Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Legend of Joe Briggs

My shot at a folk tale.


Joe Briggs walked out of the polling place.  It was clear he wouldn’t be gone long from the look of him.  He was positively fuming; maybe even a little drunk.  The volunteer had told him in no uncertain terms his identification was out of date and unusable.  When he asked how much a new ID would be the worker had told him $40-50 easy.  Joe mumbled something about poll tax but the volunteer was adamant.  State orders had come down with strict requirements to prevent fraud.  Joe asked what fraud there’d ever been.  She wasn’t amused.  The volunteer threatened to call the police; Joe threatened worse.

The rest had happened so fast no one was exactly sure what went down.  The poll worker was out cold with a black eye on the table and Joe was speeding off in his pick-up truck.  In a few minutes the police arrived, surrounded the building and began questioning people.  The volunteer told them Joe’s name but the other people present gave no clue as to where he might have gone.

Things quickly escalated as the police wanted to examine the voting apparatus.  They claimed it may have been tampered with in the chaos.  Everyone knew it was bunk and an obvious power grab.

People surrounded the voting machines.  A cop fired his weapon in the air.  Several flinched but all managed to hold their ground.  A tense situation only became tenser as Joe pulled up outside with reinforcements.  His truck bed was full of good ole boys with automatic weapons.  The police had a few handguns between them at best.

An officer considered calling in the SWAT but in a scene reminiscent of the old West, Joe Briggs kicked down the door and shot the radio clean out of his hand.  The rest of the officers didn’t take long to surrender after the fact.  They were outnumbered, outgunned and scared shitless from the looks of ‘em.

All the authorities could do was watch as Joe let everyone inside to vote.  He still made sure no one cheated but he was fair about it.  At the end of the night he even let the cops cast their vote, provided they didn’t report anything.


  1. i love a good fantasy tale. i get turned off by the allure of redemptive violence, honestly, but i do like the sense of justice here very much. the voting restrictions being heaped upon us continue. now, for example, and as you clearly know, college students will have trouble voting becuz a certain political party made laws in several states prohibiting voting by those with out of state licenses. no fair. undemocratic. joe's heart is in the right place. everyone's voice counts. anything short of everyone voting is not democracy. i would definitely have a beer with joe:)

  2. Yeah, I guess I might have leaned too heavily on violence to push a larger point. I think it was my personal anger at the methods being used to restrict voting manifesting itself. It's something I could never do, so I wrote a story about doing it instead ;)

  3. I loved Joe's character. Yea, I'd love to meet Joe ;)

  4. I'd like to have a beer with you too, misseh! You can come too, Ed. Drinks on me.


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