At a house party the other night I walked into a bedroom to look for my coat. Two guys were in there. So intent on each other (no, it's not one of those stories) they didn't notice me. I stopped in the doorway because I recognised one of them as my Representative at Congress. It wasn't really eavesdropping, because surely they would notice me in a minute.
"So, did he bite?"
"Yeah. She'll go for it, too, for what we're paying her. She said she'll call Troy at the Times in a day or so. Let the dust settle first."
"Heh." The other guy rubbed his hands together. "He is going down. Then I'll be able to pass that crop insurance fraud bill."
"Well, I hope you appreciate it, because there's nothing in it for me. I represent fucking New Jersey."
I backed out the door silently, but I stayed around the corner, still listening. Ok, eavesdropping.
"Shit, John. You'll get yours. Just wait until next session. I'll vote however you want." A rustling told me they were coming my way, so I ducked into the bathroom before going to find my friend.
"Wait till you hear what I just heard!"
She listend while I told the story and then pointed. I turned to see the President chatting up an acquaintance of ours. She was chatting right back, by the looks of it.
"I have to stop this," I said.
"Yeah, but you hate George," my friend pointed out. "Let him go down."
"But he's the President. We can't just let these two guys create a scandal out of nothing."
Two days later, at a carnival fundraiser with my kids, I ran into my congressman again. His daughter goes to my kid's school, and he was manning a ticket table. I walked up to him and laid down my dollars for tickets.
His smile went uncertain at the look on my face. "Have we met?"
"No. But we're about to. Call off the floozy or I'm going to the New Yorker with a new story."
His expression hardened into worry. "What story?"
"The story about the convo I heard in the bedroom at a house party the other night. It's got lots of intrigue, two congressmen, evil plots, a pretty girl..." my tone turned musing. "You know, there might be a book in there somewhere. Maybe we should let this play out just a little longer--you know, just til I can get 80,000 words out of it..."
"You bitch. You wouldn't."
I smiled sweetly. "Oh, I wouldn't? I want to get published pretty bad."
"What do you want? Money?"
"Ah, the plot thickens," I said.
"You don't want to fuck with me," he said, sounding not at all like the Congressman I'd voted for. "I know people."
"I'm not fucking around," I said. "So I'd suggest you keep your nose clean."
"What do you want? A new car? What do you want?"
"I want to wake up."
Yeah. It was a dream. I shit you not--all details are authentic. It was so vivid I still remember it, now, hours later.
And people ask me why I write.
ps when I woke up NPR was blaring in my ear. Something about crop insurance fraud...