When I was a sophomore in college, I won a summer internship for a certain politician. I won’t say which politician, but I will say that he’s important enough that I list the internship on my CV even though it was unpaid and all I did was clerical grunt work and make Starbucks runs for the lower-level staff (I was too irrelevant to get the politician’s coffee. Like one of his heroes who was also a power-drunk bully, LBJ, he liked to humiliate employees he was angry at by making them get his coffee. These people were adults with JDs and MA’s).
If I told you who this man was, you’d freak.
Well, one day his secretary sent me into his office with some paperwork for him to sign and a glass of icewater.
He had a beautiful office. It was big and always dark and cool inside, and I’m sure that all the wood was endangered hardwoods. He had a huge state flag and a US flag with tassels on it. I used to like going in there and fantasizing about coming back to work there once I was finished with my education.
Well, when I came inside, I saw that he was on the telephone. It wasn’t a cell phone. It was a real, heavy phone with a coiled cord. It was the OFFICIAL PHONE.
He gestured at me to put the paperwork in a plastic inbox on his desk.
Then whoever he was calling on the phone picked up…
(and my heart is starting to beat quickly just remembering, a decade later)
….and the politician teared into him.
He was furious. Fucking furious. He was snarling at this guy, his voice was loud, he was cursing at him and calling him a treacherous son-of-a-bitch and asking him if he thought he was going to get away with it? Going behind my back?
To this day, I have never seen anyone act that way. I’ve seen the Surgeon turn on the abuse 100% of a few other people, and it was shockingly ugly, but this politician takes the prize. I’ve seen men get into confrontations and yell at each other (usually in bars), but they usually just look like big morons.
This man did not sound like an idiot. He sounded like God. He probably felt like God.
I was terrified.
I wasn’t the only one: I could hear his victim on the other end of the line. Begging for a chance to explain. Begging. This was a grown man. He sounded like he might be crying. I’d never heard a man cry in my life.
The politician took the man’s job away and effectively destroyed his career. He was unemployable. Four months later, he’d have to move out of the state.
(Now that I’m older and have been around a bit, I have to tell you, I don’t think that it’s legal to terminate someone like that. I’ve never seen an employee treated that way. Ever. And I’ve been a research assistant.)
The politician slammed the phone down so hard that it fell off its cradle. Then he seemed to become re-aware of my presence.
“The water,” he said.
I looked down and saw that my hand was shaking so badly that the water was splashing out, all over my hand and onto the carpet. There were ice cubes on the rug.
“I’m sorry,” I squeaked. I thought he was going to scream at me. I felt like I was about to have a panic attack. All of my muscles were tight.
I’ll never forget what he did next: he leaned back in his big leather chair, put his hand underneath his chin, and smiled at me.
Sadists are happy when they feel their power. They really are.
I told him that I’d bring more water, turned, and practically ran out of his office.
I bolted straight for the bathroom. The private one, with the lock on the door. I went there because I was upset, and I was raised not to show strong emotions in public. I didn’t want anyone to see me upset. That would be improper.
I locked the door behind me, put the water glass down by the sink, sat down on the lid of the toilet seat, and hugged myself tightly. My heart was pounding and I was shaking all over. I thought I might throw up. I kept hearing the snarl in his voice, and all that anger. The power in it.
And the terror on the other end of the line.
I was clenching my thighs together, and something happened. I’ve never told anyone this story, because it’s embarrassing and very personal, but I will tell you now: I had an orgasm.
It was one of my first ones. I didn’t become orgasmic until I was 20 (but I sure made up for lost time, eh?).
I probably hid in the bathroom for fifteen or twenty minutes. Then I composed myself, smoothed my hair, and went back to work.
If I was four or five years older, a more mature, sophisticated woman, I would have been fucking that guy before I left that internship (or afterward, if he had the self-restraint to wait until I was safely out of his office). Guaranteed. When I want a man, I take him.
But I was very young and inexperienced, and I didn’t know how to approach men yet, so I didn’t. I behaved myself. He wrote me a short, nice little letter of recommendation with the state seal on it that I have hanging on the wall of my bedroom office next to my degree from that school and the certificate of membership in my professional organization. I have a picture of myself shaking his hand in front of the flag, which I will presumably hang on the wall of my office at work, once I have a real office and not a fucking adjunct instructor’s time-share.
Now that I’m older and more experienced, I wonder about the incident from the politician’s point of view. Why did he do that in front of me? It was inappropriate (if there is one word, ever, to describe my taste in men, it would be that: inappropriate).
Did he simply not give a shit that I was there? Was he trying to scare me? Was he showing off? I was just an intern from the local state school.
I think the smile at the end was a clue. He liked seeing me scared.
I’d bet my last dollar that little spectacle made his dick hard.
He’s still in office. A very effective politician, and a notorious, notorious asshole.