Senator Sherrod Brown strode into the conference room and slammed a sheaf of papers down on the conference table, clearly steaming. He looked at his two senior political consultants, Annie Foxwood and Rusty Ramble, and bellowed, “Have you guys seen the latest name rec numbers? Have you? Either one of you? What do you two do for a living anyway?”
“Whoa, Senator, what’s wrong?” Ramble asked.
“We just got here, sir, haven’t seen any news yet,” added Foxwood.
“535 members of Congress, 5–3–5, do you hear me?” Brown screeched, “and who do you think has the lowest, the absolute lowest name rec?”
“Well, Senator, we probably haven’t heard of them either!” Ramble started to laugh but was quickly silenced by a harsh look from Foxwood.
Brown continued, “Who has the lowest name rec in the whole United States Congress … me! Yeah, it’s me! I’ll say it again. Me!”
“OK, Senator, but hold on, you’re from Ohio, maybe the most boring state, and, and, you’re low key, yes, and everyone knows that Ohioans love low key, they appreciate low key, Senator,” said Foxwood.
“Well, actually, the most boring state is Nebraska by a big margin, and their Senators are stars compared to me! What are we going to do? Ideas! Ideas!”
“Well, Senator, you could try the Trump playbook, you must have some scandals, who doesn’t? Juicy scandals! But, no, I guess no woman has ever come forward to accuse you or sued you … Senator, maybe we should take you out and get you drunk, set you up with a hooker in a hotel room …,” Ramble started to hee-haw but a glance from Foxwood froze him.
“And wait, wait until you hear who is number one,” Senator Brown was still fuming, “I can barely stand to say the name! That brat, that insufferable brat, with a Brooklyn accent which makes me want to puke, … AOC! Alexandria … Ocasio … little brat … Cortez. Guys, this is an emergency, what are we going to do? Ideas!”
“OK, scandals are out, how about something that everyone will support? Strengthening laws against abandoning dogs and cats? Increase the penalties! Or … or … protecting librarians from abusive customers who are demanding banned books?,” suggested Foxwood.
“Wait, wait, you said librarians, like in Florida, DeSantis, hmm … Let me think a second,” said Ramble and then with a huge grin opening up, “Senator, I’ve got it! I know what we’re going to do!
“OK, Ramble, let’s hear it, come on,” said Brown.
“Senator, have you ever felt that you were actually two, that inside you were male and female, yin and yang?”
“Well, maybe, … but what in thunderation does that …”
The Senator was just getting his hackles up when Ramble interrupted him, “Senator, you’re going to become an hermaphrodite.”
Foxwood and the Senator just stared at him.
Ramble continued, “Yes, you heard me, Senator Brown you are going to become an hermaphrodite, a proud hermaphrodite! Senator, you will not only have the highest name rec but you’ll be the toast of the town, the nation, the world! ‘The incredible bravery of US Senator Sherrod Brown.’ I can see it now. Twitter will explode. Headlines on every website, every newspaper. Oprah will do a prime-time special, Katie whoever, they’ll be fighting to get you on their shows! Senator, AOC herself will bow down to offer her reverence to your bravery with tears in her eyes.”
Foxwood excitedly continued the thought, “Senator, I think Ramble is on to something. It may seem crazy but sometimes crazy ideas are just what works. We could start by teasing the idea, we just issue a press release saying, ‘any and all reports and rumors about Senator Brown’s internal and external identities are false.’ We wait for the buzz to build and then … the great reveal! The TV stations break into their regular broadcasting with an alert, ‘Brown to make major announcement’ and then with your lips quivering and your eyes tearing up, you step forth saying, ’Today I am at long last being true to myselves, my authentic selves. I Am an Hermaphrodite.!’ Even the most hard-boiled reporters will be sobbing!”
Just then Ramble’s phone started to beep. He picked it up and glanced at the screen then let out a wincing groan. He turned the screen to show Foxwood who scanned the headline. Foxwood slapped her forehead. “Oh well, we tried,” she said to Ramble. Ramble nodded gravely in response. Both were downcast for a moment.
“What’s going on? I thought we had a pretty good idea going there,” said the Senator.
“You just got pre-empted, Senator, pushed off the front pages, the web sites,” he shook his head, “it’s just not going to work now.”
Foxwood nodded her agreement.
“What, why?” asked the Senator looking confused.
Foxwood and Ramble began to collect their papers and push their chairs back.
“What in the world is going on and why are you leaving?”
“Senator, look at this,” said Ramble and turned his phone towards the Senator.
The Senator read the headline aloud, “Rumor: Harry and Meghan to Split, Couple overheard arguing at posh restaurant …” his voice trailing off.
“Nothing we can do. The American public can only focus on one thing at a time,” said Ramble.
“Just one thing, that’s all,” said Foxwood, “we are terribly sorry, Senator.”
“Yes, real sorry, Senator.” added Ramble.
The Senator was rushing after them as they reached the door. “But, but, there must be something you can do …” he pleaded.
They both silently shook their heads as they walked into the hallway.
“Wait, wait, I, I groped a woman once! Hey, wait, that’s something, right? I can change! I can be colorful …” he cried as Ramble and Foxwood disappeared around a corner.