Read Chapter 1
“Yes Mr. Flynn?”
“Have you gotten hold of the Governor yet?”
“No sir. Not yet.”
“Why the hell not?”
“Well… he’s in China right now, so …”
“The hell with China! What the hell’s the damn governor of Massachusetts doing in China? Giving away the recipe for Clam Chowder?”
“Actually I think…”
“China’s overblown. You know where we should be, dontcha?”
“You listen to me – Yugoslavia is where all the action’s going to be in 10 to 15 years. I have this on good authority.” And with that, the Honorable Rep. David Flynn (D-Slots) winked knowingly and closed his office door.
“Yes sir.” His aide, Bob Cratchit sat down behind his computer with every intention of working on his spreadsheet, when the phone rang. It was his wife, reminding him to pick up his son’s Christmas present – a brand new bike and the only thing he’d wanted all year – on his way home.
Cratchit smiled and glanced at the framed photograph of his son on top of his desk. Six years old. A thick halo of dark curls and bright green eyes. Small for his age, but with an enormous spirit which never failed to lift his own, especially when money was tight, and free time hard to find.
He looked forward to teaching his son to ride his new bike right after Christmas dinner. In the future, he could see them biking uptown together, then, as Tim got older, down on the Cape, and up in the mountains of New Hampshire. Cratchit loved time with his son, and slipped his hand into his jacket pocket to reassure himself that the envelope with the $100 was still there.
Yes, he assured his wife. He had the money she’d left in the envelope. He was leaving early to pick up the bike.
As he hung up, Flynn burst through the office door.
“Was that the Governor?”
“No sir. It was my wife.”
“Get Trump’s office on the line!”
“Oh the hell with it.”
“I think this day’s been long enough, don’t you Cratchit?”
“I’ll see you bright and early tomorrow Cratchit – and then we’ll work on The Donald with a fresh frame of mind, whaddaya say?”
“Sounds excellent, sir.”
“Good man. Lock up, won’t you Cratchit?”
Wrapping his scarf around his neck against the cold outside, Flynn paused long enough by Cratchit’s desk to see him glance at the photograph of his son.
Remembering that all politics are local, Flynn asked, “So what does Jimmy want for Christmas this year?”
“Timmy! That’s right! What’s little Timmy looking for under the Cratchit Christmas tree?”
“A bike, actually. I’m off to pick it up now, after I lock up.”
“Oh a bike! That’s perfect! Pick him out a good one, now – with a bell and a horn and all the other gizmos kids like so much.”
“Yes, sir,” smiled Cratchit. “I’m planning on it.”
“See you tomorrow Cratchit – big day – lot’s of important people coming to this hearing.”
“Yes sir. You have a good night, now. And Merry Christmas.”
But Flynn was already out the door.
Bob Cratchit straightened his desk, slipped on his coat and locked up the office. In the car, on the way to the store, he turned on the radio, flipping through several stations before landing on the one that did the 24 hour Christmas carols. It never failed to put him in the holiday mood.
Johnny Mathis had just finished up “Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland”, when a commercial for Foxwoods casino and resort in Connecticut came on.
This made Cratchit laugh. What a time that was! Only two weeks earlier he and his wife had gone to Foxwoods for the first time. He’d only brought along $50 – he figured that was enough to lose – especially for someone who’d never gambled before. Five hours later, to his, and his wife's utter astonishment, he was up $30,000. Not only this, but he’d made lots of new friends and was having the time of his life.
As he sipped his fourth free beer, he imagined the look on his wife’s face when she opened the door at Christmas to find a new car in the driveway with a big bow on top – just like in those commercials. Or maybe a Hawaiian vacation. Or better yet – put it away for Timmy’s college. All the people around him were smiling - saying he “had the Midas touch”, that he’d been “born under a lucky star.” He suddenly felt important. He'd never been the kind of guy who needed to feel important, but it felt good anyway. Things were definitely looking up for the Cratchit family. It was like some sort of a dream.
Then, in one move, he lost it all.
It had to be a fluke, he figured, and walked over to one of the many ATM machines out in the lobby to get some more money. He was sure he could easily work his money up again, but his wife said he'd had enough – as if he were too drunk to drive – and took him home.
Since then he’d been itching to go back. But it was Christmas. Money was tight and time was hard to find.
And then suddenly it occurred to him that he had an envelope in his pocket with $100 in cash. And his boss had just given him the afternoon off. And he'd already proven he could turn $50 into $30,000 – what could he do with $100?
And this time, he’d know when to stop.
Bob Cratchit, loyal political aide and loving father drove steadily down Rte. 24 for the space of a few minutes contemplating the possibility that he might not win. That maybe he ought to go straight to the store like he'd planned.
Then, at the next exit, he turned off and headed down to Foxwoods to chase a dream.