by Sylvia Alcon
1st PLACE winner of the FutureVision short story contest

George leaps onto his presidential bed and bounces up and down, baggy camouflage pajamas flapping about his ankles. Laura lies propped against multiple pillows, blanket pulled to her chin. Her attention is focused on the sheaf of papers propped on her knees. He tries to snuggle under the blanket with her.

“Hey, how’s about a little nookie, heh heh. For old times sake?”

“Nevermore, George.”

“That’s my girl, always readin’ something new.” He wiggles one hand beneath the covers and Laura pulls away.

“Now it’s not ‘cause of that little shoulder rub I gave German Chancellor what’s her face is it?”

“Angela Merkel has nothing to do with it.” Laura sets the papers on the bedside table and looks at her husband. His little head, eyes overhung with shaggy brows, just the familiarity of him, the pug nose, like an old dog, and had to admit, this might be more difficult than she’d thought. “No Georgie, dear. It’s no more sex, nookie, intercourse, whatever you want to call it. Nothing until you make some changes.”

“Shucks, guess I haven’t been fillin’ your knees, what with tryin’ to row the ship of state and all. Bet I could get me some of those little blue—.”

“George, have you set a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq?” She didn’t mean to sound harsh, but he startled at her words, as if fireworks had suddenly gone off.

The response eluded him, danced beyond his flailing reach. He knew the words, knows he knows. Sitting erect , he salutes. “Stay the course,” he bellows and tugs the sheet from his wife.

“Aw, Laura, you’re all dressed, nylons, everything. What’re you doing to me?”

“And the Kyoto Treaty? Every day that passes and we don’t sign, we’re contributing to the extinction of the planet.”

“Now, see here, no one uses those big words in my bed, not even Al Gore.”

“We could start by voiding tax cuts to the largest corporations, or—“

“You don’t mean to deny my legal right to your body, to engage in, well, sacerment of holy matermony. No sir, I got my rights.”

Laura swings her feet from under the blankets. “Would you like a fresh baked chocolate chip cookie, dear?”

“No, goldurn it. This issue is impotent, important, you know what I mean. No time to be stuffin my face.”

“With Rice?” Laura beams so sweetly he can only scratch his head.

“Troop withdrawal?” She steps out of her panty hose and tosses them at her husband.

“See here, Laura this is downright embarrassin’, you talking trash like this.”

“I’m not the only one.”

“You’re losin it and I don’t know what the hell’s goin’ on. I’m callin Dick.”

“Lynne and I have a pact. A majority of the Congressmens’ wives have signed on. This same scene is playing in bedrooms across America. Now you just lie back and sleep, I’m ready for a nice hot bath.” She shimmies from her brown wool skirt and slowly unbuttons the top pearl button on her silk blouse.

“You have no right to leave me hard and dry, I mean your duty to God and your country—no that’s another talk.” The sound of running water drowns him out.

“Open the door, this is your President speaking.”

Laura, still in underwear, cracks the door, “Did I hear you say ‘compromise’”?

“I don’t back down, you know me better than that.”

She slithers from her slip, and blows him a kiss.

“What about the Kyoto Treaty,” he mumbles.

She flings the door open and bounds towards the papers. “Just sign it,” she says and hands him a pen. A little breathless, she adds, “Think of it as a warm-up, fore play. Oh, I am terrible.”

He lunges for her and she falls on the bed, pen firmly in hand. “By Golly you are a beautiful woman.”

With the tip of the pen, she tickles the back of his neck. “Not so fast, take it slow and easy. Think of Dolly Parton.”

“What did I have to sign”?

“Right here, repeal tax breaks for corporations.”

“Condi will kill me.”

Laura stretches out on the bed. A folded paper peeks from her bra. “You are so sexy, Georgie.”

Something no larger than the pen in his hand rises in his pajamas. She sighs and rolls towards him. So much work, for a dribble of ink.

“Bring it on, woman.”

“You’re forgetting something,” her hand brushes the paper. He grabs her and fumbles with the bra.

“Stop!”

“You’re not going to give me the abstinence talk, are you?”

“This last paper is an agreement to set a withdrawal date from Iraq.”

“Now you’re meddling, Laura. Meddlesome women—.”

“Might get some things done.” She rises, humming ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles.’

“Bet that bath’s still hot.”

He droops, “You said all the wives? Gimmee that!” He snatches the page from her bra, and scribbles his signature.

“You can come in and soap my back, Georgie.”

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Most recently, two of Sylvia’s poems were published by Solo Cafe. She’s been a reader at Corners of the Mouth, poetry series, and is a member of Cambria Writers. She lives and writes in Avila Beach.