Steve Israel is the Democratic congressman representing New York’s third district. For years, he chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, until stepping aside following his party’s major losses in the 2014 midterms.
At some point during his busy schedule, Israel found the time to write a book, titled The Global War on Morris. It’s a political satire—a “comical cautionary tale for the digital age”— vaguely inspired by his time in Washington, D.C. (The novel is dedicated to Dick Cheney.)
The 289-page satire follows Morris Feldstein, a pharmaceutical salesman who gets seduced by a lonely receptionist. This kicks off a chain of events that makes Morris a prime target of America’s bloated surveillance state.
The congressman’s new novel was praised by Paul Begala and MSNBC host Chris Matthews. It also contains some clunky passages of adultery, temptations of the flesh, and general sexual awkwardness. Here are four of them:
1. FLESHY BOOBS
Flesh. Hassan tried so hard not to notice, but it was impossible. Flesh encircled him at the main pool of the Paradise Hotel and Residences at Boca. Fleshy breasts taunted him from low bikini tops, and fleshy thighs sloped from bikini bottoms. There were stomachs, taut and flat, but also undulating bellies, soft and bloated from the breakfast buffet. There was deep brown flesh, and bronze flesh, and pallid white flesh, and flesh turned red from the hot sun. Creases in the flesh ran in all directions, plunging into and swooping out of swimsuits, leading Hassan’s eyes to forbidden places. There were also the fleshy remains of the seniors who migrated to Florida from all points north. The nanas and poppies and grannies and grampses who flocked there to roast in the sun. They became so brown and shriveled that they looked like walking beef jerky with New York accents.
And how these people positioned themselves! Sprawled on chaise lounges with their knees high in the air and their legs spread wide. They splayed their arms across each other’s bodies, or sometimes wedged themselves into a single chaise lounge, interlocking their perspiring bodies in a helix position, flesh on flesh.
It wasn’t easy being a celibate terrorist and pool towel attendant at the Paradise
His reward was nearing. Within months, God willing, his task would be complete…Paradise wouldn’t be the name of the hotel where he worked, but the afterlife he had been promised. Paradise, where he would meet the seventy-two virgins. In the flesh.
He closed his eyes, imagining the virgins, imagining away the pain in his head and groin.
2. BAD SEX, BAD ADULTERY
Victoria’s hand patted his thigh, in the geographic center between his knee and his crotch.
The convergence of these signs lit Morris up like a firecracker. His instincts took over, hijacking his body from his good senses and sending it into a frenzy. Whoooooa, his mind screamed, but his arms didn’t listen. They wrapped themselves around Victoria’s shoulders like a snake around its prey. Morris had experienced the pleasure of having his arms around only one other pair of shoulders in his life, Rona’s. These seemed narrower, and sturdier. And as he adjusted to this change in circumstances, he screamed at himself a second time: Wait! But his fingers moved through her silky strands of hair, and then down her neck.
And before he could summon the strength and the discipline to stop, Victoria was falling into the mattress, and pulling Morris with her.
Gottenyu, he thought.
Earlier, as he walked to Victoria in the Bayview parking lot, Morris had learned that there are forces that propel men to do things they will regret. And now, with Victoria’s skirt somewhere in the vicinity of her knees and heading south, he learned that there are forces even more powerful. Supernaturally deflating forces.
Like guilt. Guilt, when dispensed in the circumstances Morris occupied, is the anti-Viagra. It is what some people call “a mood killer.”
He felt his body grow limp (like one of those high-speed films of a flower wilting). But he wasn’t sure whether he and Victoria had finished what they had started out to do. He was pretty sure nothing had happened to him. He thought he had detected a satisfied moan from Victoria. And so he looked at her, smiled, and offered a polite “Is everything okay?”
She narrowed her eyes, bit her lip as if to chew over the question, and whisked some stray blond hairs away from her face. “Yes. That was nice. It was very nice.”
3. STRIP CLUBBIN’
Ricardo Montoyez loved a good lap dance. Particularly at the Merry-Go-Round Lounge in Melville.
The club was dingy and cramped and reeked of stale beer. “Entertainers” prowled the floor in search of a parking spot on someone’s lap. Gun N’ Roses blared from overhead speakers.
He looked across the room, past the dancing and writhing Brandees and Stormees, and saw a man sitting by the stage, focusing on two massive and bare breasts approaching his face.
4. FUN WITH FOOD
Morris struggled to straighten his back, which involved stiffening a spine rarely used.
He lifted a limp, bony hand. He wriggled a finger, inviting the General to come closer. The General put his ear to Morris’s dry lips, so close that Morris could see the soft nicks and stubble on his scalp.
Morris searched for whatever strength was left in his malnourished body. He felt something swelling in his otherwise empty belly.
Morris croaked into the ear of the Brigadier General:
“Fuck the pastrami.”
There was a time in his life when Morris couldn’t muster the courage to send back a lukewarm cup of coffee at the diner, much less tell a Brigadier General to perform a sexual act with his favorite cold cut.
But, as Hillel might have said, if not now, when?
Israel isn’t the first lawmaker to craft a sex scene. During the 2006 elections, Republican George Allen accused Jim Webb, his Democratic opponent, of writing inappropriate, graphic sex scenes and misogynistic language into his works of fiction.