The Secret Life of Kitty Lyons: Pat Buchanan

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The Secret Life of Kitty Lyons by Maggie Cutler  


Go, Pat, Go!

I’ve wanted Pat Buchanan ever since I saw him in a black cowboy hat, thumb erect and eyes gleaming with battle-fatigue. It was New Hampshire, 1996, the Rolling Thunder primary. He was dressed as a cowboy, something I find adorable in men over 12. I agree with Max, my husband, that Pat makes Attilla the Hun look like a cross between Gloria Steinem and Elie Weisel, but for me that only adds to his The Way We Were appeal. So, my lunch date having canceled, I take to my trusty couch ($800 cash in a sample sale) and summon him up.


We’re in Iowa, Pat and I, and Pat has been doing his favorite thing, which is taking a beating but staying in the ring, like Rocky in Rocky. I meet him in a waitress’ apartment above a steelworkers’ diner on the edge of Ames across from a Kum and Go convenience store, safe from the prying eyes of fundamentalists. It’s a scorcher and I’m in one of the waitress’ skirts — short, yellow, leg-friendly — pacing expectantly in my Easy Spirit sandals.


When he appears in the doorway, my heart sinks. Instead of his cowboy get-up or that red tie and dark suit he wears for journalists, he’s gone farmer. He’s sheathed in a stupid pair of overalls, his face scrubbed nearly stubble-free, his hair, normally wispy and touching, now greasing itself under some awful feed cap. To stay interested, I skip the hellos and concentrate on remembering that I’m in a small, hot room with a big, bellicose man who says things to his supporters like “Mount up and ride to the sound of guns!”


As decisively as I’d hoped, he throws his arm (so long!) around my waist and pulls me to him. As we kiss, I reach up and knock his cap to the floor. He tastes of tobacco, Tabasco and Maker’s Mark. His cheek is leathery but Kleig-light warm. He grunts, a half-growl. When I fumble with his suspenders, he tugs at my blouse, meaning that I’m to take it off while he strips down on his own. Sartorial sovereignty? Fair enough.


Shed of its campaign drag, his body is everything I’d hoped, battered yet pampered, vigorous with an aging overlay of padding. He lies back on the bed and glowers at me moodily with his abused-child eyes, uttering not one single word of encouragement.


Now what? How do you open up a man so fond of enclosure he cares more for babes in utero than born, who wants to contain the global flow of money and migrants within borders narrow and inviolable?


You use restraints, is my guess, so I throw the bedclothes over him and jump on top, pinning the sheets tightly around his groin with my knees. He swells against the printed lilacs of the Cannon queen, and I press my lips against him there and blow hot, wet air into the weave. He moans.


“Guns, thunder,” I prompt.


He gropes for me, delirious, and I move up along the ruin of him, and let him cup my breasts. He does it with the timidity of a man afraid of his own violence, and I couldn’t agree more. There are people you don’t want to know completely, and he’s one. But he’s so dark and furious you can’t but agree with George W: You want him in your war party.


When I peel down the sheet, his all-male constituency springs up, locked and loaded, a candidate bolting the GOP. I snug him inside me then, and I ride him oh so gently, oh so easily — a prairie trot to a place that has no boundaries, where I can’t play the market and he can’t rouse rabble, where I could be anyone — John Wayne or his sister Bay — clopping over ancestral sage, and he could be a black lady Marxist screaming for blood and fire, and, as we both turn into breaths of wild wind, I break over him like a wave on the shores of East Hampton and I whisper, “Jesus,” even though I’m one quarter Jewish on my born-again father’s side, and then, as a gift, I slap him, hard.


Without missing a beat (he’s been waiting for just this insult) he seizes my wrist, throws me over and pumps into me like a border guard gunning down a wetback, then comes with a curse, collapses. Perfect.


After an annoying minute trapped under a large, limp candidate, I tap him humorously on the shoulder. He rolls off. “Oh, it’s you, the cute little Wall Street parasite,” he smiles, an adversary again, and we part to chase our warring dreams.