This is the first time you meet one of my characters in the novel I'm working on. There is no small doubt that I'll look back on it and laugh later on, but this is how you meet her now. Let me know what you think of her from the excerpt. ------------------------------------------ She couldn’t remember a time when she had not detested this universal form of lifeless carpet. It was everywhere corporate or practicality oozed forth and decided that flat, patterned tangles of uninspiring threads that clawed on each other to reach the concrete they were adhered to without the benefit of padding was the better concept than what every sensible person had in their homes. Bare feet did not yearn out of their footwear to feel the caress of the carefully looped and crossed yarns that snuggled over a pillow of synthetic softness that one could feel as if they were the loose sands of a tropical beach. There was no comfort in this detestable stuff. No personality, no life, no natural feelings. Cold, hard, hideously plain, and perfectly practical. It only made sense the West Wing was infested with it. Wood, that’s what she loved. Deeply toned, grained, hand scraped hardwoods full of minute flaws that quietly whispered to the personality of the people who owned it. Unyielding to the touch, but warm as morning mocha to the senses that mattered. Every word she spoke, the very syntax of her sentences were analyzed, dissected, cross-examined, poked and prodded by foreign leaders and cable news agencies to determine plain and hidden meaning. Measured, measured again, and then cut within the editorials of the 10 o’clock news. A single misspoken phrase could turn the opinion of herself, the administration, of the very country in any number of directions by those whom it offended. All of that and no combination of epitaphs, vulgar or gentile, could coax hardwoods to grow where this modern pasted carpet poisoned the floors. Looking up she was quick to spot the Speaker of the House Gerald Dunnelsohn plodding down this same path scant seconds before he was able to take in her. Gerald Dunnelsohn, he had claimed the national security issues of the electrical production grid in the name of his current session in this Congress. He spit out enough rhetoric and concern to drum up the fear within his constituents to make them think he was doing something important with their votes. Protecting the power grid, a joke. Her mind shifted and the façade of warmth, interest, and friendship enveloped her being. This was her gift, to force the mask onto others that she genuinely cared about them and their concerns in the world of D.C. The smile radiated forth and caught old Gerald where it mattered most. “Gerald, great to see you! Caught the tail end of the speech as wrapped up on C-SPAN earlier. Interesting points you made about the vulnerability of the, what was it, the northeastern power grid as related to national security. Compelling. Have you got a second to run through the highlights?” She pushed forth the face of sincerest interest as the Congressman from New York loped through the disjointed and disorganized points. “You see Gerry, there’s something I’ve been wanting to talk to you about, something I so very need to fix with YOU.” She hissed to him in her mind. “I see Gerald, I see. There are then multiple levels of vulnerabilities that need addressing then, not just the age of the carrier lines and junctions?” “Here just a second, don’t be alarmed.” She whispered in his ear as she drew the machined steel from her briefcase. “I’ve had this made just for such occasions. Fourteen and one third inches Gerry. The pinnacle of weapon grade tempered steel, double edged, laser sharp, just narrow as not to kink. And see the handle Gerry? See how it’s perpendicular to push in and fits my hand just so? Craftsmanship Gerry, you have to have the right tool for the job.” “Tell me if I’ve gotten this right, that we need a fundamental look, top to bottom, of how our energy is produced, distributed, and consumed?” “Now you’ll feel a slight sting here Gerry, so very slight. The skin always yields, and there will undoubtedly be a sting.” “I’ve been meaning to ask, how’s your daughter doing at grad school this semester? GW wasn’t it? Thought so, you know one of my interns comes from GW.” “Hold on Gerry, this is the trickiest part. That soft gap between the vertebrae hides itself so well.” “That’s great luck Gerald, finding a house like that out in Martha’s. And with a great view too? Gerald, you’ve got to give me your contacts out there, such a great find for your family!” “Gerry, when it’s just right, no, the tip is just scraping bone there, when it’s just right, let me concentrate, just right and the blade will sever the spinal cord like a quarter dropping into a soda machine slot. Effortless.” “Gerald, I can’t imagine the stress it’s put you under. Deals can be so trying, but the payoffs are smiles of your family aren’t they Gerald?” “SNIP! There it is Gerry. So smooth, so supple. It didn’t sting half as much as you thought it would now did it Gerry? Let me push it through now Gerry, to make sure it is done right. Yes! Oh that’s it now Gerry, all the way through to the handle. Let me just step back and look at you now.” “Gerald, I’d love it if you could send over a report on the grid. I really would like my staff to take an in depth look at your work.” “You know Gerry, it’s amazing how the eyes, the eyes Gerry, how they still shine when the body has been cut from the brain. They still want to talk to me Gerry. Your damn stinking sack of a decaying body stands here help up by last season’s suit, but the eyes still dream about the political future don’t they Gerry?" “Absolutely, but I’ll be in Glasgow next week, but I want to learn about what you’ve found there Gerald, it’s an important issue that the public needs to be aware of.” “You shouldn’t have gone up against me in front of the minority whip Gerry, you shouldn’t have done that. I need her district, need her support, need her to be behind me, and not you, when the primaries start. You won’t even know about your wife’s abortion until the primaries Gerry, you’ll never see it coming. I’ve murdered your career, murdered it. Slipped the blade in and cut your future Presidency off before it was out of the womb Gerry.” “Give my best to the family Gerald, I do wish we could get together sometime. Maybe at Martha’s for a weekend?” She made sure to hold the handshake a second too long, as if they were lifelong friends who might not meet again for some time. She continued down past the paintings and busts of the former Presidents that lined the halls, hemming her in. They smiled from their stoic poses with utter approval. Politics was played and votes were won at the expense of the innocent, and she radiated confidence with the knowledge that one more of Washington’s elite was a head on her string. Why can’t one office have hardwood?