My flight left on time, I was still queasy, no doubt due to the events of the last few days. Sally was in the aisle seat; as I looked out the window to the landscape of Iceland disappearing in the fog Sally leaned over and spoke in my ear:
"You need to grow into your role in the campaign, Billy. You'll be spending a lot of time on airplanes, and even more time in hotel rooms. You'll have to perform as if you were in a play, but no ad-libbing, none."
"How can I pull this off? Won't people see through me? What about Billy's half-sisters? What about the senator's wife?"
"The twins hardly know Billy, they were infants when you went to college, and aside from a few drunken appearances at Christmas, haven't seen much of their 'older brother' at all. Nora, your step-mother, already knows whats going on."
"What's your stake in this, Sally? Or is that privileged information?"
"Nora and I go way back. She helped me when I needed it most, and I'll help her, and the Senator, whenever they need it."
The attendant brought the beverage cart down the aisle. The thought of alcohol repulsed me, I motioned to what I thought was orange soda.
"Uh, yeah, OK."
Sally smiled, "Apple Sin? The cause of Adam's fall:
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.You'll get to know good and evil, Billy. Let your eyes be opened. You'll get along fine if your mouth shall be shut."
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
For God doth know that in the day
ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened,
and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
I took a sip of the soda, the can said it was "Limonade" but it tasted like nothing I'd ever had before. Not sweet, not citrus and certainly not apple, but it was a good match for my parched condition. I wondered if I'd ever get back to normal eating habits. I leaned back in my seat and closed my eyes.
"Before you nod off, I want you to know that I'll be on your side, if you'll only let me. Nora is a powerful woman, and she can be blunt with those who she feels aren't supporting her. You will have to put up with a lot of grief from her, with no reward. She can be awful at times, but you'll just have to grin and bear it."
"I'm beginning to understand why Billy was on the run." I couldn't imagine Billy ever letting any woman have the upper hand.
Sally gripped my arm and looked me right in the eyes.
"Billy once said to me 'The only way I could make Nora happy would be if I walked through a mile of her shit just to kiss her ass.' That's not far from the truth." Sally's mien softened a bit as she spoke: "Pleasant dreams, Billy."