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Every smart Voter down in Voteville liked Build Back Better a lot.

But the Manch, who lived east in D.C., did not!

The Manch hated Build Back Better, even during this giving season! Voters wondered why. No one could parse out the reason.

Perhaps his eyes didn’t let in enough light. Or he fretted about the checks his donors wouldn’t write. There are those who suggest his intestines were too small and ponder if he had any guts at all.

Whatever the motive, his guts or his donors, he stood on Capitol Hill, hating his Voters, glaring down from his houseboat with no Manchly pity at the softly lit houses down in the city.

He knew every Voter down in Voteville beneath, was obviously hoping a deal was in reach.

“They’re pinning their hopes on me,” he giggled with a cheer, “The compromise is essentially here!”

Then he roared, his Manchy thoughts anxiously thrumming, “I must stop Build Back Better from coming!”

It was up to the Manch to keep Congress from passing this bill and thus crush the Voters’ hopes, everlasting.

For if the law passed, the Voters would feast! The poor would have money to feed their children at least.

They would have health care, but his palm had been greased, so there’d be no clean energy, a thing the Manch could tolerate the least.

As the Manch pondered this happy law signing, deep in his thoughts, he rubbed his right wing and cried, “How can I halt this fool thing?!”

“I must stop this bill from becoming a law! But how? How do I make it fail and fall?”

He struck on a notion. A horrid solution. The Manch got a horrid, delightful solution.

He giggled and snorted, “A perfect Manchy plan. I’ll pretend I’m an everyday Joe. A real ‘common man.’

“All I need is a soul,” the Manch glanced around. But, since souls are rare, there was none to be found.

Did that hinder the Manch? Not at all. And he said, “If I can’t find a soul, I’ll fake one instead.”

And with his deceit, he started down, toward the homes and the homeless asleep in town.

Manch went to the White House, his “soul” to lay bare. “They truly, yes, truly trust me in there.”

“This is my first stop,” the old Manchy hissed. And he mounted to the roof, empty promises in his fist.

He went down the chimney — a pretty tight pinch. At least for a politician not willing to budge an inch.

He soon saw where, like stockings, little Voters’ hopes hung in a row.

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“These hopes,” he smirked, “are the first things to go.”

Then he glided and skulked, with a smile most befitting, as he snatched back every benefit the Voters thought they’d be getting.

Housing! Affordable education! Climate saving measures! Jobs! Fair taxes! Earned Income Tax Credit!

He took each one and cut it and shred it.

Then the Manch, going back on his promise to deliver, tossed the Voters’ hopes, one by one, in the Potomac River.

Then he slunk to the fridge. He took the Voters’ feast. He took their nutrition, that everyone needs in the least.

The Manch emptied the entire fridge in a flash. The Manch even took every last bit of cash.

He tossed all the benefits in the river, and said he: “All I need now is this Christmas tree.”

The Manch spun around, and saw a young pauper who’d arisen from slumber in hope of clean water.

She stared at the Manch and asked, “Why, Manchy why?” She blinked her large eyes and gave a small sigh.

But, you know, that old Manch was so smarmy and slick, he told her the truth, didn’t even try for a trick.

“Why,” the dreadful Manchy decried, “The lights on this tree are solar, and that I can’t abide.

“I’ll make it need coal power, honey. So I can make even more money.”

The Manch kissed the poor Voter on the forehead, got her a glass of leaded water, and put her in bed.

He took everything, so that their hopes could just rot. He even took the last log for their fire, ’cause why the hell not?

It was on Fox Sunday Morning ... many Voters still lazing in their beds, when the Manch announced he killed the dreams in their heads. And without even very much warning.

“I’m an ogre to the Voters! I’m so Manchly cunning! They’re realizing now that no Build Back Better is coming! Their minds will be disbelieving, then they’ll start peeping: ‘How could the Manch’s wicked ruse be so sweeping?’

“Then the Voters down in Voteville will all start weeping. That’s a sound,” sneered the Manch, “That I just gotta hear.”

And he heard their weeping, but the Manch wasn’t sour ’cause the Manch only cares about his very own power.

The Manch doesn’t care about you or about me or compromising in political caucus, see?

The Manch only cares about Big Business lining his pockets. And all the voters in Voteville, they all say that his heart shrank three more sizes that day.

Bil Lepp, of South Charleston, is a professional storyteller and a Gazette-Mail contributing columnist.

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