By Tony Russell|
“Ace, why bother coming to Washington during the Christmas break?” complained Patty. “Nobody’s here. They’ve all gone home for the holidays.”
Patty’s a little slow sometimes, but I try to be patient with her. “Of course,” I said. “That’s the point. Everybody’s gone, so you don’t have all the traffic, all the crowds, the standing in line.”
She gritted her teeth, which ought to be worn down to nubbins by now. “The reason there are no crowds, Ace, is there’s nothing to see. Congress is shut down. The circus has left town.”
She was wrong.
We arrived at the Capitol, and the place was a madhouse. Panel trucks and pickups parked everywhere, workmen scurrying, extension cords tangled and stretching in all directions. I grabbed a guy in coveralls who looked as if he’d been finishing drywall. “Hey, what’s going on?” I inquired.
“Rush construction project,” he grunted. “Gotta get it done before the bigwigs roll back in.”
“What is it?” I asked. “New security measures for the Congress? I know terrorism is their top priority.”
“You’ve got it,” he said. “It’s all about financial security for the members of Congress. They’re terrified an opportunity will pass them by. We’re installing an auction chamber for the House and Senate. It’s gonna be official now: government to the highest bidder.”
“Say,” I said, “Patty here loves auctions. She picked up my vibrating recliner when she was at an auction last October. Got it for twenty-five bucks, and it had to be worth twice that much! Any chance she could sit in and bid on whatever comes up?”
“I doubt it,” he said. “The way I understand it, it’s a closed deal, only open to lobbyists. There’s probably nothing going up for auction she’d want anyway—it’s just the Congress members’ votes and influence.”
“I’ll bet you could still pick up some bargains,” I grumped. ... Read more at readtonyrussell.blogspot.com