The Secret Life of Kitty Lyons: Clarence Thomas

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The Secret Life of Kitty Lyons by Maggie Cutler  


Court and Spark

I catch my husband fibbing about how late he stayed at the editing room, and it makes me nostalgic for some real honest-to-goodness perjury. Curling up on my red velvet couch, I imagine that I’ve wandered behind the red velvet curtain, the one Supreme Court justices emerge from to throw elections. I push open a massive door and who should I find but Clarence Thomas, deep in a fantasy about what Florida’s voters intended.


His back is to me. I see his plump hand on the chair’s arm, and I’m exciting myself by imagining it running up my thigh when he spins around. To my amazement, he is dressed as a nun.


I mean, I’m really amazed, because this is supposed to be my sex fantasy. I had planned an Anita Hill scenario — Coke can, Long Dong video, all building to the perjury-esque scene in which he swears to the Senate Confirmation Committee that he has never discussed Roe v. Wade with anyone ever. But now that I see Clarence in his wimple, I realize that I’m going to have to improvise.


“Why a nun?” I ask edgily. He’s been doing so much tongue-holding lately, I figure maybe he went and joined a silent order.


But today he’s feeling chatty. After his dirt-poor parents dumped him, he explains, the kindly sisters in Catholic school gave him the discipline he needed to escape squalor. He now has warm feelings about the brides of Christ.


Okay, I get it, C.T.: I vaguely remember that you once told a journalist that you and your wife “ride around together like a couple of nuns.” You like nuns. Love them. But what’s in this for little Kitty, I ask, besides an abortion ban and tort reform?


At the mention of abortion, Clarence starts muttering about “feminazis.” He tears off his wimple, robes and briefs and to my delight starts stomping the starch out of them. “O corpus delectable,” I growl, doffing my flimsy excuse for a dress.


At the sight of my irresistibleness, desire and dread have their way with Clarence. Rigid with ambivalence, he slips into me much as he slipped into the high court — on a slick of bad faith. “If this is judicial activism,” I whimper, “I’m all for it.” Then our thoughts break up like fifty states under Anti-Federalist attack. I shout that I hate men, the liars. And I want them all. He shouts that I’m a white angel, or one of those be-deviled black activists who only “bitch, bitch, bitch, moan and whine and whine.”


It’s true that I’m moaning.


Later, he tries to cover himself: “I didn’t mean,” he explains, “that race politics are without merit; it’s just that neither Sharpton nor Jackson can get the president on the phone. But I can.”


Ah Clarence! Bare to the bone, you’re so like me: Doesn’t your heart, like mine, go wherever the power flows, and don’t you take what you need from the powerful, reality be damned? Sweaty and sated, I blush at the absolute truth of it: Clarence Thomas and I are sisters under the skin.