192. Billy Joe Takes a Leap

All right, we’ve been here before and you already know how it all turns out (see 178. Leap Boy, back in the news). I’ve already explained, long before the rest of America finds out, who will win the Presidency and what will come as a result. And how do I know? I’m a science fiction writer; I have a time machine lodged between my ears.

So you know about Leap Alan Hed, born on leap day, 64 years old and claiming to be 16. What you don’t know yet is what happened in the middle of the story.

Billy Joe Barker, newsman, regular contributor to the Tulsa World was a long time Republican. He had a dalliance with liberalism during the sixties when he thought he was a hippie. He had the hair for it back then, and it’s the only part of that era he misses. By the mid-seventies he was back to a buzz cut and back to being a Republican.

Billy Joe hated Hillary, passionately. He was a Ted Cruz supporter, despite the hesitation Okies have for anything from Texas, but Cruz didn’t last. Billy Joe really tried to like Donald Trump, but he couldn’t. The last straw was watching Trump’s first interview with his new running mate Mike Pence. After that, Barker had a continuing  vision of Edgar Bergen with Charlie McCarthy on his knee. He gave up on Trump even before Cruz said, “Vote your conscience.”

Barker couldn’t begin to support Hillary, couldn’t stand the Libs and Greenies, and knew there was no hope for a third party. He was flummoxed. That’s when he decided to use the Tulsa World to push a pseudo-candidacy. He didn’t care who he ran, it was just a joke in a political season that had lost any taste of humor. He needed someone like Pat Paulsen, back when he was briefly a hippie. On the same day that he came to that conclusion, he read about Leap Alan Hed in Reader’s Digest. The article told about Leap celebrating birthdays only on years with a leap day, and about his claim to be 16 even though he was born in 1952. Billy Joe Barker had found his candidate.

First he had to locate him; that took two days. Leap had moved to Dannebrog, Nebraska, a bustling metropolis of 307 people. Wiki says 306, but that was before Leap moved in. Billy Joe called him long distance. That took a day of phone tag since Leap didn’t have a phone, and had to take the call at a neighbor’s house.

Billy Joe explained his proposition. Leap almost fell off his chair laughing. He said, “You’ve got to be out of your damned mind. The second worst part of what you want me to do is the campaigning. The worst part is, if I lie well enough, I might win. The answer is no!”

Billy wrote up his weekly column for the Tulsa World, telling the story of his aborted search for a candidate. At the end, he said, “If only crazy people run for the office of President, then Leap Alan Hed is the sanest person in America. He really doesn’t want the job.”

Beware of what you ask for. Or what you don’t ask for.

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