HUMOR: Zicke Zacke

Target and Walmart… I mean, Democrats and Republicans… had faced off in the great national election of 2016, and both lost. President Trump sat comfortably in the oval office, his position entirely familiar. A lifelong outlier and renegade, he was hated by everyone.

Except the people of Wisconsin. They had put him over the top, something no true liberal would ever forget. And Chet Bjertle was nothing if not a true liberal.

ZICKE ZACKE! ZICKE ZACKE! HOI HOI HOI! everyone yelled. Then it was bottoms up from souvenir mugs provided free by Loscher’s Premium Wisconsin Lager. The executives at Loscher’s might drink a little too much, but they aren’t dumb.

“Chet!” Brenda shouted. “C’mon. Drink up.”

Chet sat at the outdoor table in a green Tyrolean hat, the withered feather reflecting his mood. “There’s nothing to drink to,” he grumbled. “Trump’s president, and these are the people who put him there.”

“But Chet, it’s Octoberfest!” said Brenda. “And you can’t blame the whole state of Wisconsin.”

“I can.”

Brenda was swept away by two men in lederhosen. An accordion band started up with the Kreusen-Klaschenberger Waltz. One of the men tried to lift Brenda off her feet. They fell over. She outweighed him by thirty pounds.

ZICKE ZACKE! ZICKE ZACKE! HOI HOI HOI!

Brenda refilled her mug, and Chet’s too. She sat down, sweating in the crisp fall air. A big jolly girl, a regular gasthaus blonde, she didn’t like to see people moping about. After thinking for a moment, she said, “Chet, I have something you can drink to. Your income comes from investments, right?”

This was not something Chet made widely known, since as a lifelong progressive and general Friend of the People he assumed in all discussions and arguments the bombastic, fiery, and self-righteous pose of an ordinary working stiff. “Well, yes. That’s true,” he admitted to his friend.

Brenda lifted her mug. “And profits under Trump are at historic highs. Cheers!” She had him there. Chet grudgingly drank.

“I’ve got another one,” she said. “Wages for working folk are rising at the fastest rate in years. Skoal!”

Chet Bjertle was just a little nervous about being crowded out of Louis Gasgoines Wine Bar by a newly-affluent rabble with money in their jeans, but put this thought aside. He had to agree higher wages were a good thing.

Inside the Grand Tent a nailspielen contest began with a group of men furiously pounding nails into a log. Chet declined to compete. He had never held a hammer in his life.

Brenda filled his glass. “How about this? Trump put a far-reaching ban on lobbyists. Isn’t that what we all wanted?” She clinked Chet’s mug.

“And home ownership is up, and food stamps are plunging, and the lowest earners are showing real gains in jobs and housing, and…” Brenda was cut off by the announcer. A row of men and women in traditional German costume stood on the stage.

“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE HAVE A WINNER FOR THE 2017 LOSCHER’S OLD TIME OCTOBERFEST MOST GERMAN AWARD. AND THE WINNER IS…”

Here it comes, thought Chet. Another celebration of exclusion and privilege…

“AND THE MOST GERMAN AWARD GOES TO: MEE VANG FROM ROSCOE FALLS, WISCONSIN! GIVE HER A BIG HAND, FOLKS!”

Mee stepped forward and accepted the traditional award, a plastic horned helmet. She put it on. Everyone cheered.

It might have been the beer, but Chet found himself laughing. Laughing and drinking. The sun shone, the leaves were turning, and an oompah band started in with the Alpine Polka. Maybe these people weren’t so bad after all.

ZICKE ZACKE! ZICKE ZACKE! HOI HOI HOI!

Chet couldn’t have said it better.

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Richard Donnelly

Richard Donnelly lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Classic flyover land. Which makes us feel just a little... superior. Mr. Donnelly's first book is 'The Melancholy MBA,' published by Brick Road Poetry Press in Columbus, Georgia.