This is from satirist Christopher Buckley’s 2007 novel, Boomsday. Randy is a millionaire congressman running for the Senate from Massachusetts. His hated mother has just choked to death on a hairball from one of her eight Pomeranians. Terry Tucker is the candidate’s PR man. Buckley’s literary problem in this passage was to find the most insignificant, inconsequential, abstruse, useless and meaningless vote a congressman ever casts.
Throughout the service, Randy stared at the casket with what some found an inappropriate look. “Did you see his expression,” said Mrs. Gardner Peabody Cabot at the reception afterwards, “while he was shoveling in the first spadeful of earth?”
“And the way he kept on shoveling,” said Mrs. Templeton Lowell Scrodworthy.
It was just as well no one knew that Terry Tucker had had to talk Randy into attending.
“Put it this way,” he told his client. “How many questions do you want, next time you run, about why you didn’t attend your own mother’s funeral? What are we going to say? That you couldn’t miss the vote on extending the debt ceiling?”