It had been a week since Dante had retained me to represent him. If I hadn’t had a front row seat to the media circus I wouldn’t have believed it. Dante was in his element, on one hand providing background material to any media outlet that asked and plenty that didn’t proving his guilt beyond any doubt and on the other hand very publicly claiming to be a scapegoat for overzealous prosecutors and the media desperate to rush to judgement. I had very little to do other than the occasional public statement that my client was innocent and looked forward to an opportunity to clear his good name. I had given Dante his slogan which he repeated constantly in every public appearance. “I’m innocent so go fuck yourself”. I thought it had sort of a don’t tread on me quality. The media loved it but was struggling with how to report it. I had seen everything from “go f*** yourself” to “go fornicate yourself” to “go hump yourself” to my favorite in the Albany Times Union “go engage in sexual activity with yourself”. Only the New York Post had dared use the actual phrase in 10 point type no less which of course meant the New York Times had to report on the use of the work fuck on the front page of its competitor resulting in an entire news cycle devoted to the word fuck.
Of course Dante had trademarked the phrase and it was now appearing on t-shirts, bumper stickers and cell phone cases, all of which paid royalties to Dante and for which I skimmed my 30%.
I was walking over to the capital where Dante had scheduled yet another new conference. As I got closer I noticed more and more people with “I’m innocent so go fuck yourself” signs and t-shirts and assorted other paraphernalia. As I entered the park in front of the capital on my way to join Dante I saw sitting side by side a wild haired bearded 300lb biker type holding a beer can in an insulated sleeve that said “I’m innocent so you and the safe act can go fuck yourself” and a 30 something woman in a sundress made of hemp with the slogan “I’m innocent and pro-choice so you can go fuck yourself”. Directly in front of the podium, wedged into a throng of reporters and cameramen sat a 6 year old girl in pigtails and a lunchbox with Cinderella’s picture and the phrase “I’m innocent and the common core sucks so you can go fuck yourself”. It started to dawn on me that not only was Dante starting to tap into a feeling of anger in the populace but his commercialization of advocacy themes was both profitable and effective. Was this the start of the social media advocacy Jamie had predicted? Being technology challenged I had no way of knowing at the time that the entire press conference had been turned into a massive rally for every advocacy group in New York thru twitter and Facebook and snapchat and Instagram and god knows what else. “I’m innocent so go fuck yourself” had turned into a rallying cry for a disenfranchised public.
As I joined Dante at the podium he leaned over and whispered “Buckle your seatbelt Leathers we are about to catch a ride on a shooting star”.
What was this crazy bastard going to do now?
Dante tapped on the mic and the crowd quieted down.
“To quote Darwin “If nothing changes, nothing changes””
The crowd exploded in applause and I started seeing dollar signs from a whole new line of merchandising. I was pretty sure Darwin never said “If nothing changes nothing changes” but at this point who cared.
Dante quieted the crowd and continued “I am innocent so you can go fuck yourself”. The crowd went wild as if the Rolling Stones were onstage and were strumming the opening chords to “Star fucker”.
Just when I thought it could not get any crazier he wrapped up with “You want God to laugh make a plan, I’ll now take questions”.
Ted Fricker from the New York Post jumped up “Our anonymous sources have confirmed that you broke at least ten different federal and state statutes as a result of your fundraising activity would you care to comment?”
Dante calmly answered “Ted what I may or may not have done in raising badly needed funding for our deeply flawed candidates is not the issue, I would not change a thing in the way I raised money from this states beleaguered industries what is important is I’m innocent so you can go fuck yourself, and it’s time to change because if nothing changes nothing changes”
The crowd rose to its feet and a grandmother standing next to Fricker with an umbrella that was printed with the slogan “I’m innocent and care about my grandchildren’s future so you can go fuck yourself” literally shoved the umbrella up Fricker’s ass while shouting “I bet God is laughing now”
Fricker stumbled away and was quickly replaced by Lenny Hater of the Daily News “Is it true Dante that the US Attorney Ping Pong has not questioned you yet?
Dante paused and then responded “It has been widely reported that I am under investigation by the US Attorney however he has not had the courtesy or the balls to question me about those allegations, and that is for a very simple reason I’m innocent so you can go fuck yourself, and it’s time to change because if nothing changes nothing changes”
Hater persisted “Do you think Ping has avoided you because you raised money for him?”
“Dante became agitated “You need to ask the US Attorney why he would leak that he is investigating me but not follow up on that investigation. I would welcome publicly discussing my fundraising efforts on his behalf because I’m innocent so you can go fuck yourself, and it’s time to change because if nothing changes nothing changes”
Casey Sailer sashayed to the mic “Mr. Dorr in case you were not aware to be grammatically correct you should be saying “I am innocent therefore you may proceed to . . .”
Before he could finish the 6 year old with the Cinderella lunchbox gave Casey a swift kick to the groin and stated “Fuck you and your grammar asshole”
The crowd went insane chanting Dante Dante Dante.
I saw a strange look come over Dante’s face as he addressed the crowd.
Your support has been overwhelming I feel you have left me no choice at this time but to announce that I will be running for office on a platform of I’m innocent so you can go fuck yourself, and it’s time to change because if nothing changes nothing changes. I look forward to my campaign, keep those cash contributions coming”
As I tried to sneak out of the press conference/rally/revival meeting all I could think of was the one thing Dante had said that actually rang true people made plans and God just laughs.