“…we commend to Almighty God our brother, Bobby; and we commit his body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The Lord bless him and keep him, the Lord make his face to shine upon him and be gracious unto him, the Lord lift up his countenance upon him and give him peace. Amen.”
“Amen,” Jeb!, George, and Chris said in unison. Chris buried his face in the collar of his shirt. Jeb! wrapped his arms around his friend and held him close.
“I can’t believe he’s gone, Jeb!. It was… it was a week ago that we were at the debates and I said – oh god, Jeb!! I made fun of his ears! If I would’ve known then I wouldn’t have-”
Jeb! shooshed him and gave him a peck on the cheek. “It’s alright, baby. Jeb!by’s here. It was all in good fun. Jindy liked when you made fun of his ears.”
Pataki socked Jeb! in the shoulder. “Quit with all this pussy grieving shit! Do you think this is what Jindy would want? Hell no! Jindy would want us to party!”
“George, now is not the time.” Jeb! stroked Chris’ hair.
“Damn, you guys are about as lively as Bobby.” George lit up a cigarette and walked away. “If you need me, I’ll be double fisting Keystone Light in my trailer without you guys.”
“George, wait!” Chris cried out. George stopped in his tracks.
“I’m not changing my mind.”
“No, you’re right. Bobby was the biggest party animal this side of the mighty Mississip. He’d call me a pussy too if he saw me crying like this. So let’s do this for Bobby! Let’s fucking party!”
“Party time!” Jeb! tore off his suit jacket, unsheathing the airbrushed t-shirt hidden beneath. It said PANAMA CITY BEACH 1997 on the front, accompanied by crudely drawn w seagulls and a sickeningly pink and orange sunset. The back of the shirt had THE FOUR GOVERNORS’ CLUB inscribed upon a flowing scroll above a list of the members’ names. Jeb! twisted himself around and stared at his back. “Shit, we’ve gotta change that.”
“I’ve got it.” Chris took out a sharpie, blacked out Bobby’s name, and scribbled THREE on the back of the shirt.
“Wooooo! Governors rule! Let’s get wasted!” Pataki pulled a 24oz can of Keystone Light from his jacket and started chugging it.
“Wait guys, let’s slow down with the drinking. We don’t want to get pulled over.” Jeb! motioned at Pataki. Pataki ceased his chugging for a split second.
“We won’t get pulled over, man. My trailer is right down the road.”
“Think bigger than getting hammered in your trailer, George Pataki. Think…” Jeb! swooshed his hand across the sky. “Getting hammered in Vegas!”
“Wooooo! Vegas!” Pataki resumed chugging his beer and crushed the can on his forehead.
* * *
Jeb! awoke under a stained mattress on top of the stained motel carpeting. He flipped the mattress off of him and the sudden burst of daylight made him realize that he had a splitting headache. Jeb! hobbled to the window and jerked the shades closed.
“Uhhhh what was that?” Chris Christie moaned from beneath the mattress of the other bed. “Is that you, Barry?”
Chris peered out from his mattress fort. “Oh, hey Jeb!. That sure was a wild night, eh?”
“Yeah, I didn’t know George could dance like that. I hope Columba-”
“She’s my wife, dude. You were at the wedding.”
“No no, who was the other guy? George? Isn’t that your dad or something?”
“No, you idiot, different guy. This George is… uhm… he is our…”
The toilet flushed and the bathroom door swing open. Out walked a vaguely man shaped blob of matter. “Hoooooo, boy! I’m with you there, pal! We haven’t had a party like that in ages!”
“Wait, who are you? Where the hell did you come from?” Chris stood up for a second but collapsed on top of the mattress.
“Why, jeez! It’s me! Your ol’ pal Martin O’Malley! I just came from the bathroom!”
“I’ve never seen you before in my life, man.”
“Ah shucks, Chris! You’re such a kidder! Remember? We came to Vegas to have a good time in memory of our late buddy, Bobby!” Martin leaped over Chris’ lifeless body and sauntered toward the front door. “Come on, let’s go have some more fun!”
“Haha, that’s our Marty! Let’s go get some Denny’s and get wasted again!”
“Gooooooood idea there, Mr. Jeb!!” Martin swung opened the door. “Come on, Chris! Aren’t ya coming?”
“I-I guess so.” Chris grabbed the bed frame and pulled himself up. “Lead the way… pal.”
* * *
Jeb! poked at the hashbrowns on his plate with his fork. Martin gleefully drowned his smiley face pancake under a flood of syrup.
“Hey, I thought you said we were gonna go party? We’ve been at this Denny’s for like 3 hours,” Jeb! sighed.
“Now, what’s so wrong with two buddies hangin’ out and eating pancakes? That counts as a party in my book.”
“I guess pancakes are cool.” Jeb! pulled out a flask and gave his coffee a little taste of cheap whiskey.
“Aaaaaaahhhh! Party time! Two buddies havin’ a good time alert!” Martin slid his cup over to Jeb!. “Fill ‘er up, pal!”
Jeb! slapped his flask on the table and scooted to the edge of the booth. “Help yourself, I’ve gotta go take a piss.”
Jeb stood up and walked toward the restroom. “Hold up, buddy! Isn’t there something you’re forgetting about?” Martin pointed at Jeb!’s back. Jeb! swatted at his back.
“What, do I have something on me?”
“No, silly! Your shirt! We talked earlier about that silly typo that the t-shirt people made. Pffft, why does it say ‘three governors’ when we got those shirts for our annual dude’s night out in PCB?”
Jeb! smiled. “Ah, you’re right! We’ll get some new ones made that’ll say ‘Jeb! and Marty: The Two Governors!’”