Campaign 1992

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Following a candidate for President of the United States for the thirteen months as a freelance writer had proven to be a roller coaster ride of fast ups, fast downs, curves when you were not quite ready and, mostly, a renewed belief in the motto, “Expect the unexpected.” Gennifer Flowers focused the media mindset on sex almost from the start, and my being from Little Rock caused my own prominence at hushed meetings with journalists at Josephine’s restaurant in Arkansas’ Excelsior Hotel or Ashley’s Restaurant in the exclusive Capitol Hotel. Of course, I was there to get a story like everyone else so anything I said was off-the-record; all I needed was to see my name in print just once, and I’d never get another interview with the candidate.

Thursday, October 3, 1991, was one of those Indian Summer days Arkansans know all too well. The sky was blue with a temperature in the mid-eighties when the governor walked onto the platform at the Old State House. Thirteen minutes into his speech he announced his candidacy to the mostly loyal 4,500 gathered under the shade trees. I had opted not to join the media on their platform, preferring to stand with the crowd and record this historic moment from the John Doe perspective. Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow, the Fleetwood Mac hit song, began blaring from the loudspeakers just as the speech ended. Thirteen months later the entire nation would see the newly elected First and Second Couples dancing to the same music when they claimed victory.

The music was still blaring as hundreds of people walked the hundred yards to a fund-raising reception at the Excelsior. I smiled when members of the national media were told they would have to contribute at least ten bucks for admittance to the reception. It was, after all, a fund raiser. To me, however, it was a classic political move on the candidate’s part. As each ten dollar bill was pulled from pockets, wallets and purses belonging to reporters, the campaign was beginning to exercise control over those who would become crucial in Bill’s attempt to unseat an incumbent president.

Maggie was trying to borrow money from her cameraman when I moved up beside her. “Here, darling,” I drawled in my best south Arkansas dialect. “Allow me to introduce you to the next president,” I said while pressing a ten into her palm.

Every time I reflect on the New Hampshire primary and remember the young man holding the sign proclaiming Hillary is a Fox I think of Maggie because that lovely Network brunette was truly, in all aspects, a fox. She had the bluest eyes; I cannot tell you how many times in the thirteen months following that initial meeting that I lost all grasp of reality while staring deeply into those clear, Caribbean-blue windows to her soul.

Of course I did not have to make any introduction; he knew who she was. A few minutes passed while we moved through the throng of people to a less crowded area.

“He called you Eric,” Maggie said. “How well do you know him.”

“I met him back in ’78 when he began the successful part of his political career, and I’ve talked to him at dozens of functions since then. I’ve visited with him out at the capitol a few times and even attended a party at the mansion once.”

“What sort of party,” the reporter asked.

“Nothing really special. You see, once a year Bill had a little punch-and-cookies party for retiring state workers, and I just happened to get invited one year,” I answered.

She smiled. “You know, Eric. I think you’re someone I need to keep in close touch with.”

“The closer and touchier, the better,” I drawled. “After all, I got ten bucks invested in you.”

The cameraman caught up with us and told Maggie they needed to get some shots of her in the crowd. She excused herself, but called back, “Are you going to Des Moines Saturday?”

“No, I plan to stay in Little Rock till things get going hot and heavy. Probably won’t venture out till the New Hampshire primary next year,” I answered.

A broad smile revealed her perfect white teeth and made her even prettier. “Okay, I’ll see you in Concord,” she said. She took two steps then turned back to find my eyes still following her. “If not before,” she added with a wink.

Maggie followed her cameraman into the crowd; I turned my attention to working the crowd: listening intently, interrupting when necessary to clarify the notes gleaned from eavesdropping. I was talking to a well-known TV producer when Maggie walked up, microphone in hand.

“Eric, here’s someone you can introduce me to,” she said, posing that zipper-busting smile at the producer.

“Maggggieeeee,” he beamed. His arms folded around the network reporter. “How are you, hon?”

“I guess you two know one another already,” I said.

The Hollywood producer smiled. “Oh, yeah. I’ve known Mag for…how many years?” he said while turning back toward the beautiful brunette.

“Who’s counting?” she replied.

Maggie assumed her reporter persona rather quickly. “How does it manisa escort feel to have etched your place in presidential history by giving the longest introductory speech of anyone on the platform today?” There was that smile again.

“Hon, you just remember one thing that I said today; that’s what history will see: the president has just met his worst nightmare. Mark it down…and watch,” he replied.

Almost immediately he was drawn away by a campaign staffer.

“Listen, Eric,” she said. “Yesterday I heard some talk about a nightclub singer. Do you know anything about her?”

I glanced around to make sure the cameraman wasn’t taping us. “How ’bout us finding a dimly lit bar somewhere, and I’ll give you my take on that?”

She glanced at her watch. “I’ve got to go live in a couple of hours. Would you settle for a bottle of wine being sent up to my room?”

I tried my level best to conceal the excitement I felt, even though I could see the hair on my arms standing at attention. “Sure,” I answered. “But only if you will remember one thing.”

“What?” she asked with an inquisitive expression.

“We’re in Arkansas. I’m from Arkansas. Born and bred in Arkansas. Mind if we order a six-pack?”

She guffawed. “No problem,” she answered with a pretty good Caribbean imitation.

Her room was on the ninth floor of the Excelsior and looked out over the Arkansas River. I walked to the opened drapes. “If you look real hard, you can almost see where I live over there on the horizon,” I said.

Maggie was beside me, handing me a Bud Light. “I’ll be sure to come to the window tonight before I go to bed and say goodnight to you.”

The beating of my heart shifted into overdrive. There was a moment of awkward silence before Maggie spoke again.

“Okay, bud…spill your guts!” she said, this time with a Jimmy Cagney imitation.

We moved to the sofa; I with a beer, her hand cradling a glass of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay. The beautiful brunette curled onto the sofa after kicking off her shoes, sitting on her feet, her knees pointed at me. The skirt had pulled about six inches above those marvelous knees, pulling my gaze as well.

I cleared my throat and raised my eyes to hers. “Off the record?” She nodded.

“Back in ’88, I believe it was, we had our own little Nicaragua-Contra scandal in state government. A state employee reportedly had used state phones to make dozens of calls to Latin America. When he was caught, he was fired. When he was fired, he tried to protect himself and get reinstated to his job by threatening to reveal all sorts of sexual affairs. For some reason, the number eighteen sticks in my mind. Black, white, beauty queens, government employees… the whole shooting match. But he couldn’t or at least didn’t produce proof that anyone ever had sex with anyone else.”

“And the local press killed the story,” Maggie said.

“Well, it didn’t look like there was a story. You just sort of expect pissed-off people to vent frustrations. Anyway, the local Republican party has been a joke forever. But, in 1990, they offered a decent gubernatorial candidate. They knew they’d get the thirty-three percent negative vote. Finding something to grab another seventeen-plus percent would not be an easy matter. The claims were brought up again. Names were named and tape recordings were said to exist.

“The singer was just one of the names, and she flatly denied all the charges. Depositions were supposed to take place where, I think it was five, women would state under oath they’d had sex with certain political figures. Maggie, it never happened. No pictures, no tapes, no depositions.” I got another beer.

“Disappointed?” I asked.

“No, not really,” she answered. “So, you don’t think this will be an issue.”

“No, no proof.”

“Eric, in a presidential election, proof is not necessary; what about allegations?” the reporter asked.

A few months later I received a phone call from Maggie. “Hey, o’ wise one,” she began. “What do you think about the nightclub singer now?”

“Kiss my ass. By the way, I’ll be in Concord tomorrow. Where are you?” I asked.

“Calling from Concord,” she answered.

“Well, get ready. Half the state is headed up there. Gonna go door-to-door…the whole state. It’ll be a sight to see. Bringing thousands of videos to pass out.

“Is the campaign paying for it?” she asked.

“Nope, everybody pays his own way,” I answered.

“Great, that’s my story. Thanks. Look me up. Gotta go. Bye.”

My cash flow situation mirrored that of the campaign, except they were waiting to receive a few million in matching funds while I was waiting to have my electricity turned off. I was able to hitch a few rides with friends who were still going out-of-state to beat on doors, but my campaign coverage was slipping.

I wasn’t seeing Maggie except when sitting in front of a television for the evening news. Early one morning the phone rang.

“I haven’t seen much of you lately.” It was Maggie.

“There’s a big difference between a network picking up the tab and freelancing your way,” I replied. “At least I have relatives in New York. Maybe I’ll see you at the convention. My man is going to win.”

“Don’t you dare breathe a word of this…but I plan to vote for him,” she almost whispered into the phone.

“Ahhh Ha! A convert!” I exclaimed.

Maggie laughed a deep, throaty laugh. “Yeah, a convert. And he can thank you for a portion of my decision.”

“How’s that?” I asked.

“I really like you,” she said flatly. “You guys from Arkansas are not anything like those I run into everyday. I like having doors opened for me and, well, just the overall graciousness I have perceived from Arkansas men thoughout this campaign. It’s truly refreshing.”

“Oh, well, that’s easy to explain, m’am,” I offered. “You see, we grow up down here in the midst of goddesses everywhere you turn and…gosh, darnit, we’re just so glad to be here.” My hillbilly-ese elicited another throaty laugh.

“I been kinda thinkin’ you must be from around here, you know, havin’ them goddess qualities yoreself. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to learn you was my cousin.”

My personal financial world seemed to cave-in on me for a couple of months. I missed the convention and a good portion of the campaign that followed, but I faithfully watched for Maggie’s reports on the news each night. And fantasized.

Maggie called on the twenty-sixth of October, 1992. “I’m coming to Little Rock tomorrow. Are you mad at me? I haven’t seen or heard from you.”

“No, no, no, no, noooooo. Been chasing wolves away for weeks. But I’m in the brick house now.” There was that wonderful laugh again.

“God, I’ve missed seeing you,” she gushed.

“Well, darling, just be glad you’re not here to see me now,” I shot back without really thinking.

“Why’s that?”

“We’d both be embarrassed by the bowed appearance of my jeans,” I said.

“Not me,” she countered. “I don’t get embarrassed when a guy shows excitement of my coming…to town.” The pause was perfect.

“When does your plane arrive?”

I met Maggie at Adams Field. She literally glowed as she walked up the ramp to the waiting area, then threw her arms around me like she had arrived for a high school reunion.

“You New York girls are a little forward, aren’t you?” I said.

“Jackass,” she replied.

“Would I be correct in assuming you emptied the liquor cabinet on the plane? I posed.

She laughed heartily. “No, nothing like that,” Maggie said while flashing that incredible smile I’d dreamed of for months. “This is sort of like a vacation,” she explained as we walked to the baggage claim area.

“A vacation? With one week left in the campaign?” I asked in a rather incredulous tone.

“Believe it,” she answered quickly. “The network wants local color for our election night broadcast. You know, sort of the mood of Little Rock, and so forth.”

She stopped to dig into her purse. “I told my boss that I’d been cultivating you to provide that information. Here.”

I took the envelope, and she asked, “Will $100 a day buy you for the next seven days?”

Indeed, my name was on the check. “Where to, m’am?” I replied.

“Excelsior, my young man. I requested the same room,” she said while I put her bags in the back seat of my four-wheel drive.

Neither of us spoke as I paid the parking lot attendant; when I made a right turn on Bankhead Drive, Maggie began.

“Okay, Eric. You took the check so tell me about the election.”

I raised my peripheral gaze from her knees and glanced over at her beautiful face. “The election, my dear, is over. Clinton won, and there’s gonna be one hellavu party. All that remains is for the people to go vote next week.”

“You sound pretty sure of that,” she said as I turned onto the interstate.

“I had two reasons for believing that before your phone call yesterday; now I have three,” I answered.

“Well, are you going to tell me what they are?” she asked after a moment’s silence.

“First, expect Perot to get twenty percent of the vote. That means Bill needs only a tad over forty. And, he’ll have that in virtually every state. It’ll be an electoral landslide,” I answered.

“Third,” I began.

“Third?,” she exclaimed. “What happened to second?”

“Hold your horses, New York lady,” I answered. “Second takes longer to explain, so you get third first…or next.”

“Yeah, who’s on first?” she laughed in reference to Abbott and Costello’s famous skit.

“Third, dammit,” I continued. “The network would not have sent you here a week early to get color if they did not already know the outcome. You know that.”

“Well, it is true that’s their take on it. I mean, Clinton will carry New York easily, and the execs think New York is the heartbeat of the civilized world. You sorta get that way from living there.”

I steered the four-wheeler off the freeway at the Markham Street exit and approached the hotel slowly. “Should I pull into the unloading area…or the underground hotel parking? Uh, boss?”

“Parking,” she answered. “You’ll stay awhile, won’t you?”

“You’re the boss,” I smiled.

“And don’t you forget it,” she said with one of those magnetic smiles. “Besides, I need to hear the second reason.”

Twenty minutes later we sat on the familiar sofa; Maggie with her glass of Chardonnay, me with a Bud Light.

“You were planning on staying all along, weren’t you?” she said with a nod toward the ice chest I’d brought up to the room.

“Moi?” I replied innocently. “Why, no. I just always carry around a case of beer iced down…you know, just being prepared like I was taught in the Boy Scouts.”

“Okay, and reason number two is?” she spoke and gestured with her arms.

“Informed sources,” I said with a feigned British accent. “You know, insiders here in the hotel and across the street at the Capitol tell me there have been a number of reservations coming from Hollywood. Markie Post, Tom Cruise, Richard Dreyfuss, Richard Gere, Cindy Crawford, Mary Steenburgen. Comedy Central is doing live coverage with Buck Henry. Hunter Thompson from Rolling Stone and media big shots from around the world. Maggie, you don’t send the big shots to cover the loser.”

She was beaming. “You’ve done your homework on this, haven’t you?”

“Well, let’s not overlook the business community. Literally dozens of street vendors are getting ready. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars in T-shirts and all sorts of stuff. Maggie, there’s no doubt; Clinton has won.”

“Okay, I believe you. In fact, I believed the same thing before I got on the plane this morning,” she confessed. “So, what do we do for the next seven days?”

I grinned. She smiled, then leaned over toward me. Our lips touched. I savored the taste of wine as our lips parted and our tongues touched gently. Maggie pulled her face back a couple of inches. Slowly, her eyes opened.

“I’ve been thinking about this moment,” she whispered.

“Me, too,” I answered breathlessly.

Fifty-five weeks of teasing. Fifty-five weeks of anticipation. Fifty-five weeks of volcanic passion brought our lips together again. Tongues battled one another. Her hands sought out the buttons of my shirt. Mine sought the clasp of her skirt. The bulging of Mount St. Helens before its eruption seemed pale compared to the passion that was building in the hotel room.

Urgent moanings as we, at last, tasted one another. Labored pantings as we tore at one another’s clothing.

“Oh, damn,” Maggie swore as she ripped her blouse away and rose to her knees. I jerked the white skirt downward.

She pushed onto her feet and I pushed the skirt past her knees. Her breasts. Big, symmetrical, slightly upturned globes drew my lips like a magnet. The cherry-like nipple was sweet. And hard. The other was its twin. My hands were under her fleshy mounds holding her aloft while she kicked the skirt onto the floor.

The network reporter pushed me to my feet beside the sofa. I stared down at her. She wore only a white garter belt and almost transparent silky white stockings topped with lace. I tugged at my shirt. Maggie’s hands unfastened my pants and pushed them to my knees. My fleshy rod sprang upward. The purplish head testified to the passion.

But only for a moment. The head disappeared. The dark, New York coiffure blocked my vision. The loud slurping sound and the incredible electrical shocks flowing through my abdomen left no doubt. Maggie was an expert. I watched her head bob back and forth. I had to move away. An embarrassingly quick climax was about to erupt. But I didn’t want to move.

With all the reserve I could muster I dropped away to my knees. My lips found hers again. The audible passions were louder than before. Four hands roamed over tingling flesh. Mine found the back of her knees and pulled her ass to the edge of the sofa. I directed my lips and tongue down over her neck. They sucked at and toyed teasingly with each breast. Downward.

Maggie’s feet touched my back and pulled her womanhood upward to meet me. My hands cupped the soft firm flesh of her lower cheeks and I dipped my tongue inside her.

“Ooohhhhhh…waahhhh!” she screamed an immediate orgasm. Her legs tightened around my shoulders. Her hands pulled at my head.

I licked and sucked as though I’d been in the desert without water for days. Fifty-five weeks. The labial lips were deep red with her inner heat. Near the top of those sweet lips my tongue found the hardened clitoris. I sucked it between my lips grinding my face against her wetness. My tongue fluttered against Maggie’s little erection.

“Ohhhhhh…gahhhhddd…ohhhhhhhhhh,” she squealed. Her pleasure-passion continued to erupt in a series of orgasms. One after another. Punctuated by a downward fall of her abdomen and a deep inhaling for oxygen. Then her body would rise again amidst animalistic pants and muffled screams.

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