Austin, Texas. The fourth-largest city in Texas, and the fastest-growing, a fact that always created an uneasy tickle in the lower part of Ted Cruz’s abdomen. Like now. Ted Cruz was thinking about it (the fourth-largest city in Texas thing, and also the fastest-growing bit) and feeling that unpleasant pit below his (Ted Cruz’s) stomach. But this was no time for reflection. Ted Cruz had work to do.
Ted Cruz took a deep breath. This was not going to be fun. But it was part of his (Ted Cruz’s) duties as a Senator from Texas, the largest state by area in the contiguous United States (among other distinctions too numerous to mention here). His (Ted Cruz’s) advisors had recommended a trip here, to a part of Texas he (Ted Cruz) normally didn’t visit, in order to get a feel for his (Ted Cruz’s) constituents and their mentality ahead of his (Ted Cruz’s) reelection campaign (for the United States Senate) in 2018.
And so Ted Cruz, Princeton University ‘92, Harvard Law School ‘95 (J.D.), former Associate Deputy Attorney General at the United States Department of Justice, former Solicitor General of Texas, Domestic Policy Advisor to George W. Bush on the 2000 George W. Bush Presidential campaign, Junior United States Senator from Texas, second place in the 2016 Republican primaries (technically, John Kasich withdrew from the race after Ted Cruz did, but Ted Cruz had earned more delegates), found himself (Ted Cruz) at Circuit of the Americas for the 2016 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix. In Austin, Texas. Just in case that wasn’t clear.
I, Ted Cruz, knew a guy named Austin back at Princeton, thought Ted Cruz, but he [Austin, not Ted Cruz] wasn’t from Texas. Other thoughts also crossed Ted Cruz’s mind during this time.
Ted Cruz was wearing a cowboy hat and boots, because he (Ted Cruz) was in Texas, and in Texas this was what people did. Ted Cruz had never much liked cowboy getup. Ted Cruz supposed this made him, Ted Cruz, a bad Texan at some level. But to tell the truth, Ted Cruz wasn’t much a fan of Texas, even having grown up in Texas. Texas was too… what was the word? Flashy. Too concerned with appearance. Too unconcerned with matters of public policy, such as the ballooning national debt. That’s why Ted Cruz had left in the first place. To make a difference. And it worked. Ted Cruz had singlehandedly shut down the government, and he (Ted Cruz) also had three Wikipedia pages devoted to him (Ted Cruz). These Texans, with their silly hats, couldn’t claim anything like that.
As if to put an exclamation point on the matter, Ted Cruz then ran into this guy:
“Nice hat!” Ted Cruz attempted to say, insincerely, but before he (Ted Cruz) could, he (Ted Cruz) was drowned out by at least five different, sincerely felt, cries of “Nice hat!” (Or words to that effect, such as, but not limited to, nor necessarily stated in this particular instance, “Love your hat!” “Whoa, look at that hat!” and “Cool hat!”) [Having seen it in person, I can attest it was indeed a pretty nice hat. –Ed.] Ted Cruz waited for a moment, hoping the man in the hat (not Ted Cruz, who was also wearing a hat, but the other guy) would notice him (Ted Cruz) and say, “Hey, aren’t you Ted Cruz?”, thus opening the possibility for conversation about the state of the great state of Texas, but it didn’t happen.
Ted Cruz sighed. The race (the Formula 1 race, not the presidential race, which had been going on for a while) was about to start. There was no reason to be here. Formula 1 was not Ted Cruz’s cup of tea—to make nothing of the fact that the crowd was full of people waving flags from every country but the United States—and Austin was the most liberal city in Texas. Why was Ted Cruz here? The question floated into the air, unspoken, unanswered.
That’s when Ted Cruz’s phone rang.
“Hello?” answered Ted Cruz.
“Hey, Ted [Cruz]!” came in the voice at the other end. “It’s Steve Bannon. Where the heck are you? We need someone to canvas with Trump in Ohio. We would have gone with Newt Gingrich, but since that interview on Tuesday he just keeps going around campaign HQ talking about about how Megyn Kelly is obsessed with sex because she needs to get laid—”
“Oh God,” said Ted Cruz, “How many times have we—”
“Right?” interrupted Bannon. “How many times have I told him that Megyn Kelly and the rest of the LAMEstream #MSM cucks are BIASED against Trump because they’re PAID BY $HILLARY AND HER CORRUPT FEMINAZI SJW CROOK FRIENDS! But no, he keeps talking about the sex thing!”
“Anyways, can you come up to Dayton? Trump’s got a big rally tonight and maybe CNN will actually show his crowds if we have another big name there.”
Ted Cruz was silent. Torn. Ted Cruz had thrown his (Ted Cruz’s) hat (but not this cowboy hat, rather a metaphorical hat of indeterminate style) into the ring for Trump, but had quickly come to regret it. Ted Cruz regretted giving in to Reince Priebus’ pleas on the matter, regretted going back on that famous plea to “vote your conscience”, regretted joining this crazy, disorganized circus.
And yet, Ted Cruz saw an opening, an escape. A way out of this miserable weekend in Texas, this dismal exercise with the common folk, the awkward standing around unnoticed, the barbecue smoke making his (Ted Cruz’s) eyes water, the absurd and uncomfortable attire. It was possible to hop on a plane right now and arrive in Ohio in time for the rally. Returning to Trump wouldn’t be ideal, but it would get Ted Cruz out of this mess. Ted Cruz looked over at the nearest food truck and immediately felt more sure about leaving:
“Okay, Steve,” Ted Cruz said, drawing a deep breath, “I’m—”
But the race had just begun, and the howl of twenty-two twin-turbocharged V-6 hybrid engines drowned Ted Cruz out.
“What was that?” replied Bannon. “Where are you, anyway?”
“I said, I’m—” said Ted Cruz, who couldn’t hear a word being said in either direction. “Hello? Hello?” But, exasperated, Bannon had hung up.
Ted Cruz sighed, a sigh that vanished into the turbulent wake of racing cars and the happy chatter of a hundred thousand race fans. The sun rose high above the Texas hills, glinting off the cars, giving an oily sheen to the leather of Ted Cruz’s boots. Inside Ted Cruz’s mind, it was quiet and cold, like Alberta had been. Quiet and cold, like the ninth circle of Hell, where even the comfort of tears is denied. Ted Cruz looked on, unspeaking, frozen between two dismal poles, and once again did not cry.
Top image: A lovely lady on Twitter who goes by #FUCKOFFHILLARY
All other images: Taken by the good Doctor #himself