Washington Horror Blog

SEMI-FICTIONAL CHRONICLE of the EVIL THAT INFECTS WASHINGTON, D.C. To read Prologue and Character Guide, please see www.washingtonhorrorblog.com, updated 6/6//2017. Follow Washington Water Woman on Twitter @HorrorDC ....

Sunday, November 04, 2012

The Few, the Proud, the Ambivalent

Former Senator Evermore Breadman, ready to wrap up another campaign season, walked briskly past his Wall of Me and into his Prince and Prowling office.  "God, this was great!" he exulted to himself, pulling another folder of receipts out of his briefcase to be delivered to his secretary for reimbursement. Then he sat down at his computer to do the final tally of billed hours and fees he had racked up in his sundry campaign activities--such as setting up Delaware shell corporations for foreigners who wanted to spend money on U.S. elections--lawfully anonymous, under Citizens United.  He hummed Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" as he posted the final entries in his summary Excel spreadsheet, then waited a moment for the calculations.  "Sixty-three million dollars!!" he shouted.  Over 30 million from foreigners, 7 million from Republican candidates, 1 million from Democrat candidates, half a million from the Libertarian whack job, 5 million from Indian tribes, and almost 20 million from PACs and SuperPacs.  This is spectacular!  It had been awhile since he had done his final reelection run for the U.S. Senate, but he still remembered the ambivalent feeling he had experienced raising all that money and not being able to keep any of it.  This is way better!  (True, like many Washingtonians, he didn't actually have a lot of passionate hobbies to follow with his money, so apart from a sports car, expensively furnished home, expensively furnished wife, education for the kids, and occasional vacations, the rest just piled up in brokerage accounts.  But he still enjoyed it!)  He jotted down a couple of brainstorms for expensive Christmas gifts to get his loyal wife, followed by question marks--he would go over the list later with his secretary.  He briefly thought about how his wife might be grateful for him to spend some money establishing his disappointing adult son in some sort of a business, but the quick churning of his lower intestines dissuaded him from this line of thinking.  Still there was one more unpleasant task to attend to--punishment for Bridezilla.  He reached into his bottom drawer to grab a handful of herbal potions from Lynnette Wong's Chinatown shop, poured them into his now lukewarm Starbucks latte, drank it down, and got up to pay her a visit.  (He didn't know if it would make her cry, and he sure didn't want to end up with a blubbering Bridezilla in his own office.)

Down the hall, Bridezilla was all alone in her partner office:  no more campaign strategizing with Mal Evelynt, no more between-matinees smoochies with Bucky at the Kennedy Center, no more expensive shopping trips with--.  She stopped herself with a sigh, as it was too painful to realize how many years of her life she had wasted on all the ones who were not the one.  Mal was furious with her that she had decided to vote for Obama (for being the actual Christian) in Virginia, but her decision had come too late to prevent the political ad that aired with her smiling face in it last week:  her natural blond locks, blue eyes, clear skin, and dazzling (but mute) smile had not only resonated well with focus groups, but the Republican pollsters did detect a marginal bump in Romney's ratings among Virginia's ambivalent voters after its airing.  But she was no longer anywhere that would get her a pat on the back for that, and her parents wouldn't speak to her for days until their pastor assured them that their daughter had ways of atoning for appearing in an ad worshipping a false idol (Mormon messiah).  And it had been a nightmare all week waiting for Breadman to follow up on his ominous email reminding all partners, associates, and staff attorneys that they were only allowed to advise candidates--never to make personal partisan endorsements of any kind.  She had put her nose to the grindstone and billed seventy hours of hard-core legal work since Monday, unsure if he would even notice.  (At one point, somebody must have noticed she was too harried to eat, because mystery offerings of cold or hot food started appearing on her desk--but she still didn't know who that was.  It was not even a secret admirer--but, rather, a secret pitier!  An admirer would have left expensive chocolates--not baby carrots and a mug of steaming oatmeal, plain flavor!)  She heard heavy footsteps and looked up to see the Senator in her doorway.  He walked in without a word, shut the door behind him, and sat down in her guest chair.

"Well," he said, "my sources tell me you appeared in a Mitt PAC television ad in Virginia thirty-seven times during the last seven days."

"Senator--"

"A Mitt PAC which this very law firm incorporated and rendered legal services to."

"Senator--"

"Legal services are not the same as political endorsements.  Legal services can be rendered to anybody willing to pay, and regardless of which political parties are in office or running for office."

"Senator--"

"Stop interrupting me!  You think I don't know what you're gonna say?!  I know all about it!  Cigemeier told me to go easy on you because your boyfriend talked you into it!  That's all fine and dandy, and I know as well as anybody that sometimes you gotta do things you don't wanna do because of a relationship, but you're a partner in this law firm now, and you need to understand this is the most important relationship in your life!  We butter your bread, we make the bed you lie in, and we--"  (He paused, losing his metaphorical line of thought.)

"Yes, sir, I deeply regret that I did not seek your advice on this matter, as I clearly did not comprehend the firm's rules on political--"

"That's the point I'm getting to here.  Now that this election cycle is drawing to a close, I want to see the Prince and Prowling rules rewritten for the government practices group.  Lobbying, SuperPacs, Citizens United--I've pioneered new billables on the cutting edge of Supreme Court opinions, and I want you to synthesize what I've done the past two years and rewrite the rules."  (Bridezilla stared at him dumbfounded.)  "Aw, c'mon, it won't be that hard!  I'm going to share files with you, send you emails and memos--we can't afford to have anybody make any mistakes.  The sky's the limit for how much money this firm can make if Citizens United is not overturned--but we gotta do it right."  (Bridezilla nodded agreeably.)  "And you can support any candidate you like--you just gotta be smart about it, and not do anything that's going to drive other paying clients away from us!"  (Bridezilla nodded again.)  "I'm glad we had this chat--I feel better!"

Not far away, Laura Moreno was not feeling better:  even with an extra hour on the clock this morning, she was arriving at the Prince and Prowling workroom much later than intended after being roped into helping an old law school friend work on a Virginia voter registration hotline for three hours.  It now appeared that thousands of potential voters who had been registered door-to-door had fallen victim to a scam in which their voter registrations were simply trashed.  If the fate of Virginia's electoral votes hinged on frantic volunteers' trying to clean up that level of disenfranchisement, what hope was there for a fair election in Virginia?  She sat down at the table and looked over the latest piles of work from Bridezilla--who was, rumor had it, between boyfriends and on another billable tear--and sighed.  More crap work, she thought to herself.  I spent three years in law school and passed the Bar, but nobody will pay me to do a single hour of meaningful work in this world--just crap.  She made a mental estimate of work time required this afternoon and whether she would have the stamina to do a couple more hours of volunteer work at the end of the day.  Damned undecided voters!  Is it really that hard, Virginia?  Can't you pay the slightest attention to even a couple things--Supreme Court nominees, maybe, or the ending of a war?!

A few miles to the south, Glenn Michael Beckmann was also fed up with Virginia's undecided voters.  "Is it really that hard, Virginia?" he ranted in his wildly popular blog.  "One candidate believes in guns, freedom, and babies, and the other candidate believes in vegetable gardens, tyranny, and a society of old farts' eating the young.  Do you want your own doctor, or a doctor that Michelle Obama picks out for you who's gonna tell you you're too fat and don't deserve to live?  We are the hunter-gatherers, and nobody can infringe our right to hunt and gather!  Do you want a President who reads namby-pamby books handed to him by Latin American dictators, or a President who keeps an extra copy of the Bible by his nightstand with a special place torn out to hide a Magnum 57?  Mormons for Magnums!  Magnums for everybody!"  He stopped to down another 5-Hour Energy Drink.  "You think the job in Iraq is unfinished?  Of COURSE it's unfinished!  That's why they're killing women and children in Syria!  We have to go back and drain the swamp!  Bomb Baghdad, that's what I say!  And Damascus!  Liberal elites live in cities--they should all be bombed!"  He paused for a moment, sensing something problematic, and reread his last couple of lines.  Hmmm....Well, technically I live in Washington, D.C., and that's a liberal elite city...but not a big one.  "Join me as I live-blog across Northern Virginia starting at 8 a.m. Monday morning and not quitting until that Communist Nazi Secret Muslim is voted out of office for good!  I'll be live-tweeting my locations so you can look for my motorcycle and side car mounted with a veteran-made AK47 as I ride around bullhorning the undecideds into voting for freedom!  And bring your bows and arrows--we'll be hunting our own food along the way--there are deer all over the place."

Over in Virginia, Dick Cheney was quickly on the phone with the Secret Service as soon as Beckmann had posted his latest blog rant.  "Did you see this?"  ("Sir, as you know, Beckmann has been under federal surveillance for several months now.")  "But did you see this?  You can't just monitor him--you need to arrest him!  He can't run around scaring undecided voters with an AK47 and his lunatic bow-and-arrow friends!  Every vote in Virginia matters!"  ("Sir, as you know, we cannot comment on specific case activity.")  "Don't tell me what the rules are, you young whipper snapper!  Freedom is on the line!  If we lose Virginia because of the lunatic fringe--"  ("Sir, he's not even the only fringe group agitating in Virginia right now--we will have appropriate resources deployed.  I can say no more.")

Cheney slammed the phone down just as his wife walked in with his afternoon heart medicine.  "I will lock you in a room with no phones, Dick, I will!"  He waved dismissively at her.  "You think I won't?!  You're not having another heart attack because of this election!"

"It's that goddam lunatic Beckmann again!  I'm blogging intelligent reasons for Virginia's ambivalent morons to vote for Romney, and he's got thirty times as many people following his psycho blog!"

"People like that don't count, Dick!  You've been watching too many zombie shows.  Now eat your jello and watch some football."  She unplugged his computer mouse, swiveled his chair towards the television on the wall, and handed him the remote.  "I'll check on you in an hour."

Back in Washington, the White House butler was walking restlessly around the East Wing, uncertain where her twin pre-schoolers had gone during her nap.  After checking all the upper rooms, she finally found them in the basement, putting peanut butter on rat traps.  "Fergie!  Reggie!  What do you think you're doing!?  That's not your job--don't be messing with those--those are dangerous!"  The twins quickly and quietly consulted each other in their secret twin language.

"Mommy, Hurricane Sandy didn't flood away the rats, like it did in the New York subways, so we're helping," said Ferguson.

"It's time to kill everything bad in our house," said Regina.

"What do you mean, everything?  What else is bad?"  But the twins said nothing more, overwhelmed by the cacophony of ambivalent ghost voices arguing in the corners about that very subject.

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