Congresswoman Elizabeth Flower’s staff was baffled. The petite middle aged brunette had been full of fiery passion for health care reform and gun control, but now she was just a napalm ball of outlandish behavior. She had taken to calling her staff at bizarre hours with ever more outlandish requests; bookings for strange travel, requests for research on ethics rules and roundabout questions about where to find male prostitutes. Staffers had even spotted white powder around her nostrils after a working lunch last week.
But Chief of Staff Zane Simpson didn’t know where to go for help. The Congresswoman’s ex-husband lived in Texas and none of her adult children lived in Washington. Should he approach the minority whip? The light buzzed on his desk. She was paging him again.
Simpson rose from his desk in the Rayburn House Office building and walked to the adjoining door leading to Representative Flowers’ office. He took a deep breath and then opened the door.
“Zane honey,” Flowers said smiling broadly, “come on in and sit yourself down.” Her silver and black hair, normally well styled and in place, was a blown out mess. She hadn’t applied her makeup and she wasn’t wearing a blouse under her designer suit. Instead, her collar plunged to reveal just a bit too much of her décolletage.
She never, ever called him honey.
“Zane honey, I need you to make some more calls to these oil and gas folks. Set up some more appointments for me.” Zane stared at Flowers, looking for some sign of the woman he had known. All he saw were manic eyes, pupils dilated, flittering like a hummingbird. She was using again. It wouldn’t be long before others started noticing. Like any loyal Chief of Staff, He tried to hide it as long as possible, but there was only so much he could do.
“Ma’am, I’ll make some more calls, but not all of the organizations have representatives in Washington.”
“Oh hush hush,” she said as she opened up her computer and started surfing the web, “we both know they work through their lobbyists here. Just give them a call and tell them Representative Elizabeth Flowers wants to have a talk.”
“About what ma’am?”
“Oh you just leave that to me.”
Simpson shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “Ma’am, after Mr. Perkins left, he said you solicited him for a bribe.”
“A bribe?” Flowers looked at Simpson, feigning insult. “Such a strong word.” She turned back to her browsing. “I just told him that we can’t hold off these environ-menial types who want to shut down fracking unless we have the proper resources. I have to persuade local regulators, city councilmen, state representatives…”
“With influence honey, influence. That’s all I have.” Flowers chuckled as she clicked over to the TMZ website. “I just love that Ridley Robb. Such a character. Look into what it would take to get him out here to the Capitol.”
“Ridley Robb? The singer?”
“Yep.” Flowers was clicking through paparazzi shots of Ridley Robb assaulting a camera man.
“He was just arrested for driving under the influence and carrying a concealed weapon. He might be facing jail time.”
“Oh that,” she said dismissively. “He’s just a boy having fun. The young people love him. Perhaps we can give him a Congressional commendation or something.”
Simpson squirmed in his seat, torn between the desire to find another job, any other job, as soon as possible, and the morbid curiosity of exactly how far the Congresswoman would go before she imploded. He made a mental note to get his resume updated.
“Sayyy,” Flowers said, turning to Simpson, “don’t you live with a nice boy? Roger? Ralphie?”
“Rupert,” Simpson said.
“Yea, why don’t you and Rupert grab a couple of bottles of wine and come over to my house tonight. I’ve never really gotten to know your better half.”
Rupert was his partner of six years.
“You know we’re gay right?”
“Honey, everyone is gay and everyone is straight, it’s all just holes and getting off in the end. Come on, it’ll be fun.”
Simpson turned and left the room, manic laughter calling after him. Time to polish up his LinkedIn profile and resume. His boss had gone nutter.