"Welcome aboard Straight Talk One," he said. "This sled is gonna deliver us right into the Oval Office, so help me God. That little Ivy League motherfucker is toast."
He was reclined in his first class seat as we left the runway, eyes half closed, eating walnuts with one hand and drinking Natural Light with the other. Both right out of their respective cans.
"For a greenhorn he certainly has charisma," I said. "He can gather a hundred thousand people in a heartbeat while you're struggling for ten."
The old man laughed. "You want charisma?" He set down the walnut can, belched under his breath and leaned forward. "Let me tell you a story. From Viet Nam."
Oh shit, I thought, here we go again.
"They had me tied against the wall for a week straight. I suppose that would make most people uncomfortable, but I was just getting angry. So when the guards came to haul me down one day, I was biting my tongue. They started untying the ropes. I could feel the pressure coming off my wrist. Right at that moment, I knew--not consciously, mind you, but instinctively--that I had a chance."
"A chance to do what?"
"I slipped my wrist out, elbowed one guard in the face, jerked another's bayonet right out of his rifle, and stabbed the third one in the eye." He focused his furrowed eyes past me for a moment. "They were doing their job, and I was doing mine." Sipped his beer.
"Do you ever regret it?" I said.
"Naaah." He chuckled. "Look, the way I see it, there are two kinds of people in this world. There are people who just stand around waiting to be thrown at something, whether it's a bayonet or an Obama rally. And then there are people doing the throwing." His head darted around the cabin, and he focused back on me. "So you want dirt, don't you Leslie?"
My name isn't Leslie, but I nodded anyway.
"It's as good a time as any. I'm announcing a running mate soon. Want to guess what we're looking for?"
"Someone with policy expertise?"
"Are you crazy?" He chuckled again. "Policy expertise doesn't throw anyone around. Have you watched Joe Biden? Nobody gives a shit about him. Just another random old white fuck like me." Shook his head. "I'll put it this way. If you want to move people in this country, what does it take?"
"Charisma," I said.
"Charisma Man is on the other ticket. Guess again."
He laughed out loud. "Well, that's an easy one! But too obvious. No, son, it's simple. Hot bitches."
I sat quietly for a moment, pondering what he meant.
He raised his hand suddenly, as if to stop my thought process. "Just stay with me here, son. It's a simple fact. People know that hot bitches are naturally attracted to men with balls. It's science, goddammit! Scientific sociology!"
"So... what are you going to do?"
"That little Harvard fuck thinks he's such hot shit, but lemme tell ya something. He's latching on to his big white brother and holding on for dear fucking life. Because when it comes down to it, he has no balls. His dick is there for show. But now, take a little hot thing, attach her to the side of the campaign, and suddenly the situation is reversed. The cock and balls have a clear owner." He grinned, sipped his beer. "Get it now?"
"A little... hot thing?"
"Listen up," he said. "We've had eight years of Shrubbery Boy sucking off the teat of family power and pretending to be some badass that he isn't. People are tired of that shit. You know why Iraq is so fucked up? Because Shrubby let his advisors run the war, and when you delegate it to a committee, they half-ass everything. If he had been in Nam..." His eyes de-focused again, looking past me, and then came back to life. "We saw what happened when Johnson was pussy-footing around in the jungle, and then we saw what happened when Nixon got up there and indiscriminately bombed the fuck out of everything. And Shrubby did the same fucking thing, only backwards."
"That's bitch thinking right there." He grunted and ate a walnut. "But people like that shit, so long as they don't see the after effects. Namely, not getting anything done."
"So your presidency would be about getting things done?"
"Look," he said. "I nearly escaped from the Hanoi Hilton one time. I got a guard to loosen the ropes by promising to fuck him up the ass." He chuckled. "And right as I was finishing the deed, I choked the little son of a bitch, grabbed his keys and ran. That's how you get it done, Leslie. No regrets, no shame, ignore the fucking committees."
"But I digress," he said with another chuckle. "A big dick doesn't win an election. If it did, Hillary would have been nominated and I would already be in the White House planning to invade Russia and give Putin a swirly in the Kremlin ladies' room. Big-eared little fucker."
"Are you sure that..."
"Listen," he said, "that isn't the point. The point is this. People have to know that I'm the motherfucking Emperor and little Harvard boy is a court jester at best. People have to know this but it can't be known outright. It has to be subtle. And that's where the hot bitches come in. Because bitches follow the power. And the power," he said, grabbing his crotch, "is right down here."