“What have you been reading?” I asked Big Freddy as I squeezed into my side of the booth.
“The newspaper,” Freddy said.
“That gag’s beneath you,” I said.
“No, it’s the bench that’s beneath me,” he said.
“Enough,” I said. “I take it you’re in a bad mood.”
“Not at all,” Freddy said. “As a matter of fact, I am in a very good mood because the donkey and the elephant down in Washington are grazing together, and you have to wonder whether what’s going on in Rome isn’t spreading.”
“Pope Francis getting rid of the pomp and circumstance?” I asked. “What does that have to do with Washington?”
“A real shocker, and hundreds of thousands are lapping it up,” Freddy said. “You have to hope feeling good about something different is contagious.”
“That’s a stretch,” I said.
“Stretching is good for the circulation,” Freddy said.
“Never mind the party thing. Take a good look at how voters really feel about Congress. It’s the Hatfields and McCoys, those good old mountain boys down in Kentucky who kept shooting each other for years. That’s been going on between the two parties for too long.
“Democrats rule the Senate; Republicans have the House. All they’ve been able to come up with has been a bad case of political lockjaw with the national debt out of sight and still climbing.
“There’s been nothing but bad news for getting together on anything, which — I have just been reading — and surprise, surprise — they just approved the budget without so much as a by your leave from Obama who wanted no part of slash the cash.”
“The spending cuts,” I said.
“More than just the cuts,” Freddy said. “They did it without Republicans having to make concessions.”