44, part three

We were in Chadwick’s, Georgetown, and still on Heineken.  Like every bar in Georgetown, there was a pervasive atmosphere of evil and inhumanity.

“Twenty.” James said into his bottle.



“Oh, Garfield.”

“Hmm… Notable points?”

“Well…only two months in office.  Assassinated.”

“By whom?”

“Some fruity anarchist.”


“At the National Gallery.  Well, it wasn’t then.  It was the Sixth Street train station.”

James rubbed his hands together, “Sixth Street bars, then.”

“RNR.  Muse.” I suggested.

“RNR’s supposed to be nice.”


“Where the hell is Sixth Street?”

“Well, back at Gallery Place.”

“Fuck these presidents! God.  We’re not coming back to Georgetown tonight, okay?  This is like going to another country.”

At RNR, on vodka, James was chatting up a waitress.  He held her eyes with his mesmera-stare and said, “Twenty-one?”

“Chester Arthur!” David shouted, jumping up and down and driving off the waitress, “Hah!  I know that one!”

“Why?” I asked.

“I have no idea.”

“Comedy president number two,” James grinned.  “Notable points?”

I ordered vodka on the rocks.  “Garfield’s VP, so he became president thanks to the shooting.  So we can stay here.”

“Feels like cheating.”

“Well, yes.”

“Did he also get shot?” David asked.

“No.  So victory shots!”

“Jager bomb!” David screamed.

“Fuck.” James muttered.

“Twenty-two.” James said at some point during a cab ride to suburban Maryland.

“Grover Cleveland.”

“Where are we going?”

“I told the cabbie Bethesda.”


“None.  Um…Gold standard, Pullman strike.  Depression…”

“Rock Bottom!”

“That’ll do.”

“That a bar?” David asked, clearly at a loss as we left the blurred line of the DC city limits.

“Yep.  We should also note that Cleveland is also the 24th.  Do we need a separate bar?”

“Um…no.”  David looked pretty serious as he rolled down the window and sucked in air.

James tried to discuss gold versus silver standards with the waitress at Rock Bottom, then gave up and leaned into me, nearly knocking me from my stool.  “What are we at?”

“Twenty-three.  Harrison.”

“Ah, good.  Notable points?”

“Legal shit.  Mind-numbing antitrust stuff.  Spent all of Cleveland’s surplus.  Sucked so much that Cleveland was elected again after just one term.”

David shrugged, “Stay here, then.  Twenty-three and four.”

“Oh, no.” James sat up straight, “We go right to twenty-five.”

“McKinley.  Last vet from the Civil War to be elected.  We could drink at Fort Totten or something…?”

James shook his head, “Something else.”

“Spanish American War.”

“Jaleo!” David said, “Saw it coming in.”

“Bad tapas and overpriced beer?”

James grabbed my shoulders, “Obama will save us.  Let’s go!”