The blathering idiot and Lydia were sitting in an Italian restaurant having dinner, discussing politics, or partly discussing politics.
“You know, I really don’t know much about you,” Lydia said, waving a breadstick at him.
“Even after the last campaign.”
“And I did not know you had a daughter,” the blathering idiot said. “Does she like politics?”
“People don’t like politics these days. They just endure it.”
“Like you do?”
“I like it. It’s what gets me going in the morning. What gets you going?”
“My alarm clock,” the blathering idiot said.
“You don’t say much.”
“I say enough.”
“Maybe that can work to our advantage. The Pro-Accordion Party could say it all with music.”
The blathering idiot nodded. He liked the way her face lit up when she thought she had a good idea.
The waiter brought the food and a new basket of breadsticks. He also refilled the water glasses. The blathering idiots had a slice of lemon in it; Lydia’s did not.
“You do play the accordion, don’t you?”
The blathering idiot frowned. She had forgotten since the last election for the highest office in the land. He had told her then he didn’t play the accordion or any other instrument. Since then, he had not learned how. He never expected to be considering running again. The first time was not nearly as much fun as Lydia seemed to remember it being.
“I didn’t know you had a daughter,” the blathering idiot said.
“She will not be coming with us on the campaign trail.”
“But the consultant—”
“The consultant can go to hell. She needs her education and not to be jerked around from one campaign stop to the next.”
“What is her name?”
“Bella,” the blathering idiot said.
“Short for Isabella.”
“Is she short?”
“No. Where did you get that idea?”
“You said she was short for Isabella.”
“I mean Bella is short for Isabella.”
“Okay. Does she have a dad?”
Lydia glared at him. “Does she need one?”
The blathering idiot shrugged. “You tell me.”
They ate most of their meals in silence, though the blathering idiot couldn’t help slurping his spaghetti every now and then. There was something satisfying to the sound and the feel of a noodle flipping up and down just before the end enter his mouth. He didn’t even mind if a little sauce got on his face.
Lydia looked at him and couldn’t help but giggle.
“Okay, if you want to know, Bella’s father took a powder.”
The blathering idiot wiped his face with his napkin. The napkin was not large. “Which one?”
“Which powder did he take? A blue one? Red? Was it over the counter or a prescription powder?”
“He skipped out. Left us high and dry. Ran away.”
“Oh, and he took his powder with him?”