The Secret Life of Willard Mitty

Vilard peered over the ramparts. Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl. Two riders were approaching — the wind began to howl. Through the billowing sandstorm he could see hundreds, no thousands of scimitar-wielding Saracens encircling the fort. "Surrender, infidels," their leader cried. "The time of the Caliphate is at hand!"

Vilard Mitté stood up on the highest turret and challenged the hordes. "I spit on your moon-god! You are not martyrs — you are women! The juggernaut of classical liberalism will crush you like cockroaches!"

Enraged, the Saracens and savage nomads rose and charged the fort in a single mass of flesh. The French troops behind the walls wailed and scattered. The Commandant bellowed, "You fool! What have you done? You went out of your way to anger them; now we must appease or die!"

"Bwa-ha-ha!" laughed Mitté. "You do not yet comprehend. This is all part of my plan — to lure them into a premature attack. To the Gatling guns!" ——

"In the preparations for the foreign policy debate," continued Mitty's Strategy Coach, "should we emphasize your ability to cooperate with our allies, or your skill at avoiding conflict by accommodating demands from foes? Public opinion is now trending against having troops overseas."

Willard Mitty looked at him aghast. His patented unending smile fading to a steely gaze. After a frozen half-minute, he spoke.

"There is no more Willard Mitty. From now on, call me Mitt."

Sideways glances ricocheted around the astonished campaign bus. At first, a giggle, then a snicker, and then everyone broke out into uproarious laughter. "Good one, Mitty! Whew! You had us convinced for a second. Now onto these latest polls...."

[Apologies to James Thurber.]