Joe Biden took a massive sip of bloody mary flavored vapor, letting the taste of tomato and worcestershire sauce fully coat the insides of his lungs before exhaling. The smell of crackling firewood co-mingled with the (unfortunately) non-alcoholic beverage smoke, filling the cozy den of the Motel 6 with a wall of smog until it was breached by 5’ 7” of pure man; Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Lindsey carried a mint julep in each hand and placed one next to the Vice President.
“Fancy seein’ you here, stranger,” Lindsey said, collapsing into the worn leather chair opposite Joe. “Why don’t you drink up? That there is the special family recipe.”
“Nah, not today, Linds. I’m still getting over the last 6 Lokos I pounded with Jim last night. He may not be a Democrat but he sure as hell can drink like one, I’ll give him that.” Joe blew an umami smoke ring at Linds. “So what brings you to Memphis, man?”
“Ya know, a little campaignin’ here and there. Tryin’ to convince the good people of Tennessee to vote for the candidate who isn’t gonna let radical Islamic terrorists endanger the lives of them and their children.”
“Ah, so the usual?”
“Gotta educate the masses before those pussy footin’ liberals get to them, no offense.”
“None taken. Joey doesn’t care about politics when he ain’t on the clock. I just here to check out my buddy’s Aerosmith cover band, eat some catfish, and maybe,” Joe leaned over toward Lindsey and lowered his voice, “do some fishin’ of my own, if ya know what I’m saying… Ya know what I’m sayin’, right?”
“I think I can infer.”
“I’m talkin’ about gettin’ some strange, Linds.”
“I got ya.”
“Gonna go noodlin’ in those muddy waters, if ya catch my drift there, ol’ buddy.”
“I… I get what you’re sayin’, Joe.”
Joe smacked Lindsey’s knee with the back of his hand. “Of course you do, I never should’ve doubted you for a second, my man. Ya know, there’s always an open invitation if you ever feel so inclined.”
“I’ll take a raincheck on that one. I’d rather wait for that… special someone…” Lindsey stared longingly into the fire.
“Hey Linds, you still in there?” Joe snapped his fingers.
Lindsey shook himself and took a swig of julep. “Sorry, I’m pretty worn out from the town hall I did this morning.”
“No problem. Joey B can relate to slipping in and out of consciousness as much as the next guy.” Joe blew tomato vapor out his nose like a middle aged dragon wearing camouflaged Oakleys. He offered the eCig to Linds. “Wanna take a hit?”
“I dunno, Joe. I haven’t partaken in smokables since, well, since that one time in college.”
“Hehe, we all had that one time in college.” Joe took another drag. “Trust me, man, this shit ain’t like the shit they had back then. Here, let me give ya a little of my special blend.”
Joe disassembled the eCig with the swiftness and precision of a professional Speed Stacker. He pulled a case out of his pocket and unzipped it. He removed two vials, returning the bloody mary eJuice to one of them and swabbing out the juice chamber. He opened up the other vial, adorned with a winking Biden face, and transferred a couple of drops into the cig via the dropper cap.
“Ya ready to pop your vape cherry, Linds?”
“As ready as a leashed dog with a full bladder.”
Joe plopped the eCig into Lindsey’s open hand. Lindsey wrapped his lips around the mouthpiece and inhaled a lung full of that sweet shit.
His mind was free. Lindsey floated down a river of melting wax, but it was still cool to the touch. Fish nibbled at his bare back, making him giggle like an even more giddy school girl than usual. He fell through the surface, but he wasn’t afraid. Lindsey turned his head to look around, but everything around him was black. He could feel the wax hardening around him. He tried to wiggle free, but the casing was as hard as concrete. He wiggled some more, trying frantically to kick or flail himself free. Still, it wouldn’t budge. Finally, Lindsey took a deep breath and blew out. The black began to flake away, replaced by a brilliant nebula of purple and pink cosmic gas. Lindsey reached out his hand, but he didn’t know what he was supposed to be grabbing. Space ran through his fingers like strips of silk. He reached out as far as he could, leaning forward and pointing out into the shapeless clouds. From the end of his finger, a single prick of dull yellow light. A spark of orange. Blue. Light of of every conceivable color blossomed forth from the solitary point. The color filled his vision, swirling and blending until they were one screaming wall of white.
Lindsey jolted up in the brown leather chair. Joe’s eyebrows were raised halfway to his scalp.
“What’d I tell ya, Linds? That the good shit or what?”
“I… I think I’ll stick with the sauce from now on, Joe.” Lindsey grasped at his chest and tried to slow his frantic breathing. He reached for his drink with a quaking hand, but nothing but a couple of ice cubes clattered around at the bottom of the glass. Joe slid the other julep across the coffee table. Linds chugged it without a pause, picking the mint from his mouth before setting the glass back on the table. “I’m gettin’ too old to party like you do, Joe.”
“Well, the Joey B lifestyle is hard, fast, wild, and sure as hell ain’t for the faint of heart, but I think that one was on me. Should’ve started you out with one drop and worked your way up. My blend is for seasoned vapers and it is my job as your eGuide to bring you to the land of Vapehalla unscathed but thoroughly buzzed. Even Diamond Joe has some things to learn, I guess.”
“Excuse me, Mr. Graham?” a meek voice cooed from the entrance to the lounge. Lindsey looked over the back of the chair at his intern. “You’ve got a spot on PBS in 25 minutes. You should probably get heading soon.”
“Can’t you see I’m talkin’ to an ol’ friend here?” Lindsey settled back down in his chair. “Those hippies can waste the taxpayers’ money on a few extra minutes of interpretive jazz while I finish up here.”
“Yes, sir. Right away, sir.” The intern scuttled out of the room and shut the door.
“Whelp, that’ll buy us a few more minutes to wrap things up. You were sayin’, Joe?”
“I was just about to say that you’re doin’ one hell of a job out there, Lindsey. Not too many dudes in Washington I can stand hanging out with over you.” Joe took a quick puff of the good shit. His eyelids snapped open and he let out a hoarse cough. “Go knock ‘em dead, Senator.”
Joe extended his hand. Lindsey did the same.
“It’s been an honor, Mr. Vice President.” Lindsey pulled himself up, cracked his back, and made his way for the door.
“You know where to find me if ya wanna go beatin’ around for some bu-”
“I’ll catch you around, Joe.”