The woodwork had been there all the time, yet I never really noticed it until the political phantoms began popping out of it.
Their method of attack was to emerge suddenly, rattle off their allegations, then step back into the wall so as to face no rebuttal nor consequences.
"Did you know," the first specter spoke up, "that Barack Obama was not born in this country?"
"He wasn't?" I replied. "You'd think somebody would have thought to check up on that before the final weeks before the election. Wow, imagine his embarrassment."
"It's true," it said. "I have it on good authority that at the very instant of his birth, his mother was aboard a Russian cruise ship that was crossing the International Date Line and the equator at the same time, thus making him a citizen of no country and probably not even of Earth."
"Hmmm," I said, "I thought he was born in Hawaii, and isn't Hawaii one of these United States?"
"Not one of the good ones," the apparition said. "Not one that the forefathers fought and died for before they founded it."
"Like Nevada?" I asked.
"You got that right!"
The visitor was gone in a flash, to be replaced by a kindred spirit.
"You know that John McCain deserted his country during the Vietnam War, don't you?" it said.
"Uh, you mean all those years when he was held as a prisoner of war?" I asked.
"Yeah, I heard he was right there, with the enemy, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Everybody needs to be told that. Oh, and he's really old."
"OK, thanks for the history lesson," I told the ghost as it faded into the shadows.
With a major election so near, I was to get no rest. The grain in the woodwork stirred, and I heard a third voice opine:
"What's with Joe Biden's teeth?" it asked. "They're really white. That doesn't seem normal for a guy who claims he rides the train to work. It kind of makes you think, huh?"
I was at a loss for words, except for seven.
"Maybe he goes to Joe the Dentist," I offered.
It vanished, almost bumping into a fourth phantasm.
"You know, Sarah Palin claims to live in Alaska," it said, "but how long has that been a state?"
"Actually, since slightly before Hawaii," I said. "Anyway, I think we already covered this territory earlier when we were discussing the 50th state."
"Did we? Sorry, I was listening to talk radio and the mainstream media at the same time, and I missed it. See you again after I hear someone else who tells me how to think."
The voices had disappeared and taken their agendas with them. I felt relieved -- until I realized I had not heard reports on third-party candidates such as Bob Barr, Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney.
I painted over the woodwork -- two coats -- as fast as I could.
Reach Glynn Moore at (706) 823-3419 or firstname.lastname@example.org.