Mobile stood at her airport in WeMo, waiting for the arrival of one of her own.
This particular former citizen had hit a bit of a rough patch in recent months and especially in the last week, to say the least.
An endless barrage of public attacks, insults and humiliation is enough to demoralize any human being. Even ones who have always seemed quite stoic and reserved by nature. He would be OK in time, but coming home to her was exactly what he needed. She would make sure of that.
Even though he didn’t grow up here, he spent much of his adult life here; he was one of hers. And even though she hasn’t agreed with every step he has taken or decision he had made, he was her family, and she didn’t like anyone else mistreating him. In fact, she wanted to punch those who had in their stupid faces.
As all of the passengers made their way off the plane and headed toward the baggage claim, Mobile held up her sign as she stood in the waiting area. Sure, he should know what she looked like but he had spent so much of his time outside of Mobtown and inside the Beltway, she didn’t want to take any chances.
“Welcome home, Attorney General Jeff Sessions,” her sign read. (Though she did struggle with which honorific to go with, so as not to throw salt in a wound. Ultimately, she decide to go with AG as it was the most recent title he held.)
After a few minutes of standing there and receiving “looks” at her sign from folks — some smiled, some scowled — such is life in America these days — she saw the former U.S. Attorney, Alabama Attorney General and Senator and waved.
He walked up and gave her a big hug and said in his unique accent, “Well, aren’t you a sight for sore eyes, Mobile. It’s good to be back.”
They retrieved his bag and headed for the car waiting outside. It was an older Honda Odyssey minivan, not the sleek, fancy black SUVs with bulletproof glass he had become accustomed to.
Mobile blushed. “You know, you never know what you are going to get when you order an Uber,” she said apologetically as they got in the van.
“Oh, Mobile, it’s fine. Don’t forget, I grew up in Hybart, Alabama. I’m not too big for my britches,” he said, looking out of the window as the Odyssey took off. “In fact, in case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been knocked down a peg or two — or 10 — over the last year or so.”
“Soooo … yeah … about that. How do you feel about … um … that … um … situation?” the city asked.
“Well, look, I still respect the president. He adopted my immigration policies. He allowed my justice department to enact them. Admittedly, some were better received than others,” he said.
“Uh, yeah,” said Mobile.
“Bottom line is he just didn’t think I should have recused myself, but I know I had no choice in the matter, so we were just at an impasse,” the former Attorney General said.
“Are you for real, Jeff? An impasse? The President of the United States of America, the leader of the free world, called you everything from mentally retarded to Mr. Magoo? And also a ‘dumb Southerner,’ which, ‘hello!’ is insulting to all of us. How can you be so magnanimous? Don’t make me start calling you Mr. Magoo-nanimous!”
“Calm down, Mobile. It’s just who he is. You can’t take it personally. It’s just politics,” he said.
“I don’t know, Jeff. Bentsen saying ‘You’re no Jack Kennedy’ to Quayle is politics. Willie Horton-type ads or starting rumors about illegitimate children —that’s ‘politics.’ What he did to you was just so publicly humiliating and horrible. Has a sitting president ever talked to his AG like that in the history of the republic? Could he had not expressed his frustration with your recusal in private?”
“Oh trust me, he did that too,” Sessions said, as he kind of laughed and cried at the same time. “Hey, Mo, I don’t want to dwell on the past. I am only looking forward. And I’ll get revenge for all of that in the book I will no doubt be paid lots of money to publish. So don’t worry about me. Tell me what’s going on with you, old girl? Has Stimpson made you the safest, most business- and family-friendly city or whatever it was he was trying to do to you yet? Tell me about my hometown!”
Mobile was now the one staring out into the distance beyond the Honda Odyssey window. Being a scrappy Southern city, she wanted him to be angrier. She wanted him to fight back!
“I don’t know. I’m in a bad mood now. I don’t feel like it,” Mobile said.
“Hey, if anyone should be in a bad mood, it’s me. They portray me as a descendant of possums on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ for God’s sake,” he offered.
“Yeah, that’s pretty brutal,” Mobile said sympathetically, as she has always thought possums were among the grossest of creatures. “It’s fine. I mean, we had a lot of good momentum going at first. But I think the USA stadium deal and budget politics and the mayor’s administration firing the council’s communications person and on and on has really put a strain on their relationship. And I get where they are both coming from on that. There were certainly missteps on both sides, but all this fighting between them seems like it’s slowed things down a bit lately,” Mobile said. “And I just hate that kind of stuff. It’s so counterproductive.”
“I see. I hate to hear that. But there still are a lot of good things going on now, right?” Sessions asked.
“Oh sure. As you know, the new federal courthouse just opened and they are working on the old one. Drive down just about any street in downtown Mobile and there is some sort of construction going on. A bill Congress passed last month gave Austal funding for four more vessels. We have movies being filmed here. Of course, Airbus and yadda, yadda, yadda,” Mobile said. “And I’m sure I’m forgetting something.”
“Well, that is great. And look, the president tweeted that the justice department was a ‘total joke’ under my leadership. So things could be MUCH worse between the mayor and council. They still have time to hit the reset button and get back on track. Cheer up!” said the strangely optimistic Sessions.
“Geez, Jeff Sessions, I was supposed to be the one cheering you up!” Mobile mused. “Thank you!”
At that moment, the Uber driver chimed in, “I didn’t want to interrupt your conversation but we’ve been at your destination for 15 minutes now.”
“Oh, I’m sorry Mister Uber driver,” Sessions said. “I wasn’t quite ready to go to my house just yet. Could you take me to the Dew Drop? I’ve got a crazy hankerin’ for a chili dog.”
“Sure, man. This service is run ‘at your request,’” said the Uber driver.
Mobile groaned. She couldn’t believe he was making a resignation-letter reference to the former Attorney General of the United States.
“Too soon, Uber driver. Too soon!”