copyright © 2005 by Adam Hahn

Richard Nixon
by Adam Hahn


Richard Nixon crouches under the sofa table, urinating on himself in a display of subservience.

This is not actually the 37th President of the United States soiling my carpet, but rather a brown and black mutt dog, which the animal shelter told us was part terrier.

I suggested his name, but Richard Nixon was unquestionably Cynthia's dog. Were it up to me, we would have sold the cur to the animal testing division of a very evil cosmetics firm the first night we brought him home.

It occurs to me that now it is up to me, but where are you going to find an evil cosmetics lab open at this time of night?

The reason why Richard Nixon is named Richard Nixon comes from the first night he spent in this house. The short version of the story is that he ate several cassette tapes. The long version of the story, and I do mean the long version, is something Cynthia never missed an opportunity to retell in elaborate and inane detail.

The only pleasure this mutt dog, which the vet swears is part Labrador, brings me, is the opportunity to construct sentences like, "Richard Nixon crouches under the sofa table, urinating on himself in a display of subservience."

Whatever joy these words and the images they conjure bring is fleeting. Invariably, they are accompanied by the reality of a mutt dog, which I suspect is part husky, pissing himself in my living room.

Richard Nixon has now rolled in his own waste, beating his wet tail across the newspaper that Cynthia dropped. He has stopped whining and decided that it is acceptable to lick the dark red puddle spreading around Cynthia's head.

This mutt dog, who I'm sure is semi-retarded, has forgotten the violence it found so upsetting just minutes ago.

At first, I believed I might find it necessary to use the fireplace poker on Richard Nixon. I would be lying if I told you I didn't look forward to such an eventuality.

It turns out that I gave Richard Nixon far too much credit.

I assumed that, after four years of Cynthia's pampering, he would show some loyalty to his protector or courage in her defense.

I also assumed that I could expect loyalty or at least honesty from my wife of six years.

Yes, we've had problems that have made living together difficult.

Yes, I have problems that make living with me difficult.

Yes, I probably need to work on managing my anger.

Richard Nixon comprehended none of this--not my problems, certainly not Cynthia's infidelity--he only saw the being who loved him most in trouble.

That mutt dog, perhaps a metaphorical representation of one or both of the humans in this story, reacted to a confusing and terrifying situation impulsively and selfishly.

Richard Nixon bites the hair near Cynthia's oozing head wound. With a low growl, he shakes her in a way she would not allow herself to be shaken if she were still alive.

Imagining it is actually our disgraced former President doing this, I find that I can bring myself some measure of joy.


For the first performance of this piece, useful props included a fireplace poker, a female member of the audience who was asked to lie on the floor like a dead woman, crumpled newspapers, and a bottle of cough syrup. I was sick that night, so I started by pouring a dose of the syrup into a plastic measuring cup then swigging from the bottle. At the end, I downed the measured dose.

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