His teeth are like a row of stumpy razors, and his black hair has a sheen like the sun on black
coral. He drinks Diet Coke instead of the filtered rainwater preferred by the Progressives, who
incidentally make him very nervous.
"What bills are you going to steal from me today, young man?" he teases me on the House
Walking slowly, with the deliberation of a champion mule, his decades of office passing like so
many forgotten arguments. That quizzical look that he always gives me, impossible to read.
"How old are you anyway?" he finally asks me one day on the House Floor. When I answer he
exclaims, "Jesus! You are old."
The best that any politician can hope for: that the locals will pause, abandon their conversation,
take notice, then forget you like a forgotten Muse.
His wife studies me with disdain, as I follow them both through the smoky casino-as we joke
about our lives, some unknown function awaiting, nametags.
He worries about the prospect of twin primaries, the years, the decades, of his service to be lost
in a row of brilliant talkers. He bellows his high school fight song on cue, the way he knows
every single mariachi song by heart, leading our chamber in perfect unison on Spanish Day,
There were no exemptions from the carnival tents in his hustling years, no soft holding of the
surrounding world in all of its determining; how everything then could live up to a caricature,
the grim clowning necessary sometimes to hold on to that_capital outlay.
Tomorrow's vote will be like his blue 1983 Grand Marquis, smooth and archaic, pointing
towards the contentious night sky, the moon nearly full over La Bajada.
The point is not to surprise anybody.
(Image derived from a photo by Steve Terrell)