Big Billy – Election sign language

Ah, fall. That magical time of year when the leaves change colour and drop while election signs of all colours spring up.

Ya run to answer the knock at the door after supper thinkin’ its finally somebody sellin’ Girl Big BIllyGuide cookies only to discover some tool with a big fake smile shakin’ your hand and beamin’ like a used car salesman.

Anyways, I got my own ideas about politics and I keeps them to myself, but I learned everything I need to know about elections the year we were in Grade 8 and Dangles MacDonald ran for student council president against Kettle Ears MacDonald (no relation).

Kettle Ears MacDonald’s father was some big shot at the coal company and he was a real smarty-pants teacher’s pet type. Any other kid would just do up a couple of election signs with markers on the back of cardboard boxes or somethin’, but since Kettle Ears had money, his father got a bunch of signs printed from a print shop that said “Vote MacDonald” and Kettle Ears’d go around every September and plaster them all over the school.

Of course, the year Dangles MacDonald decided to run against him, all them signs sayin’ “Vote MacDonald” weren’t much good, since they were both MacDonalds. Dangles MacDonald was dumb as a rock, but he was the best defenseman on the hockey team, so he was a pretty popular fella. Now, a jock like Dangles is not the sort of fella you expect to run for somethin’ like student council, but for some reason, he throws his hat in the race and the campaign starts up.

Even just their names should tell ya somethin’ about the chances each of them had. Kettle Ears got his nickname because all through school he had these giant, long, sorta squared-off ears, so it looked like he had a kettle handle stickin’ out of each side of his head. Dangles got his nickname changin’ in and out of his hockey gear in the locker room. I’ll give ya three guesses where it came from.

Anyways, even then, me and my buddy Murph had a bit of a reputation. I was known to be a bit of a troublemaker (shockin’, eh?) and Murph was a fella who could make things happen, though he wasn’t yet into the sale of suddenly second-hand goods like he is now.

A few days into the campaign, there were signs everywhere, all over the school. Over the water fountains, and above the lockers, and in the windows, all over the bulletin boards, even in the bathroom stalls – tons of signs for both of them. So me and Murph came up with a plan. We made sure to both act up in class one day so we’d get detention. In them days, the teachers used to just smoke cigarettes right in the classroom and read a book, so it was right easy to sneak out of the detention room.

Me and Murph went around and took down almost all the election signs for both of them. The next day, Kettle Ears and Dangles are both all up in arms and the principal came over the speaker and said whoever stole all the election signs would be “dealt with severely.”

Then we went to Kettle Ears and told him we found his stash of election signs in a field where we kept our booze. Naturally, we said, we don’t want everyone to know where our field is, so for just a little reward, we’d be happy to return the signs to him as long as he said they were returned anonymously. Two days later, he had all his signs back and me and Murph had ten bucks each.

In the meantime, we went to Dangles and told him the same story, but that was tough, because Dangles was a jock, so he knew where all the secret drinkin’ places were. But we convinced him, and he gave us $10 each to get his signs back.

So within a week, they both had all their signs back and we were each $20 richer. But see, I told ya Kettle Ears was a smartypants, and he figured out it was me and Murph that took the signs. But did he turn us in? A politician like him? No way, buddy. Obviously you guys are pretty good at this, he said, and he paid us another $10 to go around and steal all Dangles’ signs again. So a few spitballs later, we’re back in detention and down comes all Dangles’ signs.

Next day we go to Dangles and tell him – It’s not fair that Kettle Ears still got all his signs up and some rotten bugger got away with stealin’ all Dangles’ signs twice. Are we gonna let a bookworm like him have a chance to win? No way, buddy. We were votin’ for Dangles, we said, and we offered to sneak into the school and take Kettle Ears’ signs down just to level the playin’ field.

Me and Murph faked a fistfight in math class, slipped out of detention right easy and by the time we left the halls were completely bare. So the day before the election me and Murph were up $40 each.

Now, the principal was a pretty slick fella, and it wasn’t easy to get away with too much on his watch. The day of the election we rounded the corner to go out for recess and he was right there waitin’ for us.

Gentlemen, he said. I wonder how you’ll decide whom to vote for today with all the election signs having been stolen.

He knew we did it, but he obviously didn’t have the proof or he would have just taken us to the office.

Well sir, I’ve given it a lot of thought, I says with a big smile. I decided I’m gonna vote for MacDonald.

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