Sunday, September 9, 2012
The Final Ballot, by Brendan Dubois
Boy, I don't know if it's just the dog days of summer affecting my mood but I can tell you I have just loved the last three stories I chose for this column. Real stand-outs.
Beth knew in a flash that she was outgunned. This man before her had traveled the world, knew how to order wine from a meny, wore the best clothes and had gone to the best schools, and was prominent in a campaign to elect a senator from Georgia as the next president of the Untied States.
She put the tissue back in her purse. And her? She was under no illusions. A dumpy woman from a small town outside Manchester who had barely graduated from high school and was now leasing a small beauty shop in a strip mall.
That's not the opening of the story but it is the core of it. Ms David, meet Mr. Goliath.
Beth's daughter was brutally attacked by a son of the senator/candidate. The man-of-the-world described above is the problem solver. "In other words, I'm the senator's bitch." He offers her two choices which he insists on calling "avenues." She can pursue prosecution of the senator's son, guaranteeing herself years of being stripped naked by the press, attacked by his supporters, dragged out as a symbol by his enemies... or she can agree to let the culprit get psychological treatment and accept financial aid from the senator to cover her daughter's long-term medical needs.
I won't spoil it by telling you what happens next. But two old sayings apply: Never fight with someone who has nothing to lose. And: the most dangerous place in the world is between a mother and her children.