The Republican reps were on one side of the room while we Dems clung to the other, a central gutter of empty tables running between us, as we eyed each other warily, like the Jets and the Sharks. I broke out a couple of modern dance moves — punctuated by a “pow” or two — in the center de-delicatessenized zone, but people glared, sans passion or understanding, so I headed toward the bathroom.

Speaker Boehner was in an alley-facing doorway, smoking.

“That’s why I like you, Lederer, you go right to West Side Story.”

“I didn’t think anybody knew what I was doing.”

“You’re right, nobody knows what you’re doing. But I certainly knew what you were referencing. I played Bernardo in summer camp when I was 12.”

“Is that when you discovered the self-lacquering device I imagine I’m not supposed to talk about?”

“Don’t tell Leno,” he laughed.

A few feet away, a waitress brought Iowa’s Steve King a cantaloupe.

“I didn’t order this.”

“Compliments of Congressman Lederer.”

He looked up and I nodded like a gambler in the old west. On the their side of the gutter, the Dems saw the melon before the anti-immigrant rep and sonically mocked with passion, none moreso than the members of the Hispanic caucus.

“That was for you, Bernardo,” I told Boehner as I entered the toilet.


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