Tuesday, January 6, 2009


efferson looks up from his book and recognizes the passenger waiting to alight the carriage. He swears under his breath, then grins maliciously and moves his leather portfolio to the seat next to him, thus forcing Hamilton to squeeze into the tiny front seat of the cab. — My dear Hamilton! What an unexpected … pleasure.

Hamilton snorts contemptuously as he squeezes into the forward compartment. — Ahh, yes, Jefferson … a pleasure indeed.

Jefferson — Nasty weather this. The rain renders the streets of our new capitol well nigh impassable, don’t you think?

Hamilton — Indeed … in fact I recall someone pressing to build our seat of government upon this very tract of virulent swampland. Someone supposedly schooled in architecture and science, if memory serves.

Jefferson smiles thinly at the jab, points to Hamilton’s dripping briefcase. — So … how go the banking reforms? I understand you are still pressing for a centralized bank, despite the potentially disastrous effects upon our young nation.

Hamilton — Indeed, though it seems certain parties remain stubbornly arrayed against it, despite our pressing need for industrialization and capital. Apparently unwashed serfdom is all some Americans aspire to. Speaking of ignorant peasants, how go your various pursuits as a “gentleman farmer”? Monticello still in debt? Roof still leaking?

Hamilton begins to irritably brush water from his wig and his shoulders; the wig’s powder streams down onto his jacket and trousers.

Jefferson’s knuckles go white on his cane; he points gingerly at Hamilton’s powder stains. — You really should think about forgoing the wig, dear Hamilton. One should rely on one’s own coiffure and dispense with the bothersome things. Assuming one still has enough manliness in his veins to maintain and nourish his own hair, of course …

Hamilton replies with a sneer, then holds up the corner of his wig to show his still-intact hairline underneath. — Thankfully I do have my own hair under my wig. I prefer to keep proof of my manliness concealed under the proper social attire, unlike some gentlemen whose trousers cannot seem to shield or restrain their lustful parts, especially around the help. Speaking of which, how fares the lovely Sally Fleming? I have heard of several accounts of her young sons bearing a striking resemblance to the “Lord of the Manor,” no doubt due to their close proximity to his radiance …

Jefferson purples with rage, but holds his voice down through gritted teeth. — Yes, speaking of radiance and close proximity, how go your attempts at currying favor with dear Washington? One hears such scandalous rumors about the old man forced to verily cane away certain parties, lest they attach themselves permanently like swamp eels or sea lamprey, or shamelessly tunnel their already browned noses further up his backside.

Hamilton blinks, harrumphs, then sniggers and leans forward ominously Speaking of browned noses and backsides, one hears even more sinister whisperings about a certain Virginia gentleman accompanying the bloated old letch Franklin during his romp through France, leaving a veritable trail of perversion as they partook of satanic rituals, notably kissing the rear quarters of demonic black cats. To say nothing of visits to dens of utter depravity like the notorious Hellfire Club of Paris, where members whip young girls whilst dressed in all manner of lady’s clothing and equine tack!

Jefferson goes pale for a moment, but manages to compose himself and rally — I have it on good authority that the “Virginia gentleman” whom you accuse of such unseemly behavior in fact never joined Franklin on his depraved excursions into the blighted underbelly of Paris. In truth he was laboring night and day to foster vital relations with our vital French allies! And speaking of clothing, one hears rumblings of a certain New Yorker who delights in dressing up himself in the swaddlings of a newborn babe, whilst his paramour poses as his mother, spoon feeding him whey, cleaning his porridge-splattered countenance, and even changing his freshly soiled nappies!

Hamilton sputters and shouts — I never wore nappies! You insolent, hemp-addled cur, I’ll—

He rises from his seat in a fury, banging his head fiercely on the carriage roof in the process; the impact startles him, but does allow him a moment to regain his composure. He begins to formulate an even more outlandish rejoinder, then looks outside and realizes they are arriving at his destination. — Well, dearest Jefferson, fortunately for you, we have come to my stop, and I am presently too occupied with the unctuous boil that is Aaron Burr, or I would truly take you to task for your vicious insults and baseless innuendo. Perhaps after I finish with him, I can assist you in, how did you phrase it, “watering the tree of liberty with revolutionary blood”?

Jefferson — Oh yes, of course, I have heard about your ongoing war of words with the redoubtable Mr. Burr. May the least unctuous boil emerge victorious.

Hamilton bangs his cane fiercely on the outside of the carriage to get the coachman to halt. He brusquely forces his way out the door, “accidentally” dragging his wet case across Jefferson’s white linen shirt and pristine breeches. He exits the carriage, glares hatefully back at his adversary, then throws a mere twopence in through the window, stiffing Jefferson with the majority of the carriage fare.

Jefferson flashes a rude gesture at Hamilton’s retreating back, then leans his head out the cab’s rear window as the carriage pulls away and shouts after his adversary. — My coin is on Burr!

Daniel McArdle is a freelance graphic designer/trailing spouse/kept man living in Hong Kong with his wife and two daughters. He presently finds solace in short story rejections, and on soccer pitches, exhibiting a surprising knack for goal. He also amuses himself by correcting those who believe him to be Canadian (he is not, but he generally takes it as a compliment). His latest work can be found in print and online at sites like Pindeldyboz, Hobart, and Monkeybicycle. His expat ramblings can be found at hongkongblong.com.

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