In addition to letting perennial electoral bridesmaid Matt Wardlaw write a chapter of my autobiography in exchange for bailing me out of an Arizona jail, I had to agree to give him “equal time” in this online forum. But it is my forum, so right away Mr. Wardlaw’s equal time was split up equally between the two of us …

Matt: It was a dark and early morning on the streets of Bootleg City as I left my house to bail Mayor Cass out of jail. It seems that he’d been caught once again with his hand—

The Mayor: “A dark and early morning”? Oh, c’mon, you can do better than that. Look, I’m sorry to interrupt right away, but you need better clichés. Try again.

Matt: I can’t heeeeear youuuu! It seems that Cass, while vacationing in Arizona, got his hand caught in the cookie jar, something we’re used to here in Bootleg City. The Arizona police force were none too pleased with the actions of Mr. Mayor, so I found myself on a plane headed for the Grand Canyon State, ready to dig him out of yet another hole.

The Mayor: How was my hand in the cookie jar, Matthew? Was I caught stealing? No. I was caught eating. But not cookies. Let me make that clear — no cookies were harmed in the making of this trip. I went to Arizona to see London Bridge. It was rumored to be falling down, so I wanted to see it before it crumbled … much like a cookie, I suppose, but again, there were no cookies on this trip.

Matt: Cass, this is my chance to speak, not yours. “Cookie jar” is a figure of speech, though you have gotten your hand caught in other things. Speaking of which, do you want to explain what you were doing with the wife of the state treasurer of Arizona? The state treasurer would certainly like an answer to that question.

The Mayor: You agreed not to discuss that! If you ever want to win an election, Matthew, you have to stick to the talking points. Why don’t you understand that?

Matt: Before boarding the plane to Arizona, I had to make a visit to the bank to acquire the necessary funds to bail out Mayor Cass. Unfortunately, because of my withdrawal, the annual Bootleg City community picnic had to be canceled.

The Mayor: Oh no! Our town’s diverse population of ants and gnats will be crushed! But back to my talking point — I wanted to see London Bridge because if Governor Brewer decides it’s too foreign to keep within Arizona’s borders, we can rebuild it here.

Matt: Shall we talk about the mighty fine bridge right here in Bootleg City that you had demolished?

The Mayor: You mean the Billy Joel’s The Bridge Memorial Bridge? I love “Big Man on Mulberry Street” and “Modern Woman,” but that wasn’t one of his better albums, Matthew. I made the right call.

Matt: You hush your mouth! The Bridge is an American classic and you know it. How can you have so much hate for “Running on Ice”? That song sums up your entire career!

The Mayor: When I declared victory in the lieutenant governor’s race in 1997 despite my name not being on the ballot, I was running on crack, but never ice — that stuff’ll kill you.

Matt: It wasn’t just that. It’s also your status as one of the largest hacks this side of Hacksaw Jim Duggan!

The Mayor: A hick is calling me a hack? Pro wrestling fans don’t vote, so stop wasting your time courting them … unless they do vote, in which case I’d like to take this opportunity to say that Captain Lou Albano was a real American hero, a decorated officer whose decorations just happened to be rubber bands, not medals, and whose victories in the ring will never be forgotten, nor will his appearances in all those Cyndi Lauper videos. Matthew, you probably liked that duet she did with Billy Joel on The Bridge, didn’t you?

Matt: Hick? I’m sorry, did Matthew Boles stop by? I think not. And yes, I do like the duet with Cyndi. What’s your point?

The Mayor: My point is that if it weren’t for Matthew Boles and the dedication he’s shown as this city’s Minister of Fast Food and Entertainment, we never would’ve known that squirrel meat can be a delicious substitute for a Big Mac when the McDonald’s truck breaks down 100 miles outside of town on Free Big Mac Day. As for my point about Cyndi Lauper, it goes to show that you’re behind the times, Mr. Wardlaw. Why would anyone want to vote for a guy who OH MY GOD, I JUST FOUND OUT FOREIGNER PUT OUT A NEW ALBUM LAST YEAR! I HAVE TO IRONICALLY BUY IT!

Matt: Oh, so I’m behind the times? This coming from a guy that has yet to acknowledge that he’s essentially funded Mick Hucknall’s posh lifestyle by purchasing every Simply Red and Hucknall-related item on the market. BTW, that Simply Red girlie tee is a great look for you.

The Mayor: Why, thank you! The Simply Red fan club gave it to me. Kind of a “thanks for all your support” gift. I like how it accentuates my– hey! You know what? I’m sorry I asked you to bail me out just so you could look like a hero for once. And to illustrate my disgust, here’s an illustration … uh, in the form of a photograph.

Matt: Oh yeah, I remember that. I was having a good day that day until you came into the room. I was happy in this picture because you told me I was finally going to get my bail money back. Another lie!

The Mayor: Yes, that would explain this next illustratograph.

Matt: It’s a shame our city had to raise taxes because of your little Arizona stunt.

The Mayor: I regret nothing! Except that stop at Del Taco in Arizona. For reals — that place should be quarantined.

… This week’s bootleg comes to us courtesy of the aforementioned Matthew Boles, who was kind enough to donate a bootleg that marks the one-year anniversary of Michael Jackson‘s death. It’s the Jacksons — Michael + Jackie + Marlon + Tito – Jermaine + Randy — performing at the Carré Theater in Amsterdam on February 26, 1979, in support of their album Destiny (1978). And for more on Michael Jackson’s recorded legacy, check out Mike Heyliger’s complete guide to his discography.

Dancing Machine
Things I Do for You
I Am Love
Keep On Dancing
Medley: I Want You Back/ABC/The Love You Save
I’ll Be There
[band introduction]
Enjoy Yourself
Show You the Way to Go
All Night Dancin’
Blame It on the Boogie

About the Author

Robert Cass

Robert Cass lives in Chicago. For Popdose he's written under the Sugar Water, Bootleg City, and Box Office Flashback banners and collaborated on the series 'Face Time with Jeff Giles and Mike Heyliger.

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