Herona Bittern to run for Governor

Leader of FOBB throws flea-infested hat into ring

Black Dog McFarland

In a move sure to shake up the Granite State political scene, Herona Bittern, Seacoast chapter president of FOBB [Friends of Biting Bugs], has thrown her flea-infested hat into the ring as a candidate for Governor.

Herona Bittern for governor. (Courtesy of Dot Snice)

At a press conference and rally held near the entrance to Rye’s Awcomin Marsh on Memorial Day, Ms. Bittern lashed out at Governor John Lynch. “Governor Lynch has no empathy with the insect community,” Bittern said as she carefully brushed a couple of pesky black flies away from her nasal passages, “and I have personally observed him as he deliberately crushed defenseless mosquitoes while holding an outdoor press conference on the State House lawn in Concord. This man has got to go.”

Scores of supporters turned out for the event. Many were carrying placards with species of ferocious insects such as the Greenhead Fly, the Brown Recluse Spider, and even the Antioch Mutillid wasp, a West Coast stinger of rather fearsome reputation, prominently displayed on them.

Channel Nine News press coverage of the event was almost jeopardized. As the television truck was arriving on the scene, a careless driver brushed through a nest of new-born tent caterpillars, breaking loose the branch that the nest was attached to and raising the temper of the crowd. Quick thinking by Ms. Bittern prevented the scene from turning violent. Lovingly she scooped up several score of homeless caterpillars and returned them to the bushes. “It was only an accident!” she shouted to the crowd. “We need the press on our side.” Gradually the lynch mob mentality eased, and the newscasters were allowed to set up their cameras and begin coverage.

What followed was an exhibition of citizen democracy. Ms. Bittern spoke passionately about the downtrodden. She began with her well-documented affinity for biting bugs epitomized by the Green Head fly, then moved on to a litany of insects such as the mosquito, various species of spider, fleas, black flies, and even a few exotics from other sections of the country. Strangely missing from her thoughts were bedbugs, an omission which no one in the crowd picked up on.

After that, she expounded upon various minority groups of people, drawing a direct link from insect population to human population. When she finished, several of her supporters vocalized their passion for Ms. Bittern's cause. It was an emotional experience for many, but particularly for a very elderly gentleman whose wife had been attacked the previous summer by an angry horde of hornets. Haltingly, the gentleman expressed his forgiveness to the hornets and pledged his support for Ms. Bittern’s budding candidacy.

Following the rally, Ms. Bittern and a few dozen of her supporters marched south along the side of Route 1A. As the Memorial Day traffic passed by, drivers who noticed the bug-themed dancing placards which Ms. Bittern’s supporters were carrying honked their horns to show support.

The festive throngs stopped when they reached the wide area of the road near Eel Pond. By then it was mid afternoon, and the sea breeze which often springs up at this time of day in May was blowing briskly. Indeed, it had cleared the air of all biting bugs, setting the stage for another brief speech from Ms. Bittern. Leaping onto the hood of some unsuspecting beach goers’ car she brushed some of her graying hair from her eyes and proceeded to raise her supporters into a fine frenzy. “Do you remember Rachael Carson’s Silent Spring?” she asked. The crowd shouted their assent. She quickly drew a parallel. “A spring without chirping birds would be no worse than what we face right here in a world without biting bugs. Yes, today the breeze is responsible for the absence of our hungry little friends, but tomorrow, unless action is taken, our world could see the end of biting bugs as we know them!”

“Governor, Governor, Governor!” the crowd chanted, and Ms. Bittern beamed at them.

Two hours later the crowd had drifted away, and your Rye Reflections reporter was fortunate enough to cajole Ms. Bittern into doing her first political interview.

We climbed the stairs to the Carriage House lounge where your reporter ordered a white wine while Ms. Bittern opted for Johnny Walker on the rocks. She seemed not to hear the ominous buzzing sound of what must have been a small cloud of multiple biting insects that had entered the building with us. She settled back comfortably into a window seat as I began my interrogation.

Rye Reflections: “Ms. Bittern, as a newcomer to the political scene, is it your intention to run for Governor as a Republican or Democrat?”

Ms. Bittern: "Neither, of course. You must have seen pictures of that brute, John Lynch, slaughtering mosquitoes at his Concord press conference. Naturally that rules out running as a Democrat. As for Republicans, everyone has seen photos of Dick Cheney blasting ducks out of the sky and judges off their feet.  Do I need to say more?’

Rye Reflections: "Then I assume that you will be running as the candidate of the Green party?”

Ms. Bittern: “That is a stupid assumption. Green Party? When I think of the Green Party I think of Ralph Nader. What has that Washington flim-flam lawyer ever done for mosquitoes, fleas, wasps or spiders? No, I will be the candidate of a brand new party. We are going to call ourselves the Mowaspoe Party.”

Rye Reflections: “Well, that certainly is a catchy name. It will look great on a political banner.”

Ms. Bittern: “Don’t be a smart ass, sonny. Mowaspoe will sweep the day. You just sit back and watch.”

Rye Reflections: “I understand that the primary plank in the Mowaspoe Party will be better treatment for ravenous bugs. Elections, however, involve many varying issues. What other positions does this new party intend to promote? My question was punctuated by a slapping sound coming from the direction of the on duty bartender.

Ms. Bittern: “We will be the champions of underdogs everywhere. We are already lining up supporters from all over the country. In Chicago we have signed up thousands of Cubbies fans. In New Mexico we have developed a strong base among the Gringos. Our California strength consists of mostly straight people. Do you get it? Wherever there are minorities there is opportunity.”

Rye Reflections: “Now aren’t you getting ahead of yourself just a bit? Only five hours ago you announced your candidacy for Governor of New Hampshire. Now you are talking about states all over the country, even to the west coast.”

Ms. Bittern: “You never get anywhere by thinking small. Today we conquer New Hampshire, tomorrow the world.”

Bzzzz! Some sort of large insect cruised by.

Rye Reflections: “Returning to the initial premise of your candidacy, a better life for carnivorous bugs. How can you expect to gather widespread support for your goals when you champion insects that most people regard as pests?”

Ms. Bittern took a large swig from her Jack Daniels and fixed a cold stare on your reporter.

“Sonny!” she began, and I could feel my cheeks turning purple. I consider myself way too sophisticated to be called sonny.

“You seem to have a very short memory. My answer to your last question was that I am a champion of minorities, and what could be more of a minority than bugs. It’s just a symbol, sonny. Biting bugs are unpopular, and I am the champion of all things unpopular, unpopular ideas, unpopular people, even unpopular bugs! Now do you get it?”

Rye Reflections: “Your goal is to unite multiple groups of malcontents into one powerful political party.”

Ms. Bittern took another deep slug from her whiskey and smiled. “Aaah, the light comes on. That is my mission and my goal.” She stopped to scratch a small bite just above her hair line.

Rye Reflections: “For a politician, you seem to express yourself way too bluntly. Successful politicians generally avoid direct answers to questions and indeed have a flair for providing ambiguous answers.”

She seized upon the opportunity that I had provided her.

“I have pledged to tell the truth as I know it at all times.” she vowed, raising her hand, attempting to draw the attention of the wait staff who were preoccupied by their subtle insect round up. One took notice and correctly interpreted Ms. Bittern’s gesture of need.

The dinner hour was fast approaching, and hungry customers were filing into the Carriage House. As Ms. Bittern’s refill of Jack Daniels arrived at our table I stood and did my best to make a graceful exit.

“Good luck in your campaign.” I said as I turned to walk down the stairs.

By now the newly-arrived diners were busily clearing the air of predatory bugs. Surprisingly Ms. Bittern’s gaze was riveted upon her fresh Jack Daniels, while her mind seemed caught up in the approaching campaign. In any event she appeared oblivious to the slaughter going on around her.

In a parallel universe, June, 2009