My favorite character in Vote for Me! is Reginald Edgar, the society columnist for the local newspaper. Newspapers are a wonderful source for comedy. So many people who work there take themselves so damn serious.
Zoe does start receiving donations and to celebrate Fred takes her to the city's most pretentious and thus expensive restaurant in town, Fifth Star Rising. (I'll let you in on a little secret: when I first started working at the University of Kansas in PR, they had a capital campaign underway titled "Fifth Star Rising." Some rating service had given them a four star rating, of which they were mighty proud and so a fund-raising campaign alluding to the possibility of a fifth star seemed genius at the time. They soon changed the name to, I believe, Campaign Kansas.) Fred's platform of nationalizing the oil industry and socializing medicine has received considerable local media attention and while he and Zoe are enjoying their drink orders they are interrupted by a well-dressed boor. A drunken boor at that.
“Aren’t you that communisssht running for office?” Asked the boor, pointing a weaving finger at Fred.
“Sir,” Fred responded and arose from his chair, “if wanting to nationalize the oil industry, if wanting to socialize medicine, if wanting to outlaw handguns, if all these sane proposals make me a communist, then I welcome the brand!”
Well, Reginald Edgar gets many of his column items by eating at the Fifth Star Rising, which he can afford to do because he and the Maitre d’ have a pleasant symbiotic relationship. Reginald gets many of his meals comped, Reginald regularly praises the place and the Maitre d’ passes along delicious morsels of gossip. Reginald is present to hear the above exchange.
Reginald, Reggie to his friends -- of whom he had far fewer than he supposed -- had just witnessed an event deliciously incredible to report to HIS readers. He always thought of them as HIS readers and not the newspaper’s because HIS readers wouldn’t be reading the paper for any other reason than to read HIS reports. And he actually had had to do some reporting. He had not recognized who the odd couple was sitting at the table next to him and paid them no mind until the man was shouting something about nationalizing the oil industry and making a scene that got him expelled from the restaurant. He had, however, recognized the drunken man who had approached the couple and accused the male portion of the couple of being a communist. That was none other than John Wendell Atwater, major partner in the legal firm of Atwater, Coldwater and Fish and also the father-in-law of State Rep. Theodore Adkins. Oh, my God, Reginald rubbed his hands, what an item I’ve got. Item? No, entire column. Rarely did he devote an entire column to one item, but he had heard it all, seen it all, put two and two together and the resulting five wrote itself in his head as he continued his dinner. The Maitre d’ indeed confirmed that the reservation had been in the name of one Fred Underwood. The name of the female dining companion was unknown, but Reginald would make her known to HIS readers as “a mysterious fine-figured woman with curly hair of ebon coal.”
Dear reader, this book is now off and running.