The once-towering figure seemed diminished a bit as he shuffled through the front door of the Luv Guv’s new bachelor pad. In a post-election stupor he’d wandered the streets, kicking rocks and bottles while searching for answers to how he’d managed to lose the very seat he coveted more than anything. Almost subconsciously, he found himself at Robert Bentley’s door, knocking and then being invited inside, driven by a strange hope the ex-governor might somehow be able to help him.
It felt oh so familiar.
“Well, Big Luther! What brings you to my humble abode?” Bentley said, grinning. “I figured you’d still be celebrating your ‘huge victory!’ Hahaha! Just kidding, big boy. I know how it feels to lose office. It’s a bummer. I mean, one minute you’ve got all that power there in your hands, holding it, squeezing it like a big, firm set of … well … you know what it feels like. Best remedy for a political butt kicking is a frozen virgin margarita. I was just about to fire up the ol’ blender, as a matter of fact — got a couple of honeys on the way over from the retirement home for a little hot tub par-tay. Do you take salt on the rim?”
Luther flopped down in an inviting beanbag chair and stared at the lava lamp on a wooden table just below a huge poster of the Oak Ridge Boys, feeling more distraught than ever. A virgin margarita? How was that supposed to help?
“I just don’t get it, Bob. What the hell happened?” Luther whined. “We had this whole thing set up perfectly. I kept the impeachment committee off your back. I’d get to be senator, you’d appoint Steve Marshall to my job and he’d let you skate without going to jail. Now I’m out of a job and Steve’s looking like he might get hammered in his election and you … well, I guess you’re doing OK.”
“Ha, ha, ha … I suppose you could say I’m doing alright, Big Luther,” Bentley said across the counter in his tiny kitchen as he loaded up the blender with ice and margarita mix. “I don’t mean to say I didn’t take some lumps too! Worst of all I lost Rebekah in all of this foolishness, and that’s worth more than 10 governor’s offices. I mean, that woman was a tiger! Rrrrrowwww!! Oh Luther, I just felt so alive just knowing Wanda might be out there listening …”
Bentley looked like he was going to cry, but hit the button on the blender, it roared to life and soon he was smiling and handing Big Luther a frozen margarita.
“You have any tequila for this? I think I need a drink,” Luther said glumly.
“Closest I’ve got is some cough syrup, but I don’t think it’d taste too good,” Bentley said. “Trust me, tequila is not the answer. Rebekah talked me into having a few ‘fully loaded’ margaritas when we were out seeing Celine Dion in Vegas and I woke up with a tattoo on my butt of me, Rebekah and Celine singing ‘My Heart Will Go On!’ while riding the Titanic! Hahahaha!! Really! Do you want to see it?”
Luther made a sour face and waved his hand dismissively as he took his first sip of virgin margarita. “Not too bad,” he thought.
“But that seems like a lifetime ago,” the Luv Guv sighed.
Luther was getting irritated listening to Bentley talk like a 12-year-old boy after his first breakup. This was big time politics and he’d lost a chance to start thinking about himself as a statesman — maybe even as president, and to load up on all the sweetheart deals that make the U.S. Senate such a great place to become fabulously wealthy.
“Bob, I’m real sorry about your love life, but that’s not making me feel much better about getting booted out of my U.S. Senate seat by that lunatic Roy Moore. I just don’t know how this happened. The political winds in this country right now are very hard to navigate and hard to understand,” Luther said, repeating a lame line he’d given reporters a few hours earlier.
“This means no more Fox News shows. It means no more hanging out with Mitch McConnell. Hell, Shelby had already started teaching me how to get buildings named after myself. It’s all gone now! Gone! I’ve been working for years to make people think I’m more than just a slimy lobbyist-turned-politico who can’t wait to roll around in the Washington muck, and now there’s no rolling! There’s no muck! I’m a pig without a trough, Bob!”
“Relax, Luther, relax, it’s all going to be OK,” Bentley said, smiling. “Remind me to write you a prescription for some Valium before you leave. I hate seeing you so overwrought. You just have to look on the bright side of things. For example, Sam McLure, who’s running against Marshall for AG, says he’s going to investigate you if he wins. Now THAT’S something to worry about. I’d imagine going to jail is a lot worse than not getting to talk to Tucker Carlson. Hahaha!”
A bright red rage came over Luther.
“Are you honestly talking about ME going to jail? YOU’RE the one who should be in jail! I could’ve put your skinny, Celine Dion-covered ass in prison for all the things you did trying to hide your affair!” Luther shouted. “You sent armed men to a state employee’s home to try to get the tape your wife recorded! You used a state-owned helicopter to fly your wallet around! You paid your girlfriend hundreds of thousands from a secret fund and gave her husband a $100,000-a-year job he wasn’t even qualified for! You should be UNDER the jail.”
Bentley patted Luther on his shoulder in a grandfatherly way. “Well, Big Luther, you had your chance — I mean you were the attorney general after all — but you wanted me to make you a senator … so I did. It’s not my fault you couldn’t win your election, and if Marshall loses, that’s his problem too. But I will say it has been nice doing business with you boys. Things worked out pretty well for the ol’ Luv Guv.
“Speaking of love, the girls will be here shortly,” Bentley said. “You can stick around if you want. We usually like to hot tub in the buff, but I’m sure I can find an old pair of my swim trunks around here if you’re shy. These girls are a lot of fun, but just remember the pretty one is mine!”
Luther shuddered for several different reasons even as the reason for his downfall became clear. He turned, opened the door and walked out with Bentley laughingly calling after him, “Good night, Luther. Watch out for those political winds, big boy!”