America's Most Critical Journal (since 1999)
Mike Pence, Man of Passion
30 April 2017
ASSISTANT (on intercom): President Pence, I have Mrs. Pence calling for you on the Hotline.
MIKE PENCE: (out of breath) Thank you, Melania.
ASSISTANT: Iím hanging up, Mr. President, and Iíll be saying goodnight, along with the entire female staff and the unmarried male staffers. The door between my workspace and the Oval Office is deadbolted from the outside, per your instructions. If you need the ďsin lockĒ to be opened, you may order the Secret Service to do by shouting the code: ďReligious freedom!Ē The afterhours Secret Service detail will also consist only of married men. You may go ahead on the call, sir.
MIKE PENCE: Hello there, Mrs. Pence. Forgive me, my Prayer Warrior, I just need a second to catch my breath. (long pause) There, now, Iím as settled as conversion therapy.
MRS. PENCE: What are you up to down there?
MIKE PENCE: Up and down, indeed! If it werenít blasphemous, Iíd say you have the power to see through walls. (nervously) You donít, do you? Well, I was just in the middle of a set of chin-ups when you called. Nothing like some vigorous chin-ups with your hands gripped tightly around the olí rod to cool things down. As a matter of fact, Vice-President Ryan has joined me for some late evening calisthenics. Just a couple of married men alone in a secure location. (away from the phone, to Ryan) Doggonit, Mr. Vice-President, slow down. If you keep pumping that fast, Iíll never have a chance of staying with you. (back to the phone) Now, then, my Only Temptation, Iím all yours Ė and Godís.
MRS. PENCE: Will you be coming up to the residence soon?
MIKE PENCE: Iíll do my level best, my Spirit Soldier; you have my sacred vow. But Iíll be working late again tonight, just me and the Vice-President. (whispering, to Ryan) Give me a minute. Weíll do the pushups together, I promise.
MRS. PENCE: But, Mr. President, thatíll be three nights this week. Youíre going to think me an Awful Sally, but Iíve baked a warm batch of blondies, moist, just how you like them.
MIKE PENCE: Heaven knows, my Evangelical Empress, Iím discomforted, too, by these many late nights away from your moist blondies, but the demands of the presidency are Godís greatest test, right after being faithful in every circumstance to Him. Just think of our time apart as me doing Godís work, but without the comfort of single women or unmarried men or alcoholic stimulants of any kind or going out to dinner with a woman in a restaurant where they serve oysters or checking into a hotel room where the adult channel blocker has been disabled. When ex-President Trump ďleft the church,Ē God called on me in his infinite wisdom to save the nation. You remember, we prayed on the floor of your craft room, next to the outlet where you plug in your hot glue gun. It is so much harder having to do His work alone, but honoring our temptation covenant brings spiritual rewards that, gosh, make me blush like a schoolboy, or one of those airbrushed models on magazine ads for dental implants. At five oíclock tonight, I sent home all the potentially inappropriate White House staff, so Iím doing the work of hundreds, aided, of course, by His divine presence, and the influence of your silence, and by Vice-President Ryan. (to Ryan, testily) Keep your shirt on. Iím almost there. (back to the phone) Oh, my Bible Vixen, sometimes the temptation that delivers itself to the feet of my awesome power is almost more than I can bear, and I find myself questioning why the Lord puts so many dangerous seductions across my path that I must clear like a lumberjack in fringed cutoffs and unlaced work boots in order to serve Him. Why, just this morning, someone on the staff committed the indelicate mistake of scheduling a private meeting with me and Chancellor Merkel, to take place right here in the Oval Office, and I still havenít had the time to remove the silky drapes and satin pillows President Trump installed. Well, mercy, I had to Ėproverbially, of course Ė take that poor junior staffer over my knee and spank her silly with my covenant until she cried out my name in German, for potentially placing me in a situation of infidelity where I would be alone with Angela. Golly, can you even imagine the temptation both of us would feel? It would make Sodom and Gomorrah seem like a high school dance. Hey, I have an idea, another one of Mr. Penceís Crazy What-ifs. Why donít you try to imagine it, very specifically, say, giving Chancellor Merkel, me and you nicknames and elaborate outfits and unusual tasks that we will need to complete in order to satisfy His commandments. Youíre just so creative, my Pew Kneeler, that I have the deepest belief you can fulfill the wishes of this olí First Servantís imagination. Okay? So, letís say fifteen minutes. Just give me time to finish up with the Vice-President. Until then, my Holy Receiver. (hangs up)
MIKE PENCE: (to Ryan) Mr. Vice-President, letís double time the pushups and go straight to Greco-Roman. Somethingís come up in the residence. (shouts, to a hatch hidden in the floor) Religious freedom!
Jon Reiner is the James Beard
Award-winning author of the memoir The
Man Who Couldnít Eat and the director of the award-winning
documentary film Tree Man. His work has appeared in Esquire,
The Atlantic, The
New York Times, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post,
been nominated for a National Magazine Award and recorded for NPR.