(El Paso, TX) “It feels wonderful to be here in great state of Texas,” the congressman begins after taking the stage at a local country-western bar. “Each and every one of you cares about this campaign and for that I am eternally thankfully. Now, let’s talk about Donald Trump.” As we look around the room to catch the audience’s reactions, an audible groan can be heard, while others seem to zone out and ignore the man on stage. As he continues on, it is clear that Beto has not lost any of the fire from earlier in his campaign. The only problem is that, apparently unbeknownst to him, his campaign was suspended close to 4 months ago.
We asked around the bar to see if anyone knew why Congressman O’Rourke was still speaking as if he is running for president. “He’s in here a few times a week,” the bartender explained. “It’s almost like performance art at this point. After a beer or two, Beto will get up on stage and take over the microphone for anywhere from 10-40 minutes. He rants on and on about Donald Trump and the corruption in D.C., but no one really engages with him. Some of us think he’s just stuck, but I like to see it as an avant-garde production.”
“I just want to have a drink and sit in silence and stare at the wall,” another patron told us angrily. “Is that too much to ask? I don’t care if he’s running or not, find another open mic night.”
We tried to catch up with Beto himself, but he told us he had to get to another campaign event. Curious about this, we decided to leave the bar and follow him to see what was what.
Tailing him discretely in our rented Nissan Sentra, we made our way to another bar. And then another one. Each time it was the same and each time the patrons let him talk. “He’s done a lot for El Paso,” one woman told us while skinning a dead armadillo. “We let him continue this little fantasy of running for President. I just worry about his wife and kids.” The O’Rourke family was not available for comment.
After the last bar, as most of them were shutting down for the night, we followed Beto one last time as he drove deeper and deeper into the sand dunes and wastelands. After some time, he abandoned his vehicle and began to climb the nearest mountain. Never one to lose a lead on a good story, we decided to follow him.
At the summit, he finally turned to acknowledge us. His eyes had glazed over with a dark, black liquid and he held his hand straight out towards us as he uttered, “Our future is in your hands, will you join me?”
It felt rude to say no, so we grabbed his hand. Next thing I knew we were back at the hotel room with no memory of how we had gotten there. And even though we’re of course curious about what happens, something tells me we’ll never get those lost hours back.