Madam Congresswoman, the heartless politician
I’ve had a number of jobs in my life. One of my least favorite jobs fundraising for a member of Congress who had a tendency to throw temper tantrums. I have no idea why she hired me to be her lead finance director. Only a week before I had been living in the streets. An old friend found me under a bridge and took me back to his place, loaned me a suit and got me cleaned up for an interview. It was a total fluke gig that I found on craigslist.
She was a real nutcase. I’ve always hated politicians. They stomp and scream like toddlers when they don’t get their way, then immediately change their tune when a camera is in the room. Still, I was strangely attracted to her and she liked me OK, too. She only yelled at me some of the time, and she never threw a book at my head while rattling off a litany of insults, like she often did with the interns. One day, she asked me into her office, locked the door, and pulled me over her desk by my tie.
“Um,” I said, “What about Bill?”
“Knox,” she said, “let me explain something to you: William is my husband. You are someone I just had sex with. Capiche?”
And that’s, pretty much, how our relationship went throughout her campaign. Her husband was around for photo opps, but that was about it. The rest of the time she and I worked around the clock doing call time with wealthy and influential members of communities—doctors, art collectors, other politicians, Rabbis, Priests. At times the stress level would build to a crescendo, and without fail, I’d find myself getting pulled across her desk to hit the pressure release valve, as it were.
I had worked under similar circumstances before, in politics, sleeping with a married woman. It ended badly. Obviously, I don’t learn my lessons very well. I kept telling myself it would be different this time. And besides, I wasn’t too worried about William; they guy obviously shot blanks.
Toward the end of her campaign, when it was made clear that she would win (barring any insane circumstance), she called me into her office again.
“Yes?” I asked.
“Knox, you’re fired,” she said. “There’s a severance check on your desk. Thanks for all the help.”
Then, she actually had the audacity to reach for my tie again. I grabbed her wrist, hard.
“You’re hurting me,” she said, a look of pained surprise on her face. It was the most human thing I had ever seen in her.
“Go home to your husband,” I said.
I’ll never know why it just slipped their minds when it came to me signing a non-disclosure agreement. But it worked out nicely for me, in the end. I wrote a 5,000-word expose and sold it for $2 a word. Her campaign went belly-up. I decided to take the cash and use it to go be homeless again, bumming from one boxcar to another, telling myself I’d never wear a tie again as long as I lived.
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