-It’s Mrs A! A as in…
As in what really? She couldn’t remember anything but the chilling slogan of the Fast Forward Females Foundation: «You’re worth what you’re selling yourself for.» It went without saying that only losers set too low a price. It was terrible.
-I am so sorry. I just don’t get who’s calling!, Mrs Donut said at the other end of the line. -Mrs H?
-No, it’s A, it’s A!, she thought. -A as in «attractive», as in «apt», as in «astute»!
It was more than enough that her neighbour Mrs Donut didn’t know her name. They had after all been facebook friends for quite a while and the kids had been over to their house countless times since the Donuts moved in.
-Come on, say it! she thought, -say «alluring».
But she couldn’t. She just couldn’t get herself to do that.
-Or was it J? Mrs Donut said.
(I am worth my own price! Say «active»!)
-Or K? her neighbour continued, -K as in…
(…as in «appealing», «accomplished», «adorable»…)
-How awkward, she heard herself babble. – All of a sudden I can’t think of anything that begins with an A! I mean, not a single word!
(…except «astounding», «ambitious», «acclaimed»…)
-Oh, I get it, it’s A, the Donut replied.
-Absolutely, Mrs A answered, finally exhaling as she smiled, feeling an awful lot better now.
-A as in «alien», isn’t it?, her neighbour added.
Mrs A’s heart froze to the core, was instantly pulverized and resolutely poured into a sterile screw jar that was tightly sealed before being put to storage in the sombrest of cellars.
-Yes, her mouth said, -It’s your neighbour Mrs A as in «alien» calling about the urgent matter of the election of the Christmas Committee. I was just thinking…
Mrs Donut was a newcomer. Maybe she didn’t know all the details. Maybe she hadn’t grasped the importance of the Committee, maybe she didn’t know that the new headmaster Mr Lekker would make his first appearance to the parents and maybe she was unaware of the importance of voting. Everybody should vote. It was a duty. After all, Christmas was at stake.
Mrs A had more or less recovered from the incident when she arrived at Election Night at school. Alien or not, she had been right in calling Mrs Donut who clearly had been navigating in dark and unknown waters when it came to the Election.
There was a faint, but audible buzz of excitement in the auditorium. Tonight they would elect not only the members, but the President and Vice-President of the Christmas Committee as well. It made many a heart bump faster in the most delightful way.
Since summer it had been assumed that Mrs Nemesis would run for President with Mrs Lookalike as her Vice President candidate. But Mrs Nemesis decided at the very last moment to use her precious time on remodelling her bathroom as well as having a new fireplace installed.
Maybe I should give it a shot, Mrs A had thought, but she didn’t.
Only a couple of hours or so into the meeting it became quite clear that the Presidential candidates were very weak. Their campaign managers hadn’t done their job and it didn’t seem like any of the candidates had either that unmistakable, unshakeable punch of a true pacesetter or a proper, holistic vision of Advent – the latter being pretty serious. That vision was after all was supposed to lead the whole community safely and successfully through the December month.
It dawned on Mrs A that she had to run herself, there on the spot, run for President, run for office, run for that great responsibility she only had dared to consider once, and that had been just after making a particularly successful batch of gingerbread men, the kind of batch that only comes once in a decade.
She stood up and held an improvised speech so powerful and inspired that the other wannabe-presidents meekly withdrew their candidacies and she remained the only one. She was selling herself to her own price and it was sky high. Never had she felt so in charge.
-It looks like we have a winner! some-one said and there was a great, roaring, consenting silence in the auditorium. Mrs A had been profoundly convincing, there was no doubt about that.
And so she was a winner. She was President and it was great – and they hadn’t even voted as there had been absolutely no competition.
In vain she tried to stay dignified, she tried to stay calm and composed as worthy of the shepherd of the Christmas Community, but a smile escaped her, at first a little smile not sure of its own right to exist, then a slighty bigger one and finally a wall-to-wall smile – a great, big, beaming smile, so wide she feared her teeth would fall out and hit the floor with a clincking sound, a smile radiating her heartfelt joy and the gratitude and sense of duty that filled her.
She was President indeed.
Then a complaining voice was heard. Hadn’t Mrs Nemesis sent an e-mail this afternoon? Didn’t she want to run after all?
Silence again. Mrs Nemesis would make a hell of a President.
Helpless and a victim, Mrs A felt the angles of her mouth detach from her ear lobes. Mercilessly they met in the middle instead, just under the nose and in front of her incisors. Her fight for control of her lower face was a hard one; it was a lost battle and she knew it.
There was some discreet mumbling in the election committee, and the conclusion was that Rules were Rules. They had to vote in the traditional way whether they wanted to or not, and the fact that Mrs Nemesis wasn’t present didn’t matter.
Her heart went heavy as lead in her chest during the votation. Wasn’t the complaining voice that of Mrs Donut? Was it possible to be so mean?
Her brain activity approached absolute zero as her fate was poured out of the Christmas cookie voting jar and the votes were counted.
It turned out fifty fifty. She couldn’t believe it. Incredible. She was fifty fifty with Mrs Nemesis!
More mumbling. Then the President of the election committee, Mrs Bullfight, raised her voice:
-According to The Rules, Mrs A is the winner as she is present and Mrs Nemesis is not.
Exactly. There was justice in life after all. Rules were Rules, and they gave priority to candidates that were physically present! She exhaled. Peace. Love. Christmas.
-But, Mrs Bullfight continued, -It so happens Mrs Nemesis just had her home showcased in «Scandinavian Architecture Today». It would be madness not to make her our new President!
And this was how Mrs Nemesis became President and Mrs A. did not.