One of the great things about working for Cracked is that, from time to time, I’ve been contacted by public figures looking for someone to ghostwrite their autobiographies. Confidentiality agreements typically prevent me from disclosing their identities (right, “Barry O”?) but my latest writing assignment carries no such requirement. Instead, last week former California Congressman Gary Condit called and asked me to help tell his story now that it appears he will be exonerated in the murder of Washington intern Chandra Levy.
For those of you who don’t recall, in the days leading up to 9/11, the papers were filled with scandalous reports revolving around Chandra Levy – a shapely intern for the Federal Bureau of Prisons who had gone missing. A police investigation revealed that prior to her death, Levy had been having an affair with Gary Condit – a married Congressman from her district and 29 years her senior. Although Condit steadfastly denied any involvement with Levy’s murder, the negative press destroyed his reelection bid.
But now, DC police seem primed to arrest Ingmar Guandique for the crime, and Gary Condit recently told reporters: “I had always hoped to have my opportunity to tell this side of the story, but too many were not prepared to listen. Now I plan to do so...."
And what a story it is. The gripping tale of a good man wrongly removed from power by a society too quick to judge. I present to you excerpts from the forthcoming book….
Chapter 4: No Homocide For This Hetero
I threw some papers into my bag and headed for the door. Not two steps later, my pain in the ass staffer, Jenkins, was calling out after me.
“Congressman,” he whined. “You haven’t cast your vote on the proposed legislation yet!”
“I know, Jenkins, but y’see, some of us have a hot date tonight.”
Jenkins seemed confused. He flipped through his session minutes in exasperation trying to think of what to say next. “But, but…” he stammered. “I don’t understand. Mrs. Condit is out of town tonight.”
“Exactly. Jenkins. Exactly.”
I headed for the door, trying to remember the new moves I’d read about in Penthouse Forum when Jenkins interrupted me again.
“Congressman Condit. I am not one to trade in innuendo, but I’m afraid I have to ask: Are you having sex with that young intern from the Federal Bureau of Prisons – Chandra Levy?”
I let the full weight of my experience fall upon Jenkins as I laid my palm firmly on his shoulder.
“Yes, Jenkins,” I said. “Yes, I am having sex with Chandra Levy. Dirty, crazy, adulterous monkey sex. But let’s be clear. I am NOT killing her.”
Jenkins just stood there for a minute, silent. And even though we never spoke of that day again, I have to believe he was impressed with a congressman who could dive headfirst into the ravaging waters of illicit --possible career ending-- sex without taking refuge on the comforting shores of arranged murder for hire.
Chapter 8: Children Are The Future (Interns)
One of the things I loved about being a congressman was working with the fine children of my district. If I had to pick just one day that stood out, it would be the morning I visited Ms. Carlton’s third grade class in Modesto, California. I was there to give a lecture on public service, and I can still remember little Becky Simmons sitting in the first row, full of enthusiasm and hope – two ingredients so desperately needed in Washington.
“Congwessman Condit,” she lisped in an adorable fashion. “Do I have to be a grownup before I can make a difference?”
“That’s a great question, Becky! Did everybody hear that?" I asked the class. "Well, Becky, not at all. One great way to start is to be an intern in one or our nation’s many departments. And you can do that when you’re just a bit older.”
“But what does an intern do, Congressman Condit?”
“Pretty much anything you ask,” I laughed.
But Becky didn’t get it so I knelt down in front of her little desk, filling her wide-eyed innocence with the truth: “Interns are a valuable part of the governmental process. Young minds doing the work of democracy.”
“That sounds GWEAT,” Becky replied.
“It is. Seriously, these chicks are crazy desperate for letters of recommendation.”
Afterword: If I Could Speak To Chandra’s Killer
On many sorrow-filled nights, I have yearned to speak to Chandra's murderer face to face. I'm not sure I ever will, but if I did, I imagine I would say something like this:
I don't suppose a man like you understands the joy that comes from real love or the pain that flows from loss. But I wish you did. I wish you could understand what I feel. Could appreciate the damage you've done. The pain you've caused.
Because I live every day with the result of your senseless violence. You did more than just commit murder. You stole something from us. Something beautiful and full of promise. That's right. You stole my political future. When I think of all the people deprived of my brilliant leadership. And all the interns I never had the chance to have sex with. Well, it just makes me sick.
You miserable bastard. No one even knew about the affair until you had to go and commit your stupid murder. And even then, an affair? That's not fatal. I could have overcome that. I have an excellent handshake and when I remember people's names at fundraisers they swear they've been touched by the ghost of JFK himself. But suspicion of murder? That was just too damn much.
You left me with nothing, except my good name. Well, nothing except the opportunity to earn a lot of cash on a book deal at least.
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