|Photo Source: Associated Press|
After the results came in Saturday night, a crestfallen Romney told reporters that he didn't know what disappointed him more: losing in South Carolina or not seeing his short story show up as one of the Mormon Lit Blitz semifinalists.
Here at the Low-Tech World, we feel sorry for Romney and don't want him to get too downhearted--especially with the party nomination just within his grasp. In fact, as a gesture of goodwill, we've decided to publish his complete Mormon Lit Blitz entry, even though it didn't make the cut.
The Iron Rod Returns
Darkness falls on the icy streets of Detroit. Atop of the towering Penobscot Building, the Iron Rod, alter ego of billionaire Mormon playboy Witt Stromney, looks down upon a makeshift tent city--the teeming headquarters of INHABIT DETROIT, the sinister brainwashed acolytes of his archenemy, THE SOCIALIST HOPE!!! Sharp Canadian winds from Lake St. Clair carry the sound of hippy music and late twentieth-century Marxist theory to his ears, reminding him of his days crusading in Massachusetts. His skin crawls beneath his spandex and Kevlar body armor.
Footsteps! He spins around and crouches for the attack.
“Easy partner,” a familiar voice croons from the shadows.
“It’s the Liahona, friend. At least while we’re on duty.”
“I thought you quit.”
“Been thinking about it. Maybe in a few weeks.”
“I don’t want to disappoint my kids.”
The Iron Rod nods his approval. He has thought many times about hanging up the cape, calling it quits. Back in ’08, after a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Maverick, he had spent months sitting around the Tree of Life* in his underwear, eating green Jello, wondering how he had lost touch with the American People.
But that was before the Socialist Hope released his vile Hope Dope into the nation’s water supply. Before things got really bad.
“Just listen to them!” he says, hardly curbing the edge in his voice. “Thousands infected and no antidote.”
“I know, bro,” the Liahona says, joining him at the parapet. He has had a supersuit change since their last meeting. He had sported a green and gold spandex unitard then, but now he wears a black and gold get-up. It makes him look tougher, more like one of the New York City superheroes. His trademark arrow motif still remains, though. As does the ridiculous helmet shaped like something out of a Frieberg painting.
“Nice duds,” he says.
“I had them specially made during my stint in China,” says the Liahona.
“That’s right,” says the Iron Rod. “I forgot you had tasted the water.”
The Liahona’s muscles tense. His teeth grind to a sneer.
“What’s that supposed to mean, friend?”
“Nothing,” says the Iron Rod. “A cheap shot, maybe. I’m having a rough night.”
“Every night’s a rough night, pal.”
“I didn’t mean anything by it. You know how it is.”
“It’s just...” The Iron Rod feels a catch in his throat, almost as if he is bearing his testimony on Fast Sunday. The Liahona places a hand on his shoulder and gives the joint a brotherly squeeze.
“Go ahead, Strom. Let it out.”
“It’s Super PAC, Jon,” the Iron Rod say, choking on his own words. “How could he turn on me like that? On us?”
“To be fair, you went after him first...”
The Iron Rod laughs bitterly. “That’s what he wants you to think. You don’t know the whole story. The lies. The threats.”
“Are you suggesting...some kind of conspiracy?”
“Heck yes I am!”
The Liahona stands there and listens to the night, the distant sirens and fog horns. “Things aren’t like they used to be, are they,” he says. Sadness hangs on his voice like a pair of sagging super-tights.
“He’s forced my hand. I have no choice but to play dirty.”
“You always have a choice, Strom. ‘Men are free to choose according to the flesh.’”
“And then this thing about me being a...”
“You know I’m not like that.”
“Sure, Strom, sure.”
“You can’t blame me for being successful.”
“That was always my dad’s philosophy.”
“And I can’t seem to shake that goofy name the papers gave me...”
“...as if I was some two-bit superhero from Dayton, Ohio.”
“At least people can still google your codename without something dirty popping up.”
Somewhere, probably in the tent city below, someone has turned a few buckets and a plastic barrel into a drum set. The beat is strong, powerful. “Like Father,” the Iron Rod says quietly.
“My father,” the Iron Rod says. “He never had to hide behind a mask.”
The Liahona says nothing.
“People knew him. The real him...”
“...and respected him...”
“If he were here today, he’d be so...so...”
The Liahona waits for him to finish his sentence, but the Iron Rod only groans and gestures absently into the night. He looks weighed down, as if his cape were made of lead instead of a boron-infused cotton-Nylon blend. At last, the Liahona says, “You ever hear of the Primal Father?”
“He works out of Houston, right?”
“No,” says the Liahona, “it’s something Freud came up with.”
“I don’t need your psycho-babble...”
“Hear me out,” says the Liahona. “Freud tells this story about a horde of cavemen brothers who get so jealous of their father that they kill him, eat him, and steal all his wives.”
The Iron Rod flinches at the mention of “wives.”
“Anyway,” the Liahona continues, “after all is said and done, the sons begin to feel guilty about what they did, and worry that their sons might do the same to them, so they start making rules against stuff like cannibalism and murder. And then...”
“I don’t see what any of this has to do with me.”
“Let me finish!” says the Liahona. “As soon as the rules are in place, the sons start talking up their old man, telling everyone what a great guy he was. You know, to make themselves feel better. Pretty soon, everyone’s worshipping the dead father. His shadow’s everywhere.”
“I still can’t...”
“For Freud, this story explains everything. Government. Religion. Civilization itself! We have 'em because a bunch of sons couldn’t get out from under daddy’s shadow.”
“Freud places a lot of blame on these boys. Thinks they set a bad precedent.”
The Iron Rod looks out across the Detroit cityscape, a vanishing afterimage of what it had been in his father’s day.
“People knew him, Jon. Gosh! How they knew him!”
* His secret lair! See ish # 235!