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Hill and Bill


Harry Buschman

I thought long and hard about it. Who did I want to be? Who did I admire most? And, most important of all – where would I find a costume?

Whenever Rufus threw a party there was a catch to it; like the time he took thirty of us in a bus in the middle of January to a cook-out on the sands of Jones Beach. Sylvia got pneumonia. Mark got lost and didn’t get home ‘til Sunday afternoon. This time it was a costume party – innocent enough, but with Rufus’ friends and acquaintances, I fully expected a catch in it somewhere. He wasn’t above changing the rules in the middle of the game.

Maybe he had a reason to celebrate. I couldn’t think of any ... other than his recent divorce. But why would you celebrate such an occasion that way. Most men would want to be alone, maybe off on a cruise somewhere ... where the pickings might be prime. But then I’m a man and I think that way. Sylvia just shakes her head at me. “Is that what you’d do,” she asked me,

“I don’t know – I’ve never given it a thought.” She stood in the doorway, arms folded, one shoulder leaning against the jamb of the door. It’s a pose she uses when she’s going to lay things out for me, completely relaxed yet ready to step in with a left hook at the blink of an eye.

I hadn’t realized I’d made any remark concerning Rufus’ divorce ... but I’m like that. I blurt things out without thinking. Sylvia stepped in to help me. “You said he should enjoy himself. Take a trip somewhere. Celebrate. What’s to celebrate?”

“Well, I meant ... for him. You know – Rufus and Milly didn’t get along – toward the end I mean.” I wasn’t crawling out of this too gracefully – I left my ass exposed, so I figured I better shut up. “Costume party, huh ... what will you be, dear ... Helen of Troy. Cleopatra maybe?”

“Hillary Clinton.”

Good choice, I thought. I didn’t dare say it though ... but Sylvia had many of the attributes. Strident at times, ruthless when she had to be, and with a fair measure of latent sexual attraction. “You’ll make a good Hillary,” I said. Then I hastily added, “You’re a little too pretty though.”

She straightened up in the doorway and took a few steps in my direction. Then she stopped. “Who would you like to be?” she asked.

“Robin Hood. He’s a boyhood hero of mine.”

“You’d have to wear tights,” she said. “Take a look at those legs in the mirror – can you see those legs in tights?”

She had a point there. My legs are nothing to write home about, spindly and more than a little bowed. “Maybe I could go as a middle-aged Robin hood ... in long pants I mean.

“No, I don’t think so. You’d be walking around all night explaining who you were. I’ll get you a gray wig and paint bags under your eyes – you can go as Bill Clinton.”

“You mean Bill and Hill?”

“No,” she replied firmly. “Hill and Bill.”

So then, on the eve of the Ohio primary, with Hillary Clinton’s bid for the nomination floundering, my Sylvia ... my very own and only Sylvia was going to stick it out at Rufus’ divorce party and dare someone to knock it off!

I had to hand it to her. I knew how much it meant to her. It was her life’s ambition to prove once and for all that a woman could ruin the world just as well as a man. She didn’t have to prove to me ... I was convinced. But I hated being part of the experiment. I’d have to walk around the party playing second fiddle – is that how Bill felt, I wondered.

©Harry Buschman

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