"You told me that Clarice was an alien," Alan reminded.
"I meant Carl; I get the two of them confused."
Alan stopped in his tracks and blinked.
"What? They both start with 'C.'" As always, Denny managed to make it sound like his was the voice of reason.
Alan resumed walking. "I'm fairly confident that the only aliens here are in environmental services, and given the unconscionably persnickety standards of senior management--"
"--present company excepted, I am certain that the only green things on them are cards."
"So what's with the suits?" Denny mused. Now he stopped cold in his thousand-dollar Italian shoes. His eyes widened. "Is it you? That old…thing in Ohio? Has the FBI found you? I'll defend you. Or if it's gone beyond that, I'm armed and can have a helicopter on the roof in ten minutes."
"No," Alan answered absently. He was busy mentally undressing a nearby Woman in Black, wondering where she kept her sidearm and her preferred methods of play with it during sex. "Those charges never reached the federal level. As long as I don't reenter Ohio, I should be fine."
"So what is it?" Denny wondered. "I hate not knowing what's going on!"
Alan choked back a laugh.
"Except by choice."
Then Alan did chuckle. It was fun to be anticipated. It was one of the things he missed most about being married, but he would never admit that to anyone--Denny least of all.
Although he suspected that Denny knew.
Alan grabbed Denny's arm and pulled him around a corner. "Let's go to the top for answers."
"Bush?" Denny fished out his cell phone.
"Higher." They continued down the new hallway.
"Bernanke? I don't have his number, but I can get it."
"Anthony Kennedy?" He was on speed dial.
"Higher. Higher still."
Denny boggled. "You don't mean--"
Alan stopped in front of a closed door. Two Men in Black with obtrusive gun bulges stood guard outside.
The sign on the door read "Schmidt."
Heavy chords of organ music reverberated over split-second reaction shots.
The door swung open. Hillary stood inside: coiffure mussed, collar askew, her own lipstick smeared and Shirley's more subtle shade blurred all over her cheek, neck, breastbone…and apparently lower still. One gold earring was missing and…was that…a bite mark in its place?
Shirley walked out from behind her desk, cheeks flushed but otherwise in her usual immaculate state of grooming.
Almost. Alan noted that Shirley had missed a smudge of Campaign Trail Crimson on the front waistband of her slacks.
Shirley saw Alan's eyes go to it. She looked down and pulled her jacket closed.
Adjusting a scarf over the worst of her hickies, Hillary sauntered out into the hallway. "Pop by the big house once I get settled," she said to Shirley in way of goodbye. "I owe Bill a return favor, and I plan to make it up to him with interest and inflation. For that kind of project, I can't think of anyone better than you to have in my…"
She paused long enough for a series of reaction shots.
"--corner," she finished at long last.
An involuntary groan leaked from Alan's throat.
"Denny Crane." Denny strode up to her, a hand (and another appendage) aimed straight out in front.
The agents slid gun hands towards
"I remember." The frost of Hillary's tone suggested that she likely did.
She turned back to Shirley. "As I said: no one better." Hillary grabbed Shirley by the shoulders, dipped her low, and kissed her long and deep.
Shirley's hands folded gently around Hillary's waist and buttocks.
Hillary's hands crept towards Shirley's…schmidts.
"Ooh." Alan leaned forward, letting his suit jacket tent.
Finally Hillary let her go. Shooting Denny a V for Victory, she headed for the elevator with a parade of Secret Service persons in her wake, whispering into their collars.
Shirley gave Denny a tiny shrug. "Shirley Schmidt," she said in a fair caricature of him.
"Chicklet?" Denny offered Alan. He popped a handful himself.
"Tissue." Alan said, a certain chord of completion already in his voice.
Denny passed over the silk from his breast pocket.
Alan crammed it down his pants. "Ah. That's better." He wiggled around, then started to pull it out.
Denny held up his hands. "Keep it. Really. It's a gift."
Alan chuckled. "Why thank you, Denny. Every time I use it, I'll think of you."
"Mr. Shore--" An assistant came trotting towards them, some kind of legal file thing in her hand.
Denny waved her away. "We'll be on our balcony. Do not disturb for at least for an hour. Important lawyer stuff going on."
"Two hours." Alan corrected. "Seeing as I've already--"
"I'm twice your age," Denny interrupted. "If I only need one--"
"Well if I had an endless supply of little blue pills, then I too could--"
tried to give you some. You're the one who's always carrying
how sex should be natural. If God wanted sex to be natural,
the hell did He invent collagen? Or silicone?"
"I doubt that was God's doing."
"Maybe not your God," said Denny.
"I'm just saying that some things are too fine to be rushed."
"You were in a big enough hurry last night," Denny muttered loudly.
"That was different. I'd been…on…edge all day."
"Well maybe now I'm…edgy. Or hadn't you thought of that? How come you never think of my needs?"
"You seem to be handling that most capably."
"Damn straight, I am."
Still bickering, they trotted into Denny's office and locked the door.