Karen//the convention; the coincidental consequence
I hate conventions. They always attract the crazies, the loonies, the fringes. Especially these stupid Tea Party rallies.
But damn, can Senator Daniels rile them up. I’m standing behind his well-built frame, pretending to be interested in his speech. I’ve heard it a hundred times, the dramatic soliloquy about lowering the tax burden on middle America, getting government out of our lives, and lambasting the current administration about their cloak of secrecy and lack of transparency and accountability.
I know every word of this damned speech. I stopped listening to it months ago. I stand behind him with the rest of the campaign crew and measure time by the applause. In the meantime I daydream.
At first, I would think back fondly to my most recent evening with Eric or Ryan. I’d smile softly and think about the way Ryan rolled me around in bed, getting wet at the thought of his touch. Or I’d think about Eric, and the way he said my name, and the way he made me laugh. It kept a genuine smile on my face that couldn’t really be attributed to the Senator’s great speech.
Lately, though, the thought of either of them just makes me sick. So I’ve taken to farther off fantasies. Trekking through the Amazonian jungle. Living in a tiny shack in the Alaskan winter. Hanging out in Amsterdam. Getting lost in the Australian desert.
These days it seems like all I can think about is running away.
But not today. I have something else on my mind today, and his hand keeps brushing my ass.
I got an e-mail last week from Denny, our campaign manager. He wanted me to welcome our newest field director.
Jeremiah. I might have heard of him, the e-mail said, through Olga. He’s her nephew, after all. I’d stared at my screen in disbelief. Since our ridiculous rendezvous two weeks ago, I’d systematically been ignoring each of his seven phone calls. He was supposed to have left a week after we met.
Apparently, he made an impression on Senator Daniels. He needed a job; his LSAT wasn’t high enough for any of the law schools he was looking at. So he’s taking a year off for studying.
And campaigning, apparently.
This is the first time I’d seen him. I had run into the high school gymnasium twenty-three minutes late, campaign flyers, buttons, and donation envelopes in tow. Barely; there was a serious danger of losing them as the teetered in my arms, stacked upon each other. I was sweating through my blazer, my hair was a mess, and I hadn’t gotten any coffee yet. It was 7:30 in the fucking morning.
He was the first one I ran into.
“Well, look who finally decided to show up,” he said. He looked at me with one of those knowing, I’ve-seen-that-birthmark-on-your-ass kind of smiles. “I was about to call you. But then I remembered that you don’t answer your cell.”
“Oh, right,” I smiled at him, trying to adjust the weight of the boxes. He didn’t budge to help. “Sorry, I’ve been a little overwhelmed. I, uhh, have some family stuff going on.”
“It’s cool. I figured something like that.” He put his hands in his pockets, looked around him, and leaned in to whisper to me. “You know, I can’t stop thinking about the way your ass felt in my hands.”
He bit his lip, leaned back, and then turned around to walk away, leaving me to awkwardly adjust the stack of boxes in my arms.
I could feel myself blushing. The fire was spreading rapidly from my cheeks to my chest.
“Hey!” I yelled at him.
He turned, that arrogant piece-of-shit smile plastering his face. “Yes?”
“Where the hell is our table? I need to set this shit up.” He smiled, pointed to my left.
I turned toward the table without even thanking him.
Fuck this guy. No…no, wait. Don’t do that. Go to hell, asshole.
And now, he’s standing behind me, grabbing my ass. Apparently he did forget what it feels like in his hands, because he seems to be forging a new memory. I try to move forward toward the Senator while the crowd erupts in applause. My movement prompts everyone to crowd in behind him a bit more. Jeremiah only ends up closer behind me.
I realize I’m not smiling. The crowd is cheering, which is my cue to smile and clap, as though I’ve never heard these brilliant ideas spoken before.
Instead, I’m seething with anger and tears are starting to form.
The crowd erupts again with the Senator’s final words. They’re beside themselves as we file off stage. This is where I’m supposed to stand behind the table and hand out literature, make small talk, and encourage donations.
Instead, I weave through the crowd of Tea Partiers, dodging their homemade signs and yellow Don’t Tread On Me flags.
I walk right out the door. I walk to my car. I go the fuck home.