A knock at the door startled Paul. He stopped mid-reverse-grip-chin-up to see who it was.
Janna stood at the entrance of his gym in pajamas looking concerned. “Hon, you’ve been in here for hours. Don’t you think you should get some sleep?”
Paul checked his watch. Almost midnight! He hadn’t realized he’d been working out this long, his mind was totally clouded by a weird sensation. Guilt maybe? Empathy? No, it couldn’t be, P90X usually got rid of any pesky feelings.
“Thanks Jan. I’m going to take a shower and then I’ll join you.”
Fifteen minutes later, Paul slipped into bed with his wife. His body was tired, but the hours of structured muscle confusion had not completely quieted his mind. Images of crying faces flashed before him, sounds of wailing mothers echoed between his ears. His heart raced. What was happening to him?
He turned over on his side. There it was, sitting on his bedside table right next to his Bible: Atlas Shrugged. He breathed in deeply. Just seeing Ayn Rand’s name calmed him down. “I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.” He said this line over and over in his head, pushing the other nonsense to the side. After a few minutes of repeating his mantra, he fell asleep.
A soft breeze floated through a barely opened window. Mike and Karen stood face to face, holding hands, and looking into each other’s eyes. They wore matching baby blue sleeping gowns as well as matching blue sleeping caps, like a pair of newly born twins waiting to be taken home from the hospital.
“Are you ready for bed, Mother?” Mike said softly.
“Yes. I’m ready,” Karen replied with a salacious undertone.
With one last meaningful look, the couple dropped hands and headed to their own personal twin beds, each fitted with baby blue sheets and comforters. Once snug under the covers, Mike and Karen clapped in unison, throwing the room into darkness.
For a moment, there was only silence, and then:
“Karen?” Mike’s voice came out of void.
“Does He love me?” While Mike’s face was concealed in shadow, his brow was tensed in concern, his lower lip beginning to tremble ever so slightly.
“Honey, He loves you more than He has ever loved anyone, or ever will.”
Mike’s near pout broke into a hesitant smile. “Do you promise?”
“I would never lie to you. Get some sleep now.”
With that, Mike closed his eyes and drifted into a deep, dreamless sleep.
His cell phone buzzed on the bedside table. Lindsey picked it up and swiped the screen with his middle finger. The message appeared, from John.
“How does it smell?”
Lindsey was confused. “How does what smell?” He answered.
“Trump’s butt!” John shot back instantly.
“Dangit, John!” Lindsey said to the empty room, putting his phone facedown on the table. He had grown accustomed to the teasing, but it had taken on a slightly more serious edge within the past few months. The healthcare defeat hadn’t been personal, but it also hadn’t helped his position with Trump. Now his goal of becoming Most Successful and Also Hottest Political Bachelor Over Sixty was entirely dependent on tax reform. As for the Golfing Incident of 2017, that he would never live down.
The phone buzzed again. He readied himself before looking at the screen.
“I’m surprised your lips aren’t orange with all that ass kissing.”
Lindsey threw his phone towards the end of his bed and let his head fall back on the pillows. He was grateful that John was maintaining his sense of humor considering everything going on, but he wouldn’t mind if it was aimed elsewhere.
Grumpily, Lindsey got up to turn off the lights. When he returned his phone to the bedside table he noticed another text. It was simply a tongue emoji next to an orange emoji.
“Jeez louise!” Lindsey huffed and turned the phone to silent. Getting under the covers, he resolved to get John back. He soon nodded off, dreaming of the 2008 General Election.
Mitch got ready for bed alone. Now that Elaine spent most of her time in DC, he sometimes had the Louisville house to himself. The solitude was nice, it gave him the chance to let his guard down.
After brushing his teeth Mitch observed himself into the bathroom mirror. His age was showing, but it only made him look more powerful, more intimidating. Turning his face to the left and then to the right, he practiced his classic look: the power frown. He ran his fingers through his hair, making sure every silver strand lay correctly. This was the face of a man who would be remembered. This was the face of a man who was leading the country somewhere special. Everything was going just as planned and there was less and less that the people could do to stop him.
Lying down on the bed, he relaxed his body, letting his jaw slacken. His eyes closed and he breathed deeply. Abruptly, there was a catch in his throat. From his open mouth, the head of a snake appeared. Its tongue flicked a few times, its eyes surveyed the empty room. The serpent slithered over his chin, onto his neck, and down the length of his body, where it curled into circles at his feet and went to sleep. Mitch’s body remained motionless until the next morning.