Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Chapter 32

I hadn’t seen Dan Kerr since his celebratory lunch at the Grove with Alex Shimmel.  I assumed the merger had gone smoothly as Dan wasn’t calling anymore sniffing for a job and Pat wasn’t stealing my slush fund cash and asking me to deliver it to Dan for her. 

This time I had asked Dan to meet me for coffee as I had a project that his unique expertise would be helpful on.  Senator Squabble had finally gotten around to making a serious play for the majority leader’s job.  The race was down to Squabble and Senator Seamus O’Malley.  Squabble the pseudo democrat Brooklyn hipster douchebag had all the downstate democrats and enough moderate republicans from New York City to be just two votes short of a majority.  O’Malley the republican from Long Island could count on the entire Long Island contingent in the senate plus the upstate republicans and just enough greedy turncoat conservative democrats, also known as the Hasidic conference to also be just two votes shy of a majority.  There were only three votes left unaccounted for.  All three were woman.

Senator Donna Black was a democrat turned republican from Rochester.  She had been an exotic dancer until she was elected to a town board seat in Henrietta.  She rode that office and every RIT student she could service on her way to winning a senate seat several years ago.  While her senate career was uneventful and practically unnoticed she had managed to travel extensively with O’Malley on numerous fact finding trips around the state and the rumor was she was sleeping with O’Malley.  This fact would normally put her squarely in O’Malley’s column but she was a politician and a former stripper so her loyalty could never be taken for granted.

Senator Carla Roselinni was from the Brooklyn district adjacent to Squabble’s.  She was a staunch liberal democrat and had worked as a labor organizer prior to being elected a senator five years ago.  She had zero accomplishments and had voted in lockstep with Senator Vito Luigi, whom she was living with.  Luigi was in Squabble’s camp which would normally put her in Squabble’s column but the rumor was that Squabble had bedded her teenage daughter from her second marriage at the same time that Roselinni had been dating Squabble’s Uncle, “Big Johnny” Klein, who was a well-known fixture in Brooklyn political circles.  All in all a likely Squabble vote but one with baggage.

That left Manhattan democrat Beth Croaker.  Perhaps the most liberal Senator in the Senate.  Croaker liked nothing better than to be on television pontificating on some hopeless liberal cause or another.  This was a common trait of the limousine liberals from Manhattan but Croaker was different.  She bore a striking resemblance to Jabba the Hut, had a voice that sounded like the lower east side trying to imitate the upper west side and insisted on wearing yoga pants that were so tight you could swear you could see a toll booth between her massive thighs.  The only thing Beth Croaker wanted in return for her support was for any male to actually journey where no man had gone before. 

And that was where Dan came in.

I couldn’t take Dan to Eggy’s nor would I want to.  Under Carps ownership the food had improved, the prices had risen and it was now drawing it’s clientele from Albany’s hip hop community.   Instead I met Dan at the lunch trucks in front of the capital.  Several of the trucks set up early and served breakfast sandwiches ranging in quality from great to horrible.  I thought the best sandwich and coffee could be found at the “Lonely Kike”, a kosher truck run by a former Italian pot dealer, Mark Dago. 

Dan was waiting coffee in hand when I arrived.

“Hey Mark I’ll take a bacon egg and cheese and a large coffee”

“You got it Leathers, can I ask a favor?”

“That depends on the favor”

“You know I did my time on that drug rap and I’m clean since the day I went to prison but what do I need to do to hook up with one of those medical marijuana outfits?  I still know how to move product”

“If I was you I’d keep the “Kike” running that marijuana business is not for amateurs”

“I’m no amateur Leathers, remember I had 600 pounds wrapped in Christmas paper when my van flipped over and those Colonie cops arrested me”

“If you’re serious Mark I’ll make a call see if my client could use a delivery guy”

“You are the best Leathers, here’s your sandwich and coffee”

“One question I always had Mark, the “Kike” is supposed to be a kosher truck how do you serve bacon?”

“Are you kidding Leathers my business comes from government workers all they want to do is believe it’s kosher, most have no idea what it really means, and the Jews that eat here love bacon and to anyone that complains I just say I’m innocent I support Israel and you can go fuck yourself”

I walked away with Dan just shaking my head and sat down on one of the benches.

“So Dan how are things in your new firm?”

Dan thought for a moment and then responded “I guess it’s good, I get my check every week but I don’t do anything anymore”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean I get paid but Alex is never around and no one is allowed to lobby on anything without his approval and input”

“What about Dolan, what does he say?”

“I haven’t seen Dolan since the closing, he took his check and drove off, and no one has seen him, even at his golf clubs.  We all just sit around the office waiting for a call from Alex which never comes”

“And your clients put up with no action on their needs?”

“What clients?  Alex took over all the accounts and whatever he did no client is complaining, it’s weird everyone seems happy and yet nothing is happening.  My big assignment from Alex is to come up with a name for the firm that has the initials C. I. and A.”

“Well I’ll tell you what you help me with my issue and I’ll give you a name to use”

“Ok what’s your problem Leathers?”

“It involves your specialty Dan, sex”

Danny brightened up “Tell me Leathers”

“How do we get Beth Croaker laid?”

“The real question is why would you want that to happen?”

“Because she holds the key to who becomes the next Senate majority leader, and while you may be retired I still need to be relevant in this town so I’d like to play a role in that decision”

“Well that’s a tough one”

“Because she is a twin sister to Jerry Nadler and her camel toe looks like a pair of elephant ears in those yoga pants?”

“Fuck no, you really don’t understand pussy do you Leathers, getting Beth laid is easy the problem is getting the right guy for the job, if either Squabble or O’Malley bump uglies with her they will lose.  Squabble does it and Roselinni finds out she will vote O’Malley, O’Malley takes the plunge and Black flips to Squabble.  What you need is a non- senator to go shampoo that shag carpeting.”

“How does that help?  Then the Senate leaders’ race ends in a tie”

“All this work you are doing for Dante is causing you to slip Leathers a tie is exactly what you want, tell both Squabble and O’Malley you will work next election cycle as a campaign consultant to get enough Senators reelected and/or new Senators elected to make them majority leader.  I’m telling you between campaign consulting and this new social media advocacy stuff lobbyists like us are a dying breed.”

“You really believe that Dan?”

“Absolutely Leathers guys like us are yellow cabs and UBER is running us over, by the way switching topics what office is Dante going to run for”

“To tell you the truth Danny he is polling in the high 80’s for every office we list in the polls from Guilderland school board to governor, he just has to decide”

“See Leathers you are already a campaign consultant the lobbying industry is on its way out, speaking of which did you hear JJOKE is going around forcing lobbyists to sign nondisclosure agreements about their financial condition and actually directing firms to merge?”

“Government can’t take an active role in the private sector and demand secrecy that violates the constitution and it’s illegal”

“Sure it is Leathers but didn’t that already happen during the banking crisis in ’08?  Go ask your big Wall Street clients if government can’t do what it wants.  I’m telling you Leathers our best days are in our rearview mirror”

“Chilling In Aruba, that’s your new firms name Dan, or a recipe for our sanity”

I walked away from the Capital feeling older than I ever had before.

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