Sean Spicer looked and spoke like a nervous understudy in a school play, only thirty years older and moderately jaundiced.
“My, uh, my pumpkin is the biggest,” he shouted at the county fair vegetable contest judges. “The biggest by far!”
His voice, full of forced assertiveness, caught the attention of nearby fairgoers. They stopped sampling local milks, inspecting model cars carved out of deer antlers, or reading about the benefits provided by *100% Organic Fertilizer*. Instead they looked over to where he stood with the other competitors under a bright banner proclaiming “Largest Pumpkin Contest.”
Sean’s throat was dry. He knew that his pumpkin wasn’t the biggest. And certainly not the biggest by far. Not that he was unaccustomed to bending the truth. After all, he’d made a career out of being a government PR man – spin was the name of the game. But this was different. Blatant. Lying like a seven-year-old lies.
“My plumpkin, er, my pumpkin is historic! And if you don’t think so, it’s because of a trick of the light and because you’re all liars. Everybody knows it.”
One of the judges sighed. “Sir, please–”
“No! I see the way you’re all whispering about these other pumpkins!” He gestured to the gargantuan, crime-against-nature-sized spheres of orange lined up nearby. “But the simple fact of the matter is that there’s no objective way to measure vegetal size, and my pumpkin is the largest one here, period.”
“He’s trying to intimidate you!” Someone shouted to the judges.
“Naw, he’s tryin’ to distract us from all that shady shit goin’ down at the tractor pull!”
“Do none of you read? This is all part of an ongoing, calculated strategy to–”
CUCK CUCK CUCK! All of the excitement had agitated the Jersey Giants at the nearby Largest Rooster Contest. After an earsplitting moment they settled.
The crowd was growing. Christ, look at all these hayseeds,” Sean thought. There’s no way that I can convince them all to believe something they can see with their own eyes isn’t true.
Then a thought occurred to him. And Sean Spicer smiled. His red-rimmed eyes squinched up in delight and he looked down at his shrunken voodoo head of a pumpkin. No one had cared about this stupid little vegetable when it was just a stupid little vegetable. But now it was a spectacle. Now it mattered.
Get the eyes on you. Keep the eyes on you. Figure out your strategy later, he thought. If you can hold people’s attention, eventually the world will heap all of its money and prestige onto you. That much we know for sure now.
He’d resented being forced into this. This strange test from President Trump to see if Sean was worthy of being named White House Press Secretary. But now he understood.
“Just keep talking,” he said to the gathering masses. “All I have to do is say enough words in public to enough people over a long enough period of time and things’ll turn out great.”
The crowd looked at him funny. But they were looking.
Written by Michael Kellner with artwork by Nicole Monk and podcast voiced by Erika Soto
Inspired by: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/zorn/ct-sean-spicer-trump-crowd-lies-perspec-0124-20170123-column.html