Preacher Jo had been preachin’ all through the weekend while the rest of us followed union regulations and didn’t work. After all those days of preachin’ the crowd around the Airstream had reached about 100,000 furloughed federal workers, and the guards at the gate were lookin’ a might nervous.
Well this morning a truck pulls up to the gate from inside the city, and a bunch of men climb out with nightsticks and military-style assault weapons. Their leader hops out of the cab with a megaphone and starts hollerin’, “You, preacher of indeterminate gender, I demand that you climb off that Airstream and stop preachin’ that Social Justice nonsense! And the rest of you people disperse!”
Preacher Jo wasn’t havin’ none of that as you might well imagine. “I will not stop preachin’ the holy Gospel of Social Justice until every one of these furloughed federal workers has a government job! All you Fascists are denying the good Lord’s will by keepin’ these folks outta San Bernardino!” The crowd around the Airstream started gettin’ right agitated and the men from the truck started marchin’ toward us, slappin’ their nightsticks against their palms.
Suddenly there was a shot and I sees Preacher Jo fall down on the roof of the Airstream. For a moment there was a silence thicker than a cheddar cheese wheel. Then folks start screamin’ and runnin’ all over and the thugs start layin’ into them with their clubs. Somethin’ happened to me in that moment. I felt like it was a Sunday and I was back in Santa Barbara watchin’ Preacher Jo preachin’ the rich and the poor, and cis-normativity, and heteropatriarchal constructs, and the need to smash the dominant capitalist paradigm, and somethin’ in my head just popped. I grabbed the shotgun, climbed up on the roof of the Airstream next to Preacher Jo’s body and fired off a shot.
When everyone looked I waved my arms like a man insane and yelled, “People, listen! Calm down!” Then I started talkin’. Only it wasn’t me talkin’. The words were just comin’ outta me like I was one of them puppets in a suit whose mouth moves. “People, this shutdown has been a right disaster for Social Justice, and I know we all want our government jobs, but this kinda madness just ain’t the way to do it! Now no one ever said our cause would be easy, and maybe San Bernardino just ain’t the place that the good Lord wants us to be!
“The march ahead will be hard, but I say we need to go where there’s a government job for everyone, where the Gospel of Social Justice is known and followed by all the godly! Where Barack Obama is properly worshiped alongside Global Warming!”
The crowd started murmuring to each other, like they got something on the tip of their tongues but were afraid to say it lest it might be blasphemous.
“Good children of God, we are going to San Francisco!”
We got back on the highway, with all them 100,000 furloughed federal workers followin’ us toward Rancho Cucamonga. Pa took the wheel to give me a chance to rest back in the Airstream. I was right exhausted after all that.
Update: Sorry Dead Richard Nixon, we’re friends but Mary Carey still gets the endorsement.