“Publicity, darling,” she said in a lazy husky voice. “It’s important for your ego and your Id.”
She was sitting opposite me in the newsroom, talking to Victor Victorious, the most colourful candidate in this year’s election. She was a cool cocktail of Bette Davis steel and Anita Ekberg whatever, and she held an unlit cigarette before her. Then she put her hand into her bag and took out a small pearl-handled automatic which she held gingerly with her crimson painted fingers. Then Victor said: “Heckler, this is Miriam Gonzalez Durantez Dooley, otherwise known as Lou. She’s a Freudian feminist psychoanalyst and my new bodyguard. You can’t be too careful. Look what happened the Kennedys.”
Lou pointed the automatic at me and suddenly I realised I hadn’t time to pray and my whole sorry life passed before me and I was falling into the dark wormy earth, cold specks of fire, evil lights, my soul falling into the muddy deep. Then she pulled the trigger and a crimson flame spouted from the automatic and she drew it to the cigarette held between her painted lips. She blew a plume of smoke towards me, then looked at the gun, and said: “It’s very small”.
“Ah, for the love of God woman,” said Victor. “Will you go easy on that symbolism crap. Sometimes a gun is just a gun. God, Heckler, you should hear her when she starts on my train set and the tunnels. Goes on all night.”
Lou tapped her bright nails against her bright tombstone teeth.
“It’s all about the ego, the Id, and superego,” said Victor, “and how to interpret your dreams. My dream is to become the greatest councillor ever. I have a dream. I have a dream that one day, everybody will be free, black and white, negro and slave . . . ”
“That’s been done, Victor.”
“Well, how about, I only tell the truth. ‘Course they won’t believe it if they read it in your rag. Do you ever print the truth, Heckler? I mean look at this rubbish. Who’s ever goin’ to believe it?”
“Victor, did you ever hear of a politician who told the truth?
“Or kept a promise?”
“Well, that’s why everything you read in the paper is fiction.”
Then Lou looked at me with her cornflower-blue eyes and said: “I guess I’ll go case the joint,” and crushed the Kent in the ashtray.
“Isn’t she great,” Victor said when she was gone. “You should get yourself one of them, Heckler.” And then he shouted at the gaping door: “Lou darlin’. Is it safe out there? Are there any assassins? I don’t want to get shot before I get elected.” Then he turned to me and said:
“Talk to you next week,”