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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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p align="center" style="text-align:center;"> This is a work of fiction set in the real world.
Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously
Any other resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Capitol Hill - Summer of '22 Book VI - 4. Presidential Party

On Friday, Owen took his parents and Liebe to CityCenterDC. The mixed-use development in downtown Washington housed a public park, condominium buildings, rental apartments, offices, a luxury hotel, upscale dining, and high-end retail.

The last time they had gone clothes shopping for Liebe had been during a brief visit to New York City earlier in the year; the girl needed a wardrobe refresh. It was an ongoing endeavor since she outgrew most things quickly. It allowed Pam and Geoff time alone with their son and granddaughter and the opportunity to spoil the girl.

Later in the day, Owen recounted how Liebe was her usual assertive self and rejected the majority of items Pam suggested. He admitted they were all girly, and their little tomboy preferred jeans, sweats, and t-shirts. Owen did talk her into two polo-shirt dresses from Kate Spade.

In the meantime, CJ stopped at The Polished Man for a beard trim and a manicure before meeting with Patrick Ewing, Georgetown University’s men’s basketball coach. Over lunch at The Tombs, he handed the man a contribution to the program and offered to assist with recruiting or whatever else he could be helpful with.

CJ’s previous involvement with athletics as an undergraduate student had led to making some great friends, and he hoped to replicate the experience while back at the Hilltop.

His meeting with university officials afterward went better than expected. He was admitted, registered for classes for the upcoming semester, and was encouraged to apply for a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Post Graduate Fellowship.

The program was designed for emerging Latino leaders who wanted to immerse themselves in public policy. If accepted, he could spend time working in congressional offices, committees, federal agencies, or even the White House. He was interested in the opportunities in the legislative arena; it would provide him insights he might not have access to otherwise. Even if offered and accepted, he would graduate in two years.


“Oh… Look, Barack. You’re in this one.” Former First Lady Michelle Obama had stopped at the bottom of the stairs after telling Liebe she wanted to look at the pictures. Photographs of CJ and Owen with family and friends hung on the wall.

“Which one?” Former President Obama, martini glass in hand, moved from the living room to join his wife.

“From their wedding. You look ridiculous.” The shot, taken immediately after the ceremony, showed Obama with his pant legs rolled up, with an arm around each of their hosts, standing in the middle of the groomsmen. The guys had all worn shorts.

“Yeah, but I’m in good company on that wall. Look at the one below. Bradley Cooper’s doing the same thing, sans wedding party.”

It was the shot taken at the Academy Awards earlier in the year, with CJ and Owen each holding their statuette. “You keep telling yourself that, honey. But that’s two Oscar winners and a Hollywood A-lister in tuxedos. No skinny legs in sight.”

Everhope hummed on Saturday night. In addition to the former president, his wife, CJ, Owen, and Liebe, her four grandparents, and two neighbor couples had gathered for cocktails. Taisha and Rod would eventually leave, taking Liebe with them for a sleepover; the other visitors would remain for dinner.

What began as Mrs. Obama humoring Liebe when the girl said she wanted to “…show Michelle my room” became a slow pilgrimage up the staircase. Stops to comment on the photos in simple black frames were constant.

When Phil and Riley glanced at CJ with questioning expressions, he shook his head. “I’m not interested. Seen them all. I even hung a few new ones since we got back.”

“Good. I’ll look at them another time. I’d rather drink now.” Phil grinned and reached for the pitcher. He offered the other two men refills. “That freezing shit’s cool. I’m ordering us some.”

When the first guests arrived, Renethe evening’s sous chefrolled a serving cart into the room. Earlier in the day, CJ had mixed martini pitchersone gin, one vodka, and one dirty. The decanters shared the tray with a metal canister and bowls of stuffed olives. He had used the liquid nitrogen siphon to quick-chill the glasses before pouring.

“Just make sure you’re sober when you use the damn thing. The first time I tried it, I even wore gloves; I was scared of freezing a finger off. Parenting tip for future reference,” CJ grinned at the two large men, “it comes in handy to chill teething rings.”

“Yeah, right. No kids for us until after we stop playing.”

Phil Martinez hailed from Miami, Florida, and Riley Knight from Macon, Georgia. The two had met at a gay sports bar on January 1, 2020, after playing against each other in the Orange Bowl Classic the previous day. Opponents became instant friends and eventually more. In the spring of that year, during the National Football League’s annual draft, the Washington team chose Riley, while the Baltimore Ravens selected Phil. Speaking to the press afterward, the athletes announced they were gay and in a relationship. Following their first season, they bought a house a few blocks away from Everhope and still lived in a construction zone due to extensive renovations.

“And when’s that gonna be?” Brett’s question alerted them CJ’s father had rejoined them. President Obama was with him.

“Come on, Cap, give us a break. We’ve only played two years so far.” Phil smirked before throwing his boyfriend under the bus. “It’s up to Riley and how big a bag he gets come contract renewal time.”

“Hey! You’re an adult, and you make your own decisions.” Riley turned to the former president. “Did the two of you get tired of the tour?”

Brett was the one to reply. “My commander in chief noticed the martini level in his glass had dropped precipitously, and I, as a good Marine, offered to escort him on a seek and refill mission.”

Synchronized eye rolls met the quip.

“How long is your current contract for?” Geoff was the latest one to abandon the excursion up the stairs. When CJ gave him a questioning look, his father-in-law shrugged. “They’ve been standing in front of the picture from Spencer’s wedding, discussing the event forever. I told Pam I needed a top-off and would return.” The man smirked. “Rod wanted to leave too, but Taisha wouldn’t allow it.” He stopped and stared at CJ while holding his empty glass out. “Owen says you owe him.”

“Spencer’s Owen’s brother,” CJ explained. “He and Tilda got married on Boxing Day 2020 in Australia.”

“We signed standard rookie contracts after we were drafted, Mr. Liston.” Riley returned to the previous conversation topic. “Four years with an option for an additional one. We’re allowed to renegotiate and extend it after our third year. Phil and I will be eligible next spring.”

“And that’s when Riley will get his bag. He was one of the first players chosen in our class. He was rookie of the year and improved his numbers the following one. If he has a semi-decent season, he’s gonna be rolling in coin.”

“Phil’s no slouch.” CJ thought his fellow Miamian deserved some love. “He’s done pretty darn well his first two seasons.”

“I’ve done okay, but Riley’s the superstar in the family. I’m not sure how much you know about American sports, Mr. Liston”Geoff shook his head“but contracts are ruled by our union agreement. There are caps on how much money initial signings can be for.”

“The Commanders will want to re-sign Riley for sure, and the Ravens would be fools not to keep you, Phil.” The former president was known as a sports fan. “Are either of you going to ask for anything outrageous in negotiations?”

Both players shook their heads, but Phil had something to add. “We both want no-trade clauses. We like the D.C. area and would prefer to stay. We don’t want one of us being shipped off to the West Coast. And I’d probably retire if I was sent to a frozen place like Green Bay or Buffalo. Brrrrr.”

Brett waited until the chuckles dissipated. “How much you gonna rake in, Riley?”

“Grandpa Cap! That’s none of your business.” CJ tried not to laugh. “And if you were smart, you’d know you can figure that out with a Google search.”

Phil and Riley nodded.

CJ draped an arm over his father’s shoulders. “Considering how good he is, and what other wide receivers of his caliber are getting paid, I'd say thirty million a year. Minimum.”

While the other men grinned, Geoff softly whistled. “Bloody hell. That’s a lot of money.”

Riley shrugged. “I’ll leave that stuff to my agent to negotiate.”

“Is Phil’s dad still your agent?” CJ shifted his gaze between his friends; both nodded.

“Hey! Speaking of my dad.” Phil turned his attention to CJ. “Wanna meet him, Mom, and my little brother? They’re coming up in September when the Dolphins play the Ravens. Want tickets?”

“Hell yeah!”

“How many?”

“How many can you get me? At least two, I hope. Dad would love to go. We both still root for the Fins.” CJ tried to sound apologetic. “Sorry, guys. The Commanders are my second team, and I do cheer for Baltimore often.”

“I support Miami unless it impacts our playoff chances. No Owen?”

“He’d be fine not going, but if you can get me four, he’ll be there. Just let me know how much money to send you. I guess Papa could be our fourth if I can't find anyone else.”

“Asshole.” Brett shoved his son away.

“You guys crack me up.” Obama lowered his head and shook it while laughing. “CJ, I meant to ask you about the background music.”

“That’s his Buena Vista Social Club playlist.” Owen, trailed by the remainder of the explorers, showed up at that moment. “It’s all CJ’s been listening to, along with Celia Cruz and Cuban reggaeton, since we found out we’re going to Havana. I’m going for meetings with the Nature Conservancy, and he’s tagging along as a tourist.”

“It’s a beautiful country.” Mrs. Obama shook her head when CJ offered her a refill. “I hope I can visit again at some point, without the entourage you travel with when you live in the White House.”

“Excuse me.” Rene stood at the entrance to the room, looking at Owen. “Mr. Liston, the chef wants to know if you’d like to uncork the wine. We’re almost ready to serve the first course.”

Owen set his cocktail on the rolling cart. “I’ll be there in a minute. Dad, wanna help?”

“I think that’s our cue.” Rod reached for Liebe with his left hand; the other one he offered to the former first lady. “Mrs. Obama, Mr. President, it was a pleasure seeing you again.” While shaking their hands, Taisha pecked everyone’s cheek.

On his way to the kitchen, Owen stopped next to Rod and kissed his daughter. “Have fun with Uncle Rod and Aunt T, Munchkin. We’ll see you later, okay?”

“Here, Munchkin.” Cj handed her the stuffed pink flamingo they had bought at the zoo. “Don’t forget, Pinky.”

Motioning for the others to follow, CJ slid open the double pocket-doors and ushered them into the dining room. He placed his hands on the chair at the head of the table closest to the entrance. “This one’s mine; Owen gets the one at the other end. The rest of you are on your own.”

Michelle chuckled and sat to CJ’s right. As she did, CJ noticed one of the Secret Service agents on her and the former president’s detail move to stand outside the glass doors leading to the courtyard. They had been introduced to Andrea Park and the other agents earlier.

“Are we having a Liston wine tonight?” President Obama had chosen the place to Owen’s right and looked down the table at CJ.

“Yes, we are—a rosé. The verdelho tinto’s their smallest bottling since the vines have the least acreage. We snagged a handful of cases from the most recent vintage and had them shipped.”

CJ pushed the swinging door closest to him and stuck his head in the kitchen. “You guys need any help?”

“Look out; coming through.”

He quickly backtracked when Geoff walked through the door, carrying a standing wine bucket with two bottles. At the room’s other end, Owen mirrored his father’s action.

“What’s cooking?” Barack turned to look at the door. “It smells delicious.”

“It all does.” Geoff motioned for Michelle to hand him her glass, pouring when she did. “Whatever’s in the oven, if it tastes half as good as it smells…” He left the thought unfinished.

The chef hired for the evening and his assistant entered the dining room through different swinging doors and placed a bowl in front of every guest. The aroma was subtle, while the color was fiery red.

“Good evening. For our first course tonight we have a roasted capsicum bisque with smoked paprika. It’s topped with a dollop of crème fraiche and chives. Enjoy.”

When the man made to leave, CJ reached out and touched his elbow. “Hang on a minute, Chef.” Turning, CJ spoke to his dining companions. “Our chef tonight is Dave White. You’ve all met his assistant, Rene Tinoco, already.” CJ introduced the presidential couple, the football players, and his fathers. Geoff and Pam he had chatted with earlier in the day.

“Oh, this is delicious.” Mrs. Obama’s comment was echoed in one form or another by the rest of the group. “Where did you find Dave, CJ?”

“World Central Kitchen.” WCK was a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization that provided meals in response to humanitarian, climate, and community crises.

Owen expanded on CJ’s short response. “We met José Andrés”—the Spanish chef founded the organization in 2010—“a while back, and CJ and I volunteered with them before moving to Mexico. After what happened down there, he sent us a very gracious note.”

“We stopped by for a short visit after being in town a couple of days to thank him and deliver a contribution.” CJ glanced at his fathers. “It’ll be included in our list for the family foundation to match. WCK has to be one of my favorite organizations to support. It amazes me ninety-eight percent of contributions go toward programs with only two spent on overhead.”

Once again, Owen provided additional details. “We mentioned that since we were in town for the foreseeable future, we planned to have friends over for dinner frequently and asked for a recommendation. Dave was on the list he gave us.”

“I googled them, and Owen agreed when I suggested we hire Dave for the evening. Based on José Andrés' recommendation, we knew this man could cook. What swayed me was his social media posts. He’s more of an adrenaline junkie than my little brother is. Scuba diver, champion skier, skydiver

“The fact he’s inked and rides motorcycles convinced my husband.” Owen earned himself a few chuckles.

“Hey! You’re inked and ride scooters too. And you know damn well that wasn’t the reason. Owen and I both liked the fact Dave spent time at the Polish-Ukrainian border cooking for refugees of the Russian invasion earlier this year and plans to reprise his role there soon.”

The second course was miniature crab cakes and avocado slices served with a spicy aioli. Riley glanced at his boyfriend after his first bite. “You’re gonna love this, Phil. Nice heat in the sauce.”

“Damn!” Phil smacked his lips. “These are better than the ones from the little joint by my place in Baltimore.”

Pam appeared confused. “Baltimore? I thought the two of you lived in Capitol Hill, a few blocks away.”

“We do, Mrs. Liston. But during training and once the season starts, there are times we have to be at the team's facility early or stay late. When that happens, it would be a pain to commute at least an hour in each direction. We also bought a condo for Phil’s convenience and as an investment.”

“Hey, Riley.” CJ used a fork to punctuate his comment. “Forgot to tell you before. We received an extremely nice note from your boss.”

“Coach Rivera?” Ron Rivera was the head coach for the Washington Commanders.

“Nope. Snyder.”

Riley looked surprised. “You’re kidding!”

“He’s not, but he’s also making it sound like a bigger deal than it is.” Owen looked around the table, and smiled. “Dan Snyder’s the Washington team’s owner, Mum.” She still looked confused. “Based on stuff that’s been published, he isn’t a very nice man. He has been accused of sexual harassment and financial shenanigans. I hope he sells the team soon.”

“Hear, hear.” CJ thought the man was a shit stain but did not feel it was appropriate to say so at the moment. “He invited us to attend a game this season and sit in his box.”

“Are you gonna take him up on it?”

“I doubt it. We’ve been in those luxury boxes before, and I prefer to be in the stands. I go to games to enjoy the action, not to hobnob with big shots. Ozzie doesn’t think it’s a big deal’s because we got similar messages and offers from every pro team in D.C.”

“Must be nice to be so popular and wanted. Poor little people like me have to rely on Ticketmaster.” Brett may have thought CJ would not retaliate because of the company, but he was mistaken.

“Screw you, Papa. If I recall correctly, most games I went to with you, admission was courtesy of friends or business contacts. How many times did we get seats for Wizards’ games from EY?” The Wizards were Washington’s National Basketball Association’s team; Ernst & Young was one of the world’s largest accounting firms, César’s previous employer, handled some of the family’s accounting, and prepared all their tax returns.

“I hope all these interactions with billionaire team owners don’t turn the two of you into uncaring jerks only interested in the potential profit.” César glanced first at CJ, then Owen.

His son-in-law vigorously shook his head. “No way. You know us better than that, Mr. A. We bought into Old Glory because we thought it was something good to do for the city. CJ and I have talked about one day maybe owning the whole thing, and we agreed making money would be second to fielding a good team and bringing a championship to the city.”

“That’s an old-fashioned approach.” Obama had repeatedly nodded throughout the entire conversation. “People who invest in sports franchises are rarely interested in the cities their teams play in beyond what concessions they can get. It’d be refreshing to have some who care less about making a buck and more about their impact on the community.”

Once empty plates were removed and new ones placed in front of each diner, Chef Dave stood by CJ again. “For your main course this evening, we have a pork loin with garlic and sherry served on a bed of steamed Napa cabbage with mushroom-and-herb risotto. Enjoy.”

“Thank you, Chef.” CJ waved a hand over the dish and inhaled deeply. “The aroma’s intoxicating.”

“And the taste’s amazing.” Brett did not wait for a response; he shoved another forkful in his mouth.

President Obama wiped the corners of his mouth with his napkin and looked at CJ down the long table. “Now that you guys are back in the States, any plans to get involved in the midterm elections?”

CJ glanced at Owen and winked. “Ozzie and I have written a bunch of checks already, and we’ll write more before November. Since the Republicans will probably gain control of the House of Representatives, we’ve already maxed out on contributions to Warnock and Kelly, hoping they don’t win the Senate too.” Raphael Warnock and Mark Kelly were senators from Georgia and Arizona considered vulnerable since their states were traditionally conservative. “After our previous president packed the court with twits

“CJ! That’s not a nice thing to say.” Pam had apparently forgotten her son-in-law had chastised her for calling him out a couple of days before.

Before he could reply, César intervened. “He’s speaking the truth, Pam. Based on some decisions they reached in their most recent term, they are twits.”

“I’ll echo that. CJ better say so often. Loudly and publicly.” Brett piling up on her made Pam avoid eye contact with everyone.

“Anyway, we hope if another seat becomes open, Biden will get to restore some balance to the Court.” CJ smiled at Owen’s mother. “I wasn’t planning to be actively involved except for recording a clip for a candidate out west to use on social media and another one for Muriel here in Washington. But something happened this week that may change my reluctance to participate more.”

Michelle sounded somewhat hesitant when she spoke. “If I’m not being too nosy, can I ask what made you change your mind?”

CJ’s protracted sigh was loud. “I’m not entirely proud of it, and I may regret it at some point, but I trashed Marco Rubio in public.”

Phil slapped the table a couple of times. “Good for you. I’m not into politics, but he’s an assa jerk. Sorry, I almost slipped.” Most everyone around the table chuckled.

“And how did it come about?” Michelle was definitely interested.

“We were meeting an Australian reporter at Forbes Grille, and Rubio walked in a moment after we did. He called my name, I acknowledged his presence, then ignored him. Eventually, I wound up telling someone that my actions were a result of having no respect for the senator. And that my reluctance to shake his hand was due to Rubio’s reluctance to strongly speak out against the January 6 insurrection and his failure to condemn the participants and instigators. I also brought up something we found out about him running homophobic ads later this year. The maitre’d asked him to step aside since I was a member, and he wasn’t.”

“Damn! That’s my son!” Brett had not heard about it before and sounded proud.

“What’s Forbes Grille?” Riley asked.

César was the one who replied. “A private dining club. I’ve been a member since my days at Ernst, and I sponsored CJ a long time ago.” He smiled at his son. “I’m glad you’re using the place.”

“Before Thursday, last time I did was when I was in town for a couple of days back in January.” Grinning, he turned his attention to Mrs. Obama. “I met a friend for lunch, and he introduced me to a woman running for Congress in Idaho—a Republican. I liked her and some of her positions, figured whomever the Democratic candidate was didn’t have a chance anyway, and convinced Owen we should support her. We sent her a check. By the way, we also wrote a large one to Liz Chaney’s PAC. We disagree with most of what she stands for, but at least she’s principled enough to choose country over party.”

President Obama leaned back and grinned. “I wouldn’t worry too much about what you said to Senator Rubio. Sounds like you stuck to the facts. He’ll get over it. It’s something most of us in public office learn to deal with.” He momentarily paused, and his grin grew. “You, my young friend, will be dangerous if you ever run for office. Democrats would be fools not to support you if you do run.”

“One problem with that, Mr. President.” CJ sounded apologetic. “I’m not a registered Democrat.”

“You’re not? I thought you were.” Michelle appeared surprised.

“Initially I was, Mrs. Obama. Changed it after the 2016 election.”

“Why?” Barack was the one questioning his decision.

“The main reason was getting booed by Bernie”Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont—“supporters at the convention in Philly, when I said something about being proud of my father being a retired Marine.” CJ winked at Brett. “It got me thinking about too many Democrats not supporting the military as much as I’d like, and Republicans simply wanting to stockpile armaments and never use them. In my opinion, both approaches are irresponsible.

“Every time we turn around, there’s a new despot wanting to challenge us. Russia attacking Ukraine, after both our previous presidents were lukewarm in their support, is proof we must not only project power to keep our country safe; we must assist other nations, so we stop the crazies before they get to our shores.”

Obama looked amused. “So, you disagreed with my handling of Ukraine’s requests for military assistance? Any other decisions of mine you disagreed with?”

“Yeah… a few.”

“CJ!” Although Pam appeared ready to say something, it was Owen who spoke.

“It’s okay, Owen. I’d like to hear about it. Most who disagreed with me were in the other party, and no matter what I did would find fault with it. It’s somewhat refreshing for someone I know supported me to tell me I wasn’t all that.” The President winked at his wife. “Except for Michelle, of course. She tells me all the time.”

The former First Lady smiled and nodded.

“So, what was it you disagreed with me on?”

“Well, my opinions are based on what I read and heard, and I know well enough I didn’t have all the information you did. If I had all that, maybe I would have acted the same. It took you too long to come out in support of same-sex marriage. It took Vice President Biden saying he supported it before the entire White House was all over it.

“And drawing a line in Syria about them using chemical weapons, then not doing anything when they did, weakened our status in the world and might have encouraged rogue nations.”

“You’re right; there was a lot that hasn’t been made public influencing my decisions. But that’s irrelevant since the general public never knew about it, either. Maybe when all my presidential papers are released, you’ll change your mind. Anyway, what about your party affiliation? Please tell me you’re registered as an independent and didn’t go with the Reps.”

“Hey!” Brett, sitting on the same side of the table but one seat away, leaned forward and stared at the former president. “I’m a registered Republican.”

Riley raised a hand while nodding. “Me too, sir.”

“Dude…” Phil, sitting between Brett and Barack, spoke to CJ. “You invited a bunch of Republicans to dinner the same night you have the former president and first lady over? Way to go! That’s gutsy as hell.” He turned and shrugged while looking at Obama. “I’m one too.”

The former president led the ensuing laughter.

While various conversations took place over the subsequent minutes, CJ sat quietly, listening to Geoff explain to Michelle how the wine they were drinking was made. He caught a sliver of Owen, Obama, and Phil discussing law school after the football player said it was what he wanted to do when he was done with sports.

Across the table’s center, Brett, César, and Riley carried on their own conversation. César invited the young couple to lunch at Forbes Grille whenever they were available, and Brett updated him on the remodeling timelinehe expected the upstairs to be finished by the end of the month when the guys could leave the basement.

“So, CJ.” President Obama’s louder tone brought all other conversations to a stop. “What’s your party affiliation, my friend?”

“I was an independent at first but became a Green after Ozzie and I married. I figured it was a nice wedding present for an environmentalist like him.”

“Very romantic, but I see a problem. The Green Party’s positions are mostly to the left of the most progressive Democrats.”

CJ smirked. “Not after I get done with them, Mr. President. I want to reshape the party. Fiscally conservative, socially liberal, supporters of the military, and not afraid to engage in the world. Environmental concerns would remain a primary focus. Once the twins are born, and we return to normalcy, I plan to recruit individuals with a similar outlook. We’ll start small, support local candidates to build a base, then tackle Congress. Give me about a dozen years.” CJ did not mention his intention to run as a Green for mayor of Washington in four.

Once done with the main course, Rene cleared the table, and Dave returned pushing the bar cart; it had been repurposed for serving dessert. “While shopping yesterday, I found some gorgeous South Carolina peaches at the market. Who wants bourbon whipped cream on their cobbler?” The chef smiled when everyone either nodded or raised a hand.

“I’m curious about what your plans are in the near future.” Michelle’s gaze shifted between CJ and Owen.

“Still the Nature Conservancy for me,” Owen said. “But as a consultant instead of an employee. I agreed to work with them on whatever the Cuban government wants help with, but I turned down two other projects. I’m putting our kids at the forefront for a while. At some point, we’ll get a nanny. But while CJ’s back at Georgetown, we want to be around at least until the twins turn one or so.”

“What about you, CJ?”

“Well, first’s a book about our time in Mexico. Since I’m mostly transcribing from my journal, I’ll be done writing by the time we meet with attorneys and publishers next month. While in New York, we’ve also agreed to a few interviews. Mostly TV with reporters we’re friendly with. Once school starts, studying will be my main priority, but I’ll have to promote the book after it goes on sale. I plan to tease it during the trip to the City, and I’ll have to find time for a couple of trips. I’m hoping I can do a lot of the interviews via Zoom.”

“And what do you plan to study?”

“International finance. I want a better grasp of interconnected global markets and how they influence diplomacy.”

Once everyone was done eating and had thanked the chef for the wonderful meal, they adjourned to the front room for coffee and after-dinner cocktails. When CJ closed the dining room’s doors, he was glad they kept it and the living room separate instead of joining everything into a trendy open floor plan. He had always disliked seeing the cooking and dining mess at his parents after a meal.


“Would you consider participating in seminars and conferences while going to school?” Obama stood next to him, looking out the front window, while everyone else took seats and carried on their own conversations.

“Definitely. Someone suggested I apply for a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Post Graduate Fellowship, and I will explore that.”

“They’re a good group, and you’d meet up-and-comers close to you in age. Listen, even knowing you’re not a registered Democrat, I’d like you to consider attending a Democratic Leadership Development Conference. I’ll sponsor your participation if you’re interested.”

CJ was gratified the former president had made the offer. He had heard of the program from politicians, and others who had participated in previous years. “Definitely, Mr. President. And thank you for the offer. It

“Mr. President, please move away from the window.” As one of the Secret Service agents grabbed Obama’s arm and pushed him to the back, Andrea closed the curtains. Her actions were accompanied by sirens and flashing blue lights on 11th Street.

“What’s going on?”

“There’s been a mass shooting outside Monocle, Mr. President. District police are here to escort us back to your home.”


CJ was amazed at how calm President and Mrs. Obama were. He assumed after more than a decade of having a protective detail, they were no longer rattled by their actions.

“Yes, sir. Justice Campbell and his wife are among the victims.”

Copyright © 2023 Carlos Hazday; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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