Govern In Prose
“So not only is Bill winning… he’s winning in a landslide? How can this be?!”
“I’m sorry, Madame First Lady.”
“Oh, you’re sorry alright!” Hillary wrapped a pale, shaky fist around a small bronze bust of Amelia Earhart, grimaced toward Debbie, and made the fabled aviatrix fly for the first time since 1937. Debbie narrowly dodged the inbound statue, bobbing away so closely that she could feel it brush her hair. When she turned to glance at the carnage, the bust had burrowed into the drywall behind her, as if Jose Conseco had thrown it. Or Roger Clemens? One of those baseball play… “Get your head into the damn game, Debbie! Now!”
“I’m sorry, Madame First Lady.” Debbie felt she could just write that phrase on her forehead, or tattoo it, or perhaps even have it engraved.
“All of this work. Four fucking years! Why is Al Gore still the Vice President? How did Bill win reelection without my help? And where the hell are fat-fuck and fat-tard?”
“Rush and Newt?”
“Rewsh and Neewt?” Clinton mocked back, exaggerating with a screwed up face.
“I’ll find them, Madame First…”
“Call me ‘Madame First Lady’ one more time. I fucking dare you!”
“Yes, Madame… Hill… First…”
“Leave my presence!”
Debbie anxiously nodded and darted from the room, ducking slightly for fear of any inbound heroines Hillary felt like lobbing her direction. She closed the door behind her, and then heard a series of crashes from the room she’d just left as soon as the door clicked shut. Five Secret Service agents charged toward the room to investigate the sounds, but Debbie wasn’t going to hang around to see how many came back out.
Rush and Newt were supposed to have given their “special” cigar to Debbie as soon as they arrived back in the country. But Limbaugh, being the lardy oaf he was, had somehow mixed the special cigar in with a bunch of other Cuban cigars he had illegally purchased while visiting the tiny communist island. It took them ages to find the right one, and by then, Al Gore had become so imbedded into the campaign trail that it was impossible to actually deliver it. Even when he’d found himself in the same town for more than a few hours, he was always surrounded by witnesses, and surely passersby would notice the Vice President of the United States — a Democrat — receiving a gift from Rush Limbaugh, arguably the most famous conservative in America.
Debbie pulled her cell phone from her purse, quickly dialing Rush before holding it to her ear. Busy signal. She tried Gingrich next. Busy signal again. Were these two nincompoops chatting it up? Today of all days? She had to find them. Hillary didn’t say it specifically, but Debbie was certain she would want the plan to go through. It may have been too late for Hillary to join Bill on the ticket, but it would still be advantageous to her if she could become Vice President, right?
As she left the White House, she caught a glimpse of a television screen. Bill was winning, alright… he had just closed out two more States. If he kept at that pace, Debbie could envision him winning 360 to 370 electoral votes, shutting down Dole completely. And she knew that would make Hillary even angrier. For Bill to win by a narrow margin without her name on the ticket would enrage her. To win by a small or moderate landslide — 300 to 330 electoral votes — would make her homicidal. For Bill to win by 360 or 370 electoral votes… well… Debbie always liked the name “Carla.” Maybe that’s what she’d change it to right before fleeing the United States, with no intention of ever returning.
Debbie hurriedly got into her car, the mental images of Hillary stabbing, slashing, shooting, and strangling people flashing in the back of her mind in stills of hatred rinsed with red. She fumbled with her keys the way a teenage bimbo would during an intense horror movie scene. And when a fist rapped on the window inches from her left ear, she actually barked out a blood-curdling yelp.
It was Newt.
“Where the hell have you been?” Debbie demanded, trying and failing to control her breathing.
“We… well, me, I… I was…”
“Not getting berated by Hillary Clinton?”
“Get in the car.”
“I can’t, I was actually just about to…”
“NEWT!” A few White House employees overheard her shouting. One man looked like he was about to come over, but a woman stopped him, and they quickly walked off together.
Newt didn’t say a word, dashing around the car and wresting the door open before plopping into her passenger seat, the car rocking like a boat on a lake as he entered. “We need…”
Newt closed the door. Debbie started up the car, throwing it into reverse and pulling back, not thinking to check the rearview mirrors until she had already slapped the transmission into drive. “Where is he?”
“Where is who?”
“You know who.”
“Rush? You don’t want to go where he is.”
“Yes, I really do.”
“He’s in Deanwood.”
“Deanwood? Where the hell is…”
“East of the Anacostia.”
Debbie slammed on the brakes, the car behind her honking and weaving around her, narrowly escaping an accident. “East of the Anacostia?”
“What the hell is he doing there?”
“I can’t say.”
“You can’t say because you don’t know, or you can’t say because you don’t want to say?”
“DEANWOOD!” Debbie shoved the pedal into the carpet. The car’s front wheels spun out before they quickly drove off, heading in a general Easterly direction. It took a few minutes for Newt to realize they were actually going to Deanwood.
“Do you know where we’re going, Debbie?”
“We’re going to find that fat bastard and find out where the damn cigar is!”
“I know that, but I mean… do you know where Deanwood is?”
“It’s East of the Anacostia River.”
“People like us… we don’t go there.”
“What do you mean? ‘People like us?’ I’m nothing like you.”
“I mean people with our… with our complexion.”
“You mean people of color live East of the Anacostia. That’s what you’re trying to say.”
“Yes, colored pe… I mean… people of color.”
“And you have a point, right? Other than being a racist?”
“I’m not… I mean I didn’t…”
“Just shut up and let me drive.”
Twenty minutes later, neither of them had any idea where they were. Debbie was driving slowly now, carefully. She tried spotting street signs, but they were all streets she’d never heard of. In truth, she had no idea where they were. She wasn’t even sure if they were still in the capital.
“What? Now whose being racist!”
“You know what I meant, damn it.” Debbie pulled over. They couldn’t just drive around all night. “We need to ask someone for directions.”
“Like hell we do!”
“Damn it Newt, will you just ask someone?”
Newt gleamed at her, his expression torn between anger and fear. But Debbie stared right back, hers split between anger and do-it-or-I’ll-leave-you-here. “Fine. I’ll ask this guy.” Newt rolled his window down, leaning out ever so slightly. The young black man was smoking a cigarette, oblivious to the Speaker of the House just a few feet away. “Excuse me young man, I was wondering if you could tell me how to get…”
“Young man? Are you trying to call me ‘boy?’ Man, fuck off!”
“You’re not excused. Fuck off!” The young man kept walking as Newt rolled up his window, irritated.
“You’re basically the least-cool person in America, aren’t you?”
“Hey, I’m cool! I’m very cool, Debbie! That man was so rude! And so what if I called him ‘boy?’ I didn’t even do that by the way. But what if I did? Why is that offensive?”
“Jesus Newt, you’ve never actually spoken with a black person, have you?”
“I’ll have you know I have plenty of black friends, Missus Wasserman-Schultz.”
“Oh yeah? How many is that?”
Newt frowned at her. “I have enough.”
“Hit your quota, did you? Good to hear.”
“My what? Listen democrat, I don’t have to sit here and take this from…”
“Here’s another guy. Ask him!” Newt shook his head before turning to roll down the window. “And be cool this time, Newt.”
“Cool? I’ll show you cool.”
This young man was far more attentive. He spotted Newt immediately, and judging by the look on his face, he recognized him as well. And by the way he was dressed, he was probably a Georgetown student. Debbie was just about to provide Newt with that information, too, before Newt started to talk, seemingly hearing Curtis Mayfield songs in the back of his mind.
“Yo my brotha, let me scat at you for a minute.”
“Scat? What?” The man looked less offended than he did terrified. Or maybe amused? Probably both. “You want to sing jazz at me? Or throw feces?”
“What? Naw man, naw. Check it! Me and my bitch are lost, yo. We need you to help us find Deanwood, ya dig?”
“You… and your ‘bitch’…”
“My ho, whatever my brother.”
The man stared blankly at Newt for what felt like an eternity, slowly swaying his head in disbelief. Debbie thought perhaps he was broken somehow, and would spend the whole winter just standing in that spot, shaking his head. But then, he finally spoke. “Go straight to Division Avenue northeast, turn left, then go straight until you hit Nannie Burroughs. Deanwood is northwest of that.”
“Those directions were fly, yo! Or fresh? They were fresh! Fuh-fuh-fuh-fresh!”
Newt waved, smiled, and rolled up his window as Debbie pulled away, hoping the young college student didn’t realize what Gingrich had just said, but knowing full well that he definitely did. “Need to stop at the Klan rally before we find Limbaugh?”
“Klan rally? What on Earth are you talking about?”
“That was the most offensive conversation I’ve ever heard in my life that wasn’t in a movie.”
“What? When was I being offensive? How was I offensive?”
“You called him a… you used the ‘N’ word, Newt!”
“What? No! I didn’t use a hard ‘R!’ It’s a term of endearment! Everybody knows that!”
“And why in the hell were you talking like you just stepped off the set of ‘Shaft?'”
“That’s how they talk!”
“Them! You know… those people!”
“You mean African-Americans?”
“Yes! The blacks!”
“Sweet Jesus,” Debbie whispered to herself, opting to drive in silence and tune out the bigot sitting beside her.
Debbie turned onto Division, just as the college kid had said, and continued onward until she spotted Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue. And there, standing on the corner with two large black men, was Rush Limbaugh, smoking a cigar and laughing. This was easier than she had anticipated. She pulled up alongside the curb, rolled down Newt’s window, and leaned over.
Rush turned and spotted them instantly. “Hey guys! What are you doing here?”
“Get in the car,” Debbie commanded.
“I will in a sec, okay? First I need to get…”
“GET IN THE CAR!”
Rush looked at Newt, then back toward his unidentified new friends. He turned to speak with them for a moment before spinning back around and getting into the back of Debbie’s car. “It still smells like animals in here.”
Debbie didn’t respond immediately. She just put the car in drive and headed back toward civilization. Civilization? Great. Now ‘I’m’ turning into a damn racist like these two idiots. “What the hell were you doing way out here, Rush?”
“I can’t tell you.”
“Why the hell not?!”
“Just tell her Rush,” Newt interjected. “She’s in a ‘mood’ this evening.”
“In a ‘mood?’ You called me a bitch and a ho and called a black person the ‘N’ word to his face!”
“I didn’t use a hard ‘R!’ For Pete’s sake!”
“Oh, no hard ‘R?’ Yeah, that’s not racist. It’s a term of endearment. Everybody knows…”
“SHUT UP! BOTH OF YOU!” Debbie’s hands were shaking a little. Now she understood how Hillary got so riled up. “What were you doing out here, Limbaugh?”
“I was having some extreme back pain. I needed some oxy.”
“Oxycodone? You were buying pharmaceutical drugs illegally?”
“No, not oxycodone. OxyContin! They’re totally different!”
“Without a prescription?”
“The doctor won’t let me have another one.”
“Because you’re not supposed to take any more!”
“Hey, don’t look at me! I can’t control the pain in my back!”
“Yeah? Well right now you and Newt both are a pain in my backside.”
“Do you want a pill? I’m cool with sharing…”
“She said her ‘backside,’ Rush. She means her ass.”
“Don’t talk about my ass, Newt. Don’t think about my ass. I don’t even have an ass as far as you’re concerned!”
“So, that’s a no on the oxy?”
Limbaugh shrugged. “More for me then.”
“The cigar. Where is the cigar, Rush?”
“What? The cigar?”
“Yes! You know, the one we flew to Cuba to illegally obtain? The one that’s supposed to explode and kill Al Gore, so Hillary Clinton can become Vice President? That cigar?”
“Can I just point out how lucky we are that your car isn’t bugged and that none of us are wearing a wire right now?”
“You really did just lay it all out right there,” Newt stated, grinning.”
“I swear, if you two idiots say one more word that isn’t an answer to my questions, I’m going to murder you both, strip off all of your clothes, and pose you mid-sex with each other for the whole world to see!”
“Which of us do you see as the top?” Rush just had to ask.
“Newt has it!”
“What? No I don’t, I gave it to…”
“No, I gave it back, remember? You said you liked my jacket, and I told you I was hot, so I handed it to you while I took it off.”
“Oh right!” Newt turned back to Rush, and the two laughed for a moment.
“So where is the cigar right now?” Debbie was seriously losing her cool.
Newt reached into his pocket, fishing around for a few moments, before pulling it out. “Here you go.”
Debbie snatched it from his hand without a word, and then she drove silently, tuning out the nitwits in the car with her as best she could, and wondering to herself how on Earth she ever ended up in this city, let alone this situation.
Later that night, Debbie learned the official news: Bill Clinton had won reelection, and not with the 360 to 370 electoral votes she had previously estimated. It was 379 electoral votes. It was 109 more than he actually needed to win reelection.
And with that, Debbie kicked off her shoes and crawled into bed. She could bring the cigar to Hillary the next morning, right? Yeah… that would be best.