The Lobbyist
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 by Ron Cruger
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          It’s been the voguish place for politicians, lobbyists and power brokers. The Old Ebbitt Grill, in one way or another has been located in Washington D.C. since 1798. The famous restaurant, home of the “Oyster Bar” with its Beaux Arts façade and mahogany and velvet booths is the place where politicians come to discuss events of the day and to bargain, dickers, haggle, palter and negotiate.
          The Lobbyist spied his luncheon guests standing near the Maitre d’ at his station in front of the opulent restaurant. The Lobbyist rose from his chair and walked quickly to greet the handsome, seventy year old guest and his wife.
          “So good to see you and your lovely wife, Senator. We have a nice booth towards the rear. The waiter and the chef know you’re both coming and they’re preparing your favorite dishes.”
          “Well, thanks, so much. You’re kind. The Mrs. and I have been looking forward to enjoying a nice dinner.”
           The Lobbyist and his two guests slid over the velvet surfaces of the booth and settled in. The Lobbyist asked if everything was satisfactory. The waiter introduced himself as Pierre. He filled their water glasses, brought freshly baked rolls, a carafe of red wine and promised that their meals would be along shortly. 
           The Lobbyist offered a toast, “Here’s to the Second Amendment.”
          “Here, here,” said the Senator. His wife nodded and drank her wine.
         “So, Senator, while we wait for our dinners can we spend a moment on the proposed bill to enlarge background checks for those wanting to purchase firearms.”
         “Well, yes. I’ve been thinking about the bill and it seems that the American public is in favor of us passing it. That shooting in Connecticut got millions of people in favor of more gun control.”
          The Lobbyist, tried his best to appear calm. “Senator, we shouldn’t let a few hysterical people have an impact on what bills the U.S. Senate considers passing.”
          “Well, sir, I understand that, but it seems that it might protect American children and adults if there was a closer check on the kind of person who wants to buy firearms.”
          “Sure, Senator, and our organization is all in favor of protecting Americans, but we don’t want to endanger what our forefathers established in the Second Amendment, do we?”
           “To tell you the truth, sir, I’m leaning more and more towards supporting the bill that would enlarge background checks.”
The senator’s wife listened intently to the conversation, as she sipped her wine.
          “Senator, perhaps we could continue our conversation this weekend. Our organization has chartered a 747, completely and luxuriously outfitted. We’re going to Las Vegas and we have reserved a V.I.P. suite for you and your lovely wife. The hotel in Las Vegas has promised the finest treatment for our guests, which are only you and the Mrs. and a few important members of the House of Representatives. We could continue our conversation during the flight, which I’m sure you two will enjoy.”
           The Senator’s wife leaned forward. “Oh, honey, we haven’t been to Las Vegas in a couple of years. It sounds delightful.”
          “Oh, I guess it wouldn’t hurt anything if we did go. We will be discussing the bill while we’re there.”
          “Well, that settles that. Our limousine will pick you up Friday and take you to the airport. Of course this is a business trip so one of our organization’s vice presidents will make a presentation to you in Las Vegas. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy Vegas and then we can spend some additional time going over the importance of the proposed increased background check legislation being defeated.”
          “Oh, honey,” the Senator’s wife giggled, “I’m so excited.”
          The Lobbyist looked in the eyes of the Senator and said, “Senator, I think we can arrive at a good decision on this matter. After all, the protection of the nation’s Second Amendment is at stake, don’t you agree?”
          “Well, I can see your point. That is an important amendment.”
           The Senator’s wife interrupted, “Oh, look, here comes Pierre with our dinners, they look scrumptious, don’t they?”
           The Senator, his wife and the Lobbyist enjoyed their dinners, desserts and aperitifs.
           The Lobbyist paid the bill, left a very generous tip and the host and his guests walked toward the door.
          At the same time a serious debate concerning the bill to enlarge background checks for persons wanting to purchase firearms was taking place in the Senate. The final vote the next week would be close.
          The luxuriously outfitted 747 was in the air, on its way to Las Vegas.
          Sitting on a soft, overstuffed wing chair in a forward compartment, the Senator’s wife leaned to her right and spoke to her husband, “Oh, honey, isn’t this nice. That Lobbyist is so warm and genuine. You will consider his viewpoint, won’t you?”
          The Senator looked around the plush surroundings in the 747, then turned to his wife.
          “I’m thinking about it.”