Mary Vivian Adams for Mayor of Weed, CA
Randy Bechtel
Mary Vivian Adams for Mayor

Sunday

Exchange of emails between me and my sister.

To Mary: Attached is a draft home page for your campaign website.

Mayor of Weed

From Mary: "Denim! You photoshopped me dressed me in denim?"

To Mary: "Had to replace your pulpit robe. You can't run for office dressed like a preacher. Denim seemed the best way to countryfy your image.'

From Mary: "What about that hideous thing underneath?"

To Mary: "I can remove the design on the sweater if you want."

From Mary: "Do it!!! Now, of all the pictures I gave you, why pick one with me wearing glasses?"

To Mary: Because they add gravitas à la Liz Cheney. Also, all your photos were either taken a decade ago or were heavily photoshopped. Glasses make you look more your age."

From Mary: "Very funny. Ha ha. As for your text, it's okay as far as it goes. Please add the following: “. . . violates the Ten Commandments or laws and regulations covering rape, sexual harassment, domestic violence, sexual discrimination, equal pay for equal work, alimony, child support, maternity leave, sex trafficking, obscenity and misogyny.

I wondered whether Mary understood that her addition nullified the message of the original quote. Not that I was about to ask. I kept reminding myself that I wanted to confine my role here to that of technician. One question, however, I could not resist asking.

To Mary: "Is there such a thing as a misogyny law?"

From Mary: "If there isn't there should be!"

Monday

From Mary: Thinking text with my additions too long to be tagline for home page. Make it lead paragraph for ‘Why She’s Running.’ New home page tagline should be: ‘A candidate who understands that Weed’s greatness lies in its common-sense roots.’ By the way, just learned deadline for registering as candidate is 5 p.m. Wednesday.”

To Mary: “Tagline much better. However, expect Rutherford B. Hayes to question your common sense by reminding everyone you lobbied to make Weed the sister city of Cannes, France.”

From Mary: “Will say the sister city idea was all Margo’s. She’s already owning it when campaigning. Eddie told her to. I told her that was fine with me.”

To Mary: “What does Margo think about your candidacy?”

From Mary: “Nothing. Margo won’t know about it until after I file 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Tuesday

From Ben: Big news from Mona today in Weed News. And now Weed News has pictures!

Mona on the Move

Three More Candidates for Mayor

E pluribus unum! Joining Margo Butkus, Rutherford B. Hayes and Tucker Carlson Sr. in the race for mayor are Raoul Romero, Fiona Polk-Finkle and Sol Pine! Which makes space precious for this column, so I asked each new candidate only one important question: What would you like to accomplish most as Weed’s politico numero uno?

First up: Romero, owner of the Little Havana restaurant, who lists himself Hispanic even though Raoul is three-quarters Swede and looks it. Says Raoul: “I’d like a Raoul Romeromonument celebrating Hispanic contributions to our community.” I say, “Mucho gusto! What would you propose?” He says, “A statue that is life-size or even larger than life. A statue cast from bronze that will last for centuries. A statue of Desi Arnaz.” I say, “Why Desi Arnaz?” and Raoul says, “Because he’s a Hispanic who is huge in the history television. As the head of Desilu Studios, Desi gave us classics like “I Love Lucy” and ‘My Favorite Martian.’ I say. “And how was Desi Arnaz connected to Weed?” Raoul says, “He passed through.” I say, “Passed through town?” Raoul says, “Probably. Pretty sure.”  Aye! Yi! Yi!

Next up: Polk-Finkle, civic leader and heiress to Polk’s Pickles. Says Fiona in a flury, “I’d like to turn the spigot off celebrating diversity. How can people Fiona Polk-Finklecome together if we’re always emphasizing why we’re different? Every day, every week and every month is dedicated to celebrating some clique of which I’m not a part—veterans, black people, the Irish, Pacific Islanders, LGB—Q . . . whatever. Listen, if gay people want to take it up the-you-know-what, then fine, let them. But don’t expect me to celebrate it!” I say, “But Fiona, how would you translate anti-celebrations into a proposal as mayor?” Fiona says, “I would declare Weed a Mind-Your-Own-Business Zone. If it's not everybody’s business, keep it to yourself.” Heaven to Betsy! I say, “But Fiona, who in town minds their own business?  Gossip is Weed’s most important product.” Says Fiona, “Exactly! In Weed, gossip is everybody’s business because everybody in Weed does it. We can celebrate gossips here because everybody is one.” Plain as the nose on your face—if you're alone without a mirror.

Up next: Sol Pine, Weed’s leading realtor and son of the Goat Cheese King, Forrest Pine. Says Sol, “I would focus on the one responsibility that every mayor should make his top priority—protect and improve property values.” Hmm, I think, that’s an odd answer. Then I know why! Because it makes sense. Says Sol: “When property values go up, city tax revenues go up. And not simply property tax Sol Pine of Weed, CArevenue. For instance, take the hotel/motel tax. Did you know that the higher the home value, the more likely it is that out-of-towners visiting its residents will stay in a hotel or motel? My point is: a city whose property values deliver ample tax revenue can easily weather any storm.” I say, “Okay. What would you do to boost Weed's property values?” Sol says, “Many economic and social factors can be influenced to bring the market up and down. These I'm familiar with thanks to my 20 years in the real estate business. Most are too technical to go into here. But one that’s not—one everyone in Weed is bound to understand—is that Clay Poole’s 1957 DeSoto should be impounded and destroyed. We cannot afford visitors being repulsed by that junk heap exploding and spewing smoke.”  I say, “Oh my golly, people will like you!”

And Sol says, “What about you?” I think: Me? I say, “Me?” And Sol says, “I’m feeling pulsating vibes going between us. Don’t say you don’t feel them too.” I say, “You know, Sol, I’m a married woman.” And Sol says, “Karl doesn’t need to know. We could—what was Vlad the Boozer’s word?—cadoodle in my little hideaway on Shasta Lake.” Gadzooks!  I say, “I hope you realize I’m taping all this.” And Sol says, “Here’s an idea. Give me your tape and after I’ve undressed you, I’ll use it to tie your hands and feet.”

Memo to Weed politicians: Expect serious consequences when sexually harassing a member of the press who has a tape recorder.

Hours later I received an email from Mary with text for her “Why She’s Running” website page. I had just finished reading this when Jane entered the room.

"Weed News now has pictures and graphics!" Jane said. "Circulation must be up because I saw an editorial note saying they've hired a web designer/graphic artist, Nothing, though, about a photographer."

"Probably the Odles are the photographers."

With more enthusiam for Mary's candidacy than I cared for, Jane said: "The good news for Mary is Weed News probably won’t endorse Sol Pine.”

I said: “Mary must have read Mona first thing this morning judging by the text she just sent me on why she’s running. Get this:”

Earlier this year I met Hollywood producer Eddie Mars at a small dinner party given by my brother. Eddie told me he needed an idea for a reality TV series and I recommended a show about Weed.

“As I recall,” Jane interrupted, “Eddie did all the recommending.”

“Eddie’s idea was a series about my sister and her church,” I said. “The series became ‘Weed’ because Eddie followed Mary to Weed.”

“True,” Jane said. “She deserves equal credit—and blame.”

I read aloud:

At first Eddie laughed believing, as many people do, that Weed owes its name and culture to the marijuana industry. The name, I corrected him, came from the city’s founder, Civil War hero and lumber tycoon Abner Weed. The culture comes from more than a century of amazing residents who have never used nor needed cannabis to be colorful. 

“Me—I’d sleep better knowing cannabis was the reason for their colorfulness,” Jane said.

I read aloud:

Why, you may ask, did I persuade Eddie that Weed is the place to be? In a word, economic prosperity for all Weed residents. The show ‘Weed’ is bound to cause commerce and property values in town to skyrocket! I envision Weed becoming, like Beverly Hills, a very different town with the coming of the film industry.

“Weed—the next Beverly Hills!” Jane laughed. “Please tell me she doesn’t suggest Weed and Beverly Hills become sister cities.”

“No. But she does go after Rutherford B. Hayes and his anti-newcomer campaign.”

I read aloud:

People say to me, “But Mary, for home prices to skyrocket, don’t outsiders with more money than we have need to buy our houses?” Yes, to some degree there must be population turnover. But the prospect of people leaving town with more money than they ever dreamed of having is hardly a tragedy. Take Clay Poole, for instance. The grapevine has it that if Clay could sell his family house for enough money, he'd junk his DeSoto, buy an RV and hit the road. I’ve also heard people say there should be a town fundraiser to buy Clay’s house so he could junk his DeSoto, buy an RV and hit the road. Thanks to Eddie Mars and me, Clay will get his money from a zooming housing market. Of course, if you think Clay Poole and his DeSoto should stay, vote for Rutherford B. Hayes.

“That last line sounds almost like a slogan,” Jane said. “But do you think she’s smart challenging Rutherford like that? He’ll remind everyone she was behind the Cannes sister city debacle and that she is bent on populating Weed with— What was Rutherford’s term?

“Hollywood white-wine sucking weenies,” I replied.

“Yes, but you forgot uppity. Uppity Hollywood white-wine sucking weenies.”

“Incredibly she addresses that very possibility in the next paragraph,” I said.

I read aloud:

Now, it’s been wrongly said by Hayes and other critics of mine that I’m a Hollywood refugee who initiated the Cannes sister city movement.  In fact, that idea and the lobbying for it came from a follower in my church, Margo Butkus. Msrgo is also a candidate for mayor who has publicly owned the sister-city idea while campaigning. Yes, Margo originally broached the idea to me, but I simply responded as I usually do in such a circumstance—follow your dream.  I’ve always believed people should follow their dreams unless they involve becoming a kamikaze pilot or some other hurtful thing. Indeed, one cornerstone belief of the Church of Mary Magdalene is that an adult should do what he or she wants to do when he or she wants to do it unless it violates the 10 Commandments. That said, I see no need to critique Margo’s idea other than to say this:  If the TV series ‘Weed’ is a hit, which I firmly believe it will be if I'm elected mayor, chances are people in Cannes will come to us to propose sister cityhood, not the other way around.

Jane said: “Thank God she left out the laundry list after 10 commandments you told me about.,” Jane said. "But how did she come up with that kamikaze business? My gosh, she was born seven years after the end of World War II. You need to edit that out."

"Fine. And you tell her World War II ended."

I read aloud:

I’m not a Hollywood person, but I am a person who knows Hollywood. In the coming months and years, the ability to negotiate with film people and acquire all the benefits our town can from this TV series will be the top job of the next mayor. As your mayor, I will see to it that Weed’s citizens receive all the benefits that will make them rich.

“Rich?” Jane snickered. “Isn’t that over the top even for a politician?”

“Yeah, but remember, her main goal is to become a reality TV star,” I said.

Friday

I went downstairs at my usual time of 9 a.m. As usual, Jane had preceded me by about an hour.

“Mary Vivian has phoned you four times,” Jane said.

“Oh God!” I groaned. My sister normally does not wake up before 10 a.m. I said: “Did she call you too?”

“Two times but I didn’t answer.”

“I’m guessing you know what this is about.”

“You need to look at today’s ‘Mona on the Move,’” Jane said.  

Mona on the Move

Race for Mayor Just Got Magnified

After weeks meditating atop an undisclosed mountaintop, Mary Vivian Adams, formerly known as Mary of Jefferson, returned to Weed transfigured into a candidate for mayor.  Now Weed is blessed with two Mary Mag candidates—Mary Mag Mary and Mary Mag Margo. Holy (insert the word of your choice), what’s this all about?

I ask Margo Butkus that question minutes after Mary declared her candidacy late Wednesday. Says Margo: “OMG!” I say, “Yeah, well, even God can only vote once.” and Margo says, “Then let His will be done.” I say, “What if His will is to elect Rutherford B. Hayes?” and Margo says, “OMG!” You see, Margo’s noodle compartmentalizes, its compartments being preacher, hairstylist and politician. Better to give her noodle time to find its politician compartment, I decide, so I say I’ll call her back the next day.

The next day I ask Mary, “Why didn’t you tell Margo you were going to run against her for mayor?” Mary says, “Because I didn’t know I was. I’d left for my retreat a few days before she announced. Only after I Alma Spode of Weed, CAdeclared did Margo and I meet and learn we were both candidates.” I say, “Seems unusual for a church to produce two politicians, let alone two competing against one another.” Mary says, “Oh, we’re not in competition.” Yowza!  I say, “If a political race isn’t a competition, what is?” And Mary says, “Margo and I have differing ideas about how to best serve Weed. It’s our ideas that are competing, not ourselves personally. At the Church of Mary Magdalene, we believe spiritual bonds are too precious to be jeopardized by intellectual disagreements or emotional grudges.”  I say, “So how do you explain cutting all ties with Vlad the Boozer?” In retrospect, I see the obvious answer jumped out from my question, but Mary says, “Who?” I say, “Vlad Tepec. He was in Weed looking for you. Said you were lovers, then suddenly you cut him off.” Mary says, “I was unaware Mr. Tepec was in town. Nor could I have known being at the time at my retreat.” I say, “As Weed’s mayor, how often will you need to meditate on a mountaintop?” Fire in the hole!

“So Margo,” I say esrlier that day, “how do you and Mary disagree politically?” Margo says, “Don't know.” So I say, “Okay, why should voters elect you?” And Margo says, “I believe the future will be glorious for Weed with the success of the reality series ‘Weed.’ As you know, I’ve been one of those working closely with Eddie Mars. I’ve done Margo Butkus of Weed, CAwhat I could believing all the time that it will make a celebrity of our town as a whole. As another candidate in this race—Tucker Carlson Sr.—likes to say about himself: ‘With celebrity comes perks.’” I say, “What about Weed becoming the sister city of Cannes? I know you’ve been campaigning for that and even said you were responsible for the idea.” Margo says, “That's true. But my concept isn’t what is being portrayed by Rutherford B. Hayes. As mayor, I would simply draft a sister city proposal that could be sent to Cannes officials. If they want Weed representatives to travel to France, Eddie Mars has promised to pay all expenses so he can film their visit.” I say, “What do you say to critics who think you’re only after a free trip to France?”  And Margo says, “My duties as mayor and my responsibilities to my church and hairstyling salon would prevent me from going myself. I personally would suggest the delegation be led by former mayor Millie Punter, but that would be up to the City Council.” Wowzer!

I later ask Mary, “So why should voters elect you?” And Mary says, “Did you know I’m the one who convinced Eddie Mars to create the TV series ‘Weed’?” Déjà vous all over again? I say, “Don’t tell me as mayor you’d work with Eddie Mars to make the TV series a success.” Mary says, “As a matter of fact, yes. Why?” and I say, “Because that’s what Margo says she’ll do.” Mary says, “No, no, she’s campaigning to make Weed the sister city of Cannes. I love Margo but Weed taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to pay her way to France.” I say, “She says Eddie Mars has agreed to pay all expenses of a delegation so he can film it.” And Mary says, “Eddie probably neglected to tell me. You realize he’s the best friend of my brother?” I say, “Okay. So fill me in on what you’ve accomplished working with Eddie. I know Margo has filmed several segments with him including what Eddie says will be one entire episode in which Margo was terrorized by Vlad the Boozer. But other than a minute or two just before the Bah Bah Stampede, how have you been involved with filming?” Mary says, “You know I haven’t yet had the opportunity.” And I say, “Ah, right, having spent a month meditating on a mountaintop.” Mary says, “I am, after all, a woman of God. You know, Mona, God does not like an atheist.” And I say, “Are you calling me an atheist?” And Mary says, “I’m just sayin'.”

I’m just sayin'?  I’ve never understood how someone can defame someone else and then expect to be absolved by mealymouthing, 'I'm just sayin'. I say, “And I’m just sayin' you can’t make a successful TV show about Weed by meditating on a mountaintop.” And Mary says, “That’s your opinion. Faith, dear Mona, can move mountains.” And I say, “No, I spoke fact not opinion. For as everyone knows, Minushka, I ‘m not one to judge."

I called my sister.

“Have you seen Mona’s column today?” she snapped.

“I have.”

“Then you saw that hideous photo they claim is me.”

“I did.”

“After God knows how many calls, I finally reached Klaus Odle a few minutes ago. Hungover, I suspect. The picture is that of Alma Spode and was taken for a story about Spode’s hundredth birthday. That was to be tomorrow until Spode died Wednesday. Odle claims his new web designer got mixed up because Mona never gave him my photo and he assumed Spode was me by default.”

Mary Vivian sounded surprisingly collected considering. I said: “So what do you want me to do?”

“Email the photo you used for my website to their web designer ASAP at gfalati@weednews.com.” She then spelled gfalati for me.

“I assume they’ll run a correction Tuesday,” I said.

“They’d better or I’ll sue! Sweet Mary and Joseph, did you see Margo’s photo? If it were any more photoshopped she’d be wearing diapers.”

“Uh-huh. What about Mona’s column itself?”

“Well, there’s nothing I can do about that, is there? Oh, I know an old PR type like you thinks about damage control, about playing defense. How do I respond to that column to claim I'm important to the reality series, blah, blah, blah?  Forget that.  Modern politics is about taking and throwing punches. Today, only a punch is news. Defense goes on page six. Be noncontriversial and you’re forgotten.”

“Maybe.”

“There’s no maybe about it. Oh, didn’t I say? Eddie saw Alma’s photo first thing this morning and gave me a call. He thinks the photo mix-up will make a good intro to an episode about me. That will make me news for Weed News at their expense. Hallelujah! Oh— make sure the photo you send doesn't have that horrid sweater design."


Copyright © 2022 by Randy Bechtel

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