidding.”

“I'm serious,” he insisted. “This country's corrupt from top to bottom, and Brown's the only one with the guts to say so.”

“Perot's saying it too,” Lisa reminded them.

“He's nuttier than Brown,” Mom observed. “The ears on that man.”

“What about Clinton?” I asked. “He's pretty interesting.”

“Ugh.” Dad looked disgusted. “That guy. He could stand out in the rain all day and not get wet.”

“I'm surprised,” said Mom. “I had you pegged for a Clinton man.”

“Me?” he said. “What gave you that idea?”