Are we live?
So, um, the president’s birdie is thick, like a thumb, and hard to find under the paunch and hair that make a nest for it to rest—or repose, if you think it’s better to be poetic when discussing the penises of powerful men. Or am I being too controversial again? Just trying to be totally honest. Guess sometimes that’s the same thing.
I should just talk? Okay. I like that: Vita Nova, raw and unedited. Welcome to her celebrity tell-all memoir. Its setting: a sweaty, heaving country, where the future’s always promised, and men act like boys, and women are punished for their power. The time: ever now. The plot: a lost lass rises from the ashes; a desperate assassin brandishes a pistol; a government falls to a scandal everyone calls Sexy-Sexygate. The players: a flawed man who boxed and acted his way to the presidency; his Koran-toting nemesis in the Senate; a horny bishop; a God-fearing warlord; an American naval officer offering a way out; a washed-up reporter redeemed by one last scoop; a poor little rich boy dying with his dynasty; and, of course, a high school sweetheart driven mad by decades of disappointment.
Juicy enough for you? She’s got legs, right? Viewer discretion is advised.
Let’s start with with the downfall, shall we? The president’s pitutoy—bigger than you’d guess, smaller than he thinks. I’d lay my head on his lap and talk to it: Hello there, little sir, you look noble, even terrifying; why do I make you so angry? It resembled Mussolini in those books the president left by my toilet. Did you know that we spend a life’s total of 90 days sitting on the can? Never one to waste time, the president would read about great leaders. Lee Kwan Yew, FDR, Napoleon. Or the speeches of Lincoln and JFK. He particularly admired Hitler. But with me, he liked being led. He’d watch my French-tips glint as I made his brown bird march, dance, sing the national anthem. Stretched it like the thick rubber bands around my allowance. Kissed it gently, declaring: Viva il Duce!
When I made the president smile, he almost looked like the old romantic hero on the silver screen. “Vita,” he’d say, “My life”—combing my hair between his fingers with such sincerity, touching my face like a blind lover wishing a final farewell. Brylcreem, Marlboros, and sex—that’s what his stubby fingers smelled like. They were surprisingly gentle. Not even the rain has such small hands. He’d rub my temples—like a nuzzled kiss, or the muzzle of a gun. I’d close my eyes and proclaim: Viva President Fernando V. Estregan!
I know—super corny to death, huh? But isn’t romance just cheesy moments idealized? God blessed me with a photogenic memory, and this autobiography will be through the lens of my past relationships. Because we often misunderestimate the influence of past lovers in shaping who become. They hurt us, and we’re like, fine, okay, be that way, screw you, didn’t like you anyway. But that’s not honest.
So we start these interviews with my last love, Fernando. And we’ll end with my first love, Loy. Isn’t fate strange? How it pushed the two of them together and changed us all?
There’s no turning back. The honorable members of Congress are debating whether to recommend impeachment to the Senate. Lawyers are preparing for plunder charges, just in case. And the president’s even… what’s the word? Recused himself. Voluntary house arrest—his great show of transparency. Poor guy. I miss his drama.
And then I see my bruises. They’re mostly faded, but there’s one on my ribs, in fiendish yellow, where he kicked until I opened my hand and gave up the voice recorder. Can you see the darkness around my left eye? No? Thank God for makeup. But I still have nightmares. My mother—may she rest in peace—she used to warn me about men like him.
Excerpt from I Was the President Mistress
05/17/2022: Essay by Miguel Syjuco in the New York Times
04/12/2022: Miguel Syjuco’s “I Was the President’s Mistress!!” Reviewed in the New York Times
03/18/2022: Forthcoming Novel by Miguel Syjuco