In the book she's got long legs, auburn hair and winds up as governor of Texas. In real life, she's presidential adviser Sarah Weddington, who last night co-hosted a sleek writing-crowd party for the very book she helped to inspire.
"The hair color isn't quite right," said Weddington, a kind of a blond, about Margaret Coursey, her fictional reincarnation, "but I liked the way I saved the day."
The book is called "The Power Exchange: A Novel of Texas Secession" and is about a 1983 oil war between the Lone Star State and the other 49. It's by Alan Erwin, who wrote it during his stint in what he called "the most boring job in the world" as a Texas public utility commissioner.
Which is maybe why it's stuffed full of mysterious Arabs, OPEC intrigues, an East Coast blackout that kills off nearly the entire population of a nursing home and a CIA conspiracy that knocks off a governor.
But that's all in the book. As for the party, there were enough Texas-turned-Washingtonians to fill a small corral, strawberries with delicate diip, and a crystal vase of fresh white irises.
And one book publisher who said he was nervous. That was Ted Siff, president of Texas Monthly Press, who still got drinks for lots of people, introduced Texans to Washingtonians of vice-versa, and thought all the while, he said, about trucks that were at that very moment unloading "The Power Exchange" at Crown Books, Kramerbooks and so on.
Guests seemed more interested in Scotch and soda, or fashion. Liz Carpenter, for instance, the new assistant education secretary who wore a rather free-flowing dress. When she held out her arms, as she did often, and vigorously, an embroidered black and red dog emerged from the folds.
"It's my going-to-the-dogs dress," she offered. "Done by a Texas designer."
Carpenter was one of the maybe 50 transplanted Texans at the party, held at the home of two Texas lawyers who married each other. One was Sylvia de Leon, Washington counsel for the city of Houston, the other Energy Department general counsel Lynn Coleman.
Another co-host was Bob Krueger, the ambassador-at-large to Mexico, introducing himself as the former Texas representative who had more sheep and goats in his district than people. Then he actually began talking about coyote contraception, a subject much too gamy for these pages.
Just suffice it to say that one way or another, the Texans all knew each other from the old days.as de Leon put it: "The crowd is just pretty incestuous."
And pretty cosmopolized, too. "That's what happens when everybody moves to Washington," said Mike Naeve, the legislative director to Sen. Lloyd Bensten (D-Tex.). "They tend to lose their regular identity. I don't see anybody wearing boots."
Except for Bob Honts, a county commissioner from Travis County, Tex., in town for a conference. "Justin Boots," he explained. "The only kind."