Ideka Nuffin had completely run out of patience with Raymond Rojas.
They had been placed on the same committee by virtue of the communities they represented being close together in the alphabet: Hancock Park and Huntington Park. Frankly, Ideka was ecstatic that she had been assigned to “The Economy”. She considered herself to be an expert on money and was very aware of the leverage that being chairperson of that committee would bring.
The only problem was that Rojas was challenging her for the chair instead of automatically deferring to her greater wisdom and most oppressed victim status.
She decided that he needed a public Ideka Nuffin slapdown to put him in his place. Then he would ask her permission before even crossing his legs, never mind challenge her for anything she wanted.
Her opportunity came in the middle day of the three day session.
Kenny Lane was as crazy as a loon but the boy could be persuasive. By force of personality he had convinced the legislature into an 8 day work-week. Three days of sessions followed by five days back in-district. His reasoning had been that five days gave legislators from even the most remote district plenty of time to get back home and ‘take the temperature’ of their constituency.
An additional benefit, according to the Kenny Lane way of looking at things, was that constituents worked all kinds of strange days and shifts. A rotating in-district period meant that aggrieved constituents could eventually catch up with their legislator regardless of what weird schedules they might be working.
Ideka did not mind the three day work week and the five day weekends. In fact, she took to that like a duck to water. The problem was that Kenny expected them to work during those five days. The first day of each session was spent in-committee. The middle day was report-outs in front of the entire legislature and cameras. The third day was the day “home-work” was handed out. That is, assignments were handed out to the legislators that were to be completed during the five-day ack-home period. In most cases the assignments involved gathering information from constituents.
Rojas really pissed her off on the first day of the work session when he contested the obvious, that she should be chair.
By 10:00 AM the morning of the second day the galley was packed and she judged the e-audience to have peaked. She sprung her trap.
She was recognized by Kenny and she introduced a piece of legislation that had not been discussed in committee the day before, a piece that she knew would light up Rojas.
“Our committee proposes that we establish a minimum wage for all workers in Sedelia of 20 Cali callors an hour.” Ideka announced.
As expected, Rojas was out of his chair like a rocket. “We discussed no such thing, Ideka. You are lying through your teeth!”
Ideka favored him with an icy stare. “I demand an apology from the gentleman, and I use the term loosely, from Huntington Park. Furthermore, I demand that he use my preferred honorific and address me by my surname as befits the dignity of this legislature. I never gave him permission to use my given name.”
Rojas glared at her, unsure of how she turned herself into a victim and him into the aggressor with just a few words.
Raymond took a few deep breaths. “Miss Nuffin, I apologize for characterizing you as a liar. But I think a review of the notes of yesterday’s proceedings will substantiate that the committee never discussed, nor agreed to set a minimum wage in Sedelia.”
Ideka had Raymond exactly where she wanted him. Now it was time to rub his nose in the shit.
“You are both sexist and racist. If you had done any research you would know that my preferred honorific is Zzz instead of the oppressive, patriarchal ‘Miss’.” she said, buzzing like a bee. “Try again and do it right or you are affirming your sexism and racism.”
“Xst Nuffin…” Raymond started but was cut off by Nuffin.
“Damn you, boy. What is your problem. It is ‘Xxx’” Nuffin interrupted.
“Xxx Nuffing…” Raymond started again and was cut off, again, by Nuffin.
“You must be some special kind of stupid. What is so hard about saying ‘Xss’” Nuffin said.
That is when the light-bulb went off for Raymond. He lowered his head humbly and said, “You are right. The dignity of this legislature requires the deepest respect from every participant. I apologize for my inability to pronounce your honorific properly. It is a lack of practice.”
“Damned straight, I am right!” Nuffin said. She was cooling off a little bit. Unfortunately, she had been enjoying herself so much she failed to notice that she had over-played her hand. Many of her colleagues were muttering and shaking their heads, especially the Hispanic lawmakers.
“Of course, that means I expect the same courtesy from you.” Raymond said.
Nuffin nodded regally. “Of course. No big deal.”
“Please accept my deepest apology Xstx Nuffin.” Raymond said.
Nuffin decided there was nothing more to be gained by roasting Rojas any longer. That could wait for another day. “Your apology is accepted, Mr. Rojas.”
“That is not my name.” Raymond said.
“What?” Nuffin said, taken aback. “I thought we agreed to not use first names.”
“You did agree.” Raymond nodded with a pleasant smile. “You agreed that you would use my full surname and preferred honorific, both in front of all our colleagues and on international TV.”
“My full name is Raymond Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Rojas.”: Raymond said.
“What the fuck!” fell out of Nuffin’s mouth.
"My preferred honorific is 'Martillo de Dios'" he concluded. "Henceforth you must address me as ‘Martillo de Dios Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Rojas.”
“No fucking way!” Nuffin shouted, looking at Kenny Lane.
Kenny shrugged. “You agreed to it. His name is a matter of public record."
Meanwhile, Carmen, the representative from Irvine noted, “That still does not address the fact that Zzz Nuffin made false statements in this session and misrepresented the committee she serves on.”
“Carmen!” Nuffin exclaimed, feeling betrayed.
"You will address me by my surname, del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lopez and you will use the honorific Flecha de los ángeles.” Carmen said. "I will recognize you and converse with you after you address me appropriately."
"This is bullshit. Pure bullshit. There is absolutely no reason you gotta have such long names." Nuffin raged.
"On the contrary." Raymond replied. "Our culture honors both the patriarchal and the matriarchal lines, unlike your culture. You can continue your rant but all you are doing is showing the audience that you are sexist and xenophobic. The choice is yours."
"Incidentally," Raymond said "pronunciation matters. You need to say our names correctly."
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