The Governor’s new changes had just gone through. He had refused interviews for weeks. But now, late on Sunday night, he called the Reporter’s desk. He was finally ready to meet. The Reporter arranged a meeting at his own home in an hour. The Reporter was as angry as anyone else. The Governor’s ideas seemed to come straight from the Totalitarian and Fascist handbook. The National Guard was brought in. It was as though he started reading the history books but didn’t finish them. The Reporter’s wife was one of the workers who took the brunt of the hit. She had followed every inch of the campaign, sent letters and e-mails, and made others aware. But in the end she lost half of her budget, among other things. The Reporter tried to prepare, but his anger shrouded his usual impartial attitude towards stories. His words were failing him.
When the Governor arrived at the Reporter’s house, he wore an expensive suit and a beaming smile. The Reporter had two chairs set-up in the living room with a coffee table between them. The lights were low, creating a dark shadow upon the Governor’s face. The Governor was in high spirits.
“I’ll have a Johnny Walker, if you have it,” he said. “Do you have any Funyuns? I love Funyuns.”
“Sorry, no Funyuns. And I only have Dewar’s.”
The Governor sighed, “I guess that will do. Give me an extra olive or two.” He took a seat in the bigger chair and waited for his drink. The Reporter came in with the drink and his recording device.
“Ooh. No recordings please,” the Governor said, losing his smile. The Reporter nodded. He opened his mouth to start his first question, but the Governor raised his hand to stop him. He was chewing one of the olives in the fashion of a cow.
“No, no, no. You see, you’re going to print what I tell you.” He swallowed the olive. “I know who your wife is. I know that you, along with the rest of this state, are not happy with me. But that’s not what matters. “
“What matters is that you’re going to start changing their minds.” He paused for a sip of his scotch. “The National Guard can only be on alert for so long, you know.” The smile returned.
Before he could respond, the Reporter’s wife emerged from the back room. They both turned. She walked slowly towards the Governor. He stood up, dug his fingers in his drink and popped another olive in his mouth, smiling. She stood for a moment, then slapped him. The Governor fell backwards, over the chair. He started choking on the olive. With one hand, he grasped his own neck. With the other, he reached out to them. The Reporter ran to him and attempted the Heimlich, but he had stopped breathing. The Reporter’s wife calmly called 911, and grabbed the Governor’s drink.
“Good scotch,” she said as they waited.