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Rated: 18+ · Fiction · Political · #2190251
A Most Interesting Event! (WDC Sountrackers Contest)
“You there!” She yelled.
“Yes, Mrs. Winerker?”
“What do you wear?”
“Pardon?” She was wardrobe sizing me!
“Ma’am.” I said. “I can't stay.”
“You can. Hold still.” She called someone. “Put him in a tux, Gretchen."
“I have plans!”
"Cancel. I need an arm, you’re it. D.S. won’t go.” She stared at me hard. “This is other duties as assigned.”
“My boss can’t just rent me out!” I was indignant.
“Apparently, he can.”

I was hooked like a fish, dressed up, and off we went by limousine.
“A drink?” She offered.
“Are we driving to wherever?” I asked, and she nodded. “Then Irish, neat.”

She poured. I had no idea what I was about to attend, nor why. But no amount of asking would get explanations quicker than she'd give them. So, I waited.

“You want to know where we’re going?” She asked me.
“It crossed my mind.” I said drolly.
“It’s a luncheon. Mind your table manners and you’ll be fine.”
I exaggerated my accent. “But I’m jus’ a country boy! Oooeee!”
“I have your file.” She said. “Manners, you know them and you’ll use them. We're up for an award.”
“The Overbrook? I did the tech.”
“I know.” She looked southwest. “It best not rain, I dislike stuffy rooms.”
“Opposed to what?”
“The Rose Garden.” She glanced at my tumbler. “Freshen your drink?”
“No thank you, ma’am.” I was intrigued.
“Susan. It's Susan.” She said.
“Okay, Susan.” I smiled.

We won our category and I was even introduced. It wasn't worth the trip, but I could say I’d been. While winding down, the sun peeked out, and roses smelled pleasant. I reveled in the tang of the fresh key lime pie while I watched guests congratulate themselves. I had one matter needing attention before heading home.

“Excuse me.” I stood up.
The staff was by a door on the portico. “Rest room?”
“Down the hall, second left, sir.”
“Thank you.”

"It’ll never get a vote!” Three men walked by me.
“Well, it’s on record.”
“But stop it! It's the weekend!” Said the third.
“Poker night!” He'd seen me pass. “We’re short. Think he's a player?”

“Hey! Why are you here?” He turned back to me.
“I’m an engineer. Philly.” I stammered. “Luncheon...”
“Hear that? He's from your district, Cam.” He chuckled. “'C'ourse he can play!”
“You have clearance?” One asked.
“I don’t think...” I showed my pass. “That's it.”
“That won’t work.” The Pennsylvanian said. "Charlie can fix it.”

“Wait. I’m here with someone. I can't disappear.”
“Wife? Girlfriend?”
“Neither. More an arm for the firm owner.”
“Can you get loose?” Cam asked.
“Probably. I think I’ve done my duty.” He motioned over an agent.

“Charlie, would you go with...”
“James here, and explain he’s been invited to a private gathering?"
“Yes, sir.’ He motioned. “After you, sir.”
The agent explained the invitation from the congressman, whom she knew. “You can find home afterward, James.?”
“We’ll make sure he’s fine, ma’am.”

He led me back inside.
“Where we going, Charlie?” I asked.
“Agent Simmons.” She said. “To check you out.”
“Okay, then.”

She asked questions, scanned my fingerprints, and called agencies known by initials. While on the phone to someone, Cameron entered. He handed me cash.

“Here. If you work for D.S., you'll need this.”
“We really playing poker?” I asked. “It's only four.”
“People have things to do! We're just starting the evening right."
“I suppose.” I said, getting a new pass.
“He’s ready to go, sir."

It was a maze, but once atop some stairs, we approached another secured door. One agent examined my credentials, nodded, and we entered.

“Gentlemen!” Cameron said to the group. “In general terms...”
“Right. Now sit down and lose money to me.” She eyed me. “Grandson?”
“Oh no, just a young constituent, Mary.” He replied. “Rescued from a Garden social.”
“He have a trust fund?” She smiled wickedly.
“Give him a break. Son, find a chair!”
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker.”
“First names only at the table.” He said solemnly. “If we use titles, people would think we're cheats!”
“That’s right!” One laughed. “We’d be naked because of people hiding cards!”
“Heaven forbid.” Mary rolled her eyes.

“What’s the game?” I asked the dealer.
“Texas Hold ‘em. No limit. Blind are $20 and $40, sir.”
“$2,000, please.”
“Changing $2,000.” He slid me a rack.

I anted the big blind, watched a flop, and folded. That happened awhile, then I got a decent run of cards and added to my stack. I’d been called a few times and won, and also added some pots bluffing. I wasn't going to empty these wallets, but it'd be fun having them remember me.

“Is Philly there drinkin’?” One of them asked.
“Nope. That’s why he has your paycheck, Bob!”
“I wish.” I chuckled. “I know what y'all make!”

They laughed. Then, when the door opened, it ceased. Everyone stood, and the most powerful man in the world entered.

“Sit, now. I'm just Bill, or it’s no fun.” He rumbled. “I’m in!”
“Yes, Sir!” The dealer took out his stack.
“Good evening, Mr. President.” I sat next to him.
“To you, as well...” He left the pause perfectly.
“James, Sir.” I nodded.
“Well, James, in that tux you could be Bond. I’m not sure how they roped you in here, but take their money, not mine!”

I played tight, but they weren't card players. I'd probably quadrupled my chips around the time we all stood again. This time it was the First Lady who entered. She sat on a sofa behind her husband, and she did not look happy. Of course, I'd never once seen her smile. We played for another hour, and she never moved.

"Does she still looked pissed?" The President whispered quietly.
I glanced. "Probably even more, Sir. Sorry..."
"Well," He exclaimed, "I'd best spend some time with my wife elsewhere! I only have half your chip stack, James, but I'll take what I can." He went all in. Everyone else quickly folded.
"Well, Sir," It came back to me. "You could take them all."
"A side bet. I win... you let me take the First Lady to dinner." The room went deathly silent. Then the President boomed with laughter.
"I must say, James, you wear big brass ones!" His wife snorted. "But... I can't do that."
"Why not?" I asked. "I'm aware you can take her anywhere for anything. I thought a new dinner companion might be refreshing, nothing more."
His wife spoke in Italian, we both understood her, and it wasn't complimentary. "Fine. You sure you know what you're doing?"
"No, not at all."

"Call." He turned over three jacks to my rags.
"I honestly thought you'd fold, Sir."
"To a pair of threes?!"
"But you didn't know. I read your tells." I said. "You just didn't care if you lost."

"Well, I'm going anyway. Get my detail ready." She got up and left, stunning everyone.
"Be... very careful."
"Yes, Sir!"

She was quiet in the car, asking nothing. I'd instructed the driver, we were going to eat Italian, in my town.
I pulled out my phone coming off I-95. "No unsecured phones in the car, sir!" An agent said.
"Hush." She silenced him.
"Hey Bro!" It only took a moment. "Alley thing... three... limos. We're second."

I hung up. We'd learned to drive together from his father's wheelman, and learned the tricks. Four agents should be plenty in Tony's Ristorante, and more would suck. I counted on prison or getting shot, but life is short. Two blocks away, we swung down an alley, where a truck cut off the last vehicle. At the street, limo one went left, and we went right. They'd find us in moments, but they could guard outside. A table waited in the aromatic herb garden, her team did their thing, and in came Tony.

"Nails!" He carried two wine bottles.
"Really Jimmy? You kidnapped the First Lady?" He shook his head.
"Yeah. Her four Uzi laden body guards, too."
He started, but she spoke in Italian. He replied. I knew he spoke the language.
"Wine list," he whispered. "I told her these were the best my family owned."
"Oh, right! Anthony Lucaturo, the First Lady." He spread his hands and nodded. She replied in his old language.

Her phone rang and she answered tersely. "The POTUS speaks Italian?"
"Yeah, the pauses." She hung up. "Someone is pissed at our stunt."
She looked up. "Perhaps."
I got glares from both. "What's the fun in warning you?!"
She quickly ordered without a menu. Nails made away. "Why do you call him that?"
"Nails? Well, some guy was going to knife him, so I whacked the guy with a board. It had nails in it."
"A long story?"
"Yes, ma'..."
"Juliette." She looked me in the eye. "I'm Juliette."
"I hope you have a pleasant night, Juliette."
"I am so far, Jimmy." She laughed. It was a lovely sound.


Don't sing sad songs Juliette
'Cause I heard you've been out to get it
I seen you dancin' all night long
What they said about you I hope it
Don't turn out wrong

Red, red roses, lyin' on the ground
Heartache and pain
They call you by name
They follow you around

Juliette talk sweet Juliette

The sky is all cast over
And the stars refuse to shine
And your lonely, your life is lonely
Ah in time

Over here don't concur
He said you were out of control
But I don't mind if you were with her one time
So called prince of rock and roll

Red, red roses, lyin' on the ground
Heartache and pain
They call you by name
They follow you around

I'm so sorry Juliette

Songwriter: Lowell George

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