C H A P T E R O N E
The Senator was tired. He had used some cocaine in the restroomof the mostly empty Jet-Green 727, just before landing at BurlingtonInternational Airport in the northwest corner of his adopted home stateof Vermont. That had got him on his feet and to the car but now, as hisdriver moved the vehicle through the light evening traffic, he was spentall over again. His sinus was draining down the back of his throat,upsetting his stomach and forcing him to make inelegant swallowingsounds. Sitting slumped against the rear passenger-side door of the non-descript Ford sedan, he tried to make his heart slow down and thusmatch his dreadful feeling of body fatigue. It was no use. But at the ageof 71 he was still in pretty good shape and so didn't really fear cardiacarrest. Not from two little bumps of blow now all but worn off (at leastin terms of the euphoria.) A small burp rose through the shaft of histhroat and squeezed out. It tasted like airline peanuts and ginger alesyrup and vomit. He sighed."Are you feeling okay, Bradley?" his driver asked him, calling himby his first name, as did almost everyone, especially when he was inVermont.Senator Bradley Kramer cleared his throat and answered, "I guessI'll make it." Silver haired and half bald, Bradley was a stout little man.Dressed in a blue jacket with Khakis and penny loafers, he wasn't muchto look at. Tie pulled loose, collar crumpled and open. Eyes shot red.Hookish nose, runny and raw near the lip. Truth be told, they didn't likehim very much in Washington DC. Down there he was criticized onboth sides of the aisle for being a celebrity socialist and a pinko pain inthe ass. He was the only 'Independent' in the United States Senate andhad been there for nearly two full terms. Technically he was running forhis third but there was no one even close to being able to de-seat himthis time. Most work-a-day Vermonters were barely aware he was dueto run again. Fewer than one in six could name his Republicanopponent. The Democrats weren't running anybody.