They glared at each other angrily, hungrily from across what would become the field of battle. Abandoned cars, shopping carts, orange buckets and blue hats littered the asphalt expanse between them, while bits of paper receipts and clear cellophane drifted across the open highway lanes like commercial specters, lost souls yet to be. The Candidate and The President, outwardly calm, inwardly screaming; smug expression on the one, ever grinning, folds of her jowls rippling slightly in the breeze. The Candidate, a white-hot glint in his eye, sinews in his forearm taught as he gripped Protester, his weapon and symbol. Two frothing, seething mobs of flesh and blood and bone, malice and outrage, smugness and righteousness and misguided shouts surged and swayed like a blood-drunk sea. The President looked to the Candidate and, even across that void, he could tell she looked directly into his eye. Both mobs went silent as the grave, as the President cleared her throat, prepared to speak…
Months of verbal feuding and personal attacks, typical of any political campaign, led to this moment of moments, this penultimate defining of the American dream present and future. Not the work hard, pull yourself by your bootstraps American dream; that version was long recognized as “deadengon.” It had evolved “strangely,” as pundits and so-called philosophers would say. The truth is that this evolution was as natural as evolution itself. The American dream now reflected a grab for power, a world in which those with the courage and the financial capital seized more and more and more. Idiots and dreamers and power-hungry madfolk grabbed seats in the senate, the congress, in the White House itself. Survival of the fittest. Power to the power-mad; meekness to the meek.
The campaign began the way they all do; appeals to their own character and credibility began positively, gave way to minor jabs, gave way to all out assault on the persons standing in the way of true power: the presidency. Tim Mormney, an establishment Democrat and amateur philosopher / singer (earning him the nickname “The Bard of the Bowery”), thought he had the tenacity and the outright viciousness to navigate the campaign trail’s crimson pathways. He was wrong. Even for all of his New York savvy and sophistication, it was a “down-home country gal” who won the day.
Mormney was beaten out by a fat, smug, ever grinning woman, of all people, as women were rarely seen in politics in this age. They won minor, consolatory positions like in the senate, in local cabinets, possibly even as a judge.
Gillespie Hardham McClintock was as obtuse as a wall and built like a barn, the proverbial cinder block latrine. Her face was broad and flat; her jowls wagged whenever she mustered the strength for a “fiery” speech, but generally hung in a relaxed attitude, content as she herself. The broad, flat nature of her face earned her the nickname “ShovelFace” by early internet “trolls” (as they were known in those days), fueling her desire for power over these would-be critics, these talkers, these complainers and malcontents.
She was not just famous, but infamous even before announcing her plans to run for office. Her family’s brand of hotels, steakhouses, glitzy-new movie theaters and over-the-top jewelry made the McClintock’s hated even by the filthy, stinking rich. They were the envy of envy itself. They were money and power incarnate. They were elections, seats in the Vatican, chairs of clandestine midnight-meeters and schemers even against their own kind.
The rich. The hungry. The mad.
The election was hers even before she bought it, although, given her family’s reputation for “disappearing” critics, no one would have used the word “bought” in the same sentence as a McClintock campaign, even in a darkened parking garage.
Running sadly, desperately, as frantically as if the very Earth’s future were at stake, was her top rival Gernie T. Prumpt. He was young and vivacious and restless, despite being in his late 40s, the very picture of the fool-dreamer-idealist made fun of on an almost daily basis on radio shows and FAX News broadcasts and conservative publications like Right-Heart News. Right-Heart even referred to him once as “The Savior of the Jew” and a perfect example of the “All-inclusive, rainbow gang mentality.” His proposals for energy-efficient modes of mass transit were even dismissed by Right-Heart as veiled attempts to gain his “Hebrew” army of funders and supporters even more wealth, while the modes of public transit were disregarded as “out of date Ford Fiesta’s” intended to “cram in the dredges of society like clowns in a car” that would, one day, “no doubt be littered with burrito wrappers and copies of the Communist Manifesto.”
Despite all of the controversy, despite all of the negativity, despite his lack of funding (the “Radical Jews” were nowhere to be found), support from what was supposed to be his own party, despite all of the hate and fear and shit being slung in his direction, he persevered. Nevertheless, he persevered.
In fact, it was Prumpt who wound up giving McClintock a run for her money (only in the figurative sense; her fortune was protected better than the American people themselves). On the night of the great election, Prumpt, along with the majority of his supporters and detractors within the Democratic party, believed he would win.
Devastation to the Left’s morale struck like a bucket of water dumped on an anthill. Chaos. Confusion. Even literal death, in the case of a few elderly supporters. The shock was bound only by one’s ability to comprehend shocking things.
McClintock, as should have been assumed all along, was the one who persevered. She won.
But out of the ashes of election day rose something more great and terrifying than the United States of America, and much of the world, had seen in close to 200 years.
The makings of Civil war. Civil war itself.
McClintock supporters, most of them supporters from the moment she pledged her blind, unwavering support for second amendment rights, showed up in droves. It was as bad as any of the rural stereotypes had ever been, many of them even holding signs proclaiming their open desire to “shoot a hippy.” Hordes of denim-clad, blue-hat-wearing, salt-of-the-Earth types screaming “baby killer” at anyone who happened to walk by. Mobs of people unchecked by any branch of government, beating homosexuals bold enough to publicly hold hands, Muslims brave enough to wear a hijab or sport a crescent moon, Mexicans daring enough to speak Spanish or speak out against actions taken to deport them, silence them, separate them from their families.
The Democratic reaction to all of this was slow to gain momentum. The Left was furious. At first, only the youngest, most idealistic and most die-hard Prumpt supporters began protesting corporations, local senators’ offices, pro-gun rallies and the like. Yet the more the McClintock supporters’ crowd increased in size, in volume, in sheer brazenness of action (the Left drew the line when a transgender child, an eight-year-old girl, was beaten nearly to death and then publicly hung), the greater their ranks swelled.
Before long, it was all too apparent to the majority of the country that war was imminent. There once had been time to talk, before McClintock openly incited violence and before she so casually did nothing to reprimand the actions of what was becoming her own personal army… but things had degraded too far for that.
All that remained was to organize a time, a place, the terms, in Sharks-versus-Jets fashion; however, instead of terms like “the peer,” “five on five,” and “chains, knives, bottles,” the terms were starkly different.
The place: nowheresville, OH. A swing state. A place that once held significance when the civility and morality of elections once held value. Before a dictator could defeat even a loss in the popular election, all the while spouting conspiracy theories, touting her gender as the reason so few would vote for her popularly.
The terms: free for all. Nothing was banned. This was war.
The time: high noon, November 7. One year from election day.
Now, in the gathering cold of November, the crowds surged and swelled and barely kept themselves constrained to vague, amoeba-like masses. Both sides frothed and fomented, calling for the blood of the other. The diversity and uniqueness of the American populace now negated by dumb, unmitigated bloodlust and the chance to strike down one who disagreed with another.
Violence would rule the day. Death wheeled in the skies overhead, drooling at the corner’s of it’s crooked mouth, beak clacking and gnawing on the mere thought of the carrion to come.
A victor would be determined, although, ultimately, all would despair.
Prumpt flexed his sinewed forearm and renewed the tense grip he had on Protestor, replica of a sign he once held in his youth. This copy was made from steel pipe with a metal square attached at the end, corners sharp as Prumpt’s wit, words lazer engraved into it’s face reading: “This machine kills fascists.”
Gillie unsheathed her own weapons, dual symbols that meant so little to her, but were used to her credit and discredit so regularly before the days of censorship. In her right hand, a titanium incarnation of the male symbol, it’s tip sharpened to the point where piercing flesh was made quite simple, quite easy, quite effortless. She held this in her right hand because, despite running as the only female candidate, she knew it was her baser, maler, more belligerent traits that got her elected in the first place. In her left, the female symbol, tiny studs embedded in the points of the cross, ready to punch holes in the skulls of would-be detractors and so-called enemies.
She had no enemies. This country belonged to her, she thought. All would be named “supporters” of McClintock in the coming days.
Enough. It was time. McClintock raised the male symbol and a hush fell over her crowd. Without a word, she pointed the female symbol at Prumpt and The Left, bellowed out an awful, war-like moan, and The Consituents, her personal army of blue-collars, hill-billies, working-classers and jobbers surged forward with a slight delay, the way the Trojan Horse must have first begun lumbering toward Troy.
Prumpt swalled profoundly, looked at the ground for a moment, admired the bottle caps and twist-ties rumbling to the tune of The Constituents, and mounted a boulder, facing The Left:
“My friends, it is time. If you still hold dear what you believed in when you first embarked on this journey with me… it is time.”
The crowd cheered, albeit somberly, solemnly, without the apparent glee of The Constituents.
The last intelligible words to leave Prumpt’s mouth were as follows: “War!”
Slowly, deliberately, as if in a death-march, The Left moved toward the battlefield.
War had come to America.