Tuesday, September 20, 2011

WIP Wednesday - Where There's Smoke

Just a little nibble of the book I'm working on right now, Where There's Smoke:

“One other question, though.” He shifted in his chair. “Why exactly are you running on an independent ticket?”

I regarded him silently for a moment, narrowing my eyes as I searched his. Finally I took a breath. “I’m assuming you’re going to tell me that’s a mistake and I should get on the Democratic ticket.”

Anthony laughed. “You catch on quick, don’t you?”

I scowled.

“Look.” His expression shifted from amused to stern, almost annoyed, and he leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table and steepling his fingers. “You’re an unknown, Jesse. You’re a risk for the people of California. A huge risk. They see your name, they’re going to associate you with your uncle, which is good. The people like your uncle. They see an ‘I’ next to your name? They’re going to get nervous, and nervous voters won’t elect you.”

“So you suggest I run as a Democrat, even if I don’t think like a Democrat?”

“Do you think like a Republican?”

“Absolutely not.”

“Then you think like a Democrat.” There was an edge to his voice, one that suggested he wasn’t interested in debating the subject. “And therefore, you run as a Democrat.”

I exhaled and shifted my gaze to the lazily rippling swimming pool. So this was politics. Pretending to be one thing so everyone was damn certain I wasn’t another. Games. Charades. Smoke. Mirrors. And here I thought I might have a shot at being an honest politician.

Anthony thumped his knuckle on the table, startling me and drawing my attention back to him. “Listen, you want to win this election? Do things my way. You need a party’s endorsement to be taken seriously and get votes. Fuck doing shit just on principle, fuck anti-bipartisanship. Face it, kid. You’re not getting elected without a campaign manager, and this campaign manager says put a ‘D’ next to your name and let’s quit fucking around.”

I was already a happily married straight man. Why not be a Democrat while I was at it?

“All right,” I said. “Democrat it is.”

Stay tuned for more WIP Wednesday next week!

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