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The Redhead and the Gray Lady

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Has that happened?

“Perhaps,” she purrs. “Perhaps that’s happened in the past. When I was on the campaign, that might have happened once or thrice.”

“I left my coat in Iowa,” says Stanley. “I remember the campaign had to send it to me because I went straight to New Hampshire. It must have been Dole.”

“Alessandra loved covering Dole.”

“Because he was genuinely one of the meanest, funniest people on Earth and he couldn’t stop,” says Stanley. “He could not stop himself!”

“Alessandra’s been everywhere. How many languages do you speak?”

“All right, don’t do this,” says Stanley.

“Just tell her.”

“Like Dorothy Parker. You remember that famous line of hers?”

“No,” says Dowd.

“Someone said so-and-so speaks eighteen languages. Dorothy Parker says, yeah, but she can’t say no in any of them.”

The phone rings, and Stanley checks the caller I.D. “That’s type A,” she says. “That’s Anna. I’m not answering that phone. Anna Quindlen reads everything, every paper, and you don’t want to talk to her in the morning because she’s wired. If she could write a column every single day, she would.”

“My watch says twenty of two,” says Dowd. It is 10:30 in the morning. “All right, girls, I’m going to try and catch this train,” she says and puts on her pink Burberry trench coat and slings two different duffels over her shoulders, neither of which is really closed.

She does, in fact, look like a character—gorgeous, charming, a little ridiculous—in a novel. But it’s a true story.

Some of her best work.


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