OFFICE OF THE LIVING DEAD

Inside the 32nd Democratic ward headquarters in Chicago, Nancy Panzke's phone still rings. "Congressman Dan Rostenkowski's office," she answers, responding to the hundreds of favor seekers who have called since last November's election, unaware that the former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee lost. Panzke, who has worked for Rostenkowski for 27 years, theorizes that voters only wanted to give him a scare: "I don't think anyone thought he'd really lose." Ring! A citizen is seeking help about a park. "You've got to do this," he insists. "I pay your salary!"

--Julie Grace

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