It was last Friday–a hot October day in Mobile, Alabama. Like I’ve said before, it’s Mobile Alabama and it’s always hot. I was looking out the window of my office as I do when I’m bored or drinking. But the street below was quiet. I’m getting tired of the quiet. It had been a slow week and I was going a little stir crazy from the boredom. Things seemed to be running too smooth in the world of business. No one needed my help. No one had an issue. Except me, I needed a drink, a cigarette, and an assignment.
My partner, Skyler had been gone for three months. He said it was “vacation”. He needed to clear his head. Hell, his head is made of wood and hollow, how much clearing could it need. I glanced down at his cheap postcard from The Keys and imagined him in a seedy motel with an even seedier dame. I was jealous. I’d settle for just the seedy motel room and a change of scenery.
I looked at my office door. From the other side facing the hallway, it reads, D.Robison–Public Relations. That’s right, I’m The PR Guy.
At just that moment, the door window darkened. Someone was outside my office. They knocked.
“Just a minute,” I yelled, and slowly approached the door and opened it.
To my surprise and delight, I recognized the face in an instant. It was Bob. I smiled. Probably too much. Too big of a grin. I had blown my cool demeanor in seconds.
“BOB!” I exclaimed. “How the hell are you buddy? Get your ass in here.”
Bob looked the same. Still dressed in the dark suit with the obligatory Ray-Bans. Although he seemed to have a more relaxed countenance about him. No overcoat. No hat that half concealed his face. Not like old days.
I had to ask. “Where’s my pal, Doug?”
Bob grimaced, “Umm, we aren’t a team anymore. After you did all that work for us back at Amway so many years ago, he decided to go out on his own. Last I heard he was working on the Jeb Bush For President campaign.”
“Eeeewwww, that had to hurt.” I said. “Poor Doug…but, I bet he lands on his feet in no time. Is he..?”
Bob cut me off in mid-question and asked, “Dave, how have you been? You dropped off the “net” back in 2010…I thought maybe you retired, quit PR, or,” He paused, “I don’t know…was shot or something.”
That surprised me. “Shot? Or Something? Dude? Why would you think ‘Or something?‘ That’s scary. And dude, I sent you a Facebook friend request back then and you never accepted. Besides the Cops love me.”
Bob said, “Oh, I wasn’t thinking about a police shooting. But, you do live in the South AND you are a Democrat, so anything could happen.”
Bob was starting to bum me out. “Bob, are you here to further my depression or what? I thought this was just a friendly visit, but I’m starting to change my way of thinking.”
“No, no, no, it’s just a friendly visit. I was in the neighborhood, thought I would just drop by and say, ‘Hello’, and catch up on things and…and…ummm, well there might be one other reason.
“I thought so. Have a seat and tell me what’s the deal.” I motion him toward the chair and offered him a drink.
“Whiskey, straight up,” he replied.
I nearly choked on the surprise. Bob has never accepted an offer of a drink from me. He saw my surprised, and responded, “Yeah I started drinking after I left that other job. I drink occasionally to calm my nerves, or relax, or…actually I drink everyday. Usually just from the bottle. But hey, a glass–I can do that too.”
I had to asked, “So, what can I help you with?”
He stammered, downed the drink, and said, “I…I work for the RNC now.”
“THE WHAT?” I yelled.
“You know, the RNC, the Republican National Committee.” He said.
“Yeah yeah, I heard you. I just can’t believe what I’m hearing.”
He tried to explain, “Well, when I left Amway, it was a natural choice. I mean, the Amway guy lost his campaign bid for Governor and I sort of helped him on that, so I thought after that I could work for all Republicans.”
“Let me get this straight,” I replied. “So you failed one guy! And you thought you could help a bunch more fail?”
“Well, that’s not fair.” He replied, “I mean, I helped a guy, and he lost the governors’ race and my pal, Doug, helped a guy lose the Presidency. I think he failed more!”
“Okay, yeah, sure, sure, whatever let’s you sleep at night, Bob.” I was regretting this visit already. “Look there’s probably very little I can do for you. I’m not about to help the RNC take the White House. HAVE YOU SEEN! YOUR PARTY’S CHOICE?!”
He was quick with an answer, “Which is why I’m here. We need your help! Have you watched the debates?”
“Sure, I watched them. And all the parodies of them on the Internet. Your guy tanks in all of them. And the stuff he’s saying…Geez, you guys need to distance yourself from all that.”
“We’re trying, but that seems to backfire on us, and his supporters start attacking us. We need another strategy.”
“What about a scandal?” I asked. “You could dredge up some kind of sex thing on him. Make him look like a pervert. Some kind of hidden video?” Then I laughed, “No, that wouldn’t work, would it?”
“Funny, very funny, Dave,” he said. “His supporters loved that. I wished I hadn’t even came up with that idea”
I half-way choked on my drink. “Wait? That was you?”
He smiled, “Yeah, Billy Bush loves to talk after a few rounds of drinks”
“Clever, Bob, very clever. I taught you well,” I said.
“But now, I’m out of ideas,” he continued, “Look, I have 500 cash right now, for one good idea from you that will make him look bad and us look good. We can flush this whole election, get the dame elected, and then bad-mouth, and oppose her for 2 more years and win the mid-terms.”
I thought for a moment, as I looked at the cash in his hands, “Hmmm, well the first thing that comes to mind is drug tests.”
Bob said, “I don’t follow.”
I explained, “Have him ask for a drug test of her before the next debate. He’ll volunteer to take one, too.”
Bob was confused, “What good will that do?”
I continued, “He sniffs and snorts at every debate. People already think he’s on cocaine. Tell him to take the test himself, even if she doesn’t; and then you can defend him. You can say, ‘Our guy took the test. We saw him do it.’ And when the press asks you, what the results were, you can hem and haw, and say, ‘We stand by our candidate and all his choices.'”
“Wait!” He was confused again, “We don’t give the results that he tests negative?”
“No,” I said. “His test is confidential, since she isn’t gonna take one. He can tell the press it’s negative, if he wants to, and he’ll be telling the truth. He’ll say it’s negative. And it will be. No lie. But, the press will go crazy until election day. They’ll speculate about his “negative” results and his “known” drug abuse. Her numbers will soar and Hillary will get elected. The you’ll sweep the mid-terms in two years and raise a butt-load of cash to oppose her proposed legislation.”
Bob was grinning, “That’s good, but ain’t it like we are rigging the election?”
“Yeah,” I said. “So, you start blaming the Democrats for any rigging conspiracies, right now. The websites will love it.”
Bob sighed, “Okay great, here’s the cash.”
“You’re gonna do it?” I asked. I couldn’t believe it.
He pondered for a moment, “I don’t know. But it’s better than anything else we’ve come up with. I’ll present the idea and see what they think.”
He handed me the cash as he got up from his seat, “I have to go now,” and he held out his other hand to shake mine.
I shook his hand, and said, “It was nice to see you again. By the way, I still have that package you left here.”
“Oh that?” he said. “Yeah hang on to it. They know it’s here.”
I had to ask one other thing before he left, “Okay, well if you hear from Doug, tell him I said hello.”
He reiterated, “I told you the last I talked to him he was helping Jeb Bush in Florida. I assume he is still with him in some other capacity.” He paused again, “Oh yeah, I did get just a blank postcard from him the other day from Islamorada. So, I guess I was right.”
Bob reach for the door and turned to me, “Thank you again, and maybe we’ll see each other again.” I stopped him and shook his hand again. Public Relations is a dirty business and you make few friends. Bob had become a good one. And the fact he paid me in cash proved that. And with that he was out the door.
I went back to my desk and sat down. I stared at the crisp bills on my desk. Maybe I was due for this. Maybe it was time for my return, just as it was due for Bob to return to me for advice. Disgusting, deplorable advice that paid in cash. I could live with that. I started to reach for my empty glass, but grab the bottle instead and took a swig. Sure I was in deep now, might as well try to dilute the swill with more swill.
Then it hit me. Islamorada? Jeb Bush? Postcards. SUMMBITCH! SKYLER”S POSTCARD WAS FROM ISLAMORADA! WHAT THE HELL? Could Skyler be helping Jeb on something, too? I knew something was up. Isn’t Matt Drudge in Florida? Maybe, this return is not going to be what I hoped for.
I needed this drink. I needed this cigarette. And, I needed to write all this down. Now all I need is a hot shower and another assignment.