Sep 4, 2009

No mercy

We imagined him drunk in a Wisconsin cabin, I guess. Drowning in swill. We thought he would be raving even when no one was there to listen, like the hatred had eaten his brain and he would be spying on the mailman and yelling at squirrels, suspecting they were perverts.

I'm not saying we thought about it. It was just the idea we had.

Like he would watch WWII documentaries all day, and spit when he talked to himself. Always mad. Always red in the face. Always alone, too. I just didn't think anyone that hateful could really have kids around that loved him and a wife that would take care of him when he was sick. That was just his public persona. It was just the impression. He was hateful. He wasn't just bigoted, he was viscous. He would berate you, and-and-and humiliate you and destroy you. Do you remember that speech? No mercy. No mercy. No mercy and no compromises in the war for our way of life. That was what we knew from all the press conferences and speeches and the way he always was. Always.

It wasn't just when the cameras were on. No. I remember, one time, being at a dinner. I think it was a think tank dinner, maybe a fundraiser or something. I don't -- don't remember. They always have these dinners in DC, expensive things you have to go to and someone talks and they always serve you like buttered asparagus or something, and it's good but never as good as they want you to think it is? It was one of those. I went to a lot of those when I was in public policy for the insurance company. I just remember -- he wasn't talking, but he was there. I saw him, and this was a few years after he was really in the spotlight but he was still a congressman, still sitting on committees and speaking and everything. So he was at this dinner. Some guy's giving a speech, and it's not as good as you're supposed to think it is but everyone's applauding like drunken bonobos. I look over and see the congressman. He's got his fork and he's repeatedly stabbing his beef eye fillet. Over and over, just stabbing and stabbing the life out of his medium rare. And the whole time, he's saying "faggot faggot faggot faggot."

I have no idea. None. Maybe it was the speaker? In the closet or something? But then how would he know? I don't know. Don't know. He was so mad, though. Just spittle-flecked rage. Everyone else in there is laughing at jokes that weren't funny, applauding and having standing ovations for overdone talking points, and here he is, completely rabid.

That's what I expected when we went up there. Maybe, too, you know, we needed to think of him like that. Like, he'd been so destructive, so hateful, so really completely vicious, that I needed to believe it had -- uhhm -- that he had carried all that around inside. That that hate had hurt him. Like cancer, or a calcification, an ulcer that ate him up inside. I thought the hate would be like permanent constipation. I remember when he exposed my partner, during the hearing, effectively ruining Aaron's career without even knowing the good work he was doing, just pfffft, I remember I had this image of his liver. His liver. There was this spot, like a hole? Like a hole where light like through a magnifying glass was burning. The hole in his liver was larger and larger, like the hole was spreading, and all his insides, his viscus, you know, were twisted and withered black.

We all knew he drank. It wasn't any secret. We used to joke about it.

No, he invited us in. I don't know, I guess, we had these assumptions but I hadn't really thought, would he invite us in. He was wearing slippers. He made us tea. There were like toy rakes in the yard, from where his grandkids had been playing in the leaves. It wasn't what I was expecting. It's not that I thought it out or could have told you want I was expecting -- it was him, and, I mean, I knew it was him and Aaron even said, "We remember all the hateful things you've done," but the hate was gone. Just leaked out. He just looked sad. He said he was sorry. He didn't even do it like the, if you've been offended by anything I've done. He just said, "I'm sorry. I'm really sorry." I didn't know what to do with that.

We just left. Yeah. We argued about that in the motel. We drove all the way to Wisconsin and then we just left. I had wanted to shoot him so bad. I used to hold the gun and think about him bleeding from the throat. But I couldn't do it. I couldn't. I guess he'll die from the prostrate, now, but I won't feel any better.