Pat had a call for me on hold. “Leathers a Mr. Ping Bo Xian is on the phone”
I had been waiting for Ping Pong to call about Dante, this would be a delicate matter I had to be firm without pissing off the US Attorney. “Is it Ping or one of his assistants?”
“It’s Mr. Bo Xian and don’t be an asshole Leathers I’m not going to visit you in some federal prison”
“Put him through Pat and if they were going to arrest me they wouldn’t call first they would visit my home at 7am”
“Mort Leatherbaum may I help you?”
“I certainly hope so Mr. Leatherbaum, it’s Ping Bo Xian I am the US Attorney for the Southern District and I’d like to take a moment of your time to speak with you”
“Please call me Leathers and I am happy to speak with you should we meet in person?”
“In person would be fine and call me Mr. Bo Xian the only people that call me Ping are my friends and family and the only people that call me Ping Pong are those in prison or soon to be in prison”
“Certainly Mr. Bo Xian when would be convenient?”
There was a loud knock on the door as it opened and a diminutive man dressed in an elegant suit walked in.
“How about right now Leathers?”
I looked behind Ping to see if he had brought any members of the FBI or investigators from his office, seeing none I relaxed assuming I was not about to be placed in custody.
“Now is fine Mr. Bo Xian, do I need to call my lawyer?”
“If you needed a lawyer you would have known that by now, Karp would have tipped you off I’m sure, those fucking FBI agents haven’t learned a thing since the Whitey Bulger fiasco, no I want to talk to you about your client Dante Dorr”
“Please Leathers don’t play stupid I’m not here to talk to you about Dante’s criminal liability which you know as well as I do is nonexistent. I’m here to talk to you about his immense political talent, which quite frankly I am in awe of and which I assume you are responsible for since Dante is clinically insane.”
“I’m not sure I understand Mr. Bo Xian, what it is you want to talk about if not Dante’s criminal liability?”
“I want to retain you Leathers as my political consultant and chief strategist. I have not given up on my dream of becoming the first Asian President and right now the best way to do that is to hitch my wagon to Dante’s shooting star. And the best person to make that happen is you.”
“But Dante hasn’t decided which office he wants to run for, I think he just likes the idea of running”
“That’s where you come in Leathers. Convince him to run for President with me as his Vice President. Think of it as the Ying and Yang ticket”
“And I work for you?”
“You could but I think you would make far more money working for the campaign. As chief strategist for Dante/Ping 2016 you could name your price. We will raise a fortune in campaign contributions”
I started to feel my creative juices flowing. “So Dante taps into the I’m innocent crowd and you tap into the big money pay to play donors with the implied threat that a failure to donate results in a criminal indictment of their industry and the ire of Dane’s populist interest groups”
“Exactly Leathers Dante keeps saying I’m innocent so you can go fuck yourself and I keep saying everyone but Dante is guilty so donate or go to jail”
“It has promise and appeal . . . Ping. I can see it already they will teach it in political science classes for the next 50 years. We can call it the Ping Pong strategy”
I saw Ping processing that bit of information. He was alternating between anger and excitement. Finally he smiled.
“Let’s see if we can’t come up with a catchier title for our strategy. In the meantime go get Dante onboard for the biggest political press conference, rally, media event and/or perp work in the history of politics”
“I’ll call Dante right now, do you think your family can manufacture those micro condoms with a slogan on the side?”
“That all depends on how big the slogan is Leathers but I’m sure we can think of something and sell a shitload of them”
I stood up and shook Pings hand, it was a really small effeminate hand.
“One last thing Leathers, don’t fuck with me, I’ll make Andy Karp look like the tooth fairy if you cross me”
Ping left the office closing the door behind him. I sat down and pressed the button to turn off my recording equipment. Tooth fairy my ass.
If I learned nothing else in my time in politics it was to live by the famous words of former pro football star and bodyguard to the stars Rosy Grier who reportedly said “I’m nonviolent but if it doesn’t hurt the drape of your jacket drop a .38 in your pocket, better safe than sorry”.