10:03 a.m. October 3, 2013

Hack-Fic: Please Maureen, No A-more

WASHINGTON - Maureen Dowd awakes in a panic, tangled in her gold lamé sheets. She is running late on her deadline. "Five more minutes!" she shouts to no one.

She finds herself confronted by the reflection of the face of a Pulitzer Prize Winner in her bathroom mirror, her fiery red hair tousled from a night of restless motion.

"How do I top what I wrote last week? She moans. "It just seems so impossible."

She lights the half-smoked menthol Virginia Slim left in the ashtray by her bathtub. She closes her eyes and waits for some inspiration. More valuable than a column where she expresses an opinion, she decides, would be a column where she imagines what Speaker John Boehner must be going through.

"What must he think when his piercing blue eyes slowly open in the morning?" she asks. "How hard must it be," she continues, "for Boehner to face the world today becoming what I'm pretty sure he never wanted to become?"

Dowd sits down at her typewriter and pours into a coffee mug a glass of warm Chardonnay from the bottle hidden underneath her desk. "The world is waiting to hear what you have to say, Maureen," she tells herself. "This crisis will not end unless you explain to people like John Boehner what John Boehner is probably feeling right now."

She begins to type.

"John Boehner wakes up in his English basement apartment on Capitol Hill, his head still in a merlot fog."

"Yes," she says, satisfied.

"He lies there, in his 'Man of the House' T-shirt and Augusta National gym shorts."

She thinks for a moment, lighting a new menthol Virginia Slim. "Got it!" she sighs as she exhales.

She types furiously.

"He gulps his coffee. 'I’m so tired of Obama,' he keens to himself. 'The president says he wishes he had Kevin Spacey to deal with. Well, so do I. I’ve been here for 22 years and that cat acts like I don’t know what I’m doing.'"

Dowd ashes her cigarette into the now empty bottle of Chardonnay, having lost her office ashtray among the piles and piles of unpublished manuscripts and love letters that she has never worked up the courage to mail. She whispers to herself as she writes, "You are a Pulitzer Prize winner, Maureen. You are one of the chosen few. Everything you write is something of great consequence."

“I knew this shutdown was trouble. I’ve gotta decide if this job is even worth it if I have to be Cruz’s sock puppet.”

As the speaker arrives at the Capitol, he reaches for his hankie. “It’s enough,” he blubbers, “to make a grown man cry.”

She takes her finished column and walks outside, shielding her eyes from the bright sun she hasn't seen in days. She arrives at her next door neighbor's house. A young man opens the door.

"Bobby, would you mind --"

Bobby glances at the papers in her hands. "Scanning those for you?"

"Yes."

"No problem, Ms. Dowd."

She hands young Bobby a flask full of Jameson.

"Thank you Bobby."

"Wow, thanks Ms. Dowd! Anytime!"