Tommy, age 16, awoke with great anticipation in his heart. Today he would join the Young Republicans! He quickly showered, put on his best charcoal gray suit, then hurried downstairs to have breakfast. But instead of finding Mom with the usual steak, egg, biscuit, gravy, bacon, sausage and pancake breakfast waiting for him he saw a complete stranger sitting at the table looking at him intently with a hint of sadness on his face.
"Who are you?" Tommy demanded.
"I am the ghost of Tom Joad," replied the man.
"Why do you haunt me!", cried Tommy.
"I have come to show you the Great Hereafter," said Joad.
Joad snapped his fingers and the kitchen vanished and they stood at a door labeled "The First Circle of Hell." Upon entering, Tommy noted two long tables, one on the left and another on the right, both filled to the breaking point with meats, poultry, salads and sweet cakes of every description. Around them were many people, all with three-foot-long forks attached to one hand with the other hand tied behind their backs.
With sudden horror, Tommy realized that the diners on the right were emaciated and starving. They were frantically trying to feed themselves, but because the forks were so long they could not get the food into their mouths!
Then with even greater horror, he began to recognize the people. He saw Tom DeLay trying to eat a pork roast, Helen Chenoweth trying desperately to eat canned salmon, Rush Limbaugh trying to eat everything, Ann Coulter looking ... well, just like always, and George Will pretending to be "well-mannered."
Tommy then looked toward the table on the left and to his astonishment everyone looked healthy and well fed. Instead of trying to selfishly feed themselves they were feeding each other, thus defeating the handicap of the long forks.
But then with even greater horror, Tommy recognized the people at the table on the left. He saw Bill and Hillary Clinton, George McGovern, Frank and Bethine Church, FDR and Eleanor, the Copes and Jimmy Carter, who was also using his fork to build a small hut!
At that moment Tommy began wailing and rubbing his face in anguish when suddenly he was back in his own kitchen! Mom was there with breakfast and everything was normal again. It was just a bad dream all along.
Tommy wolfed his breakfast, stealing his little sister's sausages, and ran out the door to join up, all the while repeating "Thank God Tom DeLay is alive!"
Chris gives his apologies to Dickens, Dostoevsky, Steinbeck and anyone he missed.