The mayor forever is on the ropes
By JOSH RESNEK
“Hey. Are you OK?” I asked the Blue Suit. “You look like you’re going to throw up. What’s up with you?”
“I didn’t sleep well over the weekend at all. Carlo wore me several times. That’s not good if you’re me. Even though he wore me, he didn’t bother with a tie. How do you wear your best Blue Suit without a tie?”
The Blue Suit shook his head from side to side. He couldn’t look at me. It was difficult for him to focus.
“Josh, you can’t believe what went on after Gerly and Fred announced on Saturday. It was as if the Abbott Street mansion had been visited by brain-eating zombies, the kind that makes Romero films so exciting and scary. It was like Gerly and Fred were exercising mind control over Carlo. Carlo didn’t know what to do. He went from shock to amazement, to inertia, to depression, to overeating all in one great swoop that ruined Saturday and Sunday. It continued like that inside the mansion like a perpetual rainstorm into Monday and Tuesday. I mean the mayor was all twisted up. You have no idea how Carlo’s world has been turned upside down by Gerly Adrien and Fred Capone. Carlo is absolutely out of his mind with fear and worry. He isn’t the same guy this week I’ve known. He’s in a sweat. It isn’t yet the sweat of his life, but I can feel that coming,” the Blue Suit told me unequivocally.
The Blue Suit and I met up at Common Ground in the Pioneer on the Parkway. We sipped Brazilian coffee and ate vegetable wraps at one of the tables in the hallway connecting the huge apartment house to the café. No one noticed us which is just as well. Who needs the hassle of being noticed!
“I heard Carlo talking with Jerry. Actually, he was shouting at Jerry. As you must certainly know, Jerry caused quite a fuss recently that led to his temporary exile to Arizona. I’m not kid- ding. It went like this. Forgive me for not using all the expletives but every other word was the f word. This is Carlo shouting at Jerry while standing in his living room. He was home alone Sun- day afternoon.”
The mayor to Jerry:
“How are we going to deal with this!” Hysteria gripped Carlo. He was sweating and red-faced. His heart was beating hard. Carlo paced back and forth. He couldn’t concentrate on the flat screen. Any sense of calm and blind egotism that powered him before the twin announcements were gone.
“What are we going to do, Jerry?” Carlo asked again. “How are we going to deal with this s…?” he asked his trusted campaign chief.
Jerry didn’t have much to say.
“C’mon, Jerry. You always have a big mouth. Right now, you’re not welcome at city hall, but I am interested in what you can suggest. What do you suggest? Can I beat these two or are they going to beat me?” the mayor asked Jerry. “C’mon, Jerry. Let it out. Do you have any ideas?”
Jerry told Carlo he needed to attack Capone and Adrien.
“You need to crush Capone. Don’t ask me how. You need to do the same with Adrien.”
“How do I do that?” he asked Jerry. “Tell me, Jerry. How do I do that?”
“How the hell do I know!” Jerry shouted at Carlo.
“What am I a miracle worker?” Jerry added.
“Don’t yell at me, Jerry. I can see you’re going to be about as much use to me as Priya Tahiliani,” the mayor answered.
“Hey, Carlo. Don’t treat me like a fool or an idiot. You owe me big time. No one supports you like I do. You think everyone can take your criticism, your jealousy, your greed, and your bulls…? Well, they can’t, and they won’t. Without me you’re in trouble,”
Jerry said to Carlo.
Carlo looked like he was going to explode after an eating binge.
“You listen to me, Jerry. I owe you nothing. You owe me. Everyone owes me. I have given you everything you own. Your house. Your car. Your bank account. Your salary. Your job. I’ve kept you out of trouble. I’ve moved you from city office to city office. Where else could you make $100,000 a year but working for the city? You couldn’t even keep a job with the post office for God’s sake, Jerry,” the mayor said. “Maybe you should stay in Arizona Jerry where you can’t cause any problems.”
Jerry flew off the handle, according to the Blue Suit.
“At least I’m not an FBI informant. I would never treat people the way you do. You toss people away like used toilet paper thrown down the toilet, Carlo. Everyone knows this about you. You’re filled with hate for people, even for those who support you. Where does that come from, Carlo? Who the hell do you think you are? I can sink you if I want. Don’t ever forget that, Carlo,” Jerry warned him.
“Don’t f with me,” he added for emphasis.
Carlo heard Jerry but he wasn’t listening carefully to him. Carlo knew that he could shut Jerry’s mouth in an instant if he threatened to take his job away from him.
Jerry read Carlo’s mind, the Blue Suit told me.
“You’re thinking you can fire me and teach me a lesson. Well. You fire me and a world of hurt comes down on you. You think you have it tough with Adrien and Capone, they don’t compare to what I am capable of if I want to take you down. You take my job and I promise, Carlo, I will ruin you. And it won’t just be me, Carlo. There will be a long line of us ready to do you in.”
The Blue Suit and I discussed the coming primary.
“Carlo is worried. He is so worried he’s almost paralyzed. Everyone around him, the legion of public relations people and lawyers who surround him, are also worried. They don’t say anything, but I can read their worry in their troubled eyes and their hollow gazes. None of them speaks to Carlo about reality – and now that a new reality has taken shape and form overnight, no one around him is about to tell him the truth about the changed situation. They are all worried. Everything was so good Friday. Now it’s Tuesday. Why couldn’t the world have stopped at Friday?
“Carlo’s perfect world and the world of those around him has changed dramatically. It is as if Carlo was involved in a head-on crash with an 18-wheel truck. Suddenly, Carlo knows to the core of his being he is not going to be the mayor forever. His promising exhortation to his allies, that he cannot be beaten, that no one can beat him, has lost its meaning in a matter of a few days.
“Right now, Carlo is grasping for straws. Everyone is telling him he’s a great guy and that he’s doing a great job. And that they will vote for him. He knows better. When those people showering sweet nothings on him turn their backs and walk away from Carlo, they take delight in thinking he might lose, that he will get what he deserves after all these years of being a bully. More than a few of them are already set to vote for Fred Capone. More than he can imagine are ready to give Gerly Adrien a vote,” the Blue Suit said to me.
The Blue Suit sighed. He pulled out a pack of Salem Menthol cigarettes. He put a cigarette up to his lips and lit it with a small lighter he carries in his pocket.
“I think he could have handled Capone alone. Adrien changes the whole dynamic. You want to know the truth, Josh? I don’t believe Carlo can survive the primary. Inside a deep and dark place inside his head where no one goes, Carlo believes the same,” the Blue Suit said to me.
“Are you serious?” I asked.
“I know Carlo better than anyone. He’s worried. He’s sick to his stomach. Everything has changed for him over the weekend. He might never get over it,” the Blue Suit concluded.