The Case Manager (3)

I have my ballot here & will drop it off on the way home if you can give me some input on how to vote.

Can I ever! I text back. And I list the school board candidates for whom he should vote, the ones endorsed by the teachers’ union, my union.


Can you meet me somewhere? We need to review your profile. Plus, I have a confession to make.

I show up and we order a couple of beers at the bar. There are three TVs in front of me, all sports. I ask the bartender, “Hey, any chance we can watch the election results?” Then I realize it’s 8:05, not exactly news time, and I tell him never mind.

He goes to his phone, pokes around on it, and returns. “You interested in the school board outcome?” I nod. “Williams and Parrish won. Mikolai’s ahead, but that one’s not final yet.”

I thank the bartender and turn to Jim. “Jim! You did it! You helped the good guys win!”

“Yeah, about that. Something you should know. I was on the news today. And I kind of said you were my girlfriend.”

“What? Isn’t that unethical? I’m your client!”

Jim is my Case Manager. He was assigned to me over three years ago when it was determined that I was “a special case.”

“It was an accident. I was dropping my ballot off, bending over to put it in the slot, and when I stood up, there she was. A news woman with a camera. She asked if she could interview me and I said, ‘No, no, really you don’t want to. I don’t know anything about this election.’ And she was, like, ‘Perfect! Exactly who we’re looking for.’ I don’t know what she asked me, but I ended up saying something about my girlfriend was a teacher and she told me who to vote for.”

“What? Jim! I’d turn you in if you weren’t such a good Case Manager. Ask for my money back. Maybe even sue for damages.”

“What kind of damages?”

“Well, were you wearing that goofy hat?” My eyes wander up to the striped touk, askew on his head, a seam–which most people would put in the back–running a crooked line from above his left eyebrow to somewhere above his head on the right side, disappearing in the dim light of the bar. The ear flaps–one slightly in front of the right ear, the other behind the left ear–turned up, looking like duck tails, both ears exposed, I suppose, since he was inside out of the November chill.

“Of course I was wearing my hat. And my Carharts, too. I just came from work. Sheez, I was probably the first Carhart-wearing voter she’d ever seen.”

“Yeah, and now the whole world is going to think that I was out “convincing” all the Carhart guys to vote my way in exchange for being able to say I was their girlfriend. That’s the damages I’m talking about.”

“Oh, calm down, I didn’t use your name.”

“You didn’t?”

“No. I just said ‘my girlfriend told me how to vote.'”

“Oh. So that’s no big deal.”

“I know, that’s what I’m saying.”



“Except you’ve been walking around with that touk on, the same touk you wore on TV, where you said, in front of the whole world, that your girlfriend was a teacher and she told you how to vote.”

“Yeah, so?”

“So there’s a good chunk of people in this town against the union, against our candidates. I’ll bet someone’s following you. That hat you’re wearing, you with your ‘girlfriend,’ the union brat girlfriend… We’re probably going to get shot on our way out of here.”

My beer is gone, but Jim’s is still full.

“Drink up! Our guys won. And we need to leave. Actually, I think it’d be better to leave without you. It could be dangerous for you to be seen with a teacher. A teacher who’s telling everyone how to vote.”

I gather up my purse and the touk, tell Jim to be safe, to be vigilant on his way home, and turn to go. It’s hard to leave him. A voting man is an attractive man.

Outside, hurrying down the sidewalk, I hear Jim come up behind me. “Wait! I’m going with you. You shouldn’t be out here on your own. Plus, we need to get to your profile. Change your career listing. At least temporarily, at least until this election stuff dies down.”

I tuck into the crook of his arm, where it’s all warm and safe and no one can easily identify me, and he walks me to my car.

Ask for my money back? Sue my Case Manager? That’s crazy thinking. He’s the best Case Manager I could ever ask for.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. theclocktowersunset
    Nov 06, 2013 @ 22:06:16

    Careful now, you could end up like Hoffa.


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