I spoke to Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis after she landed in Hawaii on Tuesday afternoon, just after Rahm Emanuel became the happiest mayor in Chicago.
The news that made the Rahmfather smile? Not Lewis being thousands of miles away in the Pacific, but Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle ruling herself out as a candidate for mayor.
Preckwinkle's decision didn't prompt Rahm to publicly dance to "Blurred Lines" with the back of a folding chair in Grant Park, but I'm sure he was happy enough to tap his toes with joy.
"I'm not surprised, are you?" Lewis told me in a telephone interview as Preckwinkle was telling reporters here that she had no intention of challenging Emanuel for re-election.
Though leading Emanuel in polls, especially among African-American voters, Preckwinkle apparently didn't have the heart for the fight.
So that leaves Lewis as a potential candidate with name recognition. She also leads Rahm in one recent poll. But unlike Preckwinkle, Lewis has already gone to war with the Rahmfather.
And she isn't afraid of him or his money.
If Rahm were a prizefighter, he'd be a dancer. Lewis would be more of a Rocky Balboa, trapping him in a corner, throwing heavy thumping hooks to his slim and tidy little rib cage.
"I think Toni pulling out has been on her mind for some time," Lewis said. "I was told this was going to happen. It happened."
Now, while on vacation, Lewis said she has time to consider her next move, including a possible challenge of the Rahmfather.
"Clearly, this has changed a lot of things, but it also may have opened a pathway," Lewis told me. "I'm clearly thinking about it, but whether it happens or not, you have to understand, that at the heart of this, it's a big family decision.
"But it gives me a little time, to think, and maybe even start raising a little money and putting some things together," Lewis said.
So what will Lewis do in the two weeks or so that she's on vacation?
"I'm going to do a lot of thinking, and I'm going to look at what I call The Big TV."
You'll watch TV in Hawaii?
"No, that's what I call the view," she said, "the ocean, the hills, but I'll be thinking of Chicago."
I'd bet the Rahmfather was also watching TV, the one in his office, watching Preckwinkle tell reporters on Tuesday what they'd known for hours: that she wasn't going to fight him for it.
Preckwinkle said she had little interest in dealing with the persistent questions about whether she'd dare walk across the open hallway from her office in the Cook County Building to the fifth floor of City Hall and knock that door down.
Early reports said Preckwinkle was "heartbroken" over her decision to not even enter the race. But watching her take questions, as she wore that methodical, emotionless, Ms. Sensible Shoes persona, I got the idea that the heart wasn't involved.
The mathematics of self-preservation is rather heartless.
It's all about risk management. Mayor Emanuel isn't beloved in Chicago, but he's raised $8 million, not counting his super PAC. Cash can't buy him love, but it can be used to go negative.
"No, I'm not heartbroken," Preckwinkle said. "It was a decision that was clear to me for some time that I needed to make. The Sun-Times basically forced my hand. If they hadn't published those poll results, I don't think the questions would have been of the same volume, intensity, frequency, whatever.
"But given the poll results, I think it was going to be hard to get people to focus on anything else that we were doing because the questions would all be about the mayor's race," Preckwinkle said.
Yes, Toni, that's the way it works in Chicago. There is but one political job. If you don't want to fight for it, then don't reach.
This one would have gotten ugly. But most of them do.
Former Mayor Jane Byrne dared challenge the kings, and so did the late Mayor Harold Washington. Even Rich Daley had a political knife fight with Tim Evans, who is now chief judge of the Cook County Circuit Court.
The odd thing is, just because Preckwinkle says it's over doesn't mean it's over. It's just kind of over. Candidates reserve the right to change their mind.
Daley personally assured several political reporters in town that he had no intention of campaigning for Cook County state's attorney in 1980, quietly promising as a "top source" that he'd run for the patronage-rich office of clerk of the Circuit Court.
He waited, then switched at the last minute and survived, and ended up bossing Chicago for more than two decades.
Some Democratic operatives think Preckwinkle did a smart thing, pulling back, relieving the pressure while keeping her options open.
"Anyone who believes that Toni Preckwinkle has absolutely ruled out running for mayor still believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy," says one guy in the know.
Rahm isn't about benevolence. He's mayor of Chicago. And he didn't do a happy dance in public on Tuesday, because he knows the rules: There are none.
An opponent flinches and withdraws, you make sure they won't turn and try to outflank you. Certainly, Preckwinkle must understand that Emanuel will still consider her a threat.
So that leaves Karen Lewis in Hawaii, thinking about her next move.
"I've got time to think, and so that's what I'll do," she told me. "And then we'll see."
Twitter @John_KassCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun