It was quiet in Albany. McLowey was in Iowa pursuing a runaway teenager from a convent in upstate New York. That was the story Sam had placed in every newspaper in the free world, the truth was the teenager was actually a 16 year old nymphomaniac that McLowey had met at the local high school while he was escorting delinquent students to class. Didn’t matter, McLowey was now the frontrunner for the nomination and as long as Sam could keep the windbreakers and photo opportunities coming in key battleground states he stood a real chance of being elected president. DeJardin was right the voting public had the IQ of a functional illiterate. If you could sell them Viagra and toilet paper you could sell them McLowey.
Speaker Washington was no longer the Speaker and rather than serve as an ordinary Assemblyman had resigned the office and returned to Queens Boulevard and a thriving business as a pimp/fake Rolex salesman. He had been replaced by Jan Doe X. Jan was perhaps the most inclusive elected official ever. Jan was a transgender, biracial, agnostic, rabbi/priest/imam, who had been elected from a district in Chinatown but was educated at SUNY Plattsburgh in upstate New York. His wife/husband was a leading member of the Rainbow Coalition and had been the founder of Headshot, an online retailer of fully automatic hunting rifles. Jan had never taken a position on any controversial issue but had a unique talent that left the voters and other legislators believing that Jan supported their cause. In short Jan was everything to everybody and perfectly suited to lead the dysfunctional self-interested legislative body that we called the New York State Assembly.
Hibert had cut a plea deal ahead of the Rico trial. By agreeing to testify for the government he would avoid prison but had to resign his Majority Leader’s post and agree to leave the State of New York. In response Hibert moved both his families to Utah, became a Mormon and was presently running a Mormon job placement service focused on government jobs in Utah. By all reports he was very successful. Squabble had quickly put together a coalition of disenfranchised senators who rallied behind Squabble’s call for more weed, less greed in politics. He had offered any senator that voted for him as majority leader the post of majority co-leader
At last count Squabble was just two votes short of becoming the new majority leader.
I had been busy trying to put Danny’s lobbying firm together with Alex’s crisis management company. While they had conceptually agreed on a deal Alex had now cancelled and/or rescheduled the last 12 meetings with Danny’s boss Mickey Dolan. Every time Alex rescheduled he reassured Mickey the deal was going to happen and Mickey would hire more lobbyists convinced the merger was just around the corner. The end result was Mickey missed payrolls, the old staff had for the most part resigned and found more stable employment and all that was left of the once powerful lobbying firm of Dolan and Kerr was an office they were being evicted from.,16 new lobbyists that could not find employment elsewhere, a used Ford Explorer that belonged to Mickey’s son and debts that now approached the mid seven figures. Danny was barely able to make all his alimony payments by borrowing money from most of the wealthy matrons he had bedded over the years. In short Danny was out of time which meant I would soon be out of time to avoid the ask.
Pat walked in.
“Leathers are you going to see Daniel today?”
“Do I have a choice? You have put him on my schedule every day for the past two weeks”
“He’s your friend and he needs your help. Can you give him this envelope when you see him?”
I took the envelope, it felt like it was filled with cash.
“Pat why are you supporting Danny? You can’t afford it”
“Mort, Danny is a sweet boy and I’m very fond of him it’s the least I can do for him”
“Pat, Danny is a serial womanizer and sex addict”
As Pat walked away I could have sworn I heard her say to herself . . .
“And he’s hung like an Arabian stallion and it’s your cash from the safe anyway Mort”
As I started to open my safe and count my cash reserves my cellphone rang it was Andy Karp.
“Andy how have you been? I haven’t heard from you in weeks”
“I put in my papers to retire Mort, I’m going to run Eggy’s full time and work for the bureau as a contract consultant part time”
“Congratulations Andy I wish you much luck, the restaurant business is tougher than the law enforcement gig. There is a lot of theft in restaurants”
“I’ve already addressed that Leathers, no cops allowed in Eggy’s anymore and I installed table vending machines for the sugar, salt, pepper and creamer. Now I’ll make a nickel more every time someone wants sugar.”
“Andy with your knowledge of crime, corruption and cops I’m sure you will do well with a diner. Are we all square then?”
“Not by a long shot Leathers. I’m still kind of a big shot with the bureau so you still need to keep following directions”
“But Andy, Albany has been cleaned up don’t you read Ping’s self-congratulatory press releases?”
“We will get to that in a moment Leathers, right now I want to talk about how you can help me”
“Do you want me to wear a wire? Do you want me to feed you inside information on what the legislators are up too? Do you want me to set up undercover stings for you? I’ve done it before I’ll do it again. You know as long as you can send me to jail I’ll do whatever you want, just like every other lobbyist, legislator and secretary in this town.”
“Well thank you Mort but right now I just want you to tell your friends to hold their fundraisers at Eggy’s”
“Eggy’s is not really the kind of place to do a fundraiser Andy”
“That’s where you are wrong Leathers. No one really wants to attend the fundraiser the politician just wants the money and the lobbyist just wants the credit for contributing. That’s where Eggy’s comes in. We will collect the money and send it to the politician along with a list of who contributed and would have attended if Eggy’s wasn’t a shithole diner. And we will do it for half the price most other venues will charge. No one has to know if the fundraiser actually happened”
“That’s pretty smart Andy. Let me work on it”