​​Have you ever truly believed you would wake up tomorrow in the desert with three bullets to the chest and a pair of crows pecking out your eyes? I have. Let me tell you one such story.

Once upon a time, there was a man who owned a very successful auto dealership in Arizona. Customers came from all over to do business with this man, known for creating the sweetest deals in the state. Fans admired Evan Mecham so much and wished him more fame and fortune as his ultimate reward. So, as some faery tales come true, Evan threw his hat at the coat rack in his office, missed, and it landed in the ring where future governors get elected. Oddly enough, the next time he sat, Evan Mecham sat in the chair of the 17th governor of Arizona.

Then it all went to hell for the Goldilocks governor. The thing about climbing higher is that you have farther to fall. The faery tale hit rock bottom so hard it bounced into uncharted space. It turned out Evan had the social etiquette of a 12-year-old with Tourette Syndrome. He must have missed the maternal lesson of “if you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything”.

Within six months, he had offended every business group in the state, including a women’s business group (“you should be home making babies”), a Japanese business group (“I played golf with some of your compatriots and I hit a tee shot so perfectly their eyes went round”), a black business group (“you people know what hard work for no pay is like”), and a gay business group (quote unnecessary, they're all stupid).

The last group took definitive action against all insults. They sent out petitions by wagon train, stagecoach and pony express. Signatures quickly returned via car, train and airplane. Canvassers collected almost 400,000 names, boxed them with a bow and dropped them on the desk of the Maricopa county recorder. “You have 30 days as decreed by law, kind sir, to verify these signatures,” they said. “We want the governor recalled from office.”

The group had gathered 3 to 4 times the amount needed to recall a politician in Arizona. But there were complications. Did I mention serious rumors of Mecham’s organized crime connections had also surfaced in the meantime? And the mob did not want their anointed prince to perish.

Unlike the UK where politicians are recalled every twenty minutes, this was only the second time in U.S. history and never on such a scale. The county recorder panicked and called upon IBM to authenticate the signatures of his subjects. And IBM confidently bowed with a hand flurry, “Verily, there is no need to worry, sir county recorder, for our team can name that tune in two notes and slay this dragon for you.”

Protests abounded, bomb threats issued, bullets chambered around town, and I got the call to bail water on the Titanic. The county assigned 24-hour armed protection for the water bearer and his signatures. I believe they were instructed to shoot-to-kill if I turned to run. But, no pressure; I was offered two buckets.

The task for Merlin’s apprentice was to create a hitherto unknown method to automate signature verification where a petition signature could overlay its corresponding voter registration card, including resulting validation reports. The clock was running as I waved my wand like I was looking at the business end of a dark side lightsaber and I was never really sure I wasn’t. Every person who looked my way seemed to be my newest mortal enemy.  

As faery tales sometimes do, this one ended with little ado. Over 300,000 signatures were qualified by the magician’s apprentice. The governor stepped down from his throne and a new election was welcomed in the spring. The Feds forbad the untamed Mr. Mecham from regaining his throne because of a tiny piece of paper issued by Mr. RICO. After the new queen was crowned, the deposed king bowed his head in defeat and the Feds felt so bad they asked Mr. RICO to withdraw his paperwork.

IBM took a national bow. Rose Mofford donned a new jersey with #18 on the back. The mob found smarter allies and better targets worth shooting. I skittered out-of-town a tired rat, wondering what new adventure the piper had in store for me. And we all lived happily ever after. Well, at least I wasn’t going to wake up in the desert this time. ​

You can add HTML directly into this element to render on the page.

Just edit this element to add your own HTML.

A Modern Faery Tale

​Business is Business     |     The Hollow Man Series, International Espionage