63 Office

Janet steps into the Oval Office and sighs. Benjamin steps up to her left side. “What do you think?”

Janet lets her eyes wander from the President’s desk to the room’s colonial décor, and ultimately to the detailed ceiling. “Unbelievable! I didn’t think I would ever stand in this room, and I surely didn’t think it would have this big of an impact on me if I did. Do you ever feel like crying when you don’t even know why?”

She turns her head to find Benjamin smirking at her. “Really, you would want me to answer that question in the U.S. President’s office—as your invited guest —and while wearing this suit?”

“I guess not. The place is probably bugged.” She winks. “So, lay it on me Mr. Hume. What do we know about the Oval Office?”

“Well, there is very little information made public about the Oval Office. I know that the Battle Flags were returned by President Trump in 2017, and as you can see, still stand around the President’s desk. I know it’s remodeled by every president, and it becomes a statement of their leadership style. The windows are capable of withstanding bullets fired from the world’s most powerful guns. I also know that the first person to cry here was you.”

“I’m not crying.”

“Fine, I’ll edit the record to say you were the first to ‘become misty-eyed here.” He sarcastically uses air quotes. Janet lightly huffs through her nose.

“I do know some things about the rest of the building if you’re interested.”

“Absolutely, your history trivia keeps me distracted and calmed, so please fire away.”

“Well, as impressive as the size of this building may be with its 55,000 square feet, it’s no longer the largest residence in the United States. It lost that title shortly after the Civil War. It operated without water, central heating, and electricity for 16, 20, and 74 years respectively. It has 6 levels, 8 staircases, 3 elevators, 28 fireplaces, and 132 rooms, including 35 bathrooms.”

“Thirty-five bathrooms? Why so many?”

“Shhh…Benjamin’s not finished. It has a tennis court, a bowling alley, a movie theater, a beauty salon, a physician’s office, a cafeteria, two restaurants, a florist’s shop, a swimming pool, and a golf-putting green.”

“Impressive. Hit me with your afterthoughts.”

“Well, I’m wondering why—with both a beauty salon and florist shop inside the building—why did President Trump’s hair always look that way, and why did he say he was too busy to bring Melania flowers on her birthday? How hard is it? It’s like three doors down.”

Janet covers her mouth with her hand so the Secret Service cannot see her smile. “Very interesting, Benjamin. I see you’re still carrying your inappropriate crush on the former First Lady.”

“Elegant, Janet, she was just so elegant: those eyes, that hair, those legs—and, a fashion sense that will never be repeated.”

“Alright, alright, answer me something. How is it possible for you to leave a committee session on the possible annihilation of the planet, come in here to speak with the most powerful man in the world about Globalism, and still find room in your mind to gush about Melania?”

“Well, someone has to be thinking about her.”

Janet can’t hold back the laughter any longer. She is giggling when the door opens, and the President enters with his two assistants.

“I must have missed a good joke. Was it about me? If so, let’s hear it.”

Benjamin speaks up. “No, Mr. President, it wasn’t about you. We were just talking about Melania.”

“That’s understandable. Elegant lady. Just elegant.”

Benjamin shifts his eyes towards Janet. She refuses to look at him out of fear of losing it in the Oval Office.

“So, let’s get this conversation started. Please have a seat.”

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Triple Digit TOC by K.M. Sheridan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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