The Secret Life of Kitty Lyons: Dick Cheney

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The Secret Life of Kitty Lyons by Maggie Cutler  


Heart Failure

I don’t usually have nightmares, but last night at this Greek restaurant Max ordered octopus, and later I dreamt that Vice-President Dick Cheney was one. It was scary. He was no little hors d’oeuvre on a plate. He was a huge — like, giant — writhing squid thing full of suction cups, only with a Dick Cheney face. I dreamt that he was swimming in oil — not olive oil, but the Kuwaiti kind that spurts up out of the ground and catches fire.


Then, even weirder, after I wake up, this Republican guy, Scott Reed, on CNN’s “Live at Daybreak,” actually says out loud that Cheney is “almost like an octopus” because “he’s got his arms into every part of government”! I mean: Yikes. Never before has CNN channeled my unconscious. By noon I’m thinking: “Maybe Scott Reed and I . . . ” but then I realize that it’s those tentacles of Dick’s that are making my urge surge.


When Mr. Cheney first walks into my daydream, however, I have some trouble responding to him erotically. Partly because he’s staring at the gas meter instead of at me. I decide that he’s probably pumping himself up with pride because Bush asked him to oversee energy policy, and I figure I’d better let him, because those anticoagulants he takes for his bad heart are the dead opposite of Viagra.


To take the edge off his famous gravitas, I plant a big, lipstick-y kiss on his pate. I muss up a few wisps of his hair.


“I want you to drill my pristine wilderness, Dick,” I whisper into his ear. “Run pipe though my Gulf.”


When he smiles his thin smile, I hiss, “Violate my sanctions, Dickie-Boy” indicating that I know what he did last summer when he was still CEO of Halliburton and working through subsidiaries to get around sanctions against dealing with Iraq. He responds by biting my breast, and I have to coo words like “integrity,” “character” and “expertise” to make him stop.


As he comes up for air, he leaves two big smears of orange pancake makeup in my cleavage. Beneath its ruddy mask, Dick’s face is shagreen, the color unfashionable people call “shark.”


I gasp with remorse. Here I’ve been toying with the man, and any minute he could just up and perish, like George magazine.


“I’m sorry, Mr. Cheney,” I blubber. “I shouldn’t be trying to seduce you like this.”


But my dear Vice-President doesn’t want me to suffer on his account.


“First of all, Kitty,” he says patiently, “I’m refusing to die until I get that death tax repealed.”


I know I shouldn’t, but I feel reassured by this.


“Secondly,” he continues, “I really have no heart problem.”


“But you must!” I cry, unbuckling his pants. “Why else would CNN pundits ascribe your hospital visits to vague ‘chest pains,’ ‘episodes’ and ‘discomfort’ if they’re not covering up some massive coronary meltdown?”


“Well . . . ” he hesitates. I use the pause to feel around for the scar on his leg where, according to Arianna Huffington, the catheter went in for his balloon angioplasty — but there’s nothing there.


“It’s really classified . . . ” he stalls.


I beg him to confide in me by clasping his barrel chest and laying my pretty head on it. It’s a gesture that usually wins over the toughest of father figures, and Dick’s no exception.


“The bald truth is, Kitty,” he confesses, calm as a clam, “I do not have a heart at all.”


“But your special diet.” I burble, “The one The New York Times said you referred to twice as . . . ”


“My ‘food supply.’ Yes. That dissociated quasi-human diction was a nice touch. The hide-in-plain-sight gambit.”


In the ensuing moment of silence I listen for the coronary thump I associate with a living man, but I hear only the smooth rush of fossil fuel gushing through a pipeline.


“Why all the disinformation?” I ask nervously.


He explains how the non-existence of his heart might embarrass the administration’s efforts to appear compassionate.


By this time I’ve also discovered that he lacks certain other human attributes as well.


“My daughters were sired by Michael Huffington, when he was still in the closet,” he sighs, as if yearning to come out of his own.


“What . .  What are you . . . ?” I stutter, knowing and dreading the answer.


With a sudden pop, Dick bursts from his vinyl carapace and I’m surrounded. Cool, motile, aquatic flesh strokes my body, buoys me up, slaps and slicks my coral crevices. It’s as CNN says — he’s “got his arms into every part” of me — Senate to Pentagon. And what supple, subtle, experienced arms! I’m encircled, overwhelmed with his unchecked power. As his tentacles contract, suction cups pull from me cries of ecstatic submission. Suddenly, I understand how stupid it is to be human. How limited. I laugh with him as his dark ink swirls.