Two days after the victory and the death of Mike Longo.
"So, can I count on you, Tucker?" I asked, and tried to gauge his reaction.
"Sir, I mean, Bryce… are you sure you don't want a more experienced guy?" Tucker asked. "Tucker, your job was to keep me safe and alive… I am alive," I replied. "You pick your team and pick your relief, as you cannot work 24-7," I snickered.
"And the current team guarding the President?" Tucker asked.
"Tucker, if there are any guys working for him that you can work with, you have my permission to retain them. Oh, and Tucker," I started.
"Senator Logan," he replied.
"Yeah, but discreetly," I responded.
A knock at the door brought the meeting to a close.
"Senator, the chief of staff on line one," Brian informed me, then looked at his dad.
"Thanks, Brian. We done, Tucker?" I asked.
"Yes Br… Senator," he corrected, then left with his son.
I picked up the phone and hit the flashing light.
"Hello Bob, what can I do for you on this fine morning?" I started.
"Hello Mr. President-elect," he replied.
"For now, Bob, please call me Bryce," I informed him.
"Okay, Bryce, I need to set up a meeting with all heads; the first of many transition meetings. Can we schedule?" he asked.
"Yeah, when do you have in mind?" I asked.
"How about two days from now, say, 11 am," he added.
I flipped open my day planner, as I had a lot going on right now. I opened the relevant date and saw a conflict, but it could be moved.
"Yes, Bob, 11 am is fine; and, also, can I get a meeting with President Cooper?" I smirked.
"I'll see what I can do, Bryce; I'll contact you in due course," he replied.
"Okay, Bob, speak soon. Oh, and Bob, my chief of staff will be accompanying me on Wednesday, okay?" I added.
"Oh, so you've picked, already, can I make a guess… Sarah Cummings, per chance," he replied.
"Yes, she's my first and only choice," I added.
"I agree, a good choice. Dan going to be your press officer?" he asked.
"I haven't decided that, yet. We have time to agree on someone who can handle the press and the media," I replied.
"Okay, Senator, see you all on Wednesday," he replied, and hung up.
Yeah, that piece of shit proposal for a cut to Medicare, yeah, I'll tell him to his face, just where he can file it.
"Senator, Can I come in?" Sarah asked, holding a folder in her arms.
"Sarah, please just knock and come in. If I'm naked, you will most definitely hear a scream, and then I would assume you would stop," I snickered.
"Sorry. Okay, Mark Martin, my friend, came back with a name: Robert Dyke, do you know him?" she added.
"So, Mark Martin aids Cooper's speech writer. So, do we have proof that these two put this Chad Lant up to slander me; and, can we prove that Cooper was connected?" I ask, and she just shook her head.
"Not directly," she replied.
"I'm just going to confront him. I can tell if he lies to me. But, what I really need to know, is, did he have any connection to Mike's death; because, if he did, to hell with protecting the office of President, I'll make sure he fries," I say, bitterly.
"We don't have the death penalty, now, Bryce," she replies.
"Oh, my dear Sarah, there is more than one way to fry someone. His life would be over, as he knows it. I'll personally see to that," I add, with the same bitterness.
"On another note, we have a meeting in the west wing, on Wednesday morning. The first phase of the transition, and you are coming with me. I need you to start selecting a team for phase two, meetings with counterparts, etc. Can you handle that?" I ask, smirking again.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," I add, as she looks at me with mock disgust.
As she leaves, my cell rings, and I answer it.
"Senator, can we talk?" a voice I know, asked.
"Bob, why the cloak and dagger?" I asked the chief of staff.
"Bryce, I don't know why, but President Cooper is having a meeting with Branigan. I think you need to watch your back; and, he will see you on Wednesday. Be careful what you say to him, Bryce. I've talked with Tony, today; and frankly, the party has had it with him. He's gone against every wish they expressed. I'm in a tough spot, here," he said.
"Look, Bob, let me handle Cooper. At that meeting, I will be expressing a few thoughts of my own; and, since I have you on the phone, Bob, can you shed a little light on who Robert Dyke and Mark Martin are?" I asked.
"Well, okay, I have nothing to hide. Robert is his wife's half-brother, and Mark is his aide… why?" he asked.
"Chad Lant is Mark Martin's step brother," I replied.
"You are joking, right?" he replied.
"So, you think Cooper had something to do with the attempt to slander you?" he added.
"To be honest, Bob, I hope that is all it was," I replied.
"Meaning?" he asked.
"The attempts on my life, and the murder of Mike Longo. Someone let the shooter into the theatre, Bob; and, if, as you say, Branigan is meeting with Cooper, are they making sure all the loose ends are hidden?" I ask.
"Bryce, I know nothing, but I would have it investigated, once you take office. You would have the force of Homeland, the FBI and CIA at your disposal. If something is hidden, it will not stay hidden," Bob replied.
"Bob, from what phone are you calling me?" I asked, my paranoia rearing its ugly head, yet again.
"Bryce, this is my secure line, no ears," he replies.
"Bob, the shooter, the guy that killed Mike," I started.
"Have you heard who and what he was?" I asked.
"No, that was told only to the President. The FBI is also aware. He has not said anything to me," he replied.
"Bob, he was ex-CIA," I responded with the news that Sarah had given me, only a few hours earlier.
"So, not a lone crackpot, then?" he asked.
"I doubt it. The FBI believes he was the one who tried, earlier, with me; so, at the minute, I think there is a lot of track covering going on. Keep your ears open, Bob… I would appreciate it," I requested.
"Yes, Mr. President-elect," he said, and the line went dead.
"Okay, Cooper, what the fuck are you up to?" I said to my empty room.
"Come on, Sarah, I need your opinion on Dan. Is he cut out to be my spokesman?" I asked my future chief of staff.
"Bryce, look, I love Dan; but he can get flustered. Do you want that on the presidential podium, in front of the world? I mean, yeah, he is qualified… but ready… not yet… sorry," she replied.
"Shit! Okay, so who do you recommend? Myles? Chuck? Fuck, no, he had that D-U-I last year. I need to send someone over for the transition meetings," I moaned, holding my head in my hands. I had filled all senior roles, except the person that stands in front of a camera, representing me.
"Look, I know this might sound a little out there, but what about Claudia," she threw at me.
"Claudia Davis?" I asked.
"Yeah, she liked you, and she would be good," she added, and I had to admit she would be good; but would she come out of the commercial sector and join the other side of the news.
"Or, your friend Mike Lipton," she again throws a name at me.
"I like the Claudia idea; set up a meeting, will you Sarah? I might as well sound her out," I add.
"If you value my opinion, Bryce, I think she'll jump at the chance; and, besides, she'll get a book out of it, when you have finally served your terms," she added.
"Terms?" I reply.
"Bryce, once you start, and the people of America get what we get, you will serve two terms; so, yeah, terms," she adds, before leaving.
The meeting between Claudia and myself went well. Actually, it went very well. She informed me she was looking to change her direction in life, and she could not turn down such an opportunity, and that was that. I have my staff… my senior staff, anyway. They can sort the underlings out.
I sat at my desk in my home office, going through things that had to be sorted out during the first few transition meetings. I was about to start on file three thousand, or it seemed like it was, when my cell rang.
"Hey," I said to Danny.
"How's planning World domination coming?" he snickered.
"Coming along. How's Idaho?" I replied.
"Freezing. I tried getting a flight back earlier, but no go; completely snowed in," he replied.
"Where are you now?" I asked.
"My cousin's place. She's nice, you should meet," he responded.
"We have time, Danny," I responded.
"I do wish you were with me, though," I said in a low tone. I missed him not being here.
"Yeah, I know. Have you sorted out what you are talking about in the transition meetings?" he asked.
"Yeah, the important stuff. You know, National security, the deficit, what's in area 51; you know, the normal stuff," I scoffed.
"Smart ass," he laughed back.
"I love you," I again confessed.
"Me too, you," he admitted.
I climbed into my limo with Sarah and Myles, and an army of agents, with Tucker sitting up front. We were heading to my future home and my first meeting for the transition; and my, believe it or not, first meeting with Andrew Cooper.
The motorcade passed through the gates, and we pulled alongside the entrance to the west wing. Bob was waiting, along with some staffers.
"Hey Bob, you look well," I greeted him, holding out my hand for him to take.
"Mr President - elect, welcome to the White House," Bob replied, and led me inside, with my staff following.
Over the following hours, I met with the Joint Chiefs and various staffers; some I knew, and some I did not. I met with the Directors of the CIA and the FBI, as well as Homeland Security. I had to learn a lot, and I had to get up to speed, very fast.
It was good to see General Milton again. I served under him on my first tour of Afghanistan; and, irony of ironies, he is now serving under me. Strange how the world turns its wheels, sometimes. Bob walked up to me, just as I was walking out of the conference room.
"Go well, I take it?" he asked.
"In what context?" I asked.
"No hazing the new guy?" he mocked a little.
"Bob, military seldom hazes one of their own. Now, the FBI and the CIA, well, they keep their little secrets, don't they?" I responded.
"Tell me about it," he replied, as we entered his office. Now, the interesting thing about the Chief of Staffs office, it also adjoins the President's private office.
"Is he in?" I asked.
"He is, but I believe he is busy and besides you will see him in an hour or so," he replied, staring at the ceiling.
The adjoining door suddenly opened.
"Bob, can you come in for a minute?" President Cooper stood grim faced, staring at me, and then Bob.
"Sorry, I did not know you had a meeting. Give me a knock when you have concluded," he added and turned back to his office without acknowledgment.
"You arrogant ass," I said, staring at the back Andrew Cooper.
"I beg your pardon, sir, do you have any idea to whom you are speaking?" he replied.
"Yes, a man soon to be out of a job," I replied.
"That may be, but, sir, as of now, I am the Commander and Chief, and you will address me as such," he spat back.
"Sir, I just said what I think I am entitled to say, under the circumstances," I spat back, and the President walked fully into the room.
"Oh, and what might that be?" he asked.
"I represent the same party as you, but your support was, and remains, hidden, except for the Democrats," I replied.
"Prove that, can you?" he asked.
"Not directly, but your speech writer and his aide where involved; to what extent, I aim to find out. Chad Lant… stupid mistake. Robert's aide's stepbrother… Christ, even a second grade student could have figured out that," I shot back, and his face paled.
"Senator Noda, you might have recently taken tenancy of this building; but right now, my lease is still not up. So, kindly leave my home, before I have you removed," he spat back.
"Mr President, President elect Noda is here on official business, and has the right to be here," Bob came to my unneeded defense.
"Are your meetings concluded?" he asked.
"They are, now," I spat back.
"Sir President elect Noda has a scheduled meeting with you in an hour," Bob again piped in
"Oh I think we have said all we are going to say, so cancel that meeting Bob, I'm busy," Cooper replied
"Yes sir, I will have plenty more to say to you in due course," I replied
"Then, please, don't let me keep you," he replied, smirking a crooked smile, asshole.
"I take it you will not be attending my inauguration, then?" I replied, and the door slammed shut.
"Asshole," I said, looking in Bob's direction.
"Bob, it's been a pleasure, as always. See you on Friday, for the next meeting. My staff will be coming in; starting tomorrow, to see what is what. They will see who we will keep, and who we will let go," I said, shaking his hand, as I left.
"Why the smirk?" Tucker asked, as I sat in the back of the limo. Sarah had left earlier, and so did Myles.
"I just called the President an arrogant ass," I informed him.
"Oh, I wish I could have seen the old man's face," Tucker replied with a snicker, as we pulled out of the main gate, heading away from the White House, and back to my home. To make some calls, one to my future vice president.
Tomorrow would be difficult for Margaret Longo, I mean the woman has not even laid her husband to rest yet, but I do need to talk with my Vice president and she needs to be involved, grieving will happen and I will give her that time but right now she needs to be what she is, a servant of the country. As hard as that may be for her and for me.
To be continued...
Okay guys and Trish, okay the next part will be a continuation of the transition and the organising of Bryce's inauguration and who to invite and who not to... Interesting ...
As usual, please comment at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet @DavidSpowart
Thanks for living with my mind. Sometimes it goes off on a tangent, but returns, refreshed, and raring to go.