134. continued

Ralph looked right at me with gold flecked, walnut brown pupils and bloodshot whites. We locked in a mind meld moment, as he attempted to download all the wisdom and pedantry that he had absorbed in his 40 years in Washington. I felt like a cruise ship was offloading its septic reservoir into my barren brain. A surge of epic proportions pulsed through me. I felt my arrogance swell immediately. My sense of entitlement needed a limo to carry itself respectfully. I felt underdressed and deserving of so much more. In that instant I knew that I was ready for Congress. I wanted caviar stuffed lobster tail. I wanted Godiva chocolates delivered by Lady Godiva. I needed my own talk show so I could sell useless investments to the unsuspecting. Finally, I saw my meaning and purpose laid out before me– to plunder my fellow man. How could I have not seen it till now?

Ralph nodded at me. “You’ll have to do, kid. What’s your name?”

“Ralph,” I said, taken aback, “it’s Connor. We’ve been coming to these meetings for months, just four or five of us. I thought you knew my name.”

“Relax, kid. I don’t remember anyone’s name. It’s something you’ll learn on the Hill. People come and go. You’ll learn. If you bother with getting to know someone, it just gets in the way when you have to disembowel them later. You know what I’m saying? I only bother to learn lobbyists’ names. They’re permanent. Bill at the NRA, Ed at Northrup, Jake at Exxon. Those boys are heavy hitters, let me tell you. And they can get you in and out of places like no one else… no paper trail, you know what I’m saying?

“Once ole Jake took me all over Canada on a drunkit, I mean junket. We skipped all over the place, hunting, fishing, playing golf and whoring about. I even invested in the Native people while I was there. Thought I’d leave a bit of legacy to the Native women, ya know what I’m saying?”

“Ralph, I don’t know what you’re saying. What do you mean with ‘a bit of legacy’?”

“Kid, once you’re in Congress you’ll learn the code. Ya know what I’m saying? You’ll learn to be just vague enough that everyone thinks you agree with’m and just specific enough that you can deny anything later and pin it on semantics. Yeah, I just love semantics. I used to have an old coon dog I named Semantics. Folks couldn’t figure out why I’d name a coon dog after an odd word like that. But that dog could hunt, let me tell you.”

“Ralph, the code, I get it, but could you be specific? The bit of legacy thing, what in Hell do you mean?”

“Now son, settle down. No need to rush. What we don’t do this session, we won’t do next session. Ha, ha, ha! yeah, the Speaker told me that 40 years ago when I was just a freshman. Those were the days, let me tell ya…. Ah yes, the code. What I’m saying is that I likely procreated a few bastard children up in Canada, which does not trouble me since they have a form of socialism that will take care of them. No sweat off my nose, ya know what I’m saying? Strengthen the gene pool.”

[Connor glared back at him with his own walnut eyes above his wolf snarl.]

“Ralph, I’m beginning to know what you’re saying. Were you ever on the River of No Deposit No Return? It’s in northern Saskatchewan. Lots of wolves and otters up that way, know what I mean?”

“Well, it’s funny you should mention that river. Yeah, I was there once, maybe 30 couple years ago. Let’s see, thirteen then minus 19 or so, yeah, like 1988. Why do you ask? You probably weren’t even born yet.”

“Ralph, I think that’s a safe statement. IN FACT, I THINK I WAS IN MY MOTHER’S WOMB THIRTY TWO AND A HALF YEARS AGO, YOU SCUMBAG!”  [A scuffle breaks out. Stale syrupy coffee spills on the filthy floor of the anonymous meeting room. The two men wrestle briefly until Connor gets Ralph in a chokehold.]

“Son, have you lost your mind? I can’t breathe. If you’re gonna be a congressman, you can’t be doing this sort of thing.”

“Shut up, you rapist. I don’t want your stinking anointing, you pig. Or should I call you Dad?”

“Now I’m sure you’ve lost your mind. How could I be your Dad? I’ve never… uh,oh. You know the River of No Deposit No Return? So your mother was that Pocahontas  snowbird I got with all those years back?”

“That’s what I think, DAD. Now I’m gonna swab you for DNA, Ralphie. We’ll see who I am in a few weeks. Louise, hand my a tissue. There, I have enough of your pig sweat to get a profile. ”

“Now, son, what are you planning on doing with that illegally obtained sample of my sweat? Can’t we work out a deal? You know what I’m saying?”

“Shut up! And quit with the ‘You know what I’m saying?’ hangover talk. I’m gonna make you sweat some more, Ralphie. Your legacy is gonna be crap when I’m done with you.”

“Son, I’m a career politician, and I can assure you that your mother and I had consensual sex strictly along party lines.”

[Another struggle erupts. Connor chokes Ralph until his reddened face turns purple.]

“It’s no use, Ralph. You can’t give me back my childhood and adolescence. No deal you offer will erase the fact that I was raised by wolves and an otter.”

“No kidding? How about a seat on the Interior Department. You could do a lot good for wolves there, son. You know, make your pack proud of you. Think of it, Canis Lupus Emeritus.”

[Connor loosens his grip, ponders the offer.]

“Can you guarantee it, Ralph?”

“No problem, kid. Remember who you’re choking.”

“Can I get that in brass? Congressman Canis Lupus, Emeritus. HMmmmm. Sexy.”

“Now that’s my boy. Let me up and we’ll have a drink on it.”


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