An Excerpt from Bowling with Aliens
“You mustn’t ever, ever give Loretta people food, darling,” the President said, winking several times in quick succession and grabbing her wine glass. “The last thing we need’s the little bitch choking to death on a chicken bone.”
Mace redoubled his resolve to deprive the snarling puppy of the drumstick he’d snuck her under the table. Upon regaining the prize, he returned it, skeletal and replete with drool, to the serving platter from whence it came, and said, “Dickie Baumgartner says Loretta’s a stupid name for a dog.”
“Dickie Baumgartner’s a douche.” Ginger said. “But it is a stupid name. Why couldn’t we have picked a real dog name like Mopsy or Daisy— ”
“Or Ginger?” the President added.
Ginger fired her mother the finger, an increasingly common occurrence at sit-down family dinners in the White House unattended by visiting dignitaries above the rank of cabinet minister. On this occasion, Ginger expertly concealed the gesture from her father, from whom she requested her third helping of mashed potatoes.
“Certainly, Sweetie,” Mike said, picking up the bowl.
“Certainly not,” said the President, snatching away the bowl and placing it just out of Ginger’s reach. “The world can spare only so much spandex.”
“Do you have any idea what an asshole you are.” Ginger said.
“You’re the asshole,” the President responded, using the corner of her napkin to dab a smudge of Hector’s delicious pan gravy from her lip.
“You’re a bigger asshole.” Ginger retorted.
“Oh yeah?” the President responded, unleashing a tone typically reserved for town hall appearances in swing states, “Well, you’re an even bigger—”
“STOP!” Mike shouted.
“So how come we named her Loretta?” Mace asked.
Mike cleared his throat and said, “She’s named after a country music star, son. An icon actually, who polls well in the South. Especially with white women over forty, whom Uncle Milt says Mommy needs votes from so we can live in the White House ’til you’re as old as Ginger.”
“I’m gonna be as old as Ginger?”
“Yes, sweetheart,” the President said. “Just not at the same time.”
Mace mulled this over. “I really like Uncle Milt. He’s funny when he lets me pull his finger.”
“Uncle Milt lets you pull his finger?” the President asked, looking across the table at her grinning husband for moral support.
Ginger, pretending to be grossed out by the references to Milt Ryker’s notorious deployment of bodily functions to endear himself to children, said, “Mrs. Cogsdill talked about the HULA Hoop in social studies today.”
“Oh,” the President responded, scooting closer to the table, “And what did Mrs. Cogsdill say?”
“That the money would have been better spent on education and medical research and infrastructure and climate change.”
“Anything else?” the President asked.
“No, but she took a poll.”
“About the HULA Hoop?”
“The kids whose parents are Republicans said you were an idiot to shut it down in the first place, and the kids whose parents are Democrats said it’s about time you finally woke up and smelled the napalm.”
The President sat back in her chair. “And what about the kids whose parents are Independents?”
© 2017 Ron Dulaney