“Here’s the thing Joe,” Hillary Clinton said as she stirred a luke-warm cup of coffee. “You’re a likeable guy.”
Biden shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He was glad he had picked this Denny’s outside the DC beltway to meet with the Secretary of State. The early risers with their still heavy eyelids, truckers and wait staff mostly, all rinsing the sleep from their brains with orange juice and caffeine, all stole glances toward their booth. Biden had picked a public place to meet and that made him feel better, somewhat.
“Thank you Mrs. Clinton,” Biden said as he poked at his waffle. “I feel like my track record is pretty solid and I’d love to help America continue on this pathway that our Administration has mapped out.”
“Well, what’s there not to like?” Clinton smiled and pushed away her oatmeal, folding her hands neatly. “You’re a successful politician. You’re a family man. You’ve gone through tragedy and that makes you relatable. So many tragedies.” She paused a moment, “Heck…you could probably even beat me.”
As she spoke, the light went out of her eyes. What warmth and humanity there was prior had quickly spilled out onto the sticky tile floor. Biden was left peering into a vacant, unsympathetic vessel. He carved a sliver of waffle off and stuffed it in his mouth.
“And that’s the problem, isn’t it?” she asked.
“Pardon?” he replied, his voice muffled by the syrupy pastry.
“I have a lot of problems right now, Joe. I’ve got a Republican Congress crawling through my e-mails. I’ve got a seventy-four year old Socialist that is actually beating me in the polls. My PR team says I have an image problem!” Her voice dropped to a low purr. “I don’t need any more problems.” She unfastened the top button of her grey, herringbone suit coat and revealed a nest of wires, a tangle of primary colors. The wires were connected to narrow cylinders. Dynamite. “What do you think, Joe? Do you want to give me any more problems?”
Clinton was gently thumbing what looked to be a detonator. The Vice-President had seen many remnants of those during his tours to the Middle East. He knew these types of homemade explosives were temperamental, even in an expert’s hands. Biden’s eyes frantically searched around the restaurant, looking to see if anyone else had spotted the Secretary of State’s suicide vest. But as the public does in all matters of politics, they had all gone back to taking bites of their bacon, pouring their customers coffee, folding the newspapers. He swallowed hard.
“N-n-no Mrs. Clinton,” he choked. “I certainly don’t want to give you any more problems.”
“Good,” she said as the shadow fell from her face and she fastened her top button once more, concealing the explosive device under a thin layer of wool. “We don’t need any more tragedies to happen to you, now do we? There is such a thing as being too relatable.” Her smile radiated warmth once more. “Are you going to eat that last piece of sausage?”
“No, ma’am” Biden said quietly, his eyes cast downward and his heart still racing.
Hillary Clinton reached over the table with a fork and plunged it in to a link. The twinkle in her eye gleamed even brighter as she raised the sausage to her mouth and took a deep, satisfying bite. “Say,” she said as she chewed. “Do you happen to know Jim Webb’s home address?”