A couple of weeks passed and Bryce was enjoying his campaign. Mike Longo was flying all over the continental United States, spreading the good word. Bryce's numbers had begun to climb back up, but not at any great pace.
"So, the first debate," Sarah said, as she drank her coffee, sitting in my office.
"Yeah, a few compromises asked and given from both sides. How is Mike doing with his preparations for the vice-presidential debates?" I ask.
"Like a kid in a wading pool," she replies.
After a few minutes, and with today's agendas finalized, she left to start work on today's efforts. I picked up the mail and began to work through it. I know my letters are scanned for any dangers, but I was shocked to open one with a threat.
Dear Mr Noda.
Die you FAGGOT
"Fucking moron," I said to myself, as this was not the first letter of this nature I had received; and, no doubt, it will not be the last.
My phone rang and I picked up.
"Noda," I said.
"Senator, Mark Lipton, NBC," he stated.
"I am not giving phone interviews, Mr Lipton," I started.
"I am not requesting one, sir," he replied.
"Well then, how can I help you, Mr Lipton?" I replied.
"Sir, Senator Branigan will be airing his first campaign video tonight on our network, and, it's just that I would like you to have a heads up," he said, sounding somewhat sheepish.
"Oh well, I knew he would, eventually," I replied.
"Mr. Noda, he is attacking your character and your morals. Senator, he is going after your sexuality, and he is coming hard. He says he has an old lover of yours who will describe what you and he got up to in your office in New York," he added.
"Mr. Lipton, why are you telling me this?" I asked, a little concerned. For one, I never had a lover, and I never had sex in my office.
"Sir, I am gay, and what you are doing fills me with pride," he replies, sounding honest and somewhat proud.
"Okay, thank you, Mark, but can you do me a favor?" I ask.
"If I can," he responds.
"Is there any way I can see a copy of this, before it airs?" I ask.
"Senator, I am sorry, but we do not have a copy of it yet. As you know, we sometimes have to wait till a few minutes before airing, before we receive it," he bemoans.
"Okay, I thought I would ask; no harm no foul," I add.
"Sorry senator, if we had it, I would have brought it to you personally," he added.
I ended the call and rang Sarah and a couple of the others to come to my office.
"Okay Sarah, Branigan is launching an all-out assault on my character. He is running his first campaign ad tonight, and I have been informed it will not be pretty," I conclude.
"Yeah, I have just gotten off the phone with a friend, and she said she helped compile some information for his office; and, nothing damning, but she also spotted some information pertaining to an old fling of yours," Sarah replies.
"It's Bogus; a plant," I reply.
"I was told this by my contact." "One, Sarah, I never had a lover in New-York," I spit out, annoyed at Branigan's tactics.
"I have some good news, though, Bryce," Sarah said, with a smile.
"Four years ago, he was being investigated for a scam his firm was involved with. They could not pin him directly, but did convict several of his directors," she adds.
"How is that good news? They had no evidence to prove he did anything," I reply, still somewhat surprised at her smile.
"Spill," I add.
"They all have been released early, and have all had large payoffs, deposited in off-shore accounts," she adds.
"How do you know this?" I ask.
"You pay me to know these things," she replies.
"But, can you find a link?" I ask.
"Jack Mills, former deputy CEO of his company, died in prison of a heart attack. His wife is a little pissed; I think she may talk to us," she adds, with a confident smile.
"Okay, work on it Sarah. My numbers will take a hit when this bullshit is run," I add.
"I still want to know who this so called lover is," I say to myself, after the room cleared.
Several hours passed and we were all working late. We knew from a tip off that his first campaign message was due to air at 9 pm EST.
This message has been approved by Senator Branigan and is fully endorsed by his campaign it started. We watched, and it hinted at a possible corruption scandal I was involved in while serving in congress, and certain sexual favors from several Marines working under me. "Total fabrication; show one Marine, you fucker," I yell at the screen, and my team looked at me, shocked.
Put True family values back in the White House… Vote Branigan and Turner in November. God bless The United States of America it ended.
"Get me General McMillan, as soon as he is available" I say to Sarah, totally pissed. "All fucking lies; not one ounce of truth to anything he said in that message. I want that fuckers nuts on a platter," I add.
"Branigan, you are not the only fucker who can fight in the gutter," I add, with an evil smile I didn't know I had.
"Sarah, I need a meeting with Mrs. Mills. I want to talk to her, personally," I add, as she leaves my office.
"I didn't start this; but I am in this fight to win, not to be fucking hit for fun," I say to myself, as my phone rang.
"Senator, it's Mike Lipton," he starts.
"Yeah, Mike, what can I do for you?" I ask.
"Senator, do you know a Chad Lant?" he asked.
"No, should I?" I reply.
"He's the smoking gun," he replied.
"Oh, my so called lover," I reply.
"Yes, and he is going on CBS talk time, tomorrow night, to expose your sordid affair," he adds.
"Mark, as far as I am aware, I have never met this guy," I reply.
"I don't know what you can do. You can go on record denying any involvement; but I think that is what Branigan wants you to do. If you go on record defending your sexuality, he will go on record defending your right to be appalled, and clear any homophobia questions you might fight back with. So, damned if you do and damned if you don't," he adds.
"Not really, Mark, I have a few tricks to play with Mr. Lant," I smile to myself.
I contacted Lucy Lawless at CBS, and arranged a conversation with the anchor who will be conducting this interview, live on TV. I give her some questions to add to the ones already prepared.
She agreed to ask those, and to leave the author of the questions a secret.
The night was over and Tucker drove me back to my home. I was being paranoid, as was Tucker. He thought we were being tailed and made a few turns not necessary for our destination. We did, however, arrive back at my home just before 11 pm, and I made a few calls and one covert text to one Mr Logan.
Did you see ad.. thoughts? I wrote.
And a few minutes later I received a reply.
Bullshit, don't worry it concluded and I smiled.
The following day flew by, and the day was productive. Mrs. Mills will come and see me in a couple of days, when she gets back from her trip east. And again we sat in the conference room waiting for an interview to start.
"Welcome to CBS Talk-Time. I'm your host, Claudia Davis, and please welcome my guest, Chad Lant," she starts, and a mellow round of applause rippled.
"Chad, may I call you Chad," she asks.
"Please do," the fucker replies.
"Chad, you claim to have been the lover of Bryce Noda, the Republican Presidential candidate. Is this correct?" she asks.
"That is correct, I first met Bryce a year or so before we got involved," he adds.
For the next twenty minutes he built up a portfolio of information; and, if true, was pretty damming, and would cripple me.
But then she got to the 3 questions I had posed.
"Chad, I don't want to cast any doubts on your story, but I have a couple of questions I have to ask; and, if you were indeed the partner of Bryce Noda, you should be able to answer these" she starts, and he shuffles uncomfortably in his chair.
"Sure, fire away," he replies.
"Have you and Bryce Noda had a full sexual relationship?" she asks, and I cringe, awaiting his reply.
"Claudia, the things I outlined on our little sessions in his office should answer that question," he smiles to himself… fucker.
"Okay, second question: I have a doctor's report, cleared by the Noda campaign. Bryce Noda has a birth mark on his body, where is it? He also has a Marine tattoo on his body, where is it? Lastly, he has 2 scars from service, where are those?" she asks. Now, he squirms in his chair.
"Chad, can you answer the question?" she asks.
"That is private. I don't think Bryce would like me to divulge that information," he says, and sweat appears on his brow.
"Got you, you fucker," I say, smiling to myself, and Sarah squeezes my shoulder.
"Chad, trust me, Senator has no problem with you replying to that set of questions; or is it that you cannot answer those questions because your account was a complete set of lies?" she asks, and smirks.
"His scars are on his left leg and his right arm," he replies.
"Wrong, Mr. Lant; his scars are on his left chest and his right leg," she replies, showing the report from the Doctor.
"And his birth mark?" she asks.
"He doesn't have one," he replies.
"He has a port wine stain on his left buttock, and if you were sexually active with Mr. Noda, you should have known that, sir," she says with a little contempt.
"Mr. Lant, you have so far proved that you have no intimate knowledge of Senator Noda, never mind a sexual one. So, why are you trying to scandalize him?" she asks. He stands up and pulls the microphone from his shirt, his face flushed.
"No reply to my question, Mr. Lant?" she asks, as he storms off.
"Ladies and Gentleman, on behalf of CBS and this program, we would like to offer our sincere apologies to Senator Noda and his family for an attempt by persons yet unknown to sabotage his campaign. I am sure the appropriate action from Senator Noda's representatives will take on the defamation of character he was subject to here tonight; but I look forward to its outcome. So, from me, Claudia Davis, this has been CBS Talk Time... Good night," she concludes.
"Do some digging Sarah, get the P.I to look into Mr. Lant. I want to see the link to Branigan," I say, and smile to myself.
"Nice fucking try, but you have to get up far earlier than that, my friend, to get that shit past me," I think to myself.
That night I did not get home till after 1 am. I had some radio interviews the following day, or should I say, later today. I had my first ad airing today, sticking to the issues for now. I will hit below the belt when I have to.
When I walked into my office at home to do some final finishes, I had a package sitting on my desk. It was unopened, but had a security scanned label applied to it. I opened it up and found a Motorola disposable phone. I looked in the package and it said, switch on and hit re-dial. "What the fuck," I said out loud, but only to myself.
I switched it on and hit re-dial.
"Having a tough day?" Danny Logan spoke, and a sigh of relief hit me. I had thought, 'oh great, another fucking crackpot'.
"Could say that," I replied.
"You gave Claudia the heads up, didn't you?" he stated.
"Don't know what you mean, Senator Logan," I laughed, giving myself away, somewhat.
"Well played, very well played, indeed," he snickered back at me.
"I wish I was with you," he added.
"Danny careful, ears, remember," I said, hoping to defend the person who has me thinking like a high school kid with his first crush.
"It's scrambled; no ears but our own," he adds.
"You sure?" I ask.
"Military issue, all they will hear is static," he adds.
"Well, fine, I wish you were here, also," I reply.
We talked for about twenty minutes before I began yawning. "Look, Bryce, you sound beat. We will speak later on, okay? Get some sleep, you have your debate tomorrow, or today, I should say," he ends.
"Yeah, I know, I think this stunt with that fucker was to distract me, somewhat; but, Danny, I am looking forward to it," I add, but with a bit of concerned bravado.
To be continued...
The debates and the campaign trail is about to hit full swing. Hope you are still with me on this. Let me know what you think. usual methods firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @DavidSpowart