Coffee with The Blue Suit
By JOSH RESNEK
You know he believes no one can beat him,” the mayor’s Blue Suit said to me earlier this week. “He is convinced that he is invincible, that no one can touch him – not the law, not the people, not Fred Capone, not any number of combinations of Fred Capone and others – no one,” the Blue Suit added.
We shared a coffee sitting outside watching the traffic pass by at an outside cafe. I had a small cappuccino. The Blue Suit drinks dark tea with a touch of honey.
“The mayor tells some of his buddies he is going to be the mayor forever, if you can imagine that. I want to tell him off when I hear that. No one should be the mayor forever. In fact, there ought to be term limits on how long a mayor can consecutively serve. I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut around him. He’s a dangerous guy to disagree with if you know what I mean.”
The Blue Suit and I shared a moment of silent thought.
“I know what you mean. Did I ever tell you how he came down to the Leader Herald office on Church Street and came into my back office to speak with me one afternoon almost four years ago?”
“No. What did he want?”
“The mayor warned me that I wasn’t writing the right kind of articles. He demanded that I write the right kind of articles. Just like that, he said that to me in my office. I looked at him in amazement,” I told the Blue Suit.
I told him I didn’t know what was wrong with the articles I was writing. I told him he needed to get used to the idea that he couldn’t buy articles in the Leader Herald holding city advertising over my head, that I wouldn’t be told or bought by him what to write about him. I also promised never to lie about him – and I haven’t. I don’t believe he understood how I could give up city advertising in order to write what I wanted. He is much more used to people capitulating to his threats rather than fighting him.”
“So, he was standing there with you in your office and you guys are facing each other and he’s taking the heat, being driven crazy by your unwillingness to conform, to do as he wants you to do. Am I right?”
“Yes. Completely,” I answered.
“We stood fairly close,” I recalled.
“I bet I know what came next,” the Blue Suit replied. “He threatened you, didn’t he?” said the Blue Suit. “He threatens everyone he feels is in his way or who works for him just to keep them in line.”
“You know your boss very well,” I told the Blue Suit.
“Thank you for the compliment,” the Blue Suit gushed. “I may be just be the mayor’s suit but I’m no dummy. I know all about him…everything.”
“We are very close, too close. You have no idea what it’s like when he’s wearing me and abusing me. It’s mostly mental abuse, never knowing how much time I have left before he throws me away like an old towel. The physical abuse always occurs when he’s eating or seated deep in a comfortable chair. That’s never comfortable for me. I am made to feel like I’m being suffocated. It’s terrible.”
“Tell me, what did the mayor say after you told him he couldn’t manipulate you?”
“It was beautiful, really,” I answered the Blue Suit.
“This is what he said, exactly.”
“I’m going to put the Leader Herald out of business in four weeks,” he said to me.
“You’re gone in four weeks,” the mayor added for emphasis with a sneer etched on his face.
“And what did you say back to the mayor?”
“That will never happen. Never,” I said to him.
“He stormed out of the office. He’s never been to the office again.”
“Back to the mayor,” I said.
“Does he ever mention whether or not he’s qualified to be the mayor forever?” I asked the Blue Suit.
‘Are you serious?” he replied. “He thinks he’s qualified to be the governor.”
“Are you kidding me? He couldn’t even get himself elected to the state senate,” I added.
“Between you and me, he’s not qualified to run a corner store. He couldn’t even do his newspaper route without help when he was a kid,” the Blue Suit reminded me.
“Can you imagine leaving him in charge of a register?” We both laughed at that.
“Does he ever wonder whether or not those he has fired,
hurt, and tossed under the bus, laid off, cut their salaries will get together to do him in and to toss him from office?”
“Nah. He’d never talk about anything like that. He doesn’t think that way. He doesn’t care about anyone when you get right down to it. He kind of exults in it. He doesn’t really feel for people. There’s nothing coming out of him that is sincere. He is totally insincere. In fact, he is evil when you get right down to it. I don’t know how a human being can become like him.”
“So how do you explain him getting elected again and again?” I asked
“That’s simple, Josh,” the Blue Suit said to me.
“People working for him are afraid of being fired by him. Property owners don’t want their properties visited by the Building Department, or any city agency. No one wants to be threatened by city hall in the city where they live. My father would have said of this mayor: ‘Walk on the other side of the street when you see him coming at you.’”
“That’s probably good advice,” the Blue Suit said.
“He’s paranoid. He’s disloyal. He’s angry inside. He’s jealous. He’s greedy. He’s unfair. He takes pleasure in other peoples’ problems. Other than that, I really like the guy!”
The Blue Suit and I left the coffee place.
He had to get back to the mayor’s closet inside his mansion on Abbott Street.
“See you soon, Josh,” he said to me.
“You need a good dry cleaning, let me know!” I said.