by Ryan W. Bradley

Taft usually liked to compose love letters in the bath, but not today. Today was his inauguration and his stomach had been attacked by a rabble of butterflies. But Nellie, his sweet Nellie, she always knew how to soothe him. She had even offered to ride down Pennsylvania Avenue by his side. No other President’s wife had ever done that.

“Taffy,” she said, her voice like honey. That alone was enough to pace Taft’s heart rate. “Taffy,” she said. “Take a warm bath, it will calm your nerves.”

There was time still before the inauguration. He had rehearsed his speech countless times over the last few days, poor Nellie watching as he paced his way around the house. Even in the bath he couldn’t keep from running through the words he’d come to know by heart. He tried to put it out of mind. He tried to think of his wife instead. It seemed the larger he’d grown, the more beautiful and petite she had become. He closed his eyes, imagined her undoing the corset binding her midsection, her breasts springing loose.

Taft reached around his belly, squeezed tight by the sides of the bath, and took hold of his erection. His blood surged, his face flushed. He tried to turn, readjust, but his flesh held tight in the porcelain confines. He let go of himself and tried to get leverage by holding the sides of the tub. He didn’t budge. He groaned and called out for Nellie.

When she entered the room, Taft’s erection got a second surge despite his predicament. She was already wearing her new dress, but for a moment he could think of nothing but her pink nipples, the color of the blossoms on her beloved Japanese cherry trees.

“Oh, Taffy,” she said, reaching into the water, “did you need a hand?”

Her grip was more delicate than his own. Still, he was quickly out of breath, her steady rhythm making him forget anything else. He sucked in his gut, instinctively, reaching forward to pull Nellie to him. A primal instinct if ever he knew one. His stomach squeaked against the sides of the tub, sloshing water over the sides. Nellie playfully slapped his hands as he was about to grab her chest.

“Not my new dress,” she said.

Taft huffed and slid backward to get momentum, then lunged forward grabbing Nellie by her arm and pulling her over the side of the bath. Her knees pushed between his legs, her torso draped over the mound of his own.

“William,” she said.

Taft kissed his wife, his hands tearing at her bodice. He could feel her hands laboring to make room for pulling her dress up. His erection was pressing against her ankle at the moment. Within hours he would be the President of the United States of America. Worse than that, he was uncertain he could get out of his own bath. For the moment, however, his political obligations and growing discomfort could wait. He had more important lands to marshal.



Ryan W. Bradley’s new novel is CODE FOR FAILURE (Black Coffee Press). He lives in Oregon with his wife and two sons. Read the next story, WOODROW WILSON, here.

* thanks to Amber Sparks and Brian Carr for their editorial work on this project.