The Blue Suit
A weekly discussion between the mayor’s Blue Suit and writer Josh Resnek
“The night is dark. The day is clear. The election is three weeks away.”– Josh Resnek waxing eloquent to the Blue Suit
By JOSH RESNEK
“So you think the voters are going to get rid of Carlo as mayor, Josh? Is that what you think,” the Blue Suit asked me.
You know me well. I don’t count Carlo out. I certainly don’t want to count him in…until the outcome is known on Election Day,” I added.
The Blue Suit began coughing. I worried that he might be choking. The Blue caught his breath. He began breathing steadily again. “Wow. That was a trip. You can’t live if you can’t breathe,” the Blue Suit said.
“Are you OK? Do I need to call 911?” I asked him.
“I’m fine, thank you,” the Blue Suit replied. “Hey, Josh, thanks for looking out for me. The mayor doesn’t care if I live or die. Kind of depressing to work for a guy for so long and to be abused the way I’ve been abused by him, to matter not at all to him unless he wants to use me.”
A moment later, the Blue Suit reached into a pack of cigarettes. He lit up a Marlboro.
“How can you do that?” I asked. “One moment you can’t breathe. The next moment you’re smoking a cigarette. Are you nuts?” I asked.
The coughing began again after the first puff. His eyes teared. He slobbered a bit of spit on his pants. His chest heaved in and out. He was gagging.
He took in another puff.
This time it went down. He held it in. He exhaled. He sounded like a tire deflating.
We were in my car heading through Woodlawn on our way to the New Bridge.
The Blue Suit loves the steak tips and salad.
I parked my red Honda Fit at an open space by the front door. We walked inside. No one recognized us.
“I’ll have two orders of rare steak tips and a double order of salad and potatoes and two Coca Colas,” the Blue Suit said. The waitress raised her eyebrows just a bit after taking down that order.
“What are you having?” she asked me.
“Barbecued chicken breast, salad, and a coke, please.” While awaiting our lunch we talked about the upcoming election again.
“You think Carlo can be beaten?” the Blue Suit asked me again.
“Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t,” I replied. “Let me put it this way, Josh. You have three weeks remaining. Do you think Carlo can be beaten in the next three weeks?” the Blue Suit asked.
“Yes,” I answered.
“How?” the Blue Suit asked.
“I’m not exactly sure. But three weeks is like an eternity.
That’s plenty of time for all kinds of things to happen to Carlo and for Fred,” I added.
“In three weeks, Fred can earn his victory,” I responded. “Do you really believe that?” the Blue Suit asked me. “Yes, I do,” I answered.
The waitress arrived at our table with the food.
She found space for the Blue Suit’s two orders of steak tips. He began devouring his food immediately.
“Good God. You’re eating like it’s your last meal,” I complained.
The Blue Suit dropped salad and bits of tips and fries on his pants.
I tried not to pay attention.
My barbecued chicken breast with salad was a delight. New Bridge salad dressing is to die for. Most people from around here know this.
“Let me answer your question about whether Carlo can lose or is it can Fred win? Here’s the deal, Carlo threw away his game plan last week. He started shooting from his hip. That says something about his candidacy being troubled. No politician should go negative during the last three weeks of a mayoral campaign. Going negative is to head down the road in the wrong direction. Did he receive information about declining popularity and approveability? I think so. He has come to think he will gain from impossible distractions that have very little to do with getting himself re-elected,” I said.
The Blue Suit shoved a huge forkful of rare steak tips into his mouth. It was impossible for me to imagine him being able to chew a thick wad of beef let alone swallowing such a food dumping into his throat without suffocating.
“Do you think Fred knows what he’s doing?” the Blue Suit asked.
“The mayor makes fun of him you know, Josh,” he added.
“I’ve heard that. I can assure you Fred doesn’t care what the mayor thinks of him or the names he calls him. Fred’s in a different space. He looks at the mayor and sees a loser, a taker, a greedy, small-minded, harsh man intent on threats and intimidation for those who do not go along with him. Yet Fred will never mention his name. He never attacks him. It is more important for Fred to maintain his dignity and integrity than to get down into the gutter with Carlo. That’s Fred’s strength. Many Everett people say Fred should be throwing atomic bombs at Carlo. They believe to the core of their thinking that only by torturing Carlo can Fred beat Carlo. But when you know Fred, as I’ve come to know him, I have come to understand that a victory would be worthless to Fred if people thought of him the way so many think of Carlo. Fred is not Carlo. He doesn’t want to be Carlo. He doesn’t like Carlo. His professional life, his private life, his family life is night and day from Carlo’s. Fred could beat Carlo into the ground if got angry enough. But that’s not him. He is going to win with his own strategy or he is going to lose. Above all, he is going to maintain his personal honor if he wins and or if he loses. He will be, unlike Carlo, magnanimous in victory and magnanimous in defeat,” I said to the Blue Suit.
The Blue Suit swept his plate with a soft, fresh, Piantadosi bread roll. He smacked his lips.
“Let’s get out of here,” he suggested.
We walked out of the New Bridge.
In my Honda driving through Woodlawn back to Everett, the Blue Suit questioned me.
“So you’re telling me Fred would rather lose than to lose his own dignity fighting with Carlo?”
“Yes,” I said.
“What does that say about him?” he asked me. “That says it all,” I answered.