Arts & Culture

Letter from Jew-neau (Part V): In Which the Author Quotes Plath in the Bath

This is the story of a powerful love, the kind that comes along once in a lifetime. It’s the story of a man who meets his destiny in the eyes of an Alaskan princess, under the infinite Alaskan sky, who … Read More

By / September 26, 2008

This is the story of a powerful love, the kind that comes along once in a lifetime. It’s the story of a man who meets his destiny in the eyes of an Alaskan princess, under the infinite Alaskan sky, who lays down his soul for that princess – again and again, in every imaginable position – and pledges always to be at her side. This is the story of a love too special, too fragile for the world – it flourishes in the privacy of a hotel room, or a tent, or a basement storeroom, or a restaurant, or the bathroom of a church, or a snowmobile dealership, or a highway rest stop, but when the world catches up to it, like the last gust of winter catches the first tender spring flower, this love can not survive the awful chill. 

When the elevator door opened, it took my eyes a few seconds to adjust. The light in the penthouse was dim, the windows filled with the liquid majesty of Alaska by starlight. Across the wide space, a shadowy figure sat on a leather couch, legs crossed, holding a snifter of cognac. From hidden speakers, Bette Midler sang "The Rose," the strings rising to the swell of my heart.

"Sarah," said a gravelly voice. She took my hand and led me out of the elevator.

"Dick," she said.

From the shadows, he came toward us: the Angler, the Cheyenne Strangler, the man Sarah would replace. He was taller than I expected; what looked like stoutness on television was, in person, a muscled beauty that was almost Greek. He wore a hand-stitched, white three-piece suit, his ascot boasting the colors of a tropical bird. When he spoke, it wasn’t with the gruff fury of the infighter, the backstabbing oilman, the bare-knuckled partisan – but with the mellifluous allure of someone who knows your secrets, someone who makes it his business to know your secrets, someone who’s going to get what he wants and make you think it was what you wanted all along.

This is the story of how I blew Dick Cheney.

Jewcy, it would take too long to faithfully chronicle everything that happened that night, the ecstasy and agony, the pleasure and pain and more pain – lots more pain – that ensued. We sat for a time sipping cognac and watching the landscape, Her Babeness and the VP laughing about their old friend Ted Stevens, whose corruption trial had begun that morning.

"And so he says, ‘Quid pro quo? That’s not even my house!’" Dick said, waving one hand around, he and Sarah doubling over with hilarity. I sipped my drink and smiled politely – but inside, I was boiling.

Sarah leaned over to touch Dick. One strap of her dress had slipped off her shoulder. "What do you think? Should we make Ted Secretary of the Interior? Energy? Maybe director of the EPA?"

"Oh no, no, no," he said, suddenly serious. "He’s damaged goods. He’ll probably be convicted. You can’t put a felon in a position like that. It’d look bad, and be a distraction from passing tax cuts."

I was getting a little woozy, wondering if maybe there wasn’t something strange in my cognac. "Well, where, then?" said Her Babeness. "I have to do something for him."

"Where we put all criminals. Attorney General, of course," said the VP. Then he unzipped his white pants and pulled out his cock.

"Suck it, novelist," he said.

What followed was a bacchanal of epic proportions, a wild debauch that went on till dawn. Not an inch of flesh escaped being tongued, nibbled, bitten, burned; not an orifice went unfilled; not a membrane escaped the seep and spurt. The VP was, I have to say, impressive – athletic and flexible, light on his feet and yet powerful. He was, I could see it now, the perfect interlocutor for my beautiful Sarah, herself so accommodating and soft one moment, fierce and commanding the next. Their give and take was like a ballet, or a fierce, grunting rugby match, and I was the slick, disoriented ball caught in their scrum. I’ll never forget the feeling of Dick’s fingers trailing across my abdomen, of Sarah’s tongue on the backs of my knees. I’ll never forget the sight of the VP with his face between Her Babeness’s legs, or of Sarah licking the Angler’s asshole, silhouetted by the indigo and argent landscape out the windows. How many times did I think, "I can’t believe this is happening," swept along in a daze of desire and Rohypnol? I might not believe it today, if I didn’t have the keloid scars to show for it.

When I first saw my beautiful Sarah penetrated by Dick Cheney, something inside me broke and I cried out. The pain of that moment, and of the Angler squeezing my testicles, was exquisite. For the first few hours we’d all been equal partners in this erotic adventure, but now the truth was being made known: In this penthouse, there was one master and one only. There was predator and there was prey, governor and governed. There was Dick Cheney, and there was the rest of us.

Sarah went wild. With me, she’d always been responsive, her pleasure audible – but now she was like a beast uncaged, her eyes blank with frenzy. I’d thought I could win her heart by giving in to her demands, being the one who never said "no." But only now, Jewcy, did I see what she really wanted. Only now did I understand that the dominator always secretly wants to be dominated, strength always yearns for someone stronger. And the Angler played us like a maestro: his foot on my throat, his fingers in Sarah’s ass, her lips around his Vice Presidential member, all while he dialed room service with his free hand. It was beautiful. As my trachea began to collapse, I had the strange and somehow liberating thought that I deserved this, we all did. Hadn’t we been asking for it all along?

Later, I twitched and groaned in the tub, warm water bubbling gently from jacuzzi jets, soothing my bruised and broken bones, my lacerated skin, my fractured heart.

"It’s okay, baby," Sarah muttered. "Mommy’s still here." She lay sprawled on the cool tiles as though she’d been dumped out of a wheelbarrow. I slipped in and out of consciousness, until a voice at my side brought me back.

"’I have done it again. One year in every ten I manage it -‘" it said.

With my last strength I pushed myself up. Dick Cheney was sitting on the bidet, watching me with fond, tired eyes. "’A sort of walking miracle,’" he said, reciting a poem I hold dear. "’My skin bright as a Nazi lampshade.’"

"That’s Plath," I groaned.

He brightened. "’Lady Lazarus.’ My favorite."

"I didn’t know you read poetry," I said wearily.

"I’m a huge Plath fan. What do you think I did the whole time I was dodging the Vietnam draft? I was reading poetry. Even wrote some." He sighed. "It wasn’t any good. But when I read your novel, Lady Lazarus, I just had to meet you."

"You liked it?"

He stared at his hands and nodded. "It was something. All that stuff about ‘90s punk rock, about celebrity culture and the cheapening of art, the sexualization of young women in the public eye and the glamorization of suicide. Real interesting," he said. "And then to throw in Zen Buddhism and Lacanian psychoanalysis – that was the coup, I think, exploring the connections between Eastern spirituality and poststructuralist theory, connecting them to Western narcissism…"

He let out a long, low whistle. On the floor, Sarah groaned. "And to have it be so funny," he said. "I nearly busted a gut. Satirical, and yet in the end very moving. You know, if I could do it all over again…" But he didn’t finish the thought. A moment later, he met my eyes. "Well, bravo," he said.

"Thanks," I said. "Dick."

"’For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge,’" he quoted, now touching his pacemaker. "’For the hearing of my heart -‘"

I finished the stanza for him: "’It really goes.’" Our eyes met. He put his hand atop mine. One moment of connection, before merciful sleep carried me off.


The "ding" of the elevator woke me. I didn’t know how much time had passed, only that the bathroom was cold and empty. When I heard the elevator door slide shut, I gingerly pushed myself out of the tub, staggered into the penthouse suite and stood shivering in the glare of raw morning. I didn’t quite know what had hit me.

In the last eight hours I’d been sodomized, brutalized, slapped, kicked, and violated; my last memory was of the VP standing over me, unleashing a powerful stream of urine. But now that he’d gone, and taken my beloved Sarah, I missed him. I missed them both. I’d believed them when they said they’d never leave me, that they would always look out for me, that even their most puzzling actions were done with my best interests at heart. They’d promised to keep me safe. But now I was alone.

In the elevator, I tried to stay calm. She would wait for me, I told myself. But who did I really want to see when I got to the lobby? I was confused, defeated. With each descending floor I felt it more acutely: the hangover, the terrible aftermath. We’d had a wild ride, but the party was over, the costs ever more apparent, ever more appalling. Dick and Sarah had taken my money, my dignity, the clothes off my back. I had no more respect for myself, nor could anyone respect me after the way I’d behaved. All that was left was resentment and self-loathing, the inescapable knowledge that the worst betrayal of all was my own.

Is there life after Sarah Palin? If so, who will I be? What will become of me?

Jewcy, I’m still trying to find out.

When the elevator opened, I dashed through the lobby and out the front doors, just in time to see Dick helping Sarah into the back of a stretch limo. He whispered something in her ear and she threw her head back and laughed, the laugh of a woman who’s found what she’s looking for, the laugh of a woman in love.

"Sarah," I said, but it came out too softly. I started for the car, but strong hands grabbed me and threw me down onto the pavement. Next thing I knew, I was pinned under Sarah’s two Aryan bodyguards.

"Aw, leave him be," one said. I had no strength left in me, and he knew it. On his face, I may even have seen pity.

I sat up, rubbing my bare arms. From inside the limo I could hear salsa music and the pop of a cork. As the car pulled away, the driver’s window lowered and the chauffeur leaned out to salute me. With a shudder, I recognized John McCain.

It was late morning. Hotel guests moved in and out. They barely noticed me, sitting naked and ruined on the driveway. I watched those taillights and thought about what I’d lost. For one more second I could hear the party still going on, before the limo turned onto the great Alaskan highway, gunned its engine, and left me out in the cold.

Andrew Foster Altschul, author of Lady Lazarus, spent the past week guest blogging on Jewcy.  This is his parting post.  Can’t get enough?  Buy his radicool book.


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