Jennifer Rane Hancock
18 1/2 Minutes
(after Sheila Babbie’s “Lasso of Truth”)
HR Haldeman told me what was said, but only
honesty will set you free, Dick. Dick,
look at yourself. Penned up in your skivvies
and enjoying it. I’m not a dominatrix, Dick.
Pay attention. Tell me what you told Haldeman.
The boys got it right in The Post, yeah?
You know this crap wouldn’t fly on Paradise
Island. You can’t just use the power of the Presidency
to ruin everyone else’s day, Dick. Dick,
are you listening? We have to have it from you.
Your pardon has been revoked; Gerry sent me
himself. Yes, he’s tried the rope. No I don’t
want to tell you about it. Dick, please.
Your country needs to heal. The 70s have barely
started and it’s looking grim. Stop it. Stand
still. Yes, Alcatraz looks better in the movies.
Will you pay attention? The 18 1/2 minutes.
It’s important. The gas crisis is coming,
the hostages in Iran, kids running behind
mosquito trucks spraying DDT. It’s going to be
bad. And they’ll all point to that gap in the tapes
as the turning point. Not Vietnam. Not Kent
State. The gap. Dick!! This is your legacy
we’re talking about. Stop touching the rope.
First exhibition game on the moon. April 4, 2026
The cleats made sense but little else. Media stunt—
shimmering chalk outlines of an infield.
The eight dignitaries and oligarchs sat
strategically (Elon Musk’s webbed glove ready).
Back home we only half watched, the moon
always in the sky like a home run disappearing
into stadium lights. There were a few parties,
shared hot dogs. The desperation of these years:
the edict from Russia, the specter of
space colonization, rations.
A Cuban humidor shuttled in to keep
the white ball weighty enough for
history. Bobbie Thompson dead. Both New York
teams under domes now after nor’easters
canceled three Opening Days.
The players (four to a team) long retired,
space travel being what it is, muscle mass.
The 47 year old Cy Young winner juggled
a rosin bag (it floated off toward Castor
and Pollux) dug a moon boot toe into the rubber
and tossed it underhand like a President.
He fell back to second base and tilted his helmet
toward earth, the ball sailed over its curve. Like most
human endeavors it was poorly thought out,
pricey, uselessly beautiful. We watched on our phones
or didn’t. Someone did her laundry illegally
in the bathroom sink. India beat South Africa in
a cricket match. And everywhere gravity failed.