An Excerpt From Rob Handel’s Aphrodisiac


ALMA: God, it makes me nauseous to think about it. Not that he’s disgusting-looking or anything. But I think about him chasing these little interns exactly my age and I see him chasing me. I see him coming up to me at a party when his wife isn’t around. I see him buying me a drink at the Fifth Estate. He’s at the Kennedy Center, scanning the crowd at intermission. He catches me in my jeans and leather jacket as I sneak down from the nosebleed seats to mingle with the jewel-rattling crowd. He comes up to me and asks how I like it so far. While I’m answering he looks at my eyes and notices their color. My dad notices the color of my eyes. My dad checks out my tits. My dad lets me drive his motorcycle and sits behind me so I feel him pressing.

(reacting to AVERY’s reaction)

I’m sorry, I can’t make it go away. Do you think he used a condom? Do you think he still has sex with Mom? When he . . . sees her at Thanksgiving? Now they’re saying he’s an undistinguished member of the House. I never thought of him as undistinguished. He’s always working. At least we thought he was working, maybe he was hitting on secretaries. I can’t see him falling for those women, their flibbertigibbet acts. But then, how would I know what his type is? I guess most people assume their dad’s type is their mom. That’s as far as it seems necessary to go. I excuse myself and head down the red carpeted staircase to the ladies lounge. I get lost and end up in a sort of private lobby where the doors to all the boxes are. There’s an empty bar and a single bartender and then I notice there are tiny discreet restrooms here too, so I slip into the ladies’ and as I’m coming out he’s there, standing just inside the door. He puts his hand on my cheek and guides me back into the restroom, into one of the stalls, his eye fixed on mine, my head shaking. I can’t believe I have to think about this. I had other plans. No one even knew my Dad was a congressman. No one came up to me and asked are you related to Dan Ferris, the representative from California? It’s not like my name was Gore or Dukakis. Now it’s like my name is Lewinsky. Maybe I should get married right away. I want to think about something else. He’s got to resign, right? Will someone give him a job? Will his friends still talk to him? Does he have friends, or only acquaintances and mistresses? Does he know people from the mosh pits? Why was he stupid enough to get caught? I always thought he was smarter than that. I thought he was smarter than Bill Clinton.

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