Sunset. Mike’s black SUV tears down the backroads of DC along the Potomac river.
“I’m not telling you who I’m fuckin’ Tony. It’s someone at the office. You’d squeal under the lights.” Mike said as he angrily swerved into an oncoming lane to get around a car waiting to go straight in the right-hand lane. “Learn your fuckin’ lanes asshole!”
We arrived at the club. A small irish pub with a parking lot full of extremely expensive cars.
“Shit! Look at that Tesla! Parked right by the door so I’ve got to stare at it as I walk in” Mike said as Tony leaned into the convertable for closer look. “Get out of there Tony! You don’t touch a man’s car. It’s a rule of life”
The bar was dimly lit, pancreatitis and packed with unremarkably dressed dad-types in their late 40s. As we entered the bar, visit the quiet murmur of conversation was broken with several ‘Hey Mike!’s and shoulder-slap greetings.
“Two Guinesses for my intern friends Paul!” Mike shouted as he became wrapped in conversation with a small group of guys. Tony and I grabbed our drinks and spotted a table in the back of the bar.
It’s a strange thing to observe society’s financial and political elite mingle with one another. Conversations filled with nothing – talks about your favorite boat-accessible restaurant and how the new landscaping is shaping up. Somehow this group of society’s best managed to end up less remarkable than my idiot friends at the bar.
After a few moments Mike strolled over with a group of guys, one of which he introduced as “Johnny”.
“Johnny, these are my interns. We treat them like shit and pay them nothing – it’s awesome. Guys this is Johnny – he’s a cool dude. He was one of the arresting officers in the Watergate scandal”, Mike said.
After a few moments of talking, Mike was right, Johnny was a cool dude – a bit older and slower, but with a fire in his eyes.
“You know, they say the Japs bombed us in Pearl Harbor. Was I there? No, but I believe it because that’s what I’m told. When we arrested those burglars in 1972, I found a key in one of their back pockets that belonged to a well-connected call girl we found at the scene. But nobody every wanted to hear about the key or the girl, especially those two reporter assholes. Woodward and Bernstein – they would have sold their mothers to make a story. 30 years later, everyone accepts their stories as fact”, Jonny said.
My limited knowledge of Watergate left me somewhat confused – I’d never heard anything about a key or a call girl. But Johnny was on a roll.
“Because that’s who makes history. The papers and the assholes that run them. Now that I think about it, I really don’t know if the Japs did bomb Pearl Harbor. I wasn’t there – it’s just what I’m told.”
I wasn’t quite sold on Johnny’s story, but his message spoke the truth. My only connections to the entire global political scene were quite possibly sitting around this very bar, reminiscing about the time they passed out drunk and Mike charged them twenty bucks to drive them home.
4AM. Tony and I stagger into the small 24 hour bodega across the street from his apartment. The cashier stares at me blankly through bullet-proof glass as Tony walks over to the freezer.
“Jesus Christ I need a diet coke!”
A small newspaper stand sits next to the cashier’s booth.
“So what do you think. Did the Japs really bomb Pearl Harbor?”, I ask as Tony begins to check out.
“I just walked for 4 hours across all of DC. I really don’t give a shit”
“Yeah. Me neither”