"Who am I? Who am I?" wondered the woman in the stringy blond wig, as if there could be any doubt at all that she was D. C. Councilwoman Polly Shackleton.
Across the room, swathed in a sheet so that only his face was vulnerable was Councilman Dave Clark, taking cream pies on the chin at 200 FD's (Fauntroy dollars) per smack.
People shelled them out with all the abandon of real dollars as they played the Mardi Gras game last night in celebration of D. C. Delegate Walter Fauntroy's 46th birthday. An annual celebration by now, the birthday has become as much a political barometer of who shows up as of how much money is raised to defray Fauntroy's campaign expenses.
Now it will also help him garner voting-rights support around the country.
By midnight, some 350, paying $25 each, had taken over the Hyatt Regency's Ticonderoga Room, where booths rimmed the walls offering everything from "A Night at the Races" to a Valentine's Day "Kissing Booth" starring Sugar Ray Leonard.
Except that Leonard never quite made it from Palmer Park and Reggie Jackson never made it down from New York. Just as an anticipated several hundred Fauntroy supporters apparently never quite made it from around town.
Part of the problem, Fauntroy indicated, may have been faulty mail delivery. At a news conference earlier in the day, and again last night, Fauntroy voiced "concern" over some invitations to his 1978 birthday party which turned up a week ago at the main post office. Postmarked Feb. 9, 1979, despite their 13-cent stamps, the invitations raised some questions he decided should be answered, so he asked the House Post Office and Civil Service Committee to investigate.
The disappointing turnout had nothing to do with a decline in Fauntroy's popularity -- "not the case at all," said aide Cliff Smith. "The indication was that a great many people didn't know something was askew, or the clamor would have been great."
Marguerite Gros, of Ward 6, said she found that a lot of people "just couldn't afford that amount of money. But we're really going to have to get people involved in this voting-rights thing. People thought the only people they'd see here tonight would be blacks and Democrats. Walter himself has said he'd like to see more white faces in the crowd."