Humor Fiction posted October 22, 2016

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The Best It Gets

Politics and Bedfellows

by Stacia Ann

"Gonna kick your ass, Jerry." Sam lounged against my office door jamb, cleaning his nails with the edge of a matchbook, looking bored.

My stomach dropped to my groin. I knew from experience that Sam Morris's long, lean form was misleading. He was a street fighter who could tear your lungs out if he wanted. But he'd given that up--mostly--when he entered political life.

"Look, Sam." I tried to sound calm as I backed my chair away from the desk to the window. I was no physical match even though I'd never admitted it in our thirty-year friendship, no matter how hard Sam kicked my ass.

I reasoned with him. "I'm sorry. Sorry. But the people have spoken." I managed not to sound too smug.

I had just beaten Sam--by a landslide if I may say so myself--for a congressional seat. In a conservative, we-love-our-guns district in the Sierra Nevada foothills. I, Jerry Fisher, card-carrying liberal and proud of it, had beaten out flag-waving, gun-toting, traditional-values parroting Sam Morris.

"The people." Sam snorted as he came into the office. He picked up a glass paperweight from the desk and weighed it in his hands. I pushed the chair away further. Wouldn't put it past him to throw that at me.

But he replaced it and continued the tirade as he paced the office. "Since when do you care about the people?"

"Since always." I was incensed. "You know my record, how I've helped foster children and the mentally ill, how I've advocated for training and facil--"

Sam waved this off. "Yeah, your kids and kooks."

"Do not call them that."

"And just where are you going to come up with the money for these programs, Chief Bleeding Heart?"

"And don't call me that." How much had he had to drink, anyway? He didn't take losing well, and I could smell the alcohol on him.

It was one of our perennial arguments--how I would come up with the funds for my great ideas, and what great ideas Sam would come up with for his funds, since spending money on himself wasn't an option. Not that he'd do that. I was pretty sure.

Sam had come to rest against the bookshelf, leaning on it like he had the door jamb. He filled up a room with his presence--a gangling 6'4" of loud mouth.

He pulled a thick, hard-bound book off the shelf--it looked like the California State tax code--and weighed it in his hands, and again I was seized with the impression that he was going to swing around and pitch it at me. I'd never seen him this wound up with rage.

"You don't carry a gun, do you, Sam?" It seemed as if I'd know the answer to that, but I really didn't.

He turned to stare at me. "No. Why?" His eyes narrowed. "I'm sure you don't."

"Actually, I do." This was a lie, but a necessary precaution, it was starting to look like.

Sam snorted. "Since when? Since running for the congressional seat in Buena Vista County?"

"Well, when in Rome--"

"Cut it out." He put the book away and puffed out his chest. "I should have won this one. I am Rome."

"You are Rome." I was starting to feel trapped behind the desk, so I got up and strolled over to the window, the farthest point in the room from Sam. "What in hell does that mean?"

"I mean I know these people, damn it." Sam slammed a fist into the wall. "I deserved to win this election."

He was probably right. I suspected if he hadn't gotten the flu in the last weeks of the campaign, he'd have won by a landslide.

He pulled a golf iron from my bag by the book case and once again tested its weight. "You got to let me help you, Jer."

I was starting to feel queasy. "Sure, Sam, whatever. Just don't hurt me, okay?"

"Hurt you?" Sam didn't look at me as he studied the club. "Gonna kill you, Jer."

"Please." I was shaking now. "I've got Carolyn and the kids to think about."

"Huh?" Sam turned to stare at me and then put the iron away. "You okay? What the hell are you, paranoid?"

"No, I don't think so." I breathed out in relief. "But you did say you'd kill me."

"Shit, Jer, I meant on the links." He sighed. "It's an expression, get it, not to be taken literally."

Weak with relief, I leaned against the desk. "What were you saying about helping me?"

"Yeah, that's why I'm here. I want to help with the budget, okay, so you don't go broke taking care of the--children and people with psych disorders."

"And what do you think I was about to do when you came barging in here?" I asked. "Pick up the phone and call you."

"Let's go grab a drink and talk about it." Sam slung his arm around my shoulders. "And then play some golf. I'm still going to kill you."

"We called each other some pretty nasty things during the campaign." I grabbed the clubs on the way out the door. "'Idiot clown' was particularly uncalled for."

"Yeah, like 'boorish creep'?"

"Just politics." My face flushed. "I can't do this job without you."

"You know what?" Sam turned to face me. "Leave the clubs, okay? Let's just get to work. We've got the kids and kooks depending on us."

"Do not call them that." I dropped the bag by the shelf. 

And I followed him out the door. 


Politics Flash Fiction contest entry

The best it gets in politics is when opposing groups work together.
Thank you davealpert for a picture that really fits the story.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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