The Secret Life of Kitty Lyons: Postol

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The Secret Life of Kitty Lyons by Maggie Cutler  


Kitty Goes Postol

When our anti-missile missile fails to detach from its booster and duds out, making our defense strategy look lame, I feel Clinton’s pain, because my life’s going just about as well. In fact, I’ve sunk so deep into the red that when Max asks me to be his assistant on a documentary he’s directing, I say yes.

Talk about mistakes. The film, called Snakes, is about lawyers who do the odious, filthy, ugly things that democracy depends on — like defending psychos, mafiosi and brokers. Well, snakiness must be catching, because on location Max was vile. Maybe it’s perfectly natural for a stressed-out man to mutter things like “For Chrissake, get a brain!” instead of saying “Beautiful, lovely Kitty, could you please get the gaffer here earlier?” But still.

By evening, I am a wrung-out little twist of pouts and mopes. To his credit, my beloved is kind in private. He rubs my toes, my ankles, then my calves and thighs, and just as he’s heading up into Happyland, he asks what I’d like him to do.

I’m so depleted, I almost answer honestly: I’d like him to pretend to be Thomas Jefferson so that I can be Sally Hemings. Might as well have fun with all that humiliation. A few love children later and all would be forgiven, if not forgotten. But I know by now that whenever I ask him to be some other guy he gets jealous of his own impersonation. My remaining hope is that he’ll let me be somebody else while he stays him.

“Could we pretend that I’m that babe in Gladiator,” I ask, “the one who would’ve been a great emperor if she was a man but instead has to tip-toe around so she doesn’t get killed? And you can be you, and help me feel better about my fate.”

Whereupon Max gets so offended he goes cool as a Creamsicle.

“When I said I don’t like ‘Let’s pretend,'” he asks mildly, “did you think I was faking it?”

“No,” I drawl, “I just thought you meant don’t pretend about you.”

He smiles a little razor of a smile. “As I understand it, the point of all this monogamy and fidelity and commitment is that we’re enough for each other,” he says, “so if we’re not, you’d better say so right now.”

Instead of muttering “For Chrissake, get a brain!” I chirp, “Ha ha, we’re so enough for each other, I thought it might be fun if we, you know, played with it. The enoughness of it all. To celebrate it.” And I’m about to add, “So we don’t get bored,” when I realize I’d better quit while ahead. And he lets me.

But all I can think about once he’s asleep is that professor from MIT, Theodore Postol, who goes around accusing everybody in the Defense Department of not being interested in the truth about our missile defense shield, which according to him is exactly like Max’s emotional defense shield, in that it’s alienating everyone who matters and won’t ever really protect us.

Seeking heat, I snuggle up against Dr. Postol’s soft, bear-shaped chest. Stroking the twin crescents of his white beard I ask, “Teddy, how come Max is so afraid of my sexuality he wants to shoot it out of the sky?”

The professor embraces me and whispers tenderly, “Do you worry, little Kitty, that your desires are so powerful they can, like a nuclear missile, destroy the world?”

“Not theworld, but my world, ” I confess tearfully. “For example, I want to imagine your dick inside my cunt, even though I love my husband utterly.”

Teddy holds me close, and I can feel him hardening against my thigh. I take off his glasses, which only have one lens (according to The New York Times) and press flat against him. His bulk and self-assurance exude safety, protection, the reliability of numbers.

Even if Teddy’s right that instead of trying to intercept enemy missiles in mid-air we should work with Russia to solve do-able objectives — like crushing North Korean missiles on their launching pads — I’d feel safer if Russia thought I didn’t absolutely need them to survive, just like it’s best if Max believes that he’s all I need.

“Sometimes a little diplomatic lying is essential,” I venture.

At that, Teddy snorts derisively, “Only the truth can fly.” Then he turns me over and rockets into me.

At the end, I conjure up Max in a lab coat, desperately turning all kinds of dials. I’m shooting through the night, off-course, out of his control, searching the galaxies for a way to let him know that I love him. But I’m off his screen.