Not long ago, David Brooks wrote about being fondled at dinner by a U.S. Senator, whom he declines to name. As you can imagine, this has stirred up quite a bit of journalistic interest… Let the record show that I am the first to reveal that mysterious person’s identity.
The hand that lingered on David’s thigh was my own.
Let me hasten to explain a couple of small, but important details that David (not surprisingly – He is David Brooks, after all) got wrong. First, I never claimed to be a Senator. This is an important detail. I don’t want people forming a mental image of me as the type of guy who gets his kicks running around claiming to be a senator. Worse yet, I don’t want anyone to think of me as the kind of guy who actually is a senator. (shudder) Second, I did not know that the thigh in question belonged to David. In all honesty, I thought it belonged to Helen Thomas.
You can understand my error if you imagine the circumstances. The room was poorly lighted, and I had consumed a number of Tom Collins. The precise number is unknown to me. It was more than one, and I have a strong memory of it being a prime number, but whether it was 3, 5, or 7, I cannot recall. I am certain that it was not Pi. Should we be required to reconstruct the incident, I imagine we could mix up a pitcher, sit me in a dark room and see at what point I lose my ability to distinguish between the owners of various thighs, but I’m not sure what would be gained, aside from a hangover that would be a dead wringer for the one from which I was suffering while David was, apparently, typing out his little story, of which I have become the reluctant star. Contributing to the confusion was the fact that, although Helen has a deeper voice and better posture, and more hair, she and David can easily be mistaken for each other when, as I mentioned, lighting is poor, and Helen is wearing a pantsuit.
Let me also explain, (though it pains me to do so because not only am I not a senator, but I am also not the kind of man who kisses and tells) that Helen and I have had an off-and-on “thing” for a while now. It actually began several decades ago, when she was a svelte and sultry octogenarian. Although I was in peak physical condition, I was no match for her as she cornered me in a deserted Metro car, on the last Green Line of the evening. Ah, those sweaty summer D.C. Metro seats… I at first thought she was suffering from a rhythmic form of severe gastric distress, but it was only the capture and release of small pockets of air trapped between our straining bodies and that slippery vinyl.
Anyway, ever since that time, Helen and I, despite careers that have, at times, kept us continents apart, seem always to find each other (She made me tell her my social security number and my mother’s maiden name.) and on those occasions, she is fond of taking out her teeth and complaining of her “gout” or “rheumatism” at which point I am required to give her a “massage.”
Now I think you have sufficient background information to continue our story in the present day. I could give you more, but like I said, I’m not the kind of guy who likes to kiss and tell. Besides, it brings back the nightmares. So I was sitting next to David in that poorly lighted – did I say poorly lighted? It was practically a cave in there – room, well aware, as I always am when within a 100 mile radius of D.C., that I was in Helen’s domain, and that it was only a matter of time before she caught my scent, tracked me down, and started bundling me into that Velcro suit she likes so much. So I guess I was a little bit spring loaded as far as running into Helen is concerned, and speaking of loaded, did I mention that I’d had a few? Well I had, and that’s not an error I intend to repeat, I can tell you that for certain. Aside from a bloody Mary with breakfast, a martini (or two) with lunch, and a few cocktails in the evening, you can rest assured that I am definitely, positively, off the stuff.
So into that emotionally charged, light-deficient, high blood/alcohol situation is added the fact that I am sitting next to David Brooks. Now I don’t know if you’ve met David, or spent any time with him, and I don’t know if this is his usual condition, but I can tell you on that particular night, Mr. Brooks was a bit windy, if you know what I mean. He’d had a bit too much of the bean dip, is what I’m trying to say. Follow? And he wasn’t even trying to be quiet about it. Plus, the guy is a mouth breather. Dinner with him is like dining with a sulfurous Darth Vader. Unpleasant. Now maybe you are beginning to see what happened. Rasping breathing in the dark, audible venting of digestive gases, a vaguely slumped, hermaphroditic shape, the top of which is covered by a pitiful peach fuzz of what used to be a glorious head of hair – I had no idea I was sitting next to David. I was dead certain that Helen, far from slowing down in her later years, had gotten better than ever at finding me and cornering me in the dark.
We were in public, so maybe you think that would have afforded me some protection, but did I not already explain to you how she ravished me in a Metro car? The woman is a predator, and I was nothing but a lump of meat. All I could think about was forestalling the inevitable, placating her as long as possible. Who knew? Maybe fortune would smile on me and I would be able to escape. So I put my hand on her thigh. It was negotiating from a position of weakness, but at least it was negotiation. And it seemed to be working. Although her breathing grew ever more raspy and she made disconcerting grunting noises from time to time, she did not slip under the table, reach up, with claw like hands, and draw me under to play Persephone to her Hades.
I have no recollection of getting to my hotel. My only thought when I awoke was relief at finding myself alone, with no signs anywhere of having been chaffed by Velcro. I immediately changed hotels. I wasn’t sure how she’d found me, and I was vaguely uneasy that she had tracked me down, only to disappear, but I was determined not to make an easy target.
Once I found a new hotel (I changed cabs three times on the way and signed for my room as “Mr. E. Bratwurst.”) I sat down with the paper and came across the little story David wrote. While they usually amuse me, this one caused me to break out into a cold sweat. I would never have imagined that there could be anything worse than being revealed to the public eye as the focus of Helen’s Wagnerian lusts, but having been accused of being a United States Senator, and one who fondled David’s thigh, no less, has changed my mind completely.