Friday, August 8, 2014
Mr. John Smith Goes to Washington: A Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Fan Fiction Story
Mr. John Smith Goes to Washington: A Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Fan Fiction Story
C V Ford
For the purposes of this story, the names and ethnicities of one major and three minor characters from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya have been changed. They are:
Kyon/John Smith - John Smith
Taniguchi - Danny Gucci
Kunikida - Kenny Coudreaux
Little Sister - Little Sister
The name's Smith ... John Smith. Yeah, I know. A waspy, generic name but then, I'm a waspy, generic kind of guy. And so is pretty much the make up of the constituency I represent on Capitol Hill.
Yes. I'm a congressman. How I got here ...
It was a fluke. One to beat the mother of all flukes. I had no intention of running, let alone winning the election. I inadvertently "volunteered" as a joke at a party. Thanks to that "useless" Danny Gucci and Kenny Coudreaux my campaign managers and "friends" (Now my chief and deputy chief of staff respectively. I still try keeping them at arms length!), I'm now house representative for the 17th Congressional district of southeast Ohio.
We'd long been represented by a "hide bound" conservative by the name of Bill Blaine. As long as he wasn't pushing/supporting anything I found egregious and left things alone (Don't vote to raise taxes and hands OFF my guns!), I could have cared less and voted for him. The rest of the district pretty much felt the same way. The non-entity that he was, he occupied the seat, toeing the Republican party line.
In spite of my past voting and party affiliation, I'm not what you'd call conservative, or for that matter, a Republican (Depending on issues/candidates I usually vote "mixed ticket".). I'm more of a "small L" libertarian than anything else. You know ... Take a right on money and a left on sex and you have "paradise". The less of "do-gooders"/politicians/government and their trying to "solve" (Make!) problems real or perceived, the better.
As for FORMER Rep. Blaine ... well ... You know the old saying: "As long as you're not caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy, you'll get re-elected."
The doofus was found with both ... AT THE SAME TIME! ... Halfway into his umpteenth term.
His hemming/hawing/avoidance and weaseling out of it didn't satisfy the denizens of our little buckle on the Bible belt and he was soon faced with a primary challenge (His first since he started.) from another bozo just like him.
At a chance meeting at the aforementioned party, I ran into Danny Gucci and Kenny Coudreaux, a couple of old high school cronies. They'd recently lost their staff assistant jobs at the Ohio State House due to their "employer" having lost a previous election. I flippantly suggested I was more qualified (Too many beers at that moment!) than the two jerks running. With my consent, they took off with it.
My little sister said long ago, that no good would EVER come of being friends with those two miscreants. Ever since grade school, they were always into some kind of scam/trouble. How right she was! She's now my personal secretary and hasn't forgiven me since. Ah yes ... the wonders and glories of nepotism.
Next thing I knew, there were "volunteers" of various political stripes and persuasions(!?) going door to door all over the district. They got enough valid (Just over the required limit!) signatures in just under the deadline and I was on the primary ballot.
The public picked up on this new "three way" (I WASN'T having ANY fun!) and Blaines' chances faded quick. There were enough out there tired and hungry for someone really new. As the second challenger was pretty much the same as Blaine ... After the THIRD narrow margin recount in the two way run-off, I was on the ballot for November.
The Democrats were ecstatic ... at first. For the first time, they had a real chance of snagging that seat. Until they put up their perrenial favorite.
Carl Bennet was something of a joke around these parts. A professor of philosophy at Ohio U. in Athens, he always ran against Blaine ... and lost. The only real support he could get was from Democrat party officialdom, college faculty/students and some of Athens. Everyone else called him "Carl the commie" due to his less than moderate (To put it mildly!) leftist stance on EVERYTHING.
Southeast Ohio, demographically like its' also rural neighbor West Virginia (Conservative, working class/coal mining and some light manufacturing.), has an independent streak that's unbelievable.
Times being usually poor and lean, the people, a lot on welfare/relief of some kind, would also resort to marijuana growing (Unofficially, Ohios' BIGGEST cash crop!), making meth, and poaching game to keep their heads above water (Moonshine? Only old timers did that anymore just to keep their hands in.). Not exactly an area conducive to electing the likes of Bennet.
I've long suspected some congressional seats are considered the exclusive property of either party. By unwritten agreement, the other party runs someone at election time with little to no chance of winning just to "show the flag". This to give the "loser" some political cred/chops in running for some other office later. Not so with Bennet. He always shot for this position.
Me? After my primary victory, I really started worrying I was going to win this thing! I was torn between treating it all as the joke I saw it as and the realization that if Bennet won, the district seat would be occupied by a total zampolit. I mean, this guy was really sore about the outcome of the Cold War. I'm talking Leon Trotskys' first disciple here!
Perhaps I exaggerate. But I knew this guy a little better than most. You see, before I came to Congress, I was a janitor ... At Ohio U. Yes. The same place my opponent taught philosophy. And I got to witness some of the blowhard in action going about his "job".
Funny, he never knew I existed until my primary run. Just before the primary race heated up and my quitting to devote full time to it, I'd notice him scrutinizing me at a distance, sizing me up. I mean ... a ... JANITOR!? ... Running for congress? ... Wotta' joke!
I thought the same.
After Bennet threw his hat in, the Dem party machine (They couldn't turn down their "Grand Old Man" of the area.) started worrying. The polls showed it would be a lot closer than they thought and they decided to throw in a bit more than originally planned. What they did ... well ... More on that a little later.
I decided to get serious and surprisingly it meant more of the approach I did in the primary before. When asked what my opinion/stand on a particular issue, I adopted the policy that worked for a two term Minnesota governor (1). I'd give a straight up yes or no with a (very) brief qualifying explanation. If I didn't know anything about an issue I'd say so and that I'd look into it. If pressed on it I would reply: "That's my story, I'm stickin' to it."
I ... HATE ... absolutely DETEST ... the way politicians, left OR right, give an answer on anything. It amounts to a stump speech where: 1. The "issue" is restated. 2. How important everyone and HE thinks it is. 3. How everyone and HE is concerned. And 4. How important concern is about its' importance, especially HIS.
But almost NEVER actually giving a real up or down answer on what could be done or where one stood.
Krap like that makes me want to strangle baby seals and club cute children.
As for questions to me on issues and positions, here're some fer-instances:
Q: How would you act on legislation in general?
A: Is the piece of legislation:
1. Constitutional/unconstitutional? If what's proposed isn't provided for in that document then I probably won't vote for it.
2. Is it a clean bill? If there are favors, add-ons or ammendments not having anything to do with the legislation (Example: industries and businesses in Congressman Yellowtails' district getting awarded government contracts.) then I won't vote for it.
3. I must know what's in the bill before I would even consider voting for it. None of that krap about "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what's in it".
Q: Your stand on affordable health care?
A: Due to new federal regs, my provider just informed me my premiums went up 600 bucks for next year. Fifty more a month. Affordable? Yeah ... right!
Q: But what about those who can't afford it?
A: Now they can afford it even less. Government inadvertantly jacking up the price was no help at all. My wallet nor yours can afford someone elses' "compassion".
Q: The debt ceiling?
A: It makes no sense to have contractors raise your ceiling over a broken sewer pipe. The house will keep filling with sewage till it hits the ceiling. What then, have the roof raised again? I say no. Fix the pipe. Same goes for the debt. Real drastic cuts are needed. IN EVERYTHING.
Q: What would you want cut?
A: Any and EVERYTHING not provided for in the Constitution. A lot of people, organisations, politicians and parasites, both left and right don't like the idea but that's how I roll.
Q: Your stand on the definition of marriage?
A: The federal government itself has no business saying who/what to marry and other "matters of the heart".
The above question would usually lead to:
Q: Gay rights?
A: What two of more consenting adults/whatever do in private is no concern of yours or mine. Just don't hand me that line of bull about being a part of some pet victim group entitled to my having to subsidize its' "art", propaganda, and health care. You want it, you pay for it. I also have a problem when someone tries to legislate me into silence of any criticism I may have of him. Then one gets no sympathy from me.
A: Won't support it on principle and not legislatively either. It's up for individual states to decide. If, however, the extinction of your own genetic line means fewer of you to pester me in the future then have at it. Just don't expect me or others to pay for the service.
Q: Hate crime legislation?
A: If you mean "hate speech", no one should have to look over his shoulder for fear that a nose gets out of joint from something someone hears. If you don't like what you hear then don't eavesdrop. Either take the guy out to the parking lot and have it out with him or shut up.
As for actual crime, we already have procedure for determining motive. Even so, crime is crime no matter what the motive.
Q: Your stand on Israel?
A: My would be constituency is the 17th congressional district of the State of Ohio not Israel. The only ones in any position to determine Israels' right to exist or what it does are the Israelis themselves. Not us, the U.N., or any fundys lurking about. Support of them, if any, should be worked out in a more equitable manner and not as is present.
B: If you can't come through the front door don't come at all.
Q: Gun control?
A: NEVER bring a knife to a gunfight and keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot. Oh, you mean legislation. Won't vote for any and all measures no matter how many times media/advocates use childrens bodies to dance on.
And on and on it went.
Most folks, used to unilateral resistance/agreement got a bit confused.
Working folks liked me. Special interests said I had no compassion for the "working classes" let alone them.
Homosexuals (I can't call them gay. That means something else.) branded me a homophobe. Evangelicals claimed I was queerer than a tin silver dollar.
Minority organisations pegged me as racist. KKKluckers called me a "(Insert racial expletive here.) lover".
Ecumenicals proclaimed me a rabid Zionist. Rapture bunnies said I was an ISIS operative and/or a card carrying member of Al Quaida.
The debates, both primary and main, were a riot. I would use an egg timer while taking notes on my opponents' answers. It always irked them when it dinged and I'd announce how much time they went over in stating their non-concern over whatever issue, non or otherwise. Mine were the afore mentioned yes/no/I don't know, I'll look into it/brief explanation.
Bennet was particularly put out about the egg timer. His protests managed to have it barred from our second debate on. I resorted to looking at my watch (What didn't work for "George the First" in '92 worked great for me. Bennets' longwindedness got old really fast.) and softly saying "ding" into the mike when time was up. This only spurred my opponent to talking longer, aggravating the spectators and moderator even further.
He had trouble connecting with the voters. His acting/speaking like the philosophy academic he was and talking down to people as if they were first year students didn't help his image in the least.
I myself came across as blunt and crude and though we both drove folks away, my brevity and to the point delivery made me less disliked.
Bennet even accused me (On top of my "youthful inexperience" and what he percieved as immaturity.) of being unrealistic. This coming from a guy whose job entailed teaching students that reality wasn't real ... while later watching for traffic on the drive home from work.
Emmanuel ... can't.
When accused of not being serious, my reply: "Yup!" I would then say I couldn't take his faux passion/concern seriously either and he would be better off stating he was only serious about getting elected.
Q: Don't you want to win yourself?
A: Not really. But I'm in a fight now and win or lose, I'll finish it. If folks take my being blunt and up front about this campaign as flippant in regard to my opponent as a lack of seriousness, so be it.
The unofficial campaign slogans were: (From the left/right establishment and special interests.) DON'T vote for Smith. He doesn't want the job. Or (From everyone else.) VOTE for Smith. He REALLY doesn't want the job!
And the smear campaign ... GEEZ!
The papers, the Dems ... even the Republicans got on my case.
They got on my racist past. How, in my late teens, I was a member of Bierces' National Allegiance group. Though the organization emphasized education instead of activism and street action, the opposition tried to make me out to be some kind of fire breathing storm trooper.
My response to Bennets', and others "sniping" about it was:
"So what did you do when you were young, all heart and brainless? Oh yeah! 'Doin' the Time Warp'. You know ... It's just a jump to the LEFT (2) ... And staying there. As for me, I don't care what ya' look like. I'll work with anyone who'll work with me."
They said I was too young and inexperienced.
"The Constitution says I have to be at least 25 for this office. As for experience, I doubt Mr. Bennets' past failed attempts at taking this congressional seat from the mediochre likes of Blaine to be much of a qualification."
I was only a janitor (Both sides referred to me as "Johnny the Janitor".). How would I know anything about government, the economy or the way of the world in general?
"I draw a paycheck. I look at the with-holding on it and see there's something wrong happening. I want my money back. So does just about everyone else who works for a living."
As it was, the smears, the protesters, the doors being slammed in my face were compensated somewhat by what positive feedback there was. From working stiffs tired of being stiffed. Family farmers who knew that agricultural legislation benefited only agribusiness. Small businessmen being curtailed by government.
While megachurches denounced me as the new anti-Christ, local pastors and congregants, genuine fundamentalists and (Surprisingly!) ecumenicals told me their sympathies and support. Not only by word and note but from the numerous small donations to the campaign fund. Dan and Kenny, though running the campaign on a shoestring and their fledgeling expertise, the word was still getting out.
People were really talking about me.
SOMEONE out there thought I had a better than even chance.
Needless to say ... I was SHOCKED!
Still am ...
At this same time, a young lady in southern California (She hailed from the town of Gardena, located in an area jokingly referred to as "Japans' 48th Prefecture" due to its ethnic make-up.) was making quite a stir. She quit her seat in their state legislature of only a few months (The previous occupant kicked off in an untimely manner and she ran unopposed in a special election.) and announced her Democratic candidacy for Californias' 54th U.S. Congressional district.
She had something of a reputation in her short tenure for being a total whack job and not playing ball with the political machine in Sacramento. They seemed happy to be rid of her and throw her to the wolves in Washington.
I remembered reading about how she intro'd a bill decriminalising prostitution in her state. The howl went up and it was quashed. Understandable. If you merely decriminalise instead of legalise, the ground wouldn't be set for government to regulate/tax it to death. Silly girl. Just WHAT was she THINKING!?
At the same time a scandal broke in connection with her piece of legislation. Heavily encrypted client records of a prominent Los Angeles "escort service" were planted in one of her offices' machines. If it wasn't for the sharp observation and quick action of one of her IT staff, her political career would have been short lived indeed.
I wished her luck in her campaign.
I later found she wished the same for me.
As an aside, I would sooner trust a hooker before I would a politician. At least you know what you're getting from the start.
Remember I said the Democrat party threw a little more into Bennets' campaign? A third party runner came onto the scene, as it later turned out, with funding from the Dems. None other than Bill Blaine himself!
Out of spite, the shameless whore sold his soul and services in an effort to bleed votes from me. Up til then I had no feelings one way or the other towards him ... or to the Republican machine in the area. Seems they were slipping a few bucks to him as well.
With their connections, Danny and Kenny kept me well abreast of the goings on of Ohio party politics. In spite of my official Republican status, I not only was pretty much on my own but targeted by both parties.
Carl of course welcomed this with rhetoric about "diversity of thought and the free flow of ideas". In other words, he was happy some of the heat was off.
It was quite a campaign/circus. Bennet spouting "ideology" and no one knowing what the heck he was talking about (Not even him, I don't think.). Blaine, the mental midget, acting as the intellectual bully's flunky.
And me ... Hating every minute of it and wishing I hadn't drunken so much at a party just over a year before. Making a living cleaning toilets was a LOT less crappy than this!
I still kept on. I may dislike something, try to avoid, want to hunker down, wishing it would go away.
But if I'm mad enough ... AND I WAS ... I'm gonna' finish it.
That November ... DOOMSDAY! ... Finally arrived.
Almost a month after ... That's right kiddies! ... recounts ... AGAIN!
The media and political hacks were agitated to say the least. In spite of their editorializing, it was obvious to even the dullest on the street. Blaine didn't take enough votes from me to put my main opponent in office. In the confusion he may even have taken a few FROM Bennet.
The first two recounts had Bennet gaining a few. The third had someone "miraculously" finding a couple thousand paper absentee ballots, most putting him a little closer. There was talk of a fourth recount ...
The hacks tried a new tack. Though I wasn't actually approached, it was proposed/rumored that maybe I and Bennet could settle this by drawing a card like one tied election was settled some years back out west. After all, what's a few thousand votes either way, right?
NO FREAKIN' WAY! The aforementioned race (For the office of mayor in a small town.) was an actual DEAD EVEN tie and a win's a win, even by one single vote. I doubt they would have considered such if it was Bennet with such a narrow margin. It was still a clear majority of (barely) 51%.
Before a fourth recount could be launched, Bennet conceded. He talked around my being the winner, saying something to the effect about the democratic process being sacred. Dan and Kenney got word from the state capitol that Bennet was talked into concession. Seems both the Dem and Rep political machines were sensing bad publicity. Figuring I was going to be a "one term passing wind" they decided to let it drop.
It was off to Congress!
No one was more disappointed than I ...
Now you may think this was a miraculous "David and Goliath" kind of deal. No, I won because what few people voted were less disgusted with me than Bennet. While turnout was about the national average in general, a LOT of folks in our district voted on other issues/races but left our part of the ballot blank.
Seems I was the most popular/unpopular candidate ever.
I then generated another controversy a few days before heading out.
Even before the race was over, both parties had candidates slated for the seat two years later. Both a couple of "fire breathing moderates" proclaiming their non-committal blandness to the world.
From what alter of skulls in some fetid swamp on what undead planet orbiting around what sick, green, anti-matter star do they get these creatures from!?
When accosted by a national news locust about the "overwhelming probability" of my being a one term congressman, I replied:
"Even if I lose the next election, I'll still have "won". I'll have a nice little congressional pension and exempted from having to be in our national health care system. I'll just kick back and spend the rest of my life hunting and fishing topped with a folded flag on the box when I check out."
Hey ... I gotta' be me ...
While this was going on, the aforementioned young lady in California was going through her own recount ordeal. Her election wasn't only against her Republican opponent but, southern Cal being what it is, also SEVERAL third party candidates as well.
From appearances, the third parties, including Libertarian, (Oh come on! Her bona fides in that direction were better than his. Even better than mine!) were drawing votes away from both candidates and the Dems (Her own affiliation! At least officially.) had even backed one financially (Some socialist/collectivist jerkwad akin to Bennet.). Like my run, each of the three recounts had her slightly ahead and she FINALLY got elected by, though a clear majority, a squeaker.
I made it a point to look her up when I got to D.C.. Other than Ron Powell in the House and his son in the Senate, I doubted there was anyone else I would be able to talk to.
So we blow in to D.C. with a couple Ryder trucks. Through some miracle of Dan and Kennys' prestidigitation, we got a couple of cheap (For the D.C. area.) side by side efficiencies. We were tripling up. I, Danny and Kenny in one. Sis and two of the soon to be secretarial staff in the other.
For those who think being a congressman is lucrative, I've news for ya. Yeah, what I'm getting now is absolutely fabulous compared to my former janitors' wages, but D.C. and environs are not what you would call a low cost area. With my maintaining my apartment back home (Gotta prove residence of the area you represent, you know.) and the home office as well, not to mention my out right refusal to accept "perks" and favors from lobbyists (No problem with that. No one wants to talk with me anyway. The egg timer leaves little room for a spiel.), even with the congressional "expense stipends" we're lucky to keep our noses above water.
Of course due to the recount ordeal, missing out on the November and some December orientation seminars/meetings had to happen. On top of playing catch up, organising, getting Capitol Hill security clearances, etc., I had little chance connecting with anyone even on the first few days.
Except for one.
The powers that be decided to cram our offices in the basement of the Longworth House Office Building ... Right across the hall opposite the lady from California. Word got back to us that SOMEONE thought it a great idea to "isolate" both of us in this out of the way manner so's not to disturb the other "statesmen" at the public trough.
THEIR MISTAKE. It made future communication between our office suites a total breeze.
It was a good thing we brought some office furniture (If you could call card tables and folding chairs that.) with us. SOMEONE was making it difficult to set up shop.
"So sis ... " I was scanning around my bare office. "Where do you think we oughta' hang the picture of Joe McCarthy?"
"Oh God! ... John! ... I swear! That's all we need! Somebody takes one look at-"
"Hey, he scared the krap out of the commies 'fore he died."
"Yes, and the operative word is DIED. I promised Mom and Dad I'd watch out for you. They've been worried sick ever since you started running for office."
"And all this time I thought Mom and Dad wanted me to hire you because you're a damn good secretary."
"I am ... and don't you forget it!"
"Just yankin' your chain, hon."
"And this is no time for joking. You're a congressman now. You represent over 700,000 people back home. Yeah, I know, you're right. Politics IS a joke. A sad, sick and SERIOUS one."
She paused, looking thoughtful. A quirk she displayed before going off on a SEEMINGLY unrelated tack. An idiosycracy of hers I'd gotten wise to long ago.
"You know, our soon to be neighbor across the hall doesn't quite see eye to eye with you. She's not exactly what you'd call conservative ..."
"Neither am I. Nor is she what you'd call a flaming liberal. From what I've got on her, we both pretty much feel no matter what the issue, any monies proposed is better off in the pockets of the wage earner. That and the less government intrusion in any and everything , preferably NONE, the better."
"I'll never understand you ... or what you believe in," sis replied. "You couldn't be just Republican or Democrat, conservative ... whatever. The Tea Partiers ... even that weird bunch, the Libertarians, aren't all that enthused about you. You really shouldn't be in Washington."
"Something I keep telling myself."
Response to a knock at the door revealed Dan standing next to a tall Asian fellow.
"Visitors John," Dan announced. "Our neighbors from across the hall."
We shook hands, exchanged greetings.
"I'm Itsuke Koizume," on introducing himself. "The congresswomans' Chief of Staff."
"I was hoping to meet up with her today."
"She's said pretty much the same about you."
"Unfortunately she's had some business to wrap up in Sacramento. She and some others won't be in until later tonight."
"Any chance of seeing her then?"
"She and two others are going straight from the airport to this orientation party at the D.C. Plaza Hotel. Maybe you could see her there."
"Orientation party ... "
"Yes, like your situation, we missed out on just about all the orientation meetings/seminars. She figures the party is as good a place to start networking as any."
Sis reached into the folder she was carrying and handed over an envelope.
"Came in a few minutes ago."
Opening it, I withdrew a large, fancy, engraved card, gold filagre and all. Not only were reps and senators, but two staffers per as well.
Peering over, Koizume affirmed. "Exactly like the one we recieved."
"Looks like the party's as good a place as any to connect with any and all," I declared. "Any luck with anyone else trying to get ahold of you?"
"Absolutely NONE," replied the tall one with a chuckle. "We make a call and they put us on hold or disconnect by 'accident'. I don't think they like us."
"Hell, I KNOW. The only response is from the Powell offices. They'd like to talk."
"Same here. We're not too well liked either it seems."
Koizume handed over a sheet of paper.
"The congresswoman wanted me to give you these numbers."
Taking the list, I noted.
"Well sir," he continued. "I have to get back. Lotta' work to get done."
"Same here, good luck the next couple years."
"I think we're ALL gonna' need it."
Handing the list to Dan. "See if you can get in touch with her right now. If you connect, hand me the phone."
Gucci whipped out his cel and stepped out. Our erstwhile House procurers had neglected wall phones as well as rudimentary furniture.
It wasn't long. Sis and I were going over some things when Dan came back in.
"Got her personal assistant on the line, she wants to talk."
Handing me the phone Dan asked, "would you get her name for me? I like her voice."
Great. Not one day in Washington AC/DC and I'm already a "go between" for him. Just like high school.
The conversation was short and yes ... sweet ... very sweet. Danny was right. She DID have a nice voice. The kind of sensual, breathy tone some singers have. She could be reading out of a phone book and I could sit and listen to her all day.
As it was, the congresswoman was out attending to goodbyes, what few there were. She, this assistant and their systems/IT manager were going direct from the airport to the party.
"We'll be there tonight as well and see you then. Oh, by the way. If we have to contact again later today I'll need your name ... Uh ... How do you spell it?"
I wrote it down at the card table and handed the slip to an anxious Dan. After hanging up, I noticed he was looking at the note a bit puzzled.
"Mi- ... Mi- ..."
"Hard to pronounce?"
"I think I got it ... Um ... Mi- ... Mikuru ... Asahina?"
"So Sis ... which one?" I asked as I held out two ties."
My formal wardrobe is LIMITED. Just over a year ago I expanded from one to three suits. Union blue, rebel gray, and my old morticians' black. I was standing there in the reb gray. Only the tie was left to be hung.
"THAT," she said pointing to my favorite Three Stooges handpainted. "IS OUT! I can't believe you brought that thing along."
"But everybody LOVES the stooges! I mean, look ... It even has Shemp on it-"
"Bullcrap! I don't. And I don't care if you think it's appropriate. Those politicos won't be thinking of themselves when stooges come to mind. It'll be YOU!"
"And all I think of when that comes up is you, Kenny and ... Dan."
She spat out the last name. She and Dan met when she was little and she despised him from the very start. She wanted all of big brothers' attention and he was in the way. It changed when she got older. He'd hit on her and she'd HIT him.
She took the blue tie and started putting it on me. Not that I needed help but she wanted everything just right. First impressions and all. It was bad enough my "colleagues" already had a bad pre-conception of me. No sense coming off as a buffoon.
"At least the suit is a darker gray. This blue tie'll offset it nicely. 'Least you won't come off looking like Colonel Sanders."
"I also like Colonel Sanders."
"He comes off as chicken. You ... a TURKEY!"
I held up the Stooge tie before throwing it in the drawer.
"You didn't think I was ACTUALLY going to wear this tonight, did you?"
Her only answer was an eyebrow raised, head forward frown.
Kenny, Dan and I arrived at the D.C. Plaza Hotel. The receptionist at the ballroom entrance checked out the invitation card.
"Oh yes," she declared. "One of the last minute additions!"
The significance of which was only to hit later.
She looked at Kenny with a questioning look. Though he probably didn't have to, due to long practice, Kenny drew out his drivers' license.
Kenny looks a LOT younger than he is. Though in his mid to late twenties, the "kid" still looks high school seventeen. Total cougar bait, knows it ... and takes beyond full advantage. It would be a long time before people stopped mistaking him for a Capitol Hill page.
The ball room was absolutely HUGE. All lavishly decked out from the red carpeting and gold trimmings. If it wasn't for the fact it was a hotel grand ball room one would have thought the decore more fitting for a different kind of establishment. Entirely appropriate, considering the present guests.
It's true about "melting pots". The good stuff on the bottom getting burned as the scum rises to the top.
Everywhere I looked I would recognise a familiar face. Familiar, that is, from my many viewings/cursings of CNN (Commie News Net), Faux News and other propaganda outlets. Creatures, various and sundry homunculae from media/politics, left and right. All smiles (Smile spelled sideways is SLIME!), handshakes and backpatting. All in happy collusion of putting on a show of rivalry and concern to the folks at home when all the while collaborating and fleecing the wage earner.
I can't say I started having second thoughts about this job. It was more like my second millionth.
Looking around, it finally ... really ... HIT me. I had NO business being here.
I was on enemy territory ... surrounded ... And waaay out of my league.
Milling about were some of the worst of the worst. The highest ranking shysters, wheeler dealers, sharpies and "criminals with the right credentials" alive. People doing any and everything to get in power and stopping at nothing to STAY there.
I felt like a cocktail weenie that had just been dropped in a pirana tank.
Yup! Holy shit ...
I thought the campaign, with all its' bullkrap and garbage had me hardened to this. But now, seeing this. Now the reality right in front of me.
And no one had started in on me ... yet.
"You know," turning to my earstwhile top staffers, "I may have said it before but I'm saying it again.
"There's no way I'm going to forgive you guys for this."
"We've lost count since August," Kenny replied, grabbing a champagne from a heavily loaded tray carried by a disapproving waiter.
"Yeah," Dan adding, "if I had a nickle for every time you said that, I wouldn't need to be here."
"Heh ... being here."
"You know, John ... I will admit ... When Kenny and I first started to see what we could do with your election, we treated it as the big joke you thought it was. When you actually got on the primary ballot ... that's when we started taking it seriously."
"A little into the primary race," Kenny adding, "We KNEW you had a chance. While the polls showed the enthusiasm from those voting for you wasn't all that great but neither was it Bennet."
"And we had no idea then as to you getting this far. Now your ... here."
"Yeah. Right smack dab in the middle of the biggest den of vipers this side of ... Oh hell!"
"Hell yes! Who wouldn't be?"
"It's serious business from here on out John."
"I know that now more than ever. I'm in it now. Time to get down to business."
"Looks like someone already has," Kenny stated looking off to the south end of the ballroom."
"Quite a little crowd there," added Danny following his gaze.
I tracked their look to a sizable little mob by the bar near the kitchen entrance. Whoever was harangueing them certainly had their interest as they were responding in kind. Sounded quite heated, almost as if a fight was about to start up. The lone female voice in opposition piqued my interest even more.
"Looks as good a situation as any to start mingling," speculated Kenny.
I didn't need any prompting. "Let's go!"
The body density increased as we got closer, then into the crowd. Elbowing our way through the mass
I noticed a couple more "familiar" faces from media. Both getting their half cent in with their effort to intimidate.
And their target giving as good as she got. No ... It didn't sound like they were getting the best of her.
After a few more pseudo polite "pardon mes" and jostlings, me and my two partners in crime managed to get to the edge of the impromptu arena. What met our eyes ...
Three quite good looking, smartly dressed Asian babes, backs to the wall, holding firm as a mixed swarm of media whores, political flunkies, and other various and sundry humanoids tried their hands at impolite behavior.
The short haired one on the left seemed content to stare down members of the crowd through the lenses she wore. Her eyes, though calm seeming along with her expression, would alternate from that of one studying something grotesquely verminous to that of a marksman looking down rifle sights. Seemed to work. Had a subdueing effect on those she stared at. From time to time I'd see she was muttering under her breath. Maybe talking to the one next to her though I couldn't be sure.
A petite, quite well endowed one stood in the middle, her hand on the speakers' shoulder in reassurement/encouragement and to hold the speaker in place. A luxuriant mane of long hair framed a more than pretty face with a now firm set to mouth and jaw while scanning the mob.
As for the speaker ...
"You liberals ... You call yourselves liberals but you're always doing what you can to take away rights. There's nothing liberal about you, never was. You're the very fascists you accuse everyone else of being ... Hell! Though you use it a lot, you probably wouldn't even know what a fascist was if he bit you on the posterior.
"And you conservatives," she scanned the crowd looking at different faces. "You never conserved a damn thing in your lives ... except maybe your conservatism.
"I swear ... every time they," she indicated the lefties in the mob with her eyes, "do damage, you do nothing to fix it later. When they scream 'bipartisanship', you get back injuries from grabbing your ankles so fast."
I followed her gaze on her last statement to the edge of the crowd.
There, stood the two arch-parasites of the U.S. Senate: Mr. Wishy Washy Stand For Nothing Moderate, Jim Mc Clain and Commisar Larry Reed. Looking for all the world like they had just discovered this little impromptu debate ... Or trying to.
And wouldn't ya' know it, standing with them were the lead rip-resentatives of the House: Jack Byner and Nancy Paluzzi. They too putting on an air of ill disguised surprise.
Every so often, an aide/flunky would go up to them, whisper something, and be dispatched back into the fray. This didn't look good at all.
Standing up to them, total look of defiance on her radiantly cute face, ponytail tied off in yellow ribbon (Oh Geez!), this Asian goddess/"Herodotus at the bridge".
"And as for what I think of the general situation inside the beltway," she looked directly into the eyes of a face I recognized from cable news, and continued.
"Liberals ... Loud, in your face, immature little children making mental mud pies out of their non-intellectual feces ...
"Conservatives ... Little old ladies, of both sexes, wanting their tomorrows to be like their yesterdays only more so ...
"Both wanting their cakes and eating everyone elses' too-"
"YOUNG LADY!?" The indignant news caster cutting her off. "Just 'oo the 'ell d'you think you are!?"
I had a very good idea as to who as she scanned the frothing mob, mouth set in a contemptuous smirk on her radiant face. The news photos didn't do her justice.
"For those of you arriving late to this little non-debate ... ," in her standing taller, she proudly squared her shoulders and declared, " ... My name is Haruhi Suzumiya-"
"-That's REPRESENTATIVE Haruhi Suzumiya. Of the 54th Congressional District of the great state of California!"
Though most already knew that, the throng of unstately "statesmen", AIDeS, media creatures, and hangers-on let out a collective howl of derision. While at the edge of the crowd, the aforementioned four riders of Mordor scowled their fey disgust even more.
Undaunted, the bold vision continued, her "retinue" of two also holding firm.
"I'm not interested in business as usual. But if any of you ... ANY OF YOU! ... Actually give a damn about serving your constituencies and doing the job you were elected to instead of those who bought and paid you for ... Please come see me-"
"Is that all dearie ...?" The mouthpiece intoned in his sarcastic non-wit.
I disliked Pierpont Moran the moment I first saw him on the "telly" as he liked to call it. It wasn't just his politics. That phony "English" accent of his didn't help him in the least.
No, nothing against the English (Even though I've a lot of Irish in me.). I have fond memories of a past girlfriend from Liverpool. What came out of her mouth was sweet and musical. Moran made it sound like a cut rate fish 'n chips ad.
"No, that's NOT all," the freshman congressbabe fired back then scanned the mob.
"I don't care what your party affiliation is, your ideology ... or lack of it. I'll work with anyone willing to work with me on anything involving REAL personal freedom and keeping governments' hands in its' own pockets.
"Hell ... I'll even meet with ossified Buckleyites and Randroids if I have to. Anything's better than this school of ... goblin sharks!"
I saw Moran advancing on Suzumiya. "And jus' wha' is it yew think-"
I'm not what you'd call "Audie Murphy courageous". But nothing else gets my Irish up more than when I see a bullying a-hole trying to intimidate a woman ... Though I doubted this one could be cowed.
I stepped halfway in his path, between him and his target, looking directly into his close-set eyes.
The jerks' advance came to an abrupt halt.
"N' jus' ooo' mayte yew be!?"
Putting on the most cheesiest and insincere, toothy smile I could, I extended my hand in the hopes he would regret shaking it.
"Smith's the name. John Smith. Representative 17th district, state of Ohio."
The way he looked, you would have thought he just swallowed a particularly rancid piece of roadkill.
"Oh ... God," from off to my left.
"BOTH of them!"
"NEITHER one was supposed-"
Other little squeaks, squawks of surprise and disgust came from here and there in the gathering. A couple flunkies immediately broke off, almost running to inform the four "leaders" at crowds' edge.
Moran paused only momentarily, his bleary gaze going between his would be target and I.
"Aym goin' to enjoy uh ... interviewing either of yew when the time comes," he hissed.
"Providing, of course, you get another show. Moran Live didn't go so well, did it?"
His eyes narrowed on Ms. Suzumiya.
"I think it was because only three of his nine regular viewers were actually buying his sponsors products," my supplemental addition.
It was interesting to see this pundit at a momentary loss for words.
"Well, there's always NPR!"
I looked over at the new speaker. Yes. That breathy voice. This had to be Ms. Asahina. I also noticed Dan right there at her side. His sense of voice recognition in top form.
"Of course," Suzumiya wasn't about to let it drop, "you could just call it quits altogether and head back across the pond. If you do, PLEASE don't apply at the BBC. I happen to like Auntie Beebe."
Morans' face got red as a few laughs and yuks started to surface from among the scoffs and sneers of the gathered throng. A throng that was thinning out a bit as several flunky types milling about within, whispered into as many ears as they quickly could. A few short words and the recipient would break off, heading away or in the general direction of the four observing "leaders" who I then noticed had put some distance between themselves and the "scene".
Moran, lifting a finger and about to retort, was distracted by one of the aforesaid flunkies, who, gestured with jerk of his head, toward Reed and company.
Finger lowered a bit, the ersatz newsman smiling a crook toothed grin, remarked in parting, "neither a' yew know wot yer in for the next two yeahs. 'N aym gonna' enjoy it. Anotha' time then ..."
My watching the crowd remnants disperse and Moran head off to the VIP entourage some distance away was interrupted.
"So! Chivalry's not dead after all!"
I turned to the congresswoman.
"Chivalry nothing ... I just never liked that guy."
"Makes six of us then," she answered turning to the other four.
I noticed Kenny next to the short haired, bespectacled one. Looking rather uneasy as she scanned him with the same intense look she used targeting the mob ... Well ... Not QUITE the same look ...
"Introductions seem to be in order though we both know who the other is.
"The one having your friend in a stare down is Yuki Nagato, my IT manager."
A whispery "hello" was all that was heard as she stayed fixated on Kenny. It was all he could do to croak out his own name.
"And the eye candy here is-," grabbing the breathy one by the shoulders who was then rolling her eyes.
Speak for yourself.
"You must be Mikuru Asahina!" That Dan is quick.
"Uh ... Yes ...," she turned toward Dan. "I'm congresswoman Suzumiyas' secretary."
Gucci softly enclosed her right hand with both of his.
"I'm Dan Gucci, Johns' chief of staff. We talked a bit over the phone earlier today."
"Yes ... I remember-"
"So!" Suzumiya broke in. "I take it you were here for the same reason."
"And got nowhere for the same," I answered. "Just what was it that started this little fracas just now?"
"Fracas?" She paused, a smirk on her face and turned toward her secretary. "Hmm ... fracas. What is that Mikuru? Some kind of flyover country kind of thing?"
I knew she was funning us, but it was obvious that this one could be a first class needler.
"I think it's something like a ruckus."
What!? They both in on this?
"It's what we Italians like to call a baccano."
All eyes but Nagatos' (Who was STILL scoping out Kenny.) turned to Dan.
"A disturbance." In spite of her seeming detatchment, Nagato was in the game.
"Whatever!" Suzumiya pulled a Bob Dull.
"It all started," she continued, "a few minutes ago. We were at the bar here when these three wannabe power brokers started hitting on us. Must've thought we were in some kind of other profession. Eh Mikuru?"
The breathy one let out a breathy sigh of faux exasperation.
"When they heard my name, one took off right quick. Next thing we know, he's back with a few others ... And more were on the way. Before we knew it, the lopsided debate you dropped in on was going full blast.
"I don't think they like us much," she sarcasted.
"I think you're right."
Panning the ball room I couldn't help but notice the glances coming our way from various points.
I turned to our group.
"As it looks like no one's going to be seen fraternizing with us the rest of the night, I've an idea."
I grabbed a couple champagne glasses from an un manned drink table behind. Handing one to Suzumiya, I made my suggestion.
"We stay about fifteen ... maybe twenty more minutes. That way it won't look like we got run off. There's a little place I know of in Crystal City across the river. Great draft on tap."
"Wait ... John?" Danny.
"I thought you didn't know much of anything about the D.C. area?"
"I do know about THIS particular place."
After the obligatory few minutes of "showing the flag", we took off. Dan, with Ms. Asahina and making with the small talk a mile a minute. Kenny was literally scooped up by the silence prone Ms. Nagato (I could see him wince as she grabbed him by the arm. Kid must have a grip like iron!).
After tipping the parking valet, all six of us managed to cram ourselves into Dans' large old car, me next to the good looking but talkative one.
"Wow Yuki ... Mikuru! Just look at this dash! Do I see a slide-rule tuning dial on this radio? And it only goes up to 1600 ..."
"It's not so bad Har-"
"-It has FM too after all."
"Retro." Nagato would break silence in her Kenny vigil every so often.
"THIS," Dan going into defense mode, "is what's known as a CLASSIC."
"E-body platform 1973 Buick Riviera Gran Sport, 7.5 liter V8 with 3 speed ST-400 automatic transmission rated at 265 horse power stock."
We all looked back at Nagato, Danny trying hard to keep his eyes on the road.
"Uh ... Yes ... it is!"
Nagato swiveled her head back on a still speechless Kenny.
The Upstairs Downstairs in Crystal City was a working mans bar located on the second floor above a couple shops on Benson Street. For some reason, it also attracted some of the more upscale clientele in the area. Must've been the great draft brew. This was where I and my fellow "revolutionaries" in the National Allegiance would repair to after our yearly "convention" up the street at the Allegiance offices (Usually only about 50+ would show up.).
I had long since quit that organization but I still remembered the bar. Doubtful we'd run into any former comrades. Bierce moved his operations to the hills of West Virginia long since.
We managed to get a booth, guys opposite from the girls, and placed orders. Suzumiya holding her colada and glancing at my mug of beer with some amusement. Hey ... Meat 'n 'taters, beer 'n pretzels ... that's me. It's obvious she fancied herself as the cashews and cold duck type.
"So these three jerks were hitting on you?"
"'Course not as nice as the ones present," she smilingly answered, leaning forward, hands folded under chin.
Yeah ... That's me ... A (nice) jerk for a pretty face.
"Kinda' reminds me of that little scandal at your state house that almost trashed you."
"Oh ...," she rolled her eyes, "THAT!
"You know," she started in, "if it weren't for Yuki here ... Things WOULD have gone to hell ... Fast!"
I looked past Dan and Ms. Asahina STILL making with the small talk. At the booths' end where the quiet one and the even quieter Kenny sat. Both had arms across the table and SHE was holding HIS hands!
It was plain the "gourmet" realized some time ago that he had been reduced to the status of a lamb chop and was about to be devoured. And he wouldn't mind the mint sauce in the slightest!
You're a sick man, Kenny.
"She was waiting in our Sacramento offices a few weeks after we first got in. As some new computers we ordered arrived, she started setting up and no sooner than when things switched on, she spotted those records. Hidden in the OS, encrypted and post dated! As soon as we realized what we had, we all hightailed it to the State Attorney Generals' office.
"I tell you, it was one big uh ... fracas," grinning.
"I've had Yuki on staff ever since. That temp agency lost one heck of a systems tech I'm tellin' ya!"
It was some time later I found Ms. Nagato was not only THE master of IT ... She WAS IT! ... and more ... a LOT more. But that's another story entirely.
"As for escort service," she gleefully put her arm around Ms. Asahinas' shoulders. "It's not like we weren't equipped for it!'
More eye rolling on the part of the well endowed one.
"So ... Yuki ... Mikuru?" Ms. Suzumiya turning her head to the others. "Whadaya' think? Almost no political experience compared to us ... Three total 'deer in the headlights', 'babes in the woods', right?"
"Yep!" Ms. Asahina chimed in with the most atrocious faux southern accent I've ever heard. "Looks lahk pert' near three grain fed waht boys straight outta' the corn belt!"
It still sounded sweet ... but come on! Nobody in southeast Ohio ... or West Virginia for that matter, talks lahk ... er ... like ... THAT!
"Real waspy ... ," Nagato.
"Waspy!? (3)" Stuff like this amused Danny no end. When he isn't the phornicatin' phoo' as he oftimes is, he's a staunch Roman Catholic. Along with his dark, Mediterranean good looks, he's as Italian as linguini stuffed pizza with a marinara chaser. Maximum paisan ... and proud of it.
"Wait a minute!" Kenny finally was able to 'break away' momentarily from under Ms. Nagatos' spell and glared at Dan in mock indignation.
"Grain fed! ... Corn ... belt? ... They can say that?"
I instantly knew where this was going. Those two were big fans of those old Burt Reynolds, Cannonball Run movies.
"Why suuure ... ," Gucci assured in his best Dean Martin. "Yeah ... They can say that ... but then ... keep in mind ... We're dealin' with a buncha' Californicators-"
"Californi-! Just hold on a sec-." A giggling Ms. Asahina further rising to the occasion.
"Babylon by the bay."
"That's Frisco!" Suzumiya 'leaping' to the defense. "We're El-Lay!"
"348.061 miles or 560.151 kilometers."
We all did a double take with Nagato. So precise as to be beyond absurd. Nonetheless we didn't question. In a bored moment on a later date, I looked it up and ... she was spot on! Those were the EXACT distances ... Between the surveyors' medallions on the grounds of the respective towns city halls!
"So what got you in politics ... and eventually here ... in the first place?"
"I was interested in it since high school. Read a lot, got involved in campaigns, community activism, petition drives ... you name it. Did all of that before I was old enough to vote!"
Explained where she got the energy.
"I then majored in Political Science-"
Now there's an oxymoron if there ever was one.
"Ber-serk-ly?" I cut in.
"Oh come on! It's not like it was back in the late '60s, early '70s. Though ... it's still pretty much on the LEFT end if you know what I mean."
"Yeah. I was a janitor in Commieland myself."
"Commie ... Land?" She gasped in trying to suppress laughter. "You mean the college you worked at?"
"Chucky Marx all the way."
"Just listen to this Mikuru!" Turning to her secretary. "Can you believe it?"
"Probably refers to our oceanfront as 'the left coast' too," the angelic one replied.
"And here we are," I replied, referring to the DC area. "Right here in the 'Magic Kingdom'."
"Sounds like a 'talk radio' host," giving a friendly sneer. "Yup! You're mid-west alright."
"Ah yes," I decided to play along. "Flyover country ... That huge desert between the coasts inhabited by cowboys, indians and rednecks just waitin' ta' git ya' ifn' you crashland or jump ship at Buckeye Lake."
After the chuckles subsided, she continued.
"Berkeley was an experience alright. Learned a lot. But there was one thing that REALLY got to me."
"What was that?"
"As much as I couldn't help but agree with my freeze dried hippy professors 95% of the time, I couldn't help but wonder .... Where does one get all the money to pay for implementing these wonderful visions of the future they plan for everyone else?"
"The same seems to go for those on the right I guess." I added. "With working people and business footing the bill.
"As for your running for office ... How did that come about?"
"I was working for over a year as a secretary at Rep. Konzakis' home office in Gardena when he died. I was there really for the experience and not necessarily in sympathy with his ways of spending other peoples lives and money."
So far, so good.
"On hearing about Governor Moonbeam calling for a special election I made a joke to my now chief of staff about how I was better qualified than most."
"Yes! He told me you talked with him earlier today."
"let me guess," I said as I let myself guess. "He suggested you actually run, you gave your consent, and he took off with it as your campaign manager."
"That's exactly how it went down! How'd you guess?"
"I guess I'm just a good guesser," was my reply as I regretted a similar situation from some time ago for the umpteenth time.
"And the rest," she concluded, "is history."
"History ... as in ... Here you are."
"Oh yeah!" She enthused. "And I mean to make a difference!"
As if ...
She must have noticed my look of resigned disbelief.
"Oh come on! Surely there's something you and I CAN do! We may be only a coalition of two-"
Already we were a coalition. Not like our respective parties would care ... as if they would.
"-I mean ... it's like what Edward Everett Hale (4) said ... ummmmm ..."
"'I am only one, but I am one ... I can't do everything, but I can do something ... The something I ought to do, I can do ... And by the grace of God, I will.' That the one you're thinking?"
"With what you're thinking and with the the hostility you'd face ... ," I wasn't serious with my offhand proposal, "you might as well form your own political party."
"That's a ... hmmm."
Was she serious!?
"The ... Yeah! ... That's it! ... The SOS Party!"
Save Our Ship/Souls? Couldn't be Same Old Slop or S--t On a Shingle.
"S.O.S. ? Whats' that stand for?"
"Oh ... uh ... Just something off the top of my head."
Thus started my first cautionary lesson about suggesting ANYTHING to a certain congressional representative by the name of Haruhi Suzumiya.
Not even little did I know at that moment, that my plans for "one term and out/early retirement" had just been chucked out the window ... by me.
"So waddaya' think Mikuru ... Yuki? Our own third party ... uh ... Yuki?"
I shot a look down the table past Dan and Ms. Asahina, noting the absence of the intensely quiet but communicative couple.
"They just left." Ms. Asahina.
"Kenny said Ms. Nagato knows of a certain place and they took off," Dan stated.
I reached for my cel then thought the better of it. Kenny always showed up the next day, no matter what.
"I wouldn't worry too much," Ms. Asahina reassured. "Yuki's usually quite gentle with them ... usually."
Yeah. That Kenny. He's always- ... wha' ... usually?
"Darn that YUKI!" Suzumiya smilingly exclaimed, accompanied by a giggling Asahina. "She's always ..."
This not so short one shot is as far as I'm going with this. Took a lot out of me.
If I were to continue ... Well ... It might end up one day as:
Time: The future.
Place/Event: Presidential Innaugural Ball
Emcee: "Ladies and gentlemen ... Distinguished guests ... May I present ... The President and First Gentleman of the United States ... Haruhi and Senator John Smith!"
Register and VOTE!
1. Jesse Ventura, 38th governor of Minnesota (1999-2003).
2. From,The Time Warp song from the film The Rocky Horror Picture Show (20th Century Fox, 1975.).
3. wasp - white, anglo saxon, protestant
4. Edward Everett Hale (1822-1909), American author and Unitarian clergyman. Most noted for his work, The Man Without a Country.
Storyline (only) copyright © 8-4-14 C V Ford
Ex-Army blog where I got the accompanying illustrations here. Libertarianism and anime ... Who'da thunk it!
C V Fords' fan fiction page on fanfiction dot net here.
Fanfiction dot net here.
Go to Jays' Tee Vee blog main page here. Ifn' there's a buncha articles under this un', yer already there.
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