Washington – Lou Barberie, a janitor at the U.S. Capitol building, says lately he is obsessed with a vivid and unusual fantasy: being inside the Capitol at the precise moment the economic stimulus funds, presumed to be in the form of cash and held in a poorly-shut suitcase, are carried through the building’s main hall. It is then that Lou hopes that the suitcase, carried by a careless congressional aide or staffer, will burst open, throwing wads of money into the air and onto the floor of the Capitol.
“I know it’s kind of a long shot,” said Barberie, who has worked as a janitor at the Capitol since 2003. “I mean, will they have it in cash? Will they have it in a suitcase? Will that suitcase actually be taken through the Capitol and not be secured so well, so that the money falls out? I don’t know. I can see how the odds are against it. I can see that. But I’m hopeful. Besides, I got nothing else to do anyway. I got laid off three weeks ago, and there’s only so much internet porn you can watch. Well, actually, you can always watch more, so I don’t know what I’m saying. The point is, I need money.”
The White House-backed bill was passed by the Senate last week and signed into law by President Barack Obama Monday. It is not clear which specific funds Mr. Barberie is hoping will be brought through the Capitol, in the form of cash.
“Look, I don’t know which part of the package would be doled out in cash and brought through the building, okay?” Barberie admitted. “But $800 billion is a lot of money. So I don’t care if it’s a pipe dream or not, frankly. I’m a janitor. I don’t have health care. The least I should be allowed is this dream. They can’t take that away from me. Or can they? I’m not sure anymore.”
Barberie says that if the scenario he has imagined countless times were to come to pass, he wouldn’t be greedy. “I’m not asking for all $800 billion. No way. I’m not even asking for a billion or a million. You drop fifty grand out of that suitcase, color me one happy custodian. Hey, maybe I should go through the building late tonight and find every suitcase in the place, then break all the locks on them. What do you think? Does that increase my chances any?”