Fiction: The Talk

stork“Daddy, where does Congress come from?”

The question caught me off guard. I’ll admit I’d been expecting it for some time, ever since we got in line at the Capitol Visitor Center an hour and four halves ago, but I still wasn’t prepared when the moment arrived. I told him to ask his mother. In retrospect that was kind of mean, seeing as how the kid gets teased enough at school as it is for having two dads, but at least it bought me time to think.

“You see, first a couple of fathers in wigs get together and decide they’re through with bondage and ready to try the group thing, at which point, er, um,”

“Try the group thing? I don’t understand.”

“Well, see, before that they were loyal to just one guy, and he always got to wear the pants in the relationship except when in ceremonial dress, and he never let them join in the political parties.”

“What’s a political party?”

Oh boy.

“A political party? That’s an organization people pick to come here to Washington and make all their decisions for them.”

“But how do the parties know what the people want?”

“They choose representatives for the people to petition with form letters drafted by lobbyists whose job is to decide what we want.”

“Why don’t we just decide for ourselves? We could raise our hands like we did to pick our class mascot.”

He had me there. Whatever they’re teaching kids in school these days it’s too much. I had no choice but to move for cloture.

“And that’s where Congress comes from.”

I paused for a moment to let it all sink in, ideally not too far, before introducing an opposing bill.

“Who wants ice cream?”

“I do!” said that wonderful adopted son of mine in a heartwarming display of nurture over curious nature.

“Great,” I said, “me too. We’ll get some just as soon as we finish this tour of Congress.”

A light flickered in the kid’s eye. A dangerous looking light, mercurial like a federally mandated compact fluorescent. How could I have been so careless when I’d come so close?


What else could I do? He had me trapped behind a Chinese tour group in the hallway outside the Senate Gallery. I took a deep breath and did what any caring, sane parent would do in that situation. I gave him Angry Birds on my iPhone to play with and ran for the Rotunda. Maybe in a couple years when he is old enough to vote he’ll be ready. But why rush things?

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