A milquetoast family of whitebred, Country Living subscribing Americans debates me on the moral clarity of my Repub aunt at a posh Brentwood country club.
"Well I think she's a real bitch," the mother of the clan sniffs, throwing back her cardigan over her hunchback shoulders.
"She's Southern Baptist. They have the moral clarity of Nazis," the Dad remarks.
I can't believe what I'm hearing. Sure, my Repub aunt's no saint, but who is really?
"You know," I tell them, "she really means well. And to people who don't know her, sometimes she can come across as pushy or overbearing. But don't call her a bitch.
She's a good person and certainly not that."
All four of the Family Milquetoast look at me like I just ripped a noxious fart.
We're now standing in the salad line and junior Milquetoast is lifting his plates to the heavens as if they are some holy sacrament.
"And by the way," I tell them, "you aren't exactly the harbingers of liberal tolerance yourselves. I heard what you said to the black couple over there."
Mama Milquetoast is aghast. She nearly chokes on the ice cubes she's been sucking.
"Me?" she says, putting her hands on her heart, all emotionally wounded.
"What's next? Are you going to berate an Asian family?" I ask. "Are you gonna go, 'ching-chong-ching, please to meet you, sir. Ching-chong-ching?'"
Daughter Milquetoast, bless her heart, strokes her flowered hairpin and looks about ready to burst into a fit of tears.
"And you son," I say, pointing to junior Milquetoast, "are you going to befuddle Mexicans with all your 'yo quiero Taco Bell' talk?"
By now, a crowd of onlookers puddles around the proceedings and you can hear the collective gasp. Spoons are dropped into bowfuls of french onion soup.
I turn to leave and now, to me (the dreamer), it's painstakingly clear. I'm the hero of a new ABC television series from the creators of Ugly Betty. The series follows the misadventures of a twentysomething with a heart of gold and his sidekick, a Stuart Little-esque titmouse. We've just witnessed a crucial scene in the series finale.
The camera pans as a black hand reaches out to grab me. It's the hand of Isaiah Washington, the disgraced fag-spewing actor from Grey's Anatomy. He's playing the role of the country club owner who yearns to kick me to curb after my "ching-chong" incident.
"Talk to the civil rights leader I befriended in episode one," I tell Isaiah. "He's a good character reference."
Music swells (is it a power ballad from Journey?) as I reach the staircase and dig through the confines of my shoebox. Sure enough, Stuart Little is there crumpled up over a mouse-sized issue of Satan's Journal. It's the one with Rufus Wainwright on the cover.
When Stuart sees that I spot his deviant homosexual ways, he scurries into the corner of the shoebox under his miniature lamp.
"Aw Stuart," I croon, "I love you even if you like taking it up the ass."
And cue commercial break.