COLUMBUS _ ``Hillary is a monster,'' said Uncle Chet, sitting in the rocker by the wood stove, sipping a glass of dark beer. ``But it was a mistake to say so.''
``How do you figure?' I asked.
``Well, it was an insult,'' he said. ``Monsters everywhere are offended, and now Obama's going to lose the monster vote.''
``She's not really a monster,'' said Alice, silver-haired child of the '60s, getting ready to retire in the spring. "She's desperate to win; I'll give you that. And she's a smooth talker.''
"Like Slick Willie,'' said Cousin Bruce, who was up from Springfield.
``Yes, when you think about it, they're perfectly matched,'' said Alice. ``Now their marriage makes sense to me. Anyway, I still don't think that makes her a monster.''
``Well, I looked it up,'' said Uncle Chet. ``And the dictionary says a monster is something that's `shocking, frightful, hideous or revolting.'''
``She's not `revolting,''' said Alice.
``I looked that up, too,'' he said, rocking in the rattan chair beside the fire, icy rain pattering on the tin roof above. On the floor beside him, Buddy was playing with his model cars.
``Well, what is it?'' she asked.
```Disgusting or repulsive.'''
``I wouldn't say she's `disgusting or repulsive.' She's not even in the same league with the crew we have now,'' Alice declared.
``I don't know,'' Cousin Bruce cut in. ``Bush backs McCain and Hillary was talking up McCain for commander-in-chief. Aren't they all working together?''
"They are, and Democrats should find that revolting,'' said Uncle Chet. ``But I'm willing to concede she's not `revolting.' However, a monster could be `shocking, hideous or frightful,' and who can say she's not `frightful' after her commercial about the red phone ringing at night while America's children are fast asleep?''