Living The Dream
As the line sluggishly advanced, Monica walked forward a few paces, a light summer breeze washing over her arms and legs and face, temporarily cleansing away some of the July morning’s heat. The man standing ahead of her in line, the man standing behind her, they worked in the White House. In a few moments, she would be able to consider herself a member of their rank and file. And each time the line moved forward, her smile became a bit wider, the sparkles in her eyes grew brighter, and the butterflies tumbling around in her belly fluttered more restlessly. Before long, she was next in line, and in that moment, she found herself glancing back at her entire life, and all the greatest moments therein. This was the most impressive of them all. This was a day she would never, ever be able to forget.
The uniformed Secret Service agent lazily waved Monica forward as the White House employee in line ahead of her, who had been chatting on his mobile phone for as long as she’d seen him, hastily made his way up to the country’s most famous home. The agent wasn’t as excited to be here as Monica was, that much was obvious. His face had the look of someone who would rather be anywhere else but there. The look of a man that was already looking forward to his retirement, albeit twenty years away.
“Name?” the agent insisted, as he skeptically looked Monica over.
“Monica Lewinsky,” she proudly replied. “I’m here to…”
“Badge?” In all of her excitement, Monica had forgotten to put it on that morning. She fumbled around in her purse for a moment trying to find it, as the agent let out an agitated grunt. But a moment later, she handed it over to him, and for whatever reason, he seemed even more annoyed then that she actually was who she said she was. “Follow the others to the West Wing’s security gate,” the irritable agent barked at her. “Please remember to wear your badge tomorrow, Miss Lewblowsky.”
“It’s Lewinsky. Monica Lew…”
She made her way up the walk, the Secret Service agents patrolling the greens glancing her over skeptically but not registering a threat. A few moments later, she found herself standing in the lobby of the West Wing, the room bustling with fast-walking, fast-talking political movers and shakers, each more oblivious to her existence than the last. Here she found more Secret Service agents, and one older, chubbier agent sitting behind a counter motioned for her to come closer.
“You must be new here,” the man observed, offering her the first friendly smile she’d gotten that morning. “Let’s see your badge, dear.” Monica took it off and handed it to him. he gave it a lengthy stare before passing it back. “Alrighty. Nice to meet you, Miss Lewinsky. My name is Sam.”
The warm welcome rinsed away the doubt Monica had built up in the past several minutes. This agent had made her feel like she actually belonged at the White House. “Thank you, Sam! It’s nice to meet you, too!”
Sam grinned and nodded toward the metal detectors. “After you’re done checking through security, go straight into the big lobby, take a right, then go left in the next hallway and follow it straight down to Mr. Panetta’s office. It’ll be at the very end of that hall. If you get lost, feel free to ask any uniformed Secret Service agent for assistance, okay?”
“Okay Sam. Thank you so much!”
“Don’t mention it, Miss Lewinsky.”
Monica finished going through security and followed Sam’s directions to the letter, eventually reaching the office of the White House Chief of Staff, Leon Panetta. The door was open, so she walked straight in. There, Monica found the only person in this huge building she knew: Leon Panetta, a friend of her family’s whom Monica hadn’t seen in many years.
“What the fuck am I supposed to do with this? This would’ve been great information to have eighteen fucking hours ago. You’re fucking useless!” Leon Panetta crumbled up the paper he was holding and violently crammed it into the mouth of the man fearfully trembling in front of him. “You should fucking kill yourself! But first, kill your ugly fucking parents for bringing such an incompetent nitwit into my presence! Get out of my sight before I…” Leon turned his head, spotting Monica, her excited smile unencumbered by whatever was happening in the room. “Little Monica!”
“Uncle Leon!” Monica charged toward Leon, leaping to hug him as Leon’s shrunken, mortified employee quickly and fearfully dissolved from the room. She gave Leon a big wet kiss on the cheek. “It’s so great to see you, Uncle Leon!”
“Little Monica! Look how big you’ve gotten! Why, I remember when you were just a little baby. Now look at you! How did Bernie and Marcia create such a lovely young woman?”
“Thank you so, so, so much for this opportunity, Uncle Leon! I can’t tell you how grateful I am for letting me come work here. I can’t believe I’m actually standing in the White House, of all places! I’m so happy, so proud…”
Leon released Monica from his bear hug, keeping her in his embrace as he smiled down at her. “If anyone in this room is proud little Monica, it’s me! You’re going to accomplish great things in your time here at the White House. I’m glad I get to witness it.”
Monica pushed forward to hug Leon again. “I can’t wait to get started here, Uncle Leon!”
Monica and Leon spent the next several minutes catching up, with Monica telling him all about her college graduation, and her trip to Washington DC, and her apartment in Georgetown, before Leon instructed her to visit the office of her new boss, Margaret, in the room next door.
“Margie directs our internship program,” Leon explained. “She’ll get you set up with a pager and a cellular phone…”
“A cellular phone? Me?” Monica couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “I’ve only ever seen those in the movies!”
“It’s not just any cellular phone. The ones we use here at the White House can do all sorts of things! You can use it to check your email, and take photographs, and…” Leon burst out in laughter as he saw Monica’s face melt into pure awe. “Oh, little Monica, I’m only joking with you! Maybe a phone can do all of that in the year 2095, but in 1995, not so much.”
“Oh, Uncle Leon, you really had me there!” Monica giggled sheepishly while Leon let out a hefty chuckle of his own.
“Oh, I’m sure I’ll have you on this desk…”
“What?” Leon asked sharply. “Anyway, if you need anything, anything at all, I’ll be right next door. Come to me if you need to ask any questions, if you need help with the computers, if you’re stressed out and need a foot rub, if you want help with the photo copier… anything at all!”
“I will, Uncle Leon!” Monica gave him another firm hug, and another big kiss on his cheek. “And again, thank you for this opportunity. I won’t let you down!”
“I’m sure you won’t, kiddo.” Leon hugged her tight again. “I’m sure you won’t.”