Post # 561 THE FINE ART OF LOSING (fiction)

The first time Lorna Allison Appelkuchen, better known by her fellow villagers as “Lorna Apples,” attracted any public notice, in the small, verdant village of “Wistful Vista, Inc,” was when the local newspaper, “Wistful Living,” in a front page headline, proclaimed her selection by the Mayor ( who happened to be Lorna’s second cousin on her father’s side) as Chair of the Decorating Committees of the Meeting House and the two Village libraries. She had been, reportedly, a geranium and day lily specialist, and was selected over another disappointed applicant, Elvira Swine, herself the author of a coffee table shiny paged volume, “ Life Among Green Leaf Borers and Nematodes.” [The latter book published and distributed by the local, Oblivion Book Company which, according to the public notice, which appeared less than one year later, in “Wistful Living,” officially filed for final bankruptcy]. Miss Swine, disappointed and outraged, at her perceived personal rejection, initially set about, to vociferously contest such selection on the angrily stated grounds of unethical familial nepotism, until she was (mercifully) reminded by a neighbor who knew the back history of the family, that she was also a second cousin of the Mayor, but on the maternal side.

Commencing with that anguished disappointment, Elvira Swine angrily declared “ Lorna Apples, or whatever her name is,” arch-rival and a sworn personal enemy, despite such recent revelation that they were related. She scrupulously clipped and filed by date, every article and reference to Lorna Apple, appearing in the Village Newspaper in her obsessive search for some possible avenue to her personally perceived, justly deserved, revenge.

When Lorna’s two year term mayoral appointment expired she, having grown accustomed to and actually enjoying her first taste of public attention and status, relative to public position, decided to throw her green ribboned straw sun bonnet into the ring, to run for the expired term of the imminently retiring, Town Clerk. Elvira, despite this newly developed opportunity to request the now vacant, previously sought position (Chair of the Decorating Committee of the Village Meeting House and the two Village Libraries) and based on her desire to lock horns with her perceived enemy, publicly declared that she too, is tossing her artificial fur red fox muffler in the ring, to assert her earnest desire to oppose the candidacy of her deeply despised Lorna.

Ms. Swine, from the start, began a tactical program of political campaigning including, telephone calls to villagers, and distribution of her excellent home baked goods to neighbors; including many dozens of chocolate chip cookies to random Village children, in exchange for their solemn, lisped, promises to request that their parents vote in her favor.

For unknown personal reasons, conceivably including shyness, Lorna decided, perhaps in error, to refrain from public campaigning. The sole, indirect exception related to those chance Villagers who, from time to time, happened to appear at the front garden of her modest residence for a neighborly chat, while observing the labors of the expert geranium and lily gardener. The forthcoming election, taking place in two months was seldom discussed.

The Village’s total eligible voting roster numbered nine-hundred and fifty, including college offspring, over the age of 18, home on holiday break .The election itself was agreed to be conducted by the voter’s personal appearance and his act of dropping a glass marble (from the open cache of free glass marbles, near the public entrance to the Village Hall) into one or the other of two identical glass canning jars, each displaying in green, identically printed lettering, the name of the respective candidate. The candidate to be declared, winner, logically, was the one receiving the most marbles.

The site of the election, publicized on several occasions, was noticed to take place between the hours of 10:AM and 6PM, on the advertised date. As agreed by consensus, official counting was to be done by the Village Mayor, himself, and personally witnessed by both candidates. The two- month pre-election wait seemed to pass by quickly, during which period, the highly motivated Elvira, tactically distributed no less than twenty dozen chocolate-chip cookies, several dozen home-baked pies and cakes, and made copious campaign telephone calls, too numerous to count. Lorna, by contrast, and perhaps, foolishly simply carried on with her routine life, gardening and chatting with whatever Village people chose to come by mid-mornings, when she habitually tended to her front flower garden.

Election day weather was, fortunately, bright, sunny and comfortably cool and evinced, during the assigned voting hours, a huge number of voters, generally estimated at close to the total roster of reliable Village voters. The election went smoothly; the singular incident, occurring on election day, being the foiled attempt to vote twice, by Elvira, wearing an entirely different afternoon outfit, (and a large-brimmed hat) from the attire, worn for her vote in the morning; but fortuitously spotted by the same villager who, years ago, had revealed the parties’ mutual familial relationship. Elvira, firmly holding the large- brimmed hat behind her back, defensively, asserted that it was simply an innocent error of mistaken recollection.
The (witnessed) votes were counted at the conclusion of the election period and the final tally was as follows:

Apple: 796 (marbles)
Swine: 11 (marbles).

Elvira, however, irrationally and neurotically refused to concede her resounding and undeniable loss. She and the 9 or so others, who voted in her favor, at Elvira’s hysterical insistence, jointly protested the election results to the Village Mayor, on the spurious grounds of allegedly switched jars, moving and positioning of jars as to augment the light illumination, clandestine shifting of marbles from one jar to the other and an outrageously paranoidal account of a secret, tactical elimination of decisive marbles.

The annoyed and outraged Mayor and Villagers uniformly expressed complete frustration at Elvira’s deplorable and irrational response to the outcome of the demonstrably fair and unassailably transparent election. The local newspaper, “Wistful Life,” in addition to its dutiful, official affirmance of the results of the Village election, carried an Official Notice, stating that, pursuant to the Charter of Wistful Vista Village, Inc. the recent executive decree of the Village Mayor, was to the effect that Ms. Elvira Swine shall remain permanently ineligible to run for Village office.


ADDENDUM: It would appear that the defeated Donald J. Trump, has an analogous problem with his misplaced marbles.

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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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