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Canoeing Alone

Updated on November 4, 2017

For their first political debate, Professor Dan and Congresman Wilbur met at Funga Beach at the shores of Lake Funga. And as soon as both politicians had arrived and taken their seats, the district councilor, Rebecca Duper, stood up to moderate the debate.

"Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great honor as a district representative of this area to welcome you all to our beautiful beach where I will be moderating this very important political debate between these two extremely talented politicians. But I have come wearing two coats: with one coat, I'm the district councilor, and with another, I'm the campaign manager for Professor Dan."

"You can't do that! As a government representative, you are not supposed to take sides," Wilbur protested.

"You have been a politician all your life, Congressman Wilbur, but Professor Dan is still new to politics. He is an amateur politician; therefore, he needs a mentor to teach him political tricks. And that's where I come in."

Meanwhile, the crowd was starting to get irritated by Rebecca's comments. "Dan is a professor, he can speak for himself," one man in the crowd shouted.

"What you poor fishermen don't understand is that professors don't make good politicians; besides, I have been paid to protect Dan, and so I want him to get his money's worth." When Dan saw that Rebecca was stalling the debate with her endless non-constructive explanations, he stood up and walked towards her and requested her to give him the microphone.

"Give me the microphone. I can speak for myself."

"No you can't! You are going to make Captain Charles very upset." The crowd continued shouting loudly "give him the microphone, give him the microphone," but Rebecca refused to hand over the microphone to Dan. Then Dan became irritated and forcefully grabbed the microphone from Rebecca's hand.

"Don't think I don't know what you guys are up to, you and my brother, Captain Charles. Don't think that I was born yesterday. You and Charles are trying to undermine my political career, but I will not let that happen. You are fired."

"What? Are you firing me? Professor Dan, look, don't make a decision you will regret for the rest of your life."

"Let come what may. You are no longer my campaign manager representing me at Funga Beach. You are fired. That goes to you, too, Mr. Congressman, because in a few weeks, the electorates will fire you through the ballot box. Look at this beach; it looks like a nightmare!"

"I have delivered to the satisfuction of my electorates; what you are insinuating is uter nonsense," Wilbur said.

"Really! This beach used to be the envy of the western world, but now it looks like a shadow of it former self: all the canoes and paddles are broken; the tourists' boat that used to bring in income for our district has not been repaired for years; our waters are infested with crocodiles that are killing our people day and night because we don't have coast guards to protect us; there's trash and human excreta all around our beach, which has caused tourists to shun our beach; and our fishing nets are of no use because they are too old to net fish; in other words, our fishermen have lost their livelihoods because of lack of political representation. Surprisingly, you chair the Wildlife and Fisheries Committee of Funga Parliament, yet you are the very person who embezzled the money the government allocated to improving the lives of our poor fishermen at Funga beach."

"You have your facts wrong. That is why you have a political mentor because you don't know what you are talking about. My accomplishments speak for themselves. I don't need opportunists and manipulators to speak for me. I'm a tested leader and my people will send me back to parliament this summer, I can guarantee you that," Wilbur said.

"I believe you will not be running your mouth anymore when the government authorities get here. By the way, police is on its way to arrest you, and before long, you will be in handcuffs." When he heard that police was on its way to arrest him, Wilbur started scanning the environment to figure out the best route to use to escape. Meanwhile, the crowd was becoming riotous and unruly as people started chanting, "we need our money, Congressman Wilbur should resign." No sooner had Dan mentioned about police than the sirens of police cars could be heard from afar.

"What is that noise!" Rebecca asked.

"Police is about to arrive and Congressman Wilbur is about to go to jail. My lawyers have already filed a lawsuit against your Congressman. In the coming days, my legal team will prove beyond reasonable doubt in court that he embezzled the money meant for fishing boats, fishing nets, paddles and salary for coast guards to help our fishermen get back on their feet. My advice to my friend Congressman is for him to refund every penny he embezzled before it's too late."

"I didn't embezzel any money and I want you to stop tarnishing my good name; otherwise, I will be forced to sue you for libel."

"There is nothing to sue me for. My statements about you are not false. In fact, they have been validated by an article in Funga Times, a major news paper, that detailed your embezzlement scandals."

"We need our money, Wilbur must go," fishermen continued shouting.

"What should we do to this career politician before police arrives?" Dan asked.

"Let's give him a spanking of his life," one fisherman shouted. When Wilbur saw that the crowd was becoming rowdier and rowdier, he sneaked out and run toward Lake Funga. Then the crowd pursued him while throwing sticks and stones at him. One fisherman at the lake tried to hit Wilbur with his paddle on the head, but Wilbur overpowered him and grabbed the paddle from him. He then jumped into a small canoe parked by the shore and paddled it into the lake. When he had reached in the middle of the lake, the paddle broke. He then tried to use his hands to propulse the canoe across the lake, but the gusty winds caused heavy waves that blanketed Wilbur's canoe and overturned it, hence throwing him into the water. Having lost control of the canoe, Wilbur started jumping up and down in the water throwing his hands up in the air crying for help. "Help! Help! I'm drowning."

"You didn't ask for help when you were drowning in poor fishermen's money, but now that you are in trouble, all of a sudden you need our help. You got exactly what you deserved," one woman in the crowd shouted. Then police and coast guards arrived with ambulance and a motor boat. Immediately, they plunged into the lake with their speed boat and arrived at the spot where Wilbur was drowning just in time to save his life. As soon as they brought him onto the shore, the paramedics performed CPR and First Aid on Wilbur until all the water he had swallowed had been removed from his stomach and he had gained his consciousness.

"Who allowed this inexperienced swimmer to canoe alone? You just don't do that here at Funga Beach. Your shrewd politician was about to be shredded by crocodiles," One police officer said.

"It is Professor Dan's fault," Rebecca said.

"Your congressman paid dearly for his sins," Dan said. After CPR had been performed on Wilbur, he was rushed to the hospital by the ambulance. The crowd was so pleased with Dan's performance at the debate that one man carried him on his back as the crowd danced for him and chanted "our man, our man." As Rebecca was walking home looking embarrassed for being fired, Captain Charles came driving behind her and stopped to give her a ride. "It's getting late, get in the car."

Rebecca got into the car. "I didn't know you also attended the rally."

"I'm a vigilante. I have to monitor Dan's movements. But I'm very angry with you. Your only job was to keep him under control. You have now let him loose and everybody is now singing his name."

"Dan has gone quite mad, Captain. He fired me!"

"What? He can't do that!"

"It is amazing! The man has become very popular within a couple of weeks, and he continues to grow popular by the day. The truth must be told, in five years, you have no votes, Captain. Everywhere I go, people are singing Professor Dan's name."

"Tomorrow the rally is in Daniel's Freedom County, we shall plan serious character damage and you will see Professor Dan's popularity begin to dwindle."

"Good luck with that. I think the rally might be postponed because as per Funga's Electoral Commission guidelines, no candidate is supposed to campaign alone."

"Wilbur will be discharged from the hospital tonight and both candidates will be at the rally."

"Drop me off at the hospital. I will try to disguise as his supporter who has come to pay him a visit and spy on him for you."

"That is an excellent idea." Charles dropped Rebecca off at the hospital and waited in his car. Then Rebecca walked gingerly through the corridors of the hospital to Wilbur's room and knocked on his door.

"Come in!" Said Mary, Wilbur's wife. Rebecca entered and sat next to Mary on Wilbur's hospital bed.

"How is our congressman doing?"

"There is some great improvement."

"Yes. I feel much better and I am ready for tomorrow's rally in Freedom County," Wilbur said.

"This is the last time I will attend to you in the hospital. Not so long ago you were sleeping in the same hospital bed with a broken nose because of politics, here you are again because of politics. If you don't quit politics, next time we shall be seeing you off to your creator," Mary said.

"You are my wife and you are supposed to stick with me through thick and thin. Have you forgotten our marriage vow?"

"It is through sickness and health till death do us part, not through politics, corruption, embezzlement and being on the run for the rest of your life."

"Honey, I'm doing all this for you!"

"Don't petronize me. You are so self-centered that all you care about is yourself. You have to promise me right now that you are quitting politics."

"I can't quit politics. As a matter of fact, politics has just gotten interesting."

Then Mary turned to Rebecca. "Honorable Councilor, can you advise your congressman to save himself and his family some embarrassment and quit politics?"

"Well, if people still love him, I don't see the reason why he should quit politics now. There is a very important rally at Freedom County tomorrow and people are expect him there."

"You see! That is what I'm talking about! People still love me!"

"Yes, they need you because they are having fun embarrassing you publicly." Not wanting to continue listening to Mary and Wilbur quarrel, Rebecca excused herself.

"I really got to get going. See you at the rally tomorrow, Mr. Congressman."

"See you then."

Rebecca left and joined Charles who had been waiting in his car.

"He will be there tomorrow," said Rebecca.

"Good! Let's go and plan for tomorrow."


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