By Chris Andersen, creator of The Ego and the Squid
“Oh Tippacanoe, I want to swallow your seed and have the babies grown in my belly.” This was a joke between them. They smiled at the familiarity of it. Inside jokes and the familiar feel of a lover’s arms; these were the flotsam that they clung to in the choppy surf that was the 1840 presidential election. Here in William Henry’s much-touted log cabin, Martin could leave the vitriol of the campaign trail behind. Both men patriots, they longed to serve their country, though this longing took different forms.
Martin Van Bueren longed to shape the country as his Masonic masters saw fit, molding it to their perfect architecture. William Henry Harrison longed to wash away the nation’s depression in a sea of hard cider.
But more than this, they longed for each other. If it were not for the call to serve they both felt, they long ago would have headed to the territories to spend their twilight years in pastoral bliss. Was this not the American Dream? Martin finally learning to paint; William Henry trapping ermines as a coureur de bois. Each man knew in his heart that they owed their nation their service, though, and this life was not mean to be, and so William Henry pulled Martin closer to him and they each dreamed as they watched the fire crackle in the fireplace.
William Henry leaned forward and kissed Martin atop his bald head before inhaling deeply. The salty smell of Martin’s scalp filled his Roman nose. Martin turned to face him and reached upwards with his lips. William Henry placed a hand on his cheek and led him in. Their kissing was tender at first. Martin felt if they could just keep kissing like this, time would stop. This one moment would last forever. If they could only keep kissing.
But they both wanted more.
William Henry pulled Martin up to his lap and slid an assured hand under his shirt. His weathered fingers slid along Martin’s soft flesh sliding to the small of his back. Martin moaned as William Henry kissed down the length of his neck, Martin’s pronounced sideburns tickling William Henry’s ears.
Their garments soon lay in a pile on floor next to the men two men on the bear skin rug. William Henry’s skin taught and wan, Martin’s blotchy pink and round; the two surrounding and enveloping one another. The cabin echoed with kisses, moans and creaks, as the two candidates shot up in the poles. Spent, they roll away from each other.
“You know what I’m going to do if I win it, Van Beuren?” William Henry said. “I’m going to give the longest danged inaugural speech this country ever heard. I tell you what, people will remember William Henry Harrison!”
“I know I will, Tippacanoe,” said Martin. “I know I will.”