* An excerpt from my upcoming book
The first time I saw Jacob White, I knew he was an asshole. The assertion wasn’t made through some fly-by-night intuition or vague hints about his imposing physical stature, brash mannerisms or crass denunciation of everything I revered and considered sacrosanct. Rather, it was a visceral reaction I felt upon our meeting.
When someone’s a born asshole whose sole intent is to cause as much misery and trouble, you automatically know it.
Such was the case with Jacob. He claimed to come from some small backwards Podunk Midwestern town and claimed to be the first in his family to have graduated college. Both were lies. Jacob was a conman, a professional liar who cared not a whit who he hurt or what lies he spun. Jacob existed only for Jacob.
That’s why I didn’t trust him when we met at a Motel 6 on Interstate 83 outside of York, Pa. one midsummer evening. He rented a room and smiled as he flung a suitcase on the bed. He then opened the case and beamed as the neatly stacked rows of $20 bills stared up at me, with several Andrew Jacksons peering from their Samsonite prison.
“I want you to expose Senator Patrick Hurley. Get the dirt on him. Dig up some shit. There’s a real story here,” Jacob said.
“What’s it to you?” I asked. “And where’s my bourbon? An unseemly job like this should be fueled with alcohol.”
“Senator Hurley is a naughty boy,” Jacob said, ignoring my request for libations. “Naughty boys get what’s coming to them.”
Tempting, I thought. All the fantasies I could make real with all that scratch would dwarf anything Caligula could’ve thought up in his wildest, wettest dreams.
Yet I’m a man of ethics, a consummate professional. I wouldn’t stoop to such debauched shenanigans.
“How much?” I asked.
“When do I start?”
“Now,” Jacob said, and slammed the suitcase shut. He grabbed one of those neatly-wrapped drinking glasses next to the ice bucket and put one end to his ear and the other to the wall.
“I hear them in the next room,” Jacob said, grinning like a jackal on LSD. “Frolicking away like dandy little pets.”
I took the remaining glass and also listened to the wall. Muffled talking, grunting and swearing filled my ear. It sounded like the last days of the Roman Empire in that room.
“Holy shit! What’s going on?”
“Hurley has a woman in there,” Jacob said. “That’s what I want you to dig up. You get your evidence and give me a good story, and I give you the cash.”
Without thinking, I smashed the glass over Jacob’s head.
“What kind of sick muckraker do you take me for? I have standards!” I shouted as Jacob fell back and clutched his bleeding scalp.
He reeled and swung at me, and the punch connected. I toppled a lamp, which shattered on the floor. I tasted blood in my mouth and grew enraged.
“You crazy bastard!” I yelled and hit him across the face with a Gideon’s Bible. The cartilage in his nose cracked and he bled profusely.
“My node! Whad did nu dood tood my node?” Jacob said, clutching his face.
I agreed to do my job and expose the philandering Senator Hurley’s nocturnal ramblings to a daft and ignorant public.
Summoning all my energy, I gathered my laptop, digital camera, a spiral notebook, a can of pepper spray, a Swiss Army knife and a rolled up newspaper and headed over to the neighboring room for an interview.
“I ting nu broke my node,” Jacob said.
“Shut up, fucktard,” I whispered. “I’m about to make contact with the subject. This is the most important stage of journalism. First impressions are critical and determine the entire outcome of whether you get the story or not.”
I lightly rapped on the motel room door and said in my best Spanish accent, “Housekeeping!”
When my attempt at impersonating a Mexican chambermaid failed, I resorted to tougher tactics. I ignored the “Do Not Disturb” sign and pounded on the door with all of my mortal might.
“Open up, Senator! This is the police!” I roared, as Jacob nearly pissed himself.
The door opened a hair and a woman peered out at us.
“What is it?” she asked, her voice as rough as gravel and as pungent as cigarettes.
I kicked the door in and it hit her in the face. As the half-naked hooker spun around, Jacob and I barged into the room, camera flashing and audio recording.
There was Patrick Hurley, staunch Democrat and two term United States Senator, on his knees in the bed, wearing only a leather thong and chewing a cherry red ballgag. When he saw us, his eyes widened like a frightened cat’s. Another hooker, who wore a strap-on the size of a gorilla cock was ready to mount him when we interrupted. The hooker who answered the door angrily grabbed a riding crop and started beating Jacob over the head.
“Senator! Just a moment of your time, please!” I cried as Hurley rolled over and tried covering himself with a severely stained blanket.
“This would be a better interview if you’d remove that thing from your mouth,” I suggested.
Hurley clamored for his pants, his portly, blubbery body rolling off the bed and hitting the floor with a sickly thud. He wriggled into a shirt and tried grasping his pants while the hooker in the strap-on darted out the door.
The other hooker continued to struggle with Jacob.
“Ask him about the girls!” Jacob suggested as the hooker continued laying punches into him and beating him with the crop. He tried defending himself but his swings missed.
“Senator, are these women constituents of yours?” I asked.
Hurley removed the ballgag. His face was crimson, half from anger and half from mortification.
“Get the hell out of here, now! Both of you!” he roared.
“Is this a bad time? We could reschedule,” I said.
Hurley clumsily put on his pants and lunged at me, but I sidestepped him.
“Dude, that’s brutality,” Jacob said as the hooker continued her slapping onslaught.
“You bastards! Who are you? I’ll kill the both of you!” Hurley raged.
“Senator, is this part of the stimulus package?’
Hurley lashed out and got me in a headlock.
“This is an invasion of my privacy!” Hurley shouted.
Suddenly, everybody froze when a naked man with a pierced penis and a thin mustache exited the bathroom.
“Pat, sweetums, what’s all the commotion?” the man said softly.
“It’s nothing Percy,” Hurley said, straightening up. I used the opportunity to escape from the headlock and backed away. Hurley wiped the perspiration from his forehead with a pair of soiled panties.
“Dude! A real homosexual gay man!” Jacob said. “Take a photo!”
Percy scowled and rushed towards Jacob and slapped him across the face.
“You bitch!” Percy seethed. “I’ll tear your fucking eyes out!”
I snapped a few good pictures before Hurley regained his senses and demanded that I cease. When I ignored him, he tried taking my camera from me.
“Stop that this instant!” Hurley said.
“I’m getting paid for this,” I said, shoving him. “I need to accurately portray what’s going on here. For posterity.”
Hurley looked frightened and began hyperventilating. Percy saw this and put a reassuring arm around him.
“Take it easy, sweetie,” Percy said. “Don’t excite yourself. You’ll get another panic attack.”
“Breathe into a bag or something,” Jacob said. “That usually helps.”
The hooker kicked Jacob squarely in the nuts and he fell to the floor, hitting his head on the bed in the process.
“I’ll fucking kill you bastards!” the hooker shrieked and rushed towards me, her sharp fingernails clawing the air.
Thinking fast, I whipped out the pepper spray and gave the hooker a full blast of hot liquid death. She recoiled backwards, howling wildly.
“MOTHERFUCKER! AAAAHHHHH! WHAAAAT THE FUUUCCCKK?” she yelped and rolled on the ground in anguish.
“Don’t worry,” I said in a lame attempt to reassure everyone. “It’s not fatal. She’ll be fine. Just push her around a little.”
Hurley stood astonished as Percy confronted me.
“What do you think you’re doing?” the naked man asked.
When I didn’t respond, he made a fist and swung at me, but I was ready. I pulled the Swiss Army knife from my pocket and extended the sharp wire cutter out. The metal point connected with Percy’s fist. Now bleeding, Percy grasped his wounded hand.
“That’s it! I’m calling the police!” Hurley said and stepped toward the phone.
“You don’t have to do that,” I said. “It’s just a flesh wound. He’ll be okay. I’ll take care of it.”
I reached into the ice bucket for some ice, but all I found was a whiskey flask. I took the flask, opened it, and the strong smell of alcohol stung my nostrils.
“Alcohol is good for cuts, right?” I asked.
Percy tried protesting, but it was too late. I poured the whiskey into his wound and watched as the man screamed in agony.
“What did you do?” Hurley demanded.
I held up the flask and the senator looked crestfallen. Percy dropped to his knees and wept like a kid that’d been slapped by an enraged bull elephant.
“Look, I don’t see what the problem is. I just came in here for an interview. I want to probe the depths of your sex life. Like a series about the mating rituals of the United States Senate,” I said.
Hurley fumbled with his jacket, which was on a chair, and pulled out a handgun. His face contorted into a hateful stare as he pointed the weapon at me.
“You’ll do nothing!” he seethed as he stood across the room.
This wasn’t the first time someone pointed a gun at me, and I was getting used to this tiresome ritual. People like threatening others with violence and weapons, especially firearms. The senator’s Beretta didn’t frighten me, mostly because I had backed towards the door and would be out of the room in a matter of seconds. I only needed to say something pithy and distracting, which would lull the bastard into a false sense of security before I dashed out like a chicken on fire.
Yet it was not meant to be. Hurley squeezed the trigger and fired the gun. I thought I’d be a goner, but Jacob chose that moment to spring to his feet. The bullet, which was meant for me, winged Jacob in the arm and imbedded itself in the wall.
“Hey, dude. What’s up?” Jacob asked, the sting of the bullet not kicking in just then.
Hurley stood aghast as blood trickled down Jacob’s arm.
Jacob looked down and must have felt a rush of pain, because he grasped his bleeding arm and spit forth a stream of profanities.
“Oh fuckmotherfuckershitfuckshitfuckohGodshitfuck,” he said, and hopped around the room in pain.
Not looking where he was going, he tripped over the hooker, who was rubbing her tearing eyes, and then Percy, who was bleeding from the hand.
Hurley took another shot and the bullet slammed into my computer bag, striking my laptop.
Just then, like some brain hungry zombie from a movie about the walking dead, the hooker sprung up and grabbed my leg. I responded by slamming the computer bag on her head and knocking her out.
Crazed and desperate, Hurley moved towards me like a lumbering grizzly bear with a gun.
I repeatedly snapped his photo, and the flash temporarily blinded him. He shielded his face with his hands and accidentally kicked Percy, before taking a dive.
Luckily, I used his incapacitation to flee the motel room. I forgot about the suitcase filled with money and in a blind panic, darted towards my car. Hurley roared some obscenity as I started the ignition. When I drove the car at breakneck speed away from the motel and down Interstate 83, I briefly looked in the rearview mirror and thought I saw a bloated figure on the motel’s balcony, fists shaking angrily at the sky.
When I returned to the office many hours later, I had nothing. The digital camera’s images were nonexistent thanks to the lens cap, and the audio was garbled.
I haven’t seen or heard from Jacob since. Once can only assume the horrific fate that befell him at the hands of a perverted senator and his willing, yet wounded cohorts.
Hurley retired from politics the following year, claiming that he wanted to take time off to spend with his family. Yet I know the truth; he was just another victim of the Great Motel Room Massacre, where reputations and body parts were bruised and damaged in the name of journalistic integrity and where no evidence of that heinous event exists to threaten or humiliate its participants.