Aside from hypothermia, we arrived in good shape without having broken down or getting our skulls bashed in by the army lockbox.
Archie made it clear that under no circumstances did he want us annoying him in the car as we went from campaign stop to campaign stop. We had to drive ourselves. I was not going to spend any more time in Peter’s jeep than necessary, so we took my car.
Since I hadn’t taken it to D.C., my seventeen-year-old brother was using it. Like a dog pissing to mark its territory, he lost his virginity in it the first week I was away. During the lucky gal’s period, in my Dad’s office parking lot.
Conveniently, he now denies the whole thing and says I’m mixing up several stories.
The Menstrual-Mobile was still preferable to freezing to death, but unfortunately, that meant that I was driving. This was the days before cell phones or GPS, and although this was my hood, I didn’t (and don’t) have any sense of direction.
It turns out we would still be annoying Archie, even in a separate car. He would have to keep an eye out to make sure that I didn’t get lost.
By law, The Congressman couldn’t run a campaign out of a local congressional office, so his Headquarters of “Citizens for The Congressman” was run out of a dilapidated house in the middle of the district, regrettably located in the worst part of its city’s downtown.
It was covered in cheap light brown shingles and had a broken window on the second floor. The Congressman had purchased it centuries earlier, and his Chief of Staff would use the third floor as a pied-à-terre (usually when he was having problems with his wife).
A campaign banner hung from the porch, strategically covering some of the house’s structural and cosmetic flaws.
The interior, if possible, was worse. Mildew permeated the walls. Worn oriental throw rugs The Congressman probably won in a divorce settlement(s) scattered about the unfinished wood floor. Boxes of old campaign literature, buttons, signs, and red white and blue styrofoam barbershop quartet skimmer hats saved for…posterity?
There was no natural light, but flickering industrial fluorescents overhead.
Like a Hoarders episode, scattered office equipment from throughout the ages made it impossible to move. It was unclear which ones were usable, as they all were the same dingy Apple llc beige which had gone out of style in 1988.
Since a term is only two years, The Congressman was always campaigning. The time and cost of running an operation legitimated this building’s sole purpose and its two permanent employees.
Maybe they were volunteers. I don’t know and certainly didn’t care enough to ask. They were two middle-aged women who I will call Rose and Blanche since I didn’t care to learn their names either.
I met the Golden Girls months earlier when I tried to drop off my internship application instead of sending it snail mail to Washington like I was supposed to. Maybe they hadn’t had their daily cheesecake yet because they ran me off with pitchforks.
I dreaded seeing them again, but this time they were in a much better mood.
Probably after going to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch.