Joe looks down and he sees his feet in sandals, not the hairless pale feet of an old man but feet ready to run up a thousand flights of airline stairs. He breathes in and his chest doesn’t hurt, his heart doesn’t race, his throat is not ragged and sore. Joe smiles. The sky is blue, the sun is bright, and the Trans-Am in front of him is black and wet. He holds a hose spraying water. His hands are strong and steady and do not hurt. “JILL!” he calls without making a sound, “JILL!” He closes his thumb over the end of the hose and sprays water into the air; rainbows appear, wavering in and out of existence. “JILL! COME SEE THIS!” he calls. “Jill?” The sunlight dims and he thinks Run! In his frightened bunny brain. Joe squints at the sky. A black cloud is sliding across the sun. “Jill?” he asks again, in a small, quiet voice.



A ticking metronome. “The sky has gone out, the sky has gone out,” weeps the girl in the saffron robes. Joe is rocking back and forth. He sees Delaware rushing past his window. A negro waiter looms over him. “A drink, sir?” he rumbles in a basso profundo voice. Joe cannot speak but the waiter nods to acknowledge his order, stands to his full height, and walks out of the train car. Joe rises from his seat and looks back. All the seats are empty. There is no luggage in the overhead bins. Joe stands, the swaying of the train throwing him back and forth as he walks down the aisle. He opens the door to the lavatory. It smells like shit and peppermints. He unzips his pants to urinate but cannot find his penis or even his testicles. He looks in the filthy metal bathroom mirror. His mouth is dripping with blood and his dentures are missing. He begins to cry. He is back in his seat with no transition. The waiter looms over him again, offering a tiny can of pre-mixed Margarita. Enormous brown fingers open the can for him. The can looks no bigger than a thimble. Joe screams soundlessly.



Joe strides across the Senate floor, flashbulbs blinding. He smiles his famous smile and gives his famous wave. The applause is like cannon fire. Their voices chant “JOE! JOE! JOE!” Undulating waves of pleasure lap against his thighs and groin. “JOE! JOE! JOE!” The Democrats are standing. The Republicans are standing. The grizzled gnome Bernie Sanders has been stood up. Jill is beside him. A ghostly Beau beams rays of light from his smile. Hunter–bathed and sober–walks with the family, a grinning stripper baby in each arm. “JOE!” the chant thunders. “JOE!” the crowd screams. He seats his adoring family of the living and the dead and walks slowly up the steps to the podium, waving, pointing, grinning, laughing. Time slows, thick like honey, a dream, a dream. Joe looks up, his head a million million pounds to lift. Kamala is waiting.