“What’ll it be?” the short, stocky dude behind the bar asked Domingo. He looked up at the menu and around to see what others were having.
“I’ll have a Blue Moon.”
“Will this be an open tab?”
“Sure,” Domingo said, passing him his MasterCard and saddling a barstool.
He lit a cigarette and waited for Harvey’s boys to arrive. It was one of the few nightclub’s left in town that permitted smoking. There was a woman in his periphery dressed in a mini-skirt and strapless top. His brain decoded desire without requiring a full view — although he couldn’t stop himself from peering in her direction. As soon as her eyes caught his gaze, she looked away still moving to the beat of Michael Jackson’s: Blood on the Dance Floor. Domingo took another sip of his drink and bounced his legs. A surge of excitement travelled through his body, but he was there for business.
Alex rolled into the nightclub at half past midnight, followed by an entourage of armed men. He scanned the area and spotted Domingo sitting at the bar. He looked just like the image on his OkCupid profile. Alex wasn’t able to find any other pictures of him on the web to confirm his identity. Domingo seemed careful about creating a scandal.
“Depends on who’s asking.”
“Okay tough guy, best not to keep Harvey waiting,” Alex said — grabbing Domingo by the arm.
“Whoa, whoa… I can walk myself.” Domingo swung his arm free, raising his voice.
The armed men surrounding Alex moved into a defensive position and reached into their coats as if to pull out their weapons.
“Is there a problem here, gentleman? The overweight bartender asked with both hands on the counter, ready to grab the shotgun he hid underneath.
“No problem. We just want to talk to our friend here,” Alex responded.
“I’ll be back, Jay. It’s cool. Keep the tab open.”
Harvey was a notorious movie producer and co-founder of some big Hollywood film company that Domingo didn’t care to remember. He came to DC to give a piece of his mind to the speechwriter that would be responsible for drafting remarks for several actors that wanted to play a part in the Democratic National Convention. Domingo had decided to keep things simple after Clint Eastwood’s twelve-minute monologue with an empty chair, pretending it was President Obama. He was going to have them deliver a public service announcement on getting out the vote. Harvey was furious. His assistant had gotten a hold of Domingo and said he wanted to meet with him. Domingo didn’t realize it was going to be like this, though. But he was used to armed and powerful men pushing their weight. The Secret Service never fooled around — unless they were in Colombia.
“Where’re you taking me?” Domingo asked. Alex and the armed men had led Domingo to an alleyway behind the nightclub. The air smelled of piss and rotten fish. A street lamp was the only source of light. Otherwise, he couldn’t see a thing. He felt the buzz of his Blackberry in his pocket. Most likely the edits for a speech he wrote for San Antonio’s Mayor, Julian Castro. “Okay, this is getting weird. I agreed to meet with Harvey since he refused to talk over the phone,” Domingo said with a hint of fear in his voice. After all, he was just a twenty-something year old speechwriter who may or may not have graduated from a fancy pants school. He didn’t like admitting he went to Brown or worked for the leader of the free world much less. But where was the Secret Service when you needed them? DC has four primary local law enforcement agencies and dozens more federal police organizations. “Surely someone must have seen them walk into the alley?” He thought.
As they approached the street lamp, Harvey’s scruffy face came into the light. He was smoking a cigarette and dressed in what could only be a designer suit. Harvey put out his joint and started clapping his hands.
“Well, well, well… What do we have here? The voice of the President. It’s so nice to finally meet you. I’m star stuck.”
The armed men pushed Domingo closer. But before he could say anything, Harvey got down to business. Good thing for Domingo, he had experience with not wasting a VIP’s time.
“Do you know how many Oscar nominations I’ve received, Domingo?”
“Uh… no, not particularly.” Domingo began to sweat though his JC Penny’s Stafford white dress shirt.
“304! More than any other studio.”
“Okay.” Domingo wasn’t sure how to respond or what he was getting at.
“So, let’s give Scarlett and Kerry all the time they need for their speech and forget about getting out the vote.”
“Uh. Well — ”
“Okay?” Harvey got close to Domingo as if to assert his dominance.
Domingo took a minute to compose himself.
“I think you need to talk to someone with more authority. Perhaps I can give you the card of my boss’s boss?”
“You mean the President?”
“No, the people that pay my salary.”
“Right, the American People.” Harvey sighed. “Do you think they’re going to care when what stands between the President’s acceptance speech are stories from two leading actors? We’re trying to win reelection, Domingo. I know good storytelling. They’ll need all the time they can get.” Harvey turned to walk away, signaling the end of the discussion.
“So, that’s it?” Domingo knew all too well the answer. He was used to being put in his place, but he still had to ask.
“Wait. What?” Domingo continued to question, trying to backtrack as Alex now stood in front of him. He delivered a devastating blow to his abdomen. Domingo didn’t have time to react. The armed men picked him up off the floor and dusted him off.
“Go edit the speech in your inbox, Domingo!” Harvey Shouted.
“A simple phone call would have sufficed!” Domingo shouted back, still trying to recover. He turned to leave and noticed the armed men and Alex had disappeared. The street lamp overhead flickered and eventually left him in the dark.
* * *
Back in the nightclub, the scene became desolate. He went up to the bar and closed out his tab.
“What happened to you?” Jay asked.
“Business as usual.”
Jay smirked and handed back his MasterCard. Domingo had only ordered one drink.
“It’s on the house.”
As Domingo walked out of the nightclub, he noticed the girl from earlier who was dancing on her own. She seemed to be waiting for a ride. He put on his helmet, regained his confidence, and decided to chat her up. He knew she was interested. It was early Saturday morning and OkCupid was hit or miss anyway.
“Where do you live?”
“And why should I tell you?”
“Because I could probably give you a ride.”
“What makes you think I want you to give me a ride?”
“Because I’m a Speechwriter — ”
“Oooh. Am I supposed to be impressed?”
“You didn’t let me finish.”
“I’m a Speechwriter for the White House.”
“Oh really? Like for the President?”
“Uh, yeah.” He revved the engine.
“Okay, Mr. Speechwriter take me home.”
It worked every time. The only thing that was missing were the flashing lights and motorcade. But this wouldn’t be the first time that she’s gone home with him.
This story was inspired by a real event highlighted in, “Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years” by David Litt. The circumstances surrounding the real event depicted in this story are purely the imagination of the author and an attempt to make reality more entertaining.