Shows F

Grahame and Violet next bring in Leslie Pynchon, a media coach, to prepare Cal for the media, and to convince all of America that Cal is not a loafing slacker, but instead a true Son of America. By the end of her work, Leslie has trained a candidate perfect for public appearances and speeches, which Cal proves during the brilliant presentation of his canned speech. The speech is such a success that Calvin gets elected to City Council. However, after the election, Cal gets no time for celebration as Grahame sends him home to rest up for the next election, that of Governor. Cal gets a little sidetracked on the way home, and ends up at a seedy strip club, where the sultry Tina is performing. Taken by Tina’s candid attitude towards life, Cal immediately falls for her, and they dance off into the shadows. This affair does not go unnoticed, by one of the bar’s frequent patrons, Frankie, one of the mobster Anthony Gliardi’s henchmen. After an evening of alcohol, cocaine, and Tina, Cal arrives at his press conference visibly hung over. He fumbles, struggling to find the correct prepared speech, but comes up with nothing. Finally Cal explodes, and blurts out, “Just fuck it, OK!” At first the reporters are shocked, but Cal, taking lessons from his new friend Tina, just explains the situation frankly and bluntly. This newfound honesty has never before been seen in a politician, and the reporters are quickly swayed, and Cal is proclaimed, "a genius!” Armed with a new confidence, Cal challenges Grahame, who is infuriated by Cal’s behaviour. Cal decides he has discovered his own political idiom, and doesn’t need Grahame anymore, and lets Grahame know so. Tina arrives and gives Grahame a gift, an engraved watch, and together they celebrate Grahame’s new popularity, by shooting up some heroine together. Unfortunately, their tryst is caught on film, and it will only be moments before the photos are released to the public. Grahame and Violet are infuriated, but Cal turns their blame back on them and scolds them. Grahame turns to his old friend, mobster, Anthony Gliardi, who has already secured the negatives, but Grahame asks him to go one step further, to ensure that the photographer is silenced as well. Grahame’s knows his dealings are neither safe, nor moral, but sometimes in politics it is important to break some rules. ACT II As act two begins Grahame wonders how his life has become so out of control. He thinks back to a time when he and his brother both seemed destined to live lives of promise and hope together when at Harvard. However, as college wore on it became clear that Reed would always be the successful son, and Grahame, although smarter, would never surpass his brother, due to his crippling polio. While thinking back to this deciding time in his life, Grahame’s situation worsens, and a doctor relegates him to a wheelchair for life. Meanwhile, Cal’s drugged out, drunken binges have got worse, and he and Tina’s tryst is nearly impossible to hide. After Cal misses three press conferences in a row, things spiral out of control. To add to the dilemma Gliardi has come to collect on his earlier favour. The press is calling Gliardi terrible things, and he needs Cal to assure the public that he is in fact, an upstanding citizen. Realising the seriousness of the situation, Grahame and Violet decide to rid the entire mansion of drugs, and temptation, including Tina. Cal pleads with Grahame, explaining to him that he needs his drugs, because it makes him strong. Grahame realises that Cal is a lost cause, and walks away, resigned. Meanwhile, Violet is getting drunk and losing control, realising that her life has been nothing but calculated spin. Grahame approaches a very drunk Violet, and informs her of his resignation, claiming that he never should have tried to form Cal into something that he wasn’t, and he especially shouldn’t have hidden Cal’s questionable paternity. In a flashback it is revealed that Violet used to sneak off in the night and have lustful affairs with a murderer, Bobby “Cracker” Barrel, in his car. However, the murder was eventually caught, and put to death, thus dying with the truth that he was the true father of Calvin Chandler. Cal looks in a mirror and sees a man he no longer recognises. He is confused, and depressed and yearns for a time long ago, a time when his life was carefree. Defeated, Cal heads out to his press conference and starts on his prepared speech. However, as he gets to the part about Anthony Gliardi, he breaks down, and admits, "He’s a crook.” As the world reacts to this stunning announcement, Cal longs for Tina. Tina is alone, however, and thinking that she has forever lost Cal, she laments that she has been deceived. As her self-torture ends, Cal returns, and passionately tells her, “I’m going