So there I was on Halloween night, making the candy rounds north of Montana Avenue with my little Bride of Dracula and her pals the Bloody Doctor and the Cunning Cowboy, when the air started rustling.

“Aw, isn’t he the cutest?” cried Mrs. Dracula, dropping her plastic fangs.

“Who?” I asked. “The Governator?”

For lo, it was he, sans costume but jovially mingling with the huge crowd under the discreetly watchful gaze of several burly fellows in basic black.

“No, mom, silly. That,” she said, pointing behind Arnold.

There stood the first lady, her chestnut mane caught up in something vaguely snood-like, leading a very handsome brown-and-cream pony on a leash.

“I hate him!” yelled the Bloody Doctor, who is 9 and a true child of the People’s Republic of Santa Monica, or what’s left of it now that rent control is no more and the entertainment lawyers have moved in.

“Who, the pony?” I asked.

“No, him,” crowed the Bloody Doctor, pointing at Arnold before being shushed by his embarrassed father. Unaware or unperturbed, the governor moved on, posing for camera phones and chucking bewildered little bees, skunks and ballerinas under the chin. The baby horse took the attention in stride — no one-trick pony, this (the horse, not the governor) and I have every confidence that after they left us the First Party went on to meet and greet in South-Central.

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