Several months ago:
Newt Gingrich sat dejectedly in his study, surrounded by his hundreds of self-authored books and videotapes. His political campaign was dead; all of his expensive consultants had quit, claiming he was not a "serious" candidate. Now all he had to look forward to was long, lonely nights watching C-SPAN, and dreaming of what might have been.
"I'd sell my soul to be President of the United States and show Obama what he can do with his food stamps," he muttered to himself. Suddenly there was a blinding flash of light, a stench of brimstone, and a mysterious stranger stood before him. The stranger was dressed in a smart business suit, $500 Italian leather shoes, and a neat little goatee. He clutched in one carefully-manicured hand a gold attaché case.
"Who are you? How the hell did you get in here? Callista, help!"
"Relax, Mr. Gingrich," the stranger said. "You know very well who I am. You saw enough of me back in the day when you were Speaker of the House. You can call me... the Lobbyist."
"What do you want?" Newt asked nervously. "If it's about cheating on my sick wives, I did that because I love my country so much. Besides, it's all been forgiven since I converted to Catholicism."
"What do I want?" the Lobbyist asked rhetorically. "What do I always want? Your fondest desire, in exchange for your soul."
"You mean I can sell my soul to become President of the United States?" Gingrich said excitedly. Suddenly, things were looking up.
"It's been done before," the Lobbyist said. "Look at Richard Nixon. But not so fast! I'm not sure your soul is worth the presidency. It's a pale and flabby thing, much like yourself. I was thinking more of... an exchange. You do something for me, I do something for you."
"Exchange, schmange, as long as I get to wipe the smile off Romney's face. Where do I sign?"
"I was hoping you would say that," the Lobbyist said, removing a blank contract and a penknife from his attaché case. "Just prick your thumb, and affix your print on the bottom."
"But there's nothing in writing!" Gingrich complained.
"You know from your work at Freddie Mac the most lucrative terms are the ones that aren't written down," the Lobbyist said. "Now do you want to do this deal or not? If you're not interested, I hear Herman Cain is."
Gingrich fiddled with the contract, then signed. The Lobbyist carefully rolled up the document and stored it away in his attaché case. "Now, prepare yourself, mortal, for transfiguration!"
"Transfiguration? You didn't say anything about --"
Suddenly, Gingrich was engulfed in mystic flames. He screamed in agony as his considerable flesh melted away. Soon all that was left was a burning skeleton clad in black leather and molten chains, sitting astride a flaming motorcycle.
"You are no longer Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House," the Lobbyist said. "You are now the Gingrich Rider, Spirit of Political Vengeance! Go forth, and play havoc with the Republican nomination process! Bwa-hah-ha-hah!"
The Gingrich Rider roared off into the night. Since he was indoors, he had to smash through a wall first. The Lobbyist watched him ride off into the darkness, laughing. Then he clicked his $500 Italian shoes and disappeared in another burst of brimstone.
A few minutes later Callista timidly entered Newt's study. She surveyed the damage -- the scorched floor, the hole in the wall, the overwhelming stench of brimstone -- and shook her head. Oh, lord, these men! "Newt, use the bathroom if you're going to cut one!"
A crossroads at midnight. The Gingrich Rider confronted his maker, the Lobbyist.
"You lied to me!" the Gingrich Rider said.
The Lobbyist smiled innocently. "What do you mean? Has not everything I promised come to pass?"
For the past several months the Gingrich Rider had burned up the campaign trail, singeing pols and pundits alike. He was particularly inflammatory during debates, where he would unzip his fly and incinerate interrogators with his flamethrower-like pee-pee; both Juan Williams and John King perished this way. After South Carolina, it seemed like the nomination was within his bony grasp.
Then he crashed and burned in Florida. The Romney campaign juggernaut rolled over him like so much roadkill. The fire in his belly seemed to be extinguished. Now instead of the Gingrich conflagration all anybody talked about was the Santorum surge.
"You said I was going to get the Republican nomination!" the Gingrich Rider accused. "You said I was going to be President of the United States!"
"I said you would wipe the smile off Romney's face," the Lobbyist said. "I didn't say you would get the nomination, let alone be President. Santorum is going to be the Republican standard-bearer, which is going to make Romney frown aplenty. Then Obama's going to kick his zygote-loving ass in the general election. Now about your soul... "
"Hah!" the Gingrich Rider said. "I played you there! When you weren't looking, I signed over Callista's soul instead of mine."
"What? This is most irregular!" The Lobbyist stamped his Italian shoes in irritation, shooting off sparks. "You don't pledge somebody else's soul! It just isn't done! It's sleazy, it's unethical, it's --"
"Diabolical?" the Gingrich Rider suggested helpfully.
The Lobbyist bowed his head respectfully. "Well played, Mr. Gingrich. It seems a master can always learn from another. Until we meet again." He disappeared in a puff of smoke.
Miles away, Callista suddenly found herself transported to her own personal hell. "Oh, Lord, Newt, what have you gotten me into now?" She was descended upon by a million harpy hairdressers, who blow-dried her to oblivion.
The Gingrich Rider kick-started his chopper and roared into the night. He was behind in the polls and the delegate count, but he wasn't in the grave yet. There was still Super Tuesday up ahead. What better moment for a supernatural politician to come back from the dead once more? The only question was whether or not he would have time to get married again by then.
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