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Thursday, November 30, 2006

the consultant

Gretchen sat down after checking in at the flight counter and looked contemplatively out through the great glass windows of the airport corridor. The sky had a look of washed out blue as the sun burst through clouds like radiant silver. Looking out beyond the black runway at the bleach white snow remaining from the morning, she mused, 'This will be...'

A mobile rang, jarring her. Thinking it was her own, she instinctively reached into her handbag when she heard a strong Texas baritone drawl say 'Hello' from the seat behind her.

The strong voice continued 'yup ... yup ... an'?'

'If she wants a dog to kick, tell'er to go find one that's agreeable.'

'Hmm. She wants the burly butcher with the manhood of a eunuch.'

He chuckled.

'Politics is war, my friend, and she wants a tea party, so ...'

'No, Jack, and she ain't gonna win the primary by ... excuse me, Jack ...'

'Look what the other side of the aisle has. Those two aren't women. They're carnivores. Hell, they eat their own. And she hopes to be fightin' one of'em in the general.'

'Then tell her to fire her staff, and hire people with thick hides, stainless steel backbones, cast iron guts, and brawny brains.'

'Go soft soap someone else, if you think ...'

'It's possible.'

'Let's get things straight, Jack. I'll cancel this flight out and return, under these conditions ...'

'Wait a ...'

He breathed a deep sigh.

'I don't get involved in office politics.'

'You know my rule. I set up the expectations and contract to reflect it.'

'She knew my reputation comin' in. She knows how I work. I told her strategy, tactics, counsel, advice, recommendations, findin's, criticisms and critiques will serve her campaign, her platform, her personal interests, her alone, an'll be objective to boot. And one proof of it is that everyone in'er camp will probably find somethin' that'll piss'em off.'

'Their karma ain't tailored for me. It'll be their problem.'

'Then let me explain matters this way, Jack. She has a target for me to hit. She has one chance at it. I won't spend my time ridin' and guidin' an arrow to dodge in an' out, up an' down an' around some dumb jackass wannabe campaign gurus that get in the way of the bullseye. If I have to, I'll shoot'em first, then shoot the target. Get the picture?'

'You know better. I don't make friends with competin' agendas. And I can't be bought with a pretty face, so don't pull that bunny from the hat again. My name's worth more than a twenty minute carnival ride.'

His laugh was long and barely audible.

'Stop. You made your point.'

'Sure. Everybody wants the best. But some want the best advisor, others, the best mascot. She needs to make a choice and keep it.'

'I didn't hear ya ... she's on the ... take your time. I'll wait.'

'You certain?'

'Then she's mine, lock, stock and barrell. And she'll win. And, Jack, the fee just went up 20.'

'Yes. We understand each other. We always have.'

'Let me know if she accepts the bump.'

'Oh, I'll be here waitin'. Take all the time you need of the next fifteen minutes you got before this flight leaves.'
. . . . .

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