Bernard and I arrived home around four. We unpacked the car.
He left to return the rental car. I stayed to organize boxes and suitcases.
I emptied my pockets of condoms, glad they went unused.
I made a sandwich.
Bernard returned before five. He made a sandwich.
Around six, Bernard settled in to watch the news, warm under a quilt.
He fell asleep immediately.
He would sleep until morning.
The holiday exhausted him.
I was also feeling the worse for the wear.
Around eight, my phone rang.
I put on my coat and scarf.
I closed the door quietly behind me. The elevator took me to the lobby.
A car was waiting.
The passenger in the back seat leaned forward and smiled.
I smiled back, opened the door and sat next to her.
She kissed me.
“It’s over,” she said. “You survived eXmas.”
I took out my flask.
The driver took off.
That night, I dreamed I was on a television show that turned out to be a sleeper.
Good reviews led to more viewers, and it was a hit in certain circles.
It focused on an eccentric family, sort of like “The Royal Tenenbaums.”
I was a minor character. The success of the show did not make me instantly famous, but everyone was thrilled for me and now and then, someone would point me out on the street.
This small measure of fame was nice.
The patriarch of our television family, President Josiah Bartlett, was dead set on a project that we considered a folly. He treasured a quote from Plutarch and now wanted to see that quote destroyed.
He wanted to watch as that quote was hurled from a speeding train.
I wasn’t sure why he wanted this, or how it would be pulled off. I imagined carved marble letters being smashed on rocks.
To realize this vision, our television family traveled by train to a remote mountain location.
We were left at a bend in the line, overlooking a sublime view.
“Men, you set up camp,” the president ordered. “While the ladies prepare a fire for dinner.”
As we sat around camp, I realized I was bored and not quite sure what was supposed to happen.
I also realized that I had had sex with many of the other campers.
I talked with a cute couple. He was freckled with red hair. She was a doe-eyed pixie who sat with her legs curled under her.
He said she was his sub. She nodded in agreement.
“I’m really aggressive and passionate,” he said. She nodded.
He began to initiate something with her, but as they kissed, he said something that didn’t sit well with her. The moment was lost.
Later, he tried again. He knocked over a beer, and in cleaning up the mess, he was distracted into something else.
“You say you are a good dom,” I said. “But you get distracted and don’t follow through. Do you have trouble focusing?”
“Here. Kiss me,” I said.
“Okay.” He moved closer.
We kissed as his girlfriend watched. We kissed tentatively at first, then with increasing ardor.
But I had to keep him focused. He was not a great kisser and he seemed to get lost now and then.
He pulled back.
“Ow, you kiss too much,” he said.
“Too much?” I asked.
“Yeah, I don’t really kiss that much.”
The girlfriend nodded.
We heard the train arriving.
“This is it,” the president shouted. “Everyone come to the tracks!”
We raced over.
The train rounded the bend. A conductor leaned from the window as it passed, tossing something from a window.
The president ran to collect it.
“That’s it!” he cried. He gathered up a small bundle.
We drew close to see that he held a paper plate, tied to a rock. It was nestled in his arms like a newborn.
The quote from Plutarch was written on the plate.
“Kind of anticlimactic,” someone whispered to me. It was my ex brother in law, Richard.
“Not too impressive,” I agreed.
“Okay everyone, break camp,” the president called. “We take the next train out.”
We packed up our tents and waited for the train.
We were taken to a nearby station in an Old West town. We were put onto a tram.
It raced us through the town and into a saloon, winding past bar, tables and patrons, like “The Wild Ride of Mister Toad” meets the Gem Saloon of “Deadwood.”
“Looks like the set designers had fun,” Richard said.
“I’ll say!” I replied.
We disembarked at the end of the tram ride.
I lead the group.
I nearly stepped on Annie Sprinkle, who reclined on the floor. She was dressed in a gypsy blouse, long skirt and full petticoats.
She spread her legs as I passed, affording a view of her pussy.
“That’s one off the tab,” she called to the bartender.
The bartender guffawed.
She flashed Richard. “That’s two!”
The bartender laughed as she flashed us each in turn.
We left the saloon, and I became confused.
Why was President Josiah Bartlett on our show? Or maybe I was on “The West Wing?”
But if so, what was my relationship to the president? Who was my character?
I thought to ask Richard, but he wasn’t around.
Monica Lewinsky ran up to me.
“Baby, I missed you!”
“I missed you too, Molly.” In the dream, her name was Molly.
We kissed and she hopped on my back.
“Where are you taking me?” she asked.
“Nowhere. Molly, look, you know I’m not interested in marrying you.”
“Silly boy,” she said, nibbling my ear. “You know I’m the one.”
I woke up.