Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Sale of Two Cities

It was a far, far sleazier thing that I was planning than I’d ever done before. But I was tired of working hard and trying to make a success of myself. There was another way, an easier way. But like all quick fixes, this one came at a price -- I'd have to sell my soul. Still, what’s a soul worth?

I walked into the Rotunda Club, the seediest bar in town. I clutched my briefcase in my right hand. I had business to conduct and this was the place to do it, but I’d have to watch my back.

The center stage was empty, waiting for the next act. In the corner, Chris Dodd danced at a private table; he wore only some mortgage documents over his private parts. He danced under the name Sweetheart Deal. . . the brokers loved him.

Nancy Pelosi, a.k.a. Angel Dust, was on the stage to my left doing what could have been a comedy act. It’s hard to tell with her, but whatever it was, it would end with a strip tease. Today, she seemed to be imitating Castro, only she danced a little slower and I doubt Castro ever wore a feathered boa. But Angel Dust was classy. She never took dollars from the crowd, though they offered and they offered. No, if you wanted a piece of Nancy, you had to promise part ownership of your business. Then she would rock your financial world.

In the corner, I saw a couple bankers slip Maxine Waters a stack of bills. She smiled and picked up the cell phone they handed her. In the booth next to her, Charlie Rangel sat with an accountant, possibly working on his taxes, maybe just talking about loopholes. Rangel got comp'd all the rum he could drink, so he usually got pretty wild.

Harry Reid, the manager, likes to roam the room wearing half a cowboy get up. . . the top half. He seems kind of pathetic these days as he goes from table to table vacillating between telling dirty jokes and making half-apologies, and always asking for help, like a monkey grinder begging for pennies on a street corner. His life has seen better times.

Hidden in a dark booth just beyond the stage, I could see regular Mark Penn still counting the $6 million in stimulus money that he got for "stimulating" Hillary Clinton’s campaign. I hadn’t seen her much in the Rotunda Club lately. . . she used to do this fantastic act, where she’d pretend to go around the world, as the audience stuffed money in her husband’s bag. She was big with the foreigners who liked to visit the place. . . especially the Chinese tourists. But that was along time ago.

A loud noise erupted to my left. The new act appeared on center stage. He was some new kid I’d never heard of before. He called himself O.M.G., and he came out dressed like some sort of 14th Century French aristocrat. I’d heard he came from Chicago, where he did well for himself buying and selling real estate, particularly empty Senate seats. He used to draw huge crowds when he started, but his act lacks substance and people have started drifting away. These days he attracts mainly the union types and the Hollywood types. Still, they shower him with money. At one infamous party at the club, Stephen Spielberg slipped $1.3 million in small bills into O.M.G.’s jock. . . with his teeth.

This whole scene makes my stomach turn, but I keep telling myself that I'm only here to do business.

As I near my table, Congressman Jim Moran nuzzles up to me.

“Hey big contributor, wanna lap dance?”

“No thanks Jim.”

“Oh come on, me legislate for you long time. . .”

“No thanks, I’ve got business with Mary Landrieu.”

“What do you need with The New Orleans Madame? You don't need her. I can do anything you want. I got my biggest contributors $50 million in earmarks. . . they call me the Human Slot.”

“Sorry Jim, not today. But if you see Landrieu, send her over.”
I slipped Moran a fiver to improve his eyesight.

It didn’t take long before Landrieu appeared at my booth. I could smell her perfume, Ode du Corrompu. She wore her hair up these days, but that didn’t help. She still looked like a three dollar Bourbon Street whore. She looked a lot better than her twin sister Blanche, but that wasn’t saying much. Their parents couldn't have been too proud.
“I hear you’re looking for me big boy,” Landrieu said as she lit a cigarette. “My, that’s a pretty briefcase.”

“Glad you approve. Commentarama needs a license and we’re having trouble with the faceless bureau boys.”

“That’s too bad, you sound like someone who needs help. . . if only I could remember who could help you.”
I placed the briefcase onto the table and popped it open, flashing the wads of $100 bills I had collected from selling “invisible T-shirts” online, one of the greatest internet scams I’d ever seen.
“And here I thought you were just happy to see me,” she purred. I tried not to vomit.

“Always babe, what can this do for me?”

“What kind of license do you need?”

“Doesn’t matter. You pick one. I just want the regulators off my back.” I leaned in closer. “And I want my competitors shut down. . . I want a monopoly in at least two large cities, got it?”
She stroked my briefcase. She was being coy.
“I can make that happen, but a monopoly is gonna be hard.”

“How hard?”

“GE spread around $27 million last year. So did Exxon. Pfizer gave $22 and Blue Cross $18. That’s a lot of love.”
I couldn’t compete with that, but I knew she was just holding out to get a better price. This money was going to her and nobody else, that played in my favor. Also, I didn’t have to compete against the biggest boys, just some poor suckers who had never heard of the Rotunda. I upped my price. “There’s another briefcase in my car, just waiting for the permits to clear, and it’s all yours.”

She ran her fingers over my briefcase again. Finally, she clutched the handled and started to walk off. She called over her shoulder: “See you soon Mr. C. . . E. . . O. . .”

I had done it. Commentarama was about to become one of the most successful businesses in the country. I didn’t know yet what we were going to do, but with friends like these, those are details that just don’t matter.

I finished my drink and left the joint. On the way out, I saw Barney Frank legislating in a car with a couple of the boys from Goldman Sachs. I hated this place.

I felt dirty. . .

. . . but that would pass.


Unknown said...

Yeek ! That almost makes me want to drink again, but not in the same bars as the gang in your piece.

AndrewPrice said...

Just a fictionalized account of what seem to happen in Congress every day.

ScottDS said...

And you wonder why I don't comment that often on the political articles! :-)

(Besides, the independent in me says the Dems don't exactly have the corruption market cornered. But I understand your thesis.)

Now I have to get all those mental images out of my head!

AndrewPrice said...

Sorry about your head Scott, but these images will pass! ;-)

I agree that the Dems haven't cornered the market on corruption, BUT keep in mind that the MSM repeatedly ignores the Dem's corruption and loves to claim that the Republicans are the party of corruption and the Democrats are the party of the little guy. So I think it's worth pointing out what is going on in DC.

And for the record, I have no respect for and will not support corrupt Republicans either. They need to revise the rules of ethics and start driving these people out of our government.

Eric said...

Our Congress at work! LOL!

StanH said...

Now that was about disgusting Andrew, I need a good scrubbing, preferably with bleach…yuck!

But it does capture my mental image of Washington. LOL!

Writer X said...

Chris Dodd dancing at a private table? Nancy Pelosi doing a striptease? Harry Reid in a coboy hat--and nothing else? How do I scrub my brain?

Thanks for the laughs this morning. This was great! But now I need a martini to dull the images.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I got to thinking about how I see our Congress and this is what came out. I guess I don't have a very good opinion of our Congress?

AndrewPrice said...

Glad you liked it Writer X, even if it might cause a nightmare or two! 8-O

One of the points I wanted to get at, besides the obvious corruption is how this whole system lets businesses swap business accumen for the brute force of political power.

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, each of the links is to a real act -- none of the events that went into this were made up. . . they were just "slightly" reimagined!

MegaTroll said...

Chuckle chuckle. Nicely done. This is kind of how I view our Congress to.

patti said...

"I slipped Moran a fiver to improve his eyesight."

yes, but what will it cost to RESTORE mine. ~blerch~

AndrewPrice said...

Sorry about that Patti. Look at it this way though, the next time you see these people, you can see them in a slightly different light! :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Mega, I suspect this is how a lot of people our Congress!

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