I have a friend who is currently a journalist in Iowa. Last night at 4AM he forwarded me this story. Expect to see a broader release of it later this week — he said it’s ok if I share it on my private blog because 1) he still needs to copy edit it and 2) no one reads this page anyway. For whatever it’s worth, he seemed drunk when I called him to ask if I could share it.
“So there we were — bombed out of our goddamned minds on research chemicals” the candidate said as he drove us through Iowa. Me and the intern I had brought along (this was her third week on board; she was enjoying writing for our paper) were in the back of the campaign’s car. We were trying not to hit into each other as our elected driver swerved to avoid potholes. His campaign manager was asleep in the front seat which is why he decided to tell us “some of the really fucked shit, and this is just funny shit you won’t even be able to publish — and if you do, you know, you aren’t recording, and people will think this whole deal is fake”. He didn’t seem bothered by the fact that my intern was 16 and he was speaking like a sailor. He just kept going into the story: his voice was almost a monotone, he was driving with one hand, his shoulders were relaxed and pointing downwards, plus he was occasionally checking his phone.
He hit a ran over a branch the second time he looked at his phone and the sedan we were in jumped. He looked up from the phone, stopped telling the story and said, “Oops, not really used to this little shitbox, this is a rental you know — anyway, where was I” he said before he looked back at us, “Right: 30 or so miles outside of Muskegon, Michigan, fucked on this shit you could buy from the Romanian’s back in the day — this was 2002, before the feds clamped down on those markets on the net. I was with my friend Tuttle, Tuttle Winthrop — hell of a guy, and we were in our second year at Harvard law. Anyway, we had two weeks before classes started and we decided to just get plain fucked up, and see how far we could drive this cheap-ass fucking Camry I picked up with my cash from being a Summer Associate. We got out to somewhere in Ohio before he turned North, and again, absolutely fucking blitzed, just looked at me said — ‘Bud, we’re going to Canada.’ And I was fucked too — I couldn’t feel my damn face, I was seeing shit, so I said Fuck yeah.” He turned to face us and nod as he said “fuck yeah” — his affect was still pretty flat. After he turned back to the road he used his free hand to loosen his tie a bit. The campaign manager began snoring around this point. I felt bad for the staffer — he looked exhausted when the ride started thirty minutes ago.
“Anyway, right, it’s two or three in the morning. Tuttle’s been driving for a day — he’d grabbed some of those wake-up pills you can buy at gas stations, the ones they sell to truckers. I’d pulled in another bump of the Romanian shit, and was passing in and out of consciousness. As this is happening we hit a bump, and I remember Tuttle pulling over, and then I’m, like I said, I’m drifting in and out of consciousness, I’m seeing this shit in these like half dreams I’m having — my own eyes looking at me, these circuits that make up the world. Then next thing I know Tuttle is grabbing me, and shaking me, and shouting “Wake up, Wake up you son of a bitch — it’s over, you fucking idiot”. His hair was tussled and was sweating like he just ran a marathon. He drags me outside, and I’m still seeing the circuits everywhere, and in the middle of them is this fucking dead body. Some guy, big ass beard, hunting outfit on, absolutely fucked up by something — he’s missing a damn arm, and his face is all bruised, then I black out again.”
At this point I was too confused to take notes . I had stopped some time ago. I had no idea what to say. My intern was just nodding whenever the Congressman would look back at us to emphasize a point, but otherwise she wasn’t doing anything aside from staring at the road.
“So, next time I come to, I’m staring out at this lake, this beautiful, beautiful lake. Stars above, trees around it — the water was a blueish-purple. I think I was still fucked up. I’m in the front seat of the Camry, and Tuttle is scooping water out of the lake with a bottle, and pouring it on the front of the car, and wiping something off with a damn Brooks Brothers polo he wore a few days ago. I was definitely fucked at this point, actually, because I remember looking down at my hands, and seeing that there was something all over them, like a red liquid, and it was moving up and down, and shifting — like it was made of puzzle pieces that moved on their own. And I get all wrapped up looking at this shit on my hand, and I see flashing lights behind us, and I just turned around and like, stared at them.” It was at this point the 2020 contender took a brief break from the story to check his phone again — it buzzed a few second before. We had driven maybe for twenty-five minutes at this point and passed nothing but cornfields.
“So anyway, I think they were cop lights, but yeah — I was fucked at this point. I had no idea what was going on. I just remember staring at those lights, then someone stepped in front of them, then I saw another silhouette go towards them, then I heard Tuttle shouting something, and I just fucking pass out again. Then I wake up, I don’t know how long later, and he’s going through my fucking pockets. He pulls some cash out of my wallet when he finds it and I black out again. I wake up eight hours later and he’s smoking a cigarette and we’re halfway back to Boston — he’s driving somewhere in Central PA. I asked him about the wallet, right? I had like a grand in it before, and it was fucking empty, and he just asks if I’m a idiot, then yelled me to not bring it up because, and I’ll ever forget this, his exact words were ‘they let us fucking walk because I had three grand in cash on me’. We just fucking sit after that, you know? Anyway, we have some silence, then 20 minutes later we get out to stretch our legs and grab some gasand I notice that our bumper is held together with duct tape, but I’m pretty sure I was lightly fucked so I couldn’t really check it out too much. Anyway, me and Tuttle switch places, then he fucking sleeps for the rest of the damn drive. We get back to Boston, and apparently, the next day, he’s drinking, right? And I’m back at my apartment, but what I hear is that he spends the whole next damn day and change, like thirty six hours, plastered, I mean incoherent — he was drunk as a fucking skunk. Anyway, during this damn bender, he goes to get food at like three AM, solo. He’s hammered and gets flattened by a goddamn eighteen-wheeler when he tries to cut through live traffic. Dead on the fucking spot. Whole thing was fucking brutal — they had to have a closed casket funeral.”
The Congressman looked back at us; I was expressionless but my intern’s mouth was agape. He looked at me, looked at her, looked backed at me, then winked and shrugged before returning his attention to the road. It was empty aside from us, thank god.
“I guess my point is, right, he fucking kicks it — Tuttle was a good guy, but you know, he had a proble we all expected something bad to happen eventually, but this was a shocker. But because of you know, when it happened, I never figured out what the fuck went on during our trip. We scrapped the Camry not too long after because it was used — a beater, you know — and it had a lot of damage to the hood and front fender. I’ve always wondered what the fuck caused that. Can’t figure that out I guess, but — ”
The Candidate then made a sharp turn, which caused the campaign manager to wake up: the staffer looked around and asked the candidate if he had told us about the healthcare plan. The representative from Massachusetts’s 10th district laughed and told the 30-year-old with bags under his eyes that he forgot, and that he was just sharing some old stories from his youth with us. The manager awkwardly said “nothing too wild, I hope” them laughed and begun to check his phone.
The formerly-sleeping passenger started responding to emails as the candidate began to explain how all Americans deserve healthcare that’s reasonably priced. Twenty minutes later we were deposited at the Wendell County Jefferson-Jackson dinner where the representative was giving the keynote speech. He talked about how every American deserves the chance to have opportunities.