44, part four

At Jaleo, the next president was easy for James.  Twenty-six was Teddy Roosevelt, and as soon as I said the name James was on his feet.  “Parks!  Woodley Park!  The Zoo Bar!”

“That’s…in no way related.”

All the joy left James.  The lopsided, mischievous grin faded into a scowl, his eyes deadened, his shoulders slackened, and he leaned towards me, “We,” he said, gripping my shoulders, “will make it related.”

“I’m sure the zoo has a bull moose.” David added helpfully.

James snapped up straight, pointing at David.  “David!”


“You…are my number one.”

From Bethesda to Woodley Park.  The Zoo bar was our Teddy Roosevelt stop, and I was slowing down.  I asked for a Bloody Mary, James asked for something in French that looked like it had been dug out from beneath my apartment’s bathtub, and David wanted to hug a bottle of JD.  A sad trio working through American history.

“You know Nacho ruined my life, right?”  James asked David.

“What?  How?”

“A card game.  With the devil.  Nacho ran out of money, because he sucks, and he started bitching about being poor, but I had just bought a house, so I was like, hey, walk a mile in my shoes buddy!  And the Devil, he asked what I meant by that, and I told the Devil that Nacho couldn’t live a day of my life and survive.  And then Nacho said sure he could.  So the Devil said, okay, that’s the bet.  Whoever looses the next hand has to live the other’s life for a day.  Well, Nacho lost, because he sucks, and he had to live my life for a day.  So I quit my job, I got hooked on heroin, and I murdered a twelve year old Thai hooker.  A boy.”

“I can be anyone for a day.”  I replied.  “Want me to try with you?”

David shook his head.

James finished off his drink, then clapped his hands.  “So, twenty-seven…”


James stared at me.  “I…know nothing about Taft.”

“Walrus with a moustache.”

“Right!”  David said, “That guy.”

“So…what bar fits Taft?”

“Cap City, Union Station.  Taft was a big Post Office man.”  The Cap City franchise in Union Station was located in the old Post Office building, above the Postal Museum.



“Teddy R. hated him.”  David added.

I nodded, which almost sent me off my stool, so I steadied myself on the bar, “Yep, big GOP freakout.  Old Teddy thought Taft was a big old civil liberties freakpuppy.  Made Teddy leave the GOP, which cost him yet another term after Taft bombed out – “

James waved his hands in the air, “Jesus, whatever.  Cap City it is.  Though, let me tell you, you’re paying for that fucking swill.  I’d rather drink from the gutter.”

“If you’re actually going to drink their beer, okay.”

“I’m not.”

“So I’m not paying.”

“Have you actually paid for anything today, Nacho?”

I took a calculated sip of my Bloody Mary and focused on a point in middle space.

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