From TALES They Fired Your Nannybot For Telling You

by A. R. Gregory


Wife and Heir

His granite jaw set, his full head of salt-and-pepper hair perfectly coiffed, Senator Rawlston hugged his twenty-nine-year-old Latina wife Tendra to his side. Just before stepping to the lectern, he kissed her to a crescendo of shutter clicks and flashes. “Evrabody hear me?” he drawled as he tapped the microphone and his Texas-shaped platinum cufflink gleamed. The crush of reporters fell silent.
     Rumors had dogged fifty-eight-year-old Brant Rawlston throughout his three terms in the U.S. Senate. But the sordid tales of hushed encounters with other men had only nipped at the popular senator’s heels. In his hand-tooled western boots, he kicked them aside without breaking his stride. “Smear tactics,” he liked to call them with a tired smirk. “Just more testaments to the desperation of my political enemies.”
     To his staunchly conservative Texas constituency, tall, craggy Brant Rawlston — a face fit for Mount Rushmore, his supporters liked to say — looked as manly as they come. Though a prominent member of the Dallas elite, under all the polish and glamour, the Armani and Gucci, he seemed as all-Texan, all-man as they come. In his campaign ads, riding high in the saddle in rawhide chaps and his trademark Stetson, he looked undeniably at home on the range.
     But now a photogenic young student from Georgetown University named Jason Mitchell had come forward. Mitchell’s lurid tale of an encounter with Brant Rawlston in a men’s room at an Arlington shopping mall was dominating the news cycle. Senator Rawlston decided to answer the accusations himself, to restate once and for all that he was not gay, and he had never met “the fame-obsessed little creep who’s only succeeded in outing himself, as a pervert and a liar.” The senator was quick to add, “The real question is who paid the depraved little creep to grab his fifteen minutes of sick fame with his scurrilous accusations.”
     As the senator pointed out, his young accuser’s only “evidence” was a single, dimly lit, out-of-focus cell phone photo of someone roughly matching the senator’s build. But the man in the photo was in a fully zipped windbreaker and a baseball cap with its brim pulled low, and hunching to pull up his trousers. Only a swatch of neck and jowl could be seen in the photo, but nothing else of the man’s face. Even high-tech photo enhancement couldn’t reveal his identity.
     The senator handled himself with customary aplomb before the microphones and cameras. He was fittingly indignant and adamant. And his beautiful young wife poised lovingly by his side made the accusations look even more preposterous. Sure enough, the next-day polling of the senator’s constituency showed he’d beaten the rap again, even as cynical pundits branded this his closest call yet, and the late-night TV comics had yet another heyday.


Three days later a candid video surfaced and went viral. In it Senator Rawlston was having torrid sex in a hotel room — torrid heterosexual sex, with his wife, Tendra Rawlston. The video was long enough and graphic enough to leave no doubt about the senator’s identity, nor his wife’s, nor about his or her sexual prowess and stamina. The senator appeared impressively athletic, and his beautiful young wife vociferously appreciative. One TV comic quipped, “Have you seen the Rawlstons-get-a-room video? Seen the senator’s wife? Texans are so manly, even the gay ones can get a hot-as-hell babe.”
     Senator Rawlston’s people were quick to blame the embarrassing video on his political enemies. The senator summoned the press back to the front stoop of his Washington brownstone. When he stepped out onto the granite steps with Tendra by his side again, his voice was steeped in righteousness indignation, as well as heroically contained exasperation.
     “Family is consecrated by God,” he growled. “It’s God’s most important gift to mankind. And family begins with the love of husband and wife, and yes, even the most intimate physical expression of that love. Man and wife, one flesh as the Good Book says. And now...” He shook his head profoundly. “What you see on that video is a sacred and private moment between a loving husband and his equally loving wife. I amused to the shameless treachery of my political enemies, but my wife, my beloved Tendra...” He grimaced as he ground his fist into his palm. “It’s outrageous! Unconscionable! That video, that Judas-class betrayal of all that is loving and holy between a husband and wife, is the epitome of abomination.”


Tendra remained motionless, never smiling throughout. Here she was again, she thought, standing by Brant as he ranted. Only now, she — her body, mind, everything about her — was in the thick of it too. And not just stark naked in that video, but panting, moaning, even in the frenzy of her climax! Of course the turquoise jacket and matching lofty-heeled stilettos she wore complemented her naturally tanned complexion. Of course her legs looked great in her short, snug, matching skirt. Of course the scooped ruffled neckline of her cream, silk chiffon blouse showcased her cleavage. Hadn’t Brant been as uncompromising as ever when he picked it all out for her, including the pushup bra? After all, she was only there to be seen next to him as he did all the talking.
     How many times had Brant told her how important it was to “capitalize on” her appearance? She tensed remembering what he said as she suited up for today’s ordeal. “Image is everything, so eyes level, chin up. You’re proud to be a Rawlston. You — we! — have nothing to hide, nothing to be ashamed of. After all, I was only doing what every one of those leering media pricks wishes he could do.” She’d cringed at Brant’s concluding snicker. Do to her, all right.
     Nothing to hide? Nothing left to hide, she figured. At least now her hair was wrapped in a bun, the way she always wore it in public, along with her matching black horn-rimmed glasses. Anything to hint that she had a brain. Men and their fantasies! She clenched her jaws. Just wait, right, till she flings those glasses off, lets her hair down, quits acting like more than she is, right. And now, with that video steaming up screens all over America, with the brazen vixen thrashing her long, raven hair, even shaking her...
     She strained to keep from flinching when Brant finished speaking, then her nearly twice-her-age husband, beaming with pride, hugged her in the morning sunlight. Then the flurry of shutter clicks, then the demeaning questions, with Brant fielding every one of them in nauseating detail.
     “That sacrilege of a video was secretly filmed a year ago in a room at the Grand Palladium, one of New York City’s finest hotels. Of course it was filmed against our will, without our knowledge nor the knowledge of the hotel’s management and staff.” Brant scowled at the guy from a notoriously liberal TV news outfit who’d asked the ridiculous question. “Rest assured, I will find out who’s behind it.” Brant slashed the air with his clenched fist.
     A reporter from a rightwing weekly asked, “Senator, how would you say what’s on that video relates to what that gay mall rat said about you?” Tendra struggled not to roll her eyes at the blatant, biased softball.
     Brant sniffed, shook his head. “That video is rock-solid proof of my and my wife’s commitment to our Christian values, our commitment to starting a family. Come here, Ten.” He tugged her to his side and hugged her again, then gave her a peck on the cheek. How Brant loved to call her Ten in public, she thought, his “perfect ten,” right, in case anyone hadn’t noticed. She strained not to recoil from his touch.
     Another liberal reporter shouted, “Senator, are you claiming this video has put that kid’s story to bed?” The guy’s cynical snicker was unmistakable.
     Brant glared at the cameras. “Homosexuality is a choice, a decision of the soul, and it’s obviously not my choice.” Then he hugged Tendra to his side again. “Come, Ten, come,” he said, then spun with her. Come, emphasized, even repeated? she thought as they and strolled back into their brownstone. When they stepped into the house, Brant gave her bottom a squeeze just before he turned and closed the door. Punctuation for his vulgar little macho joke? she wondered. More grist for the pundits and comedians...?


Copyright 2020 A. R. Gregory