Tag Archives: lobbyists

A Christmas Story from Argus Joseph Thompson, Insane

In his reverie Argus had the vision recorded below. (Jenny, his girl friend, has been at large for some time in the mountains of Wyoming and is known as the “Mountain Woman.” She is wanted for certain crimes against the corporate glob of which she is innocent.) Here is Argus’ recounting what took place. I again warn you that Argus claims to be insane. I cannot attest otherwise.

Then just after the Senate broke for the Christmas holiday, Jenny came bursting through the door of silver-haired Senator Sylvester Sinclair’s holiday office in Jackson, Wyoming. Seventy-three representatives of the coal industry were meeting with the great senator and laughing inordinately at one of his better jokes – something about why the rooster crossed the road.

Jenny stood there surveying the 72 men and one woman. She had one hand in the pocket of her coat, the other grasping a coil of nylon rope slung over her shoulder. What happened next was reported verbatim in the Washington Post because the senator happened to have his tape recorder in his bottom desk drawer going during his meeting with the coal people, “just in case he was misquoted later on.”

“This is a stick up,” Jenny announced pointing her finger at the senator through the pocket of her coat.

“Don’t shoot!” the lobbyist from Peabody Coal cried. “I can arrange a free trip for you to Hawaii on official government business. Well, then, how about an all-expense-paid trip to Tahiti?” Then he screeched, “I know who you are! You’re the Mountain Woman!”

“The Mountain Woman?” the senator cried. “Why bless your heart, my girl, you’re Jenny Baines Rogers!” The senator never forgot the name of a constituent. He rushed toward Jenny in long steps, his hand extended. “Why I knew your mama. She came to visit the great state of Wyoming back in…”

“Stand back!” Jenny warned swinging her pocketed finger toward the senator.

“No cause for alarm,” the senator said, pinning on his best big Wyoming smile. “Why, child, we were worried about you,” the senator said in his famous baritone. “I just got the Air Force to send out another two dozen ‘copters to look for you. Thank God, girl, you’ve come to me. I can intercede with the president for a pardon. I can get you an audience with Nancy Reagan. I know James Watt, personally—a sterling man with great influence in the timber industry. I can get you cheap housing in Philadelphia. I can get you and your boyfriend food stamps. I can …”

“This is a stick up,” Jenny repeated. “Hand over your Rolodex.”

“My Rolodex? Never!” the senator cried grabbing his Rolodex and clutching it to his chest. “You can have my autographed picture of Nixon, and the gold watch dear George W gave me, but I will never hand over my Rolodex!”

“Drop it!” Jenny said.

The great senator looked at Jenny – something about the glow in her eyes and the set of her mouth that, suddenly forced his compliance. With a shaking hand he handed the Rolodex to Jenny and then he asked, “What else can I do for you, little lady?” He straightened his suit and shot Jenny another of his big Wyoming smiles. “We all love Wyoming.”

“We love your state, too,” the guy from Peabody said. “We got a 127 permits to explore for minerals in the Teton National Forest alone. We’re neighbors, lady!” He extended his hand.

“We’re all for Wyoming, too,” the guy from Mountain Coal cried. “We own over a million acres of good ranch land we bought for the water rights so we can pipe out your coal in a slurry pipeline to our furnaces back east. Why, we pay more taxes in your state than any of the other big ten and…”

“Get your suck-tubes out of our state,” Jenny said.

“I can help,” silver-haired Senator Sylvester Sinclair cried. “I can get appropriations to clean up the mess left in the desert from the uranium mines, and I can get money to fill in the pits up in the Black Hills by raising the price of federal coal leases and…”

“You can’t do that!” cried the guy from Peabody. “Remember our arrangement!”

“I made no promises,” the senator said. “I never make promises. I have never voted in parallel with the economic support I may or may not have received from your corporation or any other corporation, and you know that. Admit it!” He glanced at his desk drawer to see that it was slightly cracked open.

“Absolutely, Senator.”

“Furthermore, I report every penny of my campaign contributions and all honorariums, and I have never written a book. I comply! I comply and comply. I also go to Senate Prayer Breakfasts every week.”

Then Jenny slipped a loop of rope around the leg of the senator’s great desk, popped open the window, and descended in a single, long, beautiful rappel to the ground and disappeared into the Christmas crowd that was shopping at Ralph Lauren’s local factory outlet store.

After that the press went crazy claiming that the Mountain Woman had terrorized the senator, and the FBI was, of course, embarrassed and called every available operative into the search for Jenny.

On Christmas morning a group of 40 nondescript, oily, swirly, surly citizens gathered around silver-haired Senator Sylvester Sinclair’s home in Casper. Someone had alerted FOX television, and as soon as the cameras were set up the people began to sing “Silent Night,” and the senator came out of his house in his pajamas and slippers with his big Wyoming smile. But the second verse of Silent Night deviated somewhat from the standard lyrics.

Silent Night. Holy Night,

All is dead.

All is blight.

Round yon virgin the air is all sour Raped and pillaged for money and power,

Sleep polluted today

Sleep in eternal decay.

As they began singing other verses the senator grew increasingly irritated, and he began to scold the people saying they had no right to desecrate the holy season with such unchristian carryings-on. Further, he knew every one of them—he called all the carolers by their first names—and he said he knew their daddies, and he told them to go home and thank God they lived in America where people were free to express themselves, even if they were ill-advised, such as they were, and he wished them all a Merry Christmas. Before they could finish the last verse he slammed the door. But they had come many a mile on Christmas, and they sang the last verse anyway.

Silent Night. Holy Night,

All’s calm,

But nothing is right

‘Round yon mountain the forests are bare;

All God’s creatures lie dead everywhere,

Made into money for more millionaires, So sleep in heavenly peace,

Sleep in heavenly peace.

And from that day until the senator returned to Washington, people picketed the senator’s house with signs that read, “Take the suck-tubes out of our Mother” and “Don’t sell our Mother to the corporate dead” and “Your mother is angry.” After he returned to Washington a small group of the same rag-taggers surrounded his town house with similar placards keeping a silent round-the-clock vigil. But nothing changed, at least not that a person could see at first. Not until the silver-haired senator’s Roledex in the hands of the Mountain Woman, began to reveal certain facts and bring about certain changes that were nearly imperceptible at first.

(This is all that Argus Joseph Thompson, Insane, told me at the time of this posting. Stay tuned.)