Crack Night

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Three hundred and ten pounds. I step off the scale and try again. Three-twelve. I should throw this “high capacity” ultra modern piece of garbage at the next reporter who asks about my weight. Why does it keep going up? Because my goddamn scale is broken. Why don't you go back to community college and take a better journalism course, start asking smarter questions?

“Robbie?” Renata's husky alto voice is in the hallway. “You need to stop weighing yourself.”

I scowl at the scale and unlock the bathroom door.

My wife. My beautiful, fit wife who doesn't understand why I can't trade my cronut burgers for her yogurt parfaits, my bottles of vodka for her crossfit class. I give her a hug which she returns a bit too fiercely, like she's been doing ever since the TTC bus scandal. Her hug that says, Forget your haters. You have me.

And in her arms I do forget my haters—those lefty voters who would rather have a polished speaker, some smooth hypocrite who overspends but looks better in a suit and tells them what they want to hear instead of the truth.

“Your car's at the door.”

I inhale.

Calm, I say on the exhale. Like that's going to hold when a commie microphone gets shoved in my face. They should dye those microphones pink. There's a new colour for Pantone: commie pinko.

It's only twenty feet from the front door to the Escalade. But it's twenty feet of scrutiny. Of fucking microphones.

Here’s the first one, attached to a young woman in a gray suit whose face looks like a cross between Alanis Morissette and a horse I once rode.

She won’t meet my eyes when she says, “Mayor Ford, will you comment on the allegations that you were drunk and stoned at the Garrison Ball?”

“Sure,” I say. “Let me paraphrase another misunderstood politician of his time.” I puff my chest out, cop my best British accent. “I may have been drunk, Miss, but in the morning I was sober, and when you woke up you were still ugly and stupid. And a commie.”

I snicker as I climb into the car. My buddy Alex is driving. I tell him what’s so funny and he shakes his head.

“After work tonight,” he says, “we’re gonna have some fun. You in?”

When am I not in?

At City Hall there are more reporters. They're like mosquitos, pecking at me with their stupid questions.

“Today I'm going to open debate to remove the land transfer tax,” I tell them. “Miller needed creative ways to make money because he spent so much. I'm here to save you that money, make Toronto affordable for the working class again.” I don’t need to be popular to know what I’m doing is right.

But at the end of the day, fighting haters like that smug Adam Vaughan and his idiot acolytes, I’m exhausted. Ready to be with real friends again. And to blow off some steam.

I leave my office, push past more mosquitos, and climb into my waiting Escalade.

“Here, buddy.” Alex passes me a bottle of vodka to kick things off.

Chilled. Perfect. Love how that cool, crisp goodness goes sliding down my throat and makes me feel strong from the inside. Adam Vaughan can lick my fat white ass. The voters want me here.

I take another sip. I’d share with Alex but he’s driving. Soon the bottle is empty.

First stop is someone’s condo. Nice guy, never met him but he puts a beer in my hand straight away, so good start. A couple guys I know are here too. The Leafs are playing on the giant flat screen. We watch the game and have a few more beers.

Outside, the city gets dark. From high up, the twenty-somethingth floor, the lights of the business district make me fall in love with my city all over again. I try to say that aloud but city comes out “shitty” and we all have a good laugh.

In the Escalade there’s more vodka. Not cold like before, but I don’t mind. I like these guys. I can kick back, be myself. Just Robbie, not the mayor of anything. There are five of us now. We pass the bottle like teenagers.

Toronto whizzes by as Alex drives. My city. I feel a tear in my eye when I think of my dad, how proud he’d have been if he’d lived to see me as mayor. To stop myself from sobbing outright, I down a long swig and laugh too loud at someone’s joke.

The car stops and drops us somewhere grotty. Or maybe it’s trendy. I don’t know. Maybe it’s later than I thought and we’re going to a booze can. I can trust these guys though. It won’t be somewhere I shouldn’t be, somewhere I might get photographed.

I follow the guys into a side door, down some stairs onto a shit-brown chair.

I have vodka in a glass now, Alex keeps topping me up. More guys come and go. I don’t know them but it’s cool. Really chill vibe. Good music. Mellow. I like it here.

A dude passes a pipe my way. I hope it’s hash; I could use some hash. I look around to make sure everyone’s all right, make sure no mosquitos with microphones have snuck in through a crack in the wall.

It's a weird pipe. Lights from the bottom. Maybe it's not hash. Whatever, I take the hit.

Crazy. Fluttery. Not hash. But man, what a feeling. The song from Flashdance plays in my head. I could dance, but I stay in my chair. Everyone can go to hell because I’m fine. I’m good. Best mayor ever. Soon, they'll all see it. Even the liberals will have to acknowledge me as a modern day Winston Churchill. I speak my mind and get things done.

And then…CRASH. I'm not Winston Churchill, I'm a fat joke no one listens to. Just like on the playground, I'm here for them to poke and prod and bonus points if they can make me cry. I'm three hundred and twelve pounds, and I feel every one of them.

Voters don't want me. They want a smooth talker in a nice suit. Whatever. Justin Trudeau's a fag. Oops, did I say that out loud?

A phone rings. I shoot my eyes toward it. "That thing better not be recording," I say.

The pipe comes back to me. Damn right, I’ll take another toke. Gotta shake these stupid blues. I got a city to save.

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