WILSON: Malcolm and the election survivalist
Malcolm James Thornwhistle (of the Downhampton Thornwhistles) was a world-renowned adventurer and internet influencer. His weekend passion was to launch his tiny Jon boat (powered by an Elko EP-50 electric outboard, producing 50 hp at 21600 watts of smokeless power) and explore the upper reaches of the mighty St. Joe River. He searched for hidden secrets missed by two centuries of previous exploration and land development. Legend has it, just upstream from the Constantine dam, Malcolm discovered the cure for political correctness. Unfortunately, calling political correctness a disease was deemed insensitive and he was told to put the cure back under the rock where he found it.
Malcolm nosed his flat-bottomed craft slowly along the shoreline in search of previously undiscovered treasures. Near the eroded block foundation of a long-abandoned gristmill, sat a 1975 Winnebago Chieftain. Perched in a lounge chair, under the protection of the RV’s faded awning, sat a solitary figure drinking a cup of coffee while contemplating the quiet and serenity of this neck of the woods.
“Ahoy,” Malcolm called out, as he kept his Jon boat in place by matching the power of his electric outboard against the flow of the river’s current. “The name is Malcolm James Thornwhistle, of the Downhampton Thornwhistles. I’m exploring this stretch of the river. What brings you, here?”
“My name is Dontcare Goaway,” replied the lone camper. “Weren’t you listening to the narrator? I’m drinking coffee and contemplating the quiet and serenity of this neck of the woods. Could you move your boat upstream? You’re blocking my view.”
Malcolm turned around in an attempt to glimpse the aforementioned view. All he saw was a bunch of trees about to lose their fall foliage. For an explorer, Malcolm wasn’t very observant.
“Yes, Mr. Goaway, but what brings you here?” Obviously, Malcolm failed to understand sarcasm, also. “Why have you chosen this spot?”
“This tried-but-true 1975 Winnebago Chieftain brought me here,” scoffed the river’s edge settler. “This thing gets 9 mpg and stopping here was much better than running out of diesel fuel in a Walmart parking lot.”
The man stirred his campfire and took another sip of coffee before settling back in his chair.
“Now, if you could keep moving upstream, that would be great.”
With the determination of an explorer on the verge of a great discovery, Malcolm continued his dogged pursuit of the truth.
“You carry your home with you on your journey. Obviously, you, too, are on a quest. What is it that you seek?”
“Why are you in such dogged pursuit of the truth?” questioned the traveler, taking another poke at the literal fourth wall. “If you must know — and you certainly do not — I am trying to escape the incivility of civilization. It is crazy as frosted flakes out there — and it looks like it is going to stay that way until sometime after the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November.”
“Ah yes,” Malcolm mused. “You think things are going to remain chaotic until the election. I get that.”
“Nope,” sighed the traveler (now known as Goaway). “I think, after the election, it is going to get much worse — regardless of the winner. That is why I cast an early ballot and decided to ride out the apocalypse someplace without a cell signal. I don’t want to know what is happening until it is all over.”
“Without communication with the rest of the world, how will you know when things return to normal?”
“If the following Wednesday morning comes and I see smoke billowing up from beyond the trees, I’ll know I was right and everything has turned into a giant cowpie. I have enough provisions in my Winnebago to last four years. I figure, if I have to, I can wait it out until the next election.”
Malcolm considered the logic and concluded this guy might be the smartest person he had ever met. “I would like to know more,” Malcolm said as he started to maneuver towards the shore. Unfortunately for Malcolm, his 96-volt battery had pushed against the force of the current for all that it could push. That was when the river took Malcolm and his Jon boat (and dead battery) downstream and away from the campsite.
“Good riddance,” mumbled the election survivalist, as he tossed another log on the fire, took another sip of coffee, and contemplated the serenity of this neck of the woods.