The sedatives turned out to be unnecessary. Ja had friends who had friends who made lovely passports for them all. The Citibank paid for first class tickets for six, passage which included cute little bottles of all sorts of spirits for the Extra Dimensionals to sample. Tante was particularly fond of the once called Irish Creme.
The group was gathering in a place among the giant redwoods of northern California, their final flight destination San Francisco. In the interim, they laid over for a few hours at LAX. Baltha took forever getting through immigration with her legitimate Iraqi passport, the only one of the group. Tante became entranced by what she saw on the video screens of the airport while she waited for her friend to get through.
There was a ritual taking place in the United States, one in which the citizens partook at regular intervals. Every four years the holders of the shekels would put shows up on the screens and airwaves and whoever put up the most shekels was allowed to bestow title of POTUS and the POTUS in turn was allowed to say things to the masses on screens all over the world in the interest of the shekelers.
One of the shekel wagglers had captivated Tante. Perhaps it was his hair, so bad that it was good. Perhaps it was the unique skin tone, she couldn’t quite place it, or the way his face screwed up as he said the vile things he said. Perhaps it was just those things that he said, those sour nothings, those bits of bilious reflux that are all sound and fury, signifying nothing more than bad diet. Perhaps it was that he wagged his own shekels, or at least he claimed to. Perhaps it was that she knew, deep down in her heart of hearts, nay, she felt it, felt it beyond pure reason, that this one was he for whom she was meant. He’d offended everyone else, she might be his last hope.
“I feel kind of sorry for him”. She said it in all sincerity. Her companions just stared at her, dumbfounded.
“He’s certainly got some darkness issues” Yin’s take.
“He’s shiny, though” Yang’s brighter perspective. The twins were subdued, contenting themselves with holding hands in the airport.
“He’s a capitalist douchebag who should be serving time in prison for desecration of the sites where his towers stand”. Ja was enjoying the trip, his Santa cum Marx look now rich with a healthy dose of Jerry Garcia.
“His ratings just keep going up; the more of the twittiness his twittering betweets, the more the masses like to sing his song.” Haile loved keeping up the with stats, was ready to add #hashtagmagic to #hackerartistry in all #onlineinteractions. The options for this technology seemed limitless, infinity between 0 and 1.
“No really. I mean, suppose he got elected? Could you imagine how awful it would be for him if he actually had to make any important decisions? All that bluster would blow right up in his face. It would be tragic.” Tante was starting to get an uneasy kind of feeling in her gut. It could very well be the beginning of the end if that happened. That was what the Apocalypse was all about, wasn’t it?
She picked up all the news magazines she could find in the airport gift shop. And Snickers. The flight from LAX to SFO was to be a blur of sugar and chocolate and nuts and candidates and Irish Cream in coffee. She was eager to meet the rest of their group, particularly those from the USA. She wanted to learn more of the ways of this strange culture that seemed to be marching over the world, spreading its madness.
This guy on TV was so hate filled it was unreal. Tante had yet to come across any actual human being who gave off a vibe as nasty as the words that this guy said would seem to carry. Even he didn’t give them off on the TV screen, it looked like a show, kind of like professional wrestling. She wanted to see him in person, to get a sense of who he really was.
Ja simply laughed when he saw her reading materials. He plugged in his ear buds and tuned into Nahko.
Tante rested her head against Baltha’s shoulder as the jet took off, savoring the chewy deliciousness of her first snickers.
“Really, B. There but for the grace of the gods go I. You have to have compassion for the guy.” The chocolate was blending nicely with the Irish Cream, producing a kind of caffeine fueled hyper awareness tempered by sugar and ethanol.
“You slay me Tante. You’re a poor old black woman walking into a world made for rich young white dudes carrying a name synonymous with everything bad to these people and you think the gods have graced you in some way that they’ve failed the rich white douchebag who wants to think himself the most powerful man in the world.”
“That’s just the point. He was born into bad hair and parents who had lots of shekels but not much love and they shipped him off to military school when he was a kid and just handed him shekels and told him not to fuck up so of course he just kept fucking up and trying to prove something and now he’s on the verge of potentially really fucking up and all he really wants is for somebody to love him.”
Tante sighed and the jet dipped, the fasten safety belt sign and drone voice kicking in advising them all to remain seated as they swung into a brief swoon of sadness.
“I’ve got it easy. All that’s expected of me is that I be a bitch, raise hell, act the Crontrarian, help this system on its way into the garden of new beginnings. I’ve got you, and nobody does white horse the way that you do. I’m here to remind them that life can be a bitch sometimes, blaring the trumpets of the Apocalypse. That poor bastard doesn’t know what to do, so he just scrunches up his face and says stuff and throws shekels around.”
“He doesn’t even realize that they’re all just 0’s and 1’s.” Haile's statement hung in the air of the cabin for a long time, resonated off the walls of the tube and ran through the circulation system a few times before Tante drifted off to sleep.
The End is Near