Title: Did he say binders?
Author: Mary Griggs
Word Count: 2,800
Summary: Andy and Miranda listen to the second presidential debate in the cooler.
Author’s Notes: Lauren Weisberger and 20th Century Fox are the true owners; I’m just letting the ladies play in my sandbox for a while.
Prompt response: Responding to a picture prompt of a Meryl Streep mug shot and the debate meme that swept social media.
Did He Say Binders?
Miranda couldn’t help but muse about how right on point the Duchess of Windsor was when she said, “The only woman worth seeing undressed is the one you have undressed yourself.”
She gazed about the packed holding cell at the twenty or so scantily clad prostitutes that had been picked up in a vice sting of Midtown East. Unfortunately for her, and the soon to be ex policeman who dared arrest her, she and her former assistant had been mistakenly swept up with the sex workers.
Their evening had no foreshadowing of it ending up with them being booked for public lewdness. The two of them had enjoyed a intimate meal during which Andrea had nonchalantly toed off her Ferragamo pumps and run her stocking clad foot up and down Miranda’s calf. She had done so for most of the appetizer and entre, only stopping during dessert, which required her full attention to devour. Andrea had well known the effect the foot play would have on her and she did it anyway, a tiny smirk on her lips as she watched Miranda fight to maintain her icy exterior.
Miranda blamed what happened next on a temporary aberration on her part, one that was plaguing her more and more often now that she and Andrea had begun seeing each other socially and sexually. The temptation of that long neck had proven too much for her tattered self control and she had pulled the younger woman into a shadowed doorway when Roy’s return with the car had been delayed by traffic.
Perhaps it was imprudent of her to have been so focused in the skin beneath her lips, the silky strands of hair between her fingers and the moans that were music to her ears. Living in New York had inured her to most city noises, so failing to notice the commotion from the sirens was hardly her fault. She couldn’t be expected to help herself when the minx had spent the past week covering a story in Albany and not safe at home where they could have satisfied their baser needs on twelve hundred thread count Egyptian cotton sheets instead of against a cold, graffitoed security door.
Miranda’s gaze drifted over the holding cell again. The fashion crimes on display would, in a sensible world, have all these women doing hard time. What little fabric there was seemed to be primarily pleather or spandex. Faux animal prints and various shades of pink competed with black to dominate the color wheel. There also seemed to be an excessive amount of chains and collars and a deplorable lack of undergarments.
She glanced down and nearly sighed. The cell was full to capacity and it had taken her best cold stare to encourage one of the women to make enough space on one of the benches for one of them to sit. Andrea had refused take the seat and leave Miranda standing or to sit on Miranda’s lap. Instead, she had stood beside her on her four-inch heels for almost ninety minutes before giving in and sitting on the disgustingly filthy concrete floor. Miranda vowed to have her remove the skirt before allowing it to sully the leather seats of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan.
Miranda kept her eyes on her younger lover. Andrea was wearing a Michael Kors cream blouse that, from her angle, allowed Miranda a tantalizing glimpse of full breasts. Their slight movement during each inhale and exhale was mildly hypnotic and incredibly alluring.
“So close and yet so far,” she murmured.
“Pardon?” Andrea shifted slightly, exposing even more of her decollage. Noticing the direction of Miranda’s focus, she reached up to her top button.
“Don’t you dare!” Miranda hissed. “I must have something other than these visual assaults to look at.”
“What you need is a distraction.”
Miranda laughed. “It was my being distracted that got us into this mess in the first place.”
“True. Although you weren’t alone.” Andrea smiled dreamily and stroked her fingers down her neck to her cleavage.
“Enough of that.” Miranda narrowed her eyes. “I’m warning you.”
Andrea blew her a kiss and stood up. “Let me try something else, then.” She stretched her back a little and smiled some more as Miranda’s eyes caressed her frame. Walking to the bars, she cleared her throat to gain the attention of the man on guard duty.
“Would you be willing to bring that radio over here?”
“Why? I’m not having you people getting wild and crazy in there.”
“No, no. The second presidential debate should be starting soon and I don’t want to miss it.”
Andy batted her eyes. “Oh, yes,” she gushed. “See, I haven’t made up mind yet and, without these debates, I may never figure it out.”
The police officer rolled his eyes. “You ought to talk to your husband. He’ll tell you how to vote.”
Her grip tight enough to bend the steel bars, Andy kept the smile on her face by sheer will alone. “Oh, but my boyfriend took a job in Boston and left me all alone.” She softened her tone. “Please, can we listen?”
Sighing loudly, the officer took the radio off the shelf and brought it into the holding area. He fiddled with dial to get the local NPR station that was broadcasting the town hall from Hofstra University and placed it on the floor with the volume up.
“Thank you so much!”
With a grunt and a wave, he went back to his paperwork.
Andrea turned around to face the cell. “I hope you don’t mind me doing that.” she stated to her fellow prisoners.
“Girl, just because we make our living on our backs doesn’t mean we don’t have a brain in our heads.”
“Or a stake in this election.” One of the older women, a tall African America added.
The rest of group nodded and murmured in agreement.
Andy stepped away from the bars, her fingers itching for her journalist’s notebook. “Tell me about it,” she said.
One by one the women talked about their fears of a Republican presidency restricting their access to health care and reducing their birth control options. Most of their customers wouldn’t wear condoms and without access to low cost HIV/AIDS screenings and Norplant, the abortion, disease and death rate for them would skyrocket.
Several brought up the issue of educating their kids when so many conservative wanted to pull money from public schools. A large African American woman with her hair in tight curls nearly spat when Andrea brought up the voucher system. “Those vouchers are worse than useless. Even with one, I can’t get my kid into those private schools and, if I did, how am I gonna buy books and uniforms and all the shit they require?”
One of the Asian women spoke up. “My daughter has a learning disability and none of the charters will take her.”
“Yeah, my boy talked back once to a teacher and they won’t let him back either. Those charter schools might be free but they are sure picky at who gets to go.”
Some were worried about their adult children who had joined the military for the education credit and, through stop loss, were forced into multiple tours into war zones or were coming out with traumatic brain injuries and PTSD and long waiting lists for treatment from the Veteran’s Administration.
Others were angry at how the country seemed to attacking the President because of his race and what that meant for other minorities if he wasn’t reelected.
“He’s a good black,” one of the lighter skinned African American said. “All educated with a law degree and a pretty wife and smart kids. If he can’t break the chains, what chance have any of us?”
One of the younger white girls asked, “Have you really not made up your mind or were you just shining the guard?”
Andy ducked her head slightly. “Oh, I made it up four years ago. I still have hope.”
“Good for you.” The room cheered.
“What about you, Granny?” the other white girl asked.
Leaning into the girl’s face, Andy growled, “Don’t call her that.”
“Andrea,” Miranda spoke softly and Andrea turned immediately to her. “You are getting to be quite the knight in shining armor this evening. First you nearly slug the officer who was arresting me and now you’re about to brawl with this young woman.”
“He had no right touching you!”
“Indeed but she has every right to ask her question.”
“Not if she’s going to be rude about it.”
Andrea stuck out her lower lip and Miranda just wanted to kiss her pout away. Shaking off that thought, she patted her thigh and said, “Come here.”
Willingly, Andrea settled back on the floor at Miranda’s feet and hooked an arm around Miranda’s lower leg.
One of the sex workers sniggered and said, “You don’t really have a boyfriend, do you?”
“I did,” Andy answered. “Until he realized he couldn’t compete.”
Miranda sniffed. “Not in any way that matters.” She rested one hand possessively on Andrea’s shoulder and glanced across the room. “Now, I’m sure this young woman meant no disrespect.”
The girl seemed scared. “No, ma’am. Sorry.”
Miranda regally inclined her head a fraction of an inch. “I support the empowerment of women and President Obama has done an admirable job in promoting women and focusing on issues of importance to not only us and our families but the entire economy. I’ve also consulted with his wife on her couture choices.”
“You’ve met her?”
For the next several minutes, Miranda regaled them all with stories of her dressing Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and other powerful women in the administration.
As Candy Crowley called the debate to order, the cell fell quiet. They laughed at the thought of finding eighty-two uncommitted voters in New York this late in the election season and cheered every time Obama said ‘untrue’ to Romney.
There were shocked murmurs when Mitt responded to Candy with a testy, “I’m still talking.”
“Oh, no he didn’t!”
Andy shook her head. “I wondered how long it would take for them to be condescending to the moderator.”
The questioning and answering went on until Miranda suddenly leaned forward. “Did he just say “binders full of women?””
“Wow,” Andy exclaimed.
“Failing to actually address the question of pay equity is one thing but the insensitivity that he just displayed simply astounds me,” Miranda said. “How any politician, or man for that matter, can dismiss half the population like that is not someone who should be entrusted with the highest office of the land. Women’s concerns about working full time and taking care of children and the house, finding jobs with insurance coverage that covers contraception, are not peripheral issues distracting us from the bigger picture.”
Miranda was just getting wound up and her legs tensed around Andy’s shoulders. “Paycheck fairness matters! Twenty-three cents for every dollar may not seem like much but when that is for every hour, every day, every paycheck for our entire working life, it is a significant discrepancy. It also means that women pay less into social security and then get out less at the far end. Don’t even get me started on how badly women would fare if the safety net of social security and Medicaid/Medicare are turned into voucher systems that would keep even worse pace with inflation than the current models.”
Andy wiggled a little. She loved it when Miranda went on a rant. She was so powerful and articulate and sexy that Andy had an almost Pavlovian reaction to her tongue-lashings.
“And the Affordable Care Act is not just good for women who need regular checkups and for their children who get sick. It is good for every last one of us who has to foot the bill for emergency treatments at the hospital for the uninsured in the form of higher bills, premiums and taxes. Emergency rooms are not and have never been designed to care for chronic illnesses like diabetes or cancer or even Ann Romney’s multiple sclerosis!”
Several of the other prisoners clapped.
Miranda barely acknowledged them as she went on. “And all this talk of the middle class – have they forgotten the growing underclass that was created after eight years of Bush’s unfunded wars and multiple years of deficit spending that Paul Ryan and other congressional Republicans demanded? The poor get no mention in the discussion unless they are all being lumped together as moochers, content to lie about, with their hands out for other people’s money. None of these millionaire and billionaire politicians have any idea how hard you have to work when you’re below the poverty line.” She waved at herself. “I wasn’t always wearing designer names. I lived paycheck to paycheck, deciding which bills I could afford to pay that month, figuring out how far I could stretch a dollar for food and mending my clothes until they fell apart. How many sleepless nights I had, worrying about how I was going to make it until the next pay day when the only money I had was the spare change in my pockets. The poor can’t afford to be lazy!”
She shook her head. “Corporations get more welfare than people in this nation in the form of tax breaks, credits and cuts. Most of those who do get aid are seniors or, more commonly, children and the disabled. Do these heartless legislators even consider the impact of their cuts on these vulnerable populations?”
“And now they talk of immigration.” Miranda shook her head. “Like we are not a country of immigrants, like we have not benefited from artificially low wages paid to those without papers in farming and the food service industry, in construction and building, in all those low paid, high risk jobs that American’s with papers can afford not to do.”
Miranda sighed. “Far too many of the retailers and clothes manufacturers in my industry either pay below subsistence wages or ship what jobs they can out of the country to places that can do piecework for pennies a day and no benefits. Romney may have created 800,000 jobs while at Bain but the majority of them were overseas!”
Whatever she was going to say next was stalled when several high-ranking officers and lawyers in pricy business suits descended on the holding cell. In short order, Miranda and Andrea were freed to walk out of the police station and into the waiting automobile.
Miranda sank into the heated car seats and closed her eyes in bliss. She enjoyed a few moments of relaxation before rolling her head to the side and peeking through her lashes at her companion.
Andrea was scrawling furiously in her notebook.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m trying to get it all down before I forget who said what.”
“How on earth are going to attribute it? We never exchanged names.”
“After you left to yell at the arresting officer, I asked for contact info. Seems like all of them had business cards or flyers about their services.”
“Business cards for prostitutes? What’s next, unions?”
“Don’t you know there is a union strip club in San Francisco?”
“God help us all.” Miranda closed her eyes again. “What are you planning to do with it once you write it down?”
“I think we experienced the best focus group on the election that I’ve ever seen. I’m going to offer it as part of our political coverage of the debate.”
“So you’re fine with telling the readers of that fine publication that you endured an evening in jail for the story?”
“Some of the best people have spent time in jail – Gandhi, Martin Luther King.”
“John Gioti, Eliot Spitzer, David Berkowitz.”
Poking her gently with her pen, Andy replied, “Don’t be pedantic.”
Miranda reached over and held the hand that held the ballpoint. “Do you intend to write the story tonight?”
“Yeah, I should be able to get most of it blocked before bed.”
“Well, I should tell you that I intend to go directly upstairs when we get home and shower off the stench of incarceration. I will remain naked as I slide into bed.”
Andrea shivered and turned her hand to entwine their fingers. “Naked?” she whispered.
“As God made me.” She looked at Andrea with a predator’s gleam in her eyes. “Do your work but don’t leave me waiting. You know how much I hate that.”
“Yes, Miranda.” Andy imbued the word with all the faux submissiveness she could muster.
“Now, that’s what I like to hear.”
They shared a secret smile, united in this adventure called love.