The Unending March [An Alternative History of Trumpism]

*this is a piece of speculation political fiction with just a hint of satire written in the form of a Wikipedia article form the future. The purpose is imagine what all this craziness from the white house might be building to while envision how peace might come out of chaos and tragedy. We should not take Trump’s idiocy or bluster lightly. When the autocrat says he is coming for you believe him! I believe we can prevent violence in the long run if we build for transformation and autonomy now*

Overview:

 

The Unending March.

The Unending March, also called the Bloody March or the March of Blood, is a series of mass arrests and political purges carried out by the Federal Order of Police and the Proud Boy Brigades in January of 2019. It was part of Donald Trump’s attempt to consolidate power ahead of the Calexit, as the California Succession movement was then known. Despite its legacy as the beginning of political purge of the American left, most of the causalities were actually political moderates and rival members of the Republican Party and the armed forces. The most famous killing was the public execution of the 26th Secretary of the Department of Defense James Norman “Jim” Mattis by John Carver Johnson on January 30th during a press conference.

The Term “Unending March” comes from a speech by then Vice President Mike Pence who, at the March for American Patriots on January 20, 2019 said that “believers in America liberty most [sic] not allow social degenerates to rule our streets. In response to marches of feminist and queers we need an unending march of American patriots in every city of this great country.” After the bombings of the New York and Chicago subway systems later that afternoon were blamed on queer anarchist supposedly funded by ISIS, the coalition of white nationalist and anti-immigrant groups called the American People’s Army began making internet memes calling for mass violence against LGBTQ people, Arabs, Muslims and Black Lives Matter activists using the phrase “Unending March.”

The morning after the bombings President Donald Trump attempted to institute a nationwide martial law despite there being fewer than 10 casualties and the suspects being quickly identified and apprehended by local police departments. On January 22nd, Secretary Mattis said that he felt a nationwide martial law was completely uncalled for given the circumstances and recommended that the America people try to heal the divides that had been growing under the Trump administration through “understanding and respectful dialogue.” This in turn caused Donald Trump to publically call for Mattis’ resignation, though he later backtracked on that call after the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a statement against marshal law.

The newly appointed head of the Federal Order of Police, Edwardo Pena, was tasked by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “root out the enemy where ever he may be.” Edwardo Pena began working through his newly created office to coordinate the national police response through the Fraternal Orders of Police. Though this coordination would be later ruled unconstitutional, Edwardo was able to coordinate the arrest and detention of over 10,200 activist, organizers and journalist who had been flagged under the now infamous “Law and Order” program which monitored protestors. These mass arrests triggered wide spread protests which eventually became uprisings in 13 cities.

Memo’s leaked by Wiki Leaks in 2020 later revealed that the Uprisings had been planned by the Trump Administration who increased militarized policing through the so called “War on Drugs” while eliminating human services spending hoping that the increase in crime would justify even more authoritarian actions by the administration. Despite the chaos, many Democratic and moderate republican governors and mayors refused to call in the National Guard to stop the uprisings. This led to the American People’s Army to call for a mass mobilization across the country which eventually led to the paramilitary group attacking politicians and military leaders who were openly critical of the Trump regime.

Over 300 hundred movement leaders, politicians and military leader were killed in the ensuing chaos. Though it has never be substantiated, it is widely believed that members of Donald Trump’s administration provided the paramilitary forces with names and locations of individuals to target. A series of memos leaked to the British magazine The Guardian, later known as the Trump papers or red papers, did confirm that Donald Trump personally ordered Edwardo Pena to target activists with whom he had personal enmity towards including members of the group Black Lives Matter. These memos would later led to Donald Trump’s impeachment, the resignation of Mike Pence and the criminal trials of Jeff Sessions and Edwardo Pena.

Many scholars believe that the Unending March would have sparked a Second American Civil War had the World War 3 not started with the Invasion of Qatar 6 months later and following UN Syrian Resolution Crisis in the winter. The uprisings in American cities continued for many months including the D.C uprising in May of 2019 which forced the inauguration of President Paul Ryan to retreat to Camp David and resulted in the burning of the capital building by the newly established Maroon Society.

 

Calexit and Anti-Trumpism

 

Donald Trump was elected in the “Stolen Election of 2016” in which a confluence of the archaic Electoral College system, massive voter repression by the Republican Party, Russian political influence, an apathetic electorate and the first use of psychometrics in an American election. He lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes and was inaugurated under mass protests as the least popular America president in history. Though modern scholars generally classify the Donald Trump administration as a plutocratic kleptocracy it was widely seen as proto-fascist by its contemporaries. The rise of “Trumpism” as it was called, coincided with a rise in the American left, particularly in the anti-authoritarian and anti-racist tendencies as many Americans began to view liberalism and conservatism as two parts of the same problem that caused the years of political dysfunction that had preceded Trump.

The left leaning and most populous American state of California, now part of the Western American Maroon Society, voted in 2018 to have a special election on California succession. This vote came after a heated legal battle over California’s right to stop payments to the federal government which had threatened to bankrupt the country just a few months before. In addition, the two years of Trump’s administration saw months of mass mobilizations against his agenda. This period of America history would later be dubbed the “Era of Marches”, due to the 26 marches on Washington with over 6,000,000 people that the period saw.

Trump’s attacks on women, people of color, LGBTQ communities and immigrants also lead to an historical level of cross community political activity that was rare for America at the time. After the federal government shut down of 2018 over the debt ceiling and subsequent human service crisis, this period also saw the beginning of the autonomous community organizing that would later form the basis of the War World III era Maroon Societies. The growing strength of all of these movements had led to growing bi-partisan establishment call for Trump’s impeachment.

 

Military Opposition to Trumpism

 

Despite his nationalist rhetoric, Trump was unable to coalesce military support around his presidency. While sentient beings today can’t imagine a “just military,” at the time, the U.S. military had seen itself a force for peace and stability in the world in which America led alliance kept threats at bay. Therefore Donald Trump’s short-sighted isolationism and chaotic behavior did not endear him to the military. In addition, Trump was loathe to actually listen to current military leadership and tended to rely on retired and often disgraced military leaders for consul. Therefore, those in the military who might have otherwise been emendable to his “America first” isolationism were often at odds with him for more personal reasons. Even Marine Corps, which had supported Trump’s ill planned invasion of the Philippines in March of 2018 had lost faith in him by the beginning of his third year in office.

Rank and file soldiers however were consistently opposed to the Trump administration. Even before the heavily causalities of the invasion of Manila, the rank a file U.S military had protested the White House’s defunding of veteran services. With much of the logistical support roles in the military being privatized and the controversial and short lived 12-20 program that allowed mercenary soldiers to command U.S. troops, the rank and file soldier was often of low rank and lower pay. Without the typical veteran and active duty support programs and the skyrocketing price of food do the trade wars with Mexico and China, many scholars believe that the U.S. military was nearly mutinous by the end of his term. Fragging of mercenary officers’ quarters was wide spread during Operation Island Thunder and only increased after the Bay of Manila disaster.

 

Aftermath

 

The majority of Americans were unsure of which news sources and leaders to trust after the initial terrorist attacks in New York and Chicago. As the crisis deepened, most Americans lost trust in mainstream media completely and started to see the dangers of the continual war on terror. However, rather than spurring a movement against the surveillance state, the lack of trust actually allowed the Ryan administration to launch an attack against progressives and radicals that far eclipsed the McCarthy years. When the rumors of night raids and detention centers were first confirmed by the NYT and even fox news, most Americans were no longer heeding news organizations.

It wasn’t until the Teen Vogue’s coverage of the treason trials of the leadership of Black Lives Matter after they organized a symbolically successful strike of the defense industry in May of 2021 that most Americans began tuning back into national media sources. Before the Trump administration, Teen Vogue was not seen as a news agency but by the end of WW3 it was the most respected source of investigative journalism in the world.

Overall, shock of the unending march and resulting political turmoil was devastating to the American psyche. Many leftist organizers went underground and began organizing small affinity groups of mutual aid. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, in her 2025 book “The time of great unlearning” called this period the “enlightened retreat” after an anonymous memo written at the time called “the way out is in, together.” The shift from disruptive politics to mutual aid politics ended in the general strikes of 2022 and 2023 with the rise of Differential Autonomous Transformative [DAT] ecosystem organizing. By the time of the 2024 general strike, the American left [through decentralized and relatively young] was the largest political block in America. They successful ended WW3 with a general strike reminiscent of the communist in WW1.

Despite the shock and trauma of the nearly 10 year period, DAT ecosystems focus of healing and transformation lead to a marked increase in international cooperation and what would later be called “progressive globalization.” The Party of Revolution and Evolution [the PRE] would come to power in the U.S. in 2024 and stay in power until the dissolution of the United States, and all other nation-states, through “World without Border” U.R. resolution in 2044.

The World Without Border’s [WWB] resolution is considered by most to be the greatest achievement of the leaders of the enlightened retreat as it effectively ended wars between humans and ushered in the greatest era of peace time prosperity and cooperative and ecologically conscious economic development between the last war [the battle of Jerusalem] and Alpha Centari Liberation War.

 

In popular culture

 

The WWB was a result of decades of global activism lead by members of the North American resistance movement founded just after the Unending March. A monument to these heroes was constructed in 2050 in Maroon Society of Anacostia [formerly Washington D.C.].

The human species folk anthem, “Below and to the Left” is based on this period of Earth human history.

The 2100 Kwame Jones historical drama “Unapologetically Black,” chronicles the leaders of M4BL who were instrumental who came to leadership in response to the devastation of the Unending March.

The short lived T.V series “Queer as Fuck” follows several U.S, Mexican and Canadian teens throughout these tumultuous years.

In his trilogy “Race Traitors: The Death of Whiteness,” Mark Peace argues that the virulent racism of the Unending March was the catalyst for the “Race Traitor” movement of European ethnic groups re-creating their identities through the lens of progressive globalism.

#TBT I Say Falling

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In between seconds, as the river rushed closer, illogically slow, the accountant counted. He counted his heartbeats, he counted the number of nights spent on the couch where he avoided the wife he no longer loved and, remembering his mother, he counted the hairs on her head after the chemo: one. He counted like he had always counted. Each item formed a brick that he then meticulously placed on the wall he had been building all his life. He did the usual roll call of events, from childhood till now, in the usual order.

 
Miraculously, about 10 feet from the water and having calculated every visceral detail of every memory, he ran out of things to count. It was then that, the first time in a long time, he realized he was no longer numb. The sensation that reminded him of a vacuum with cool air he couldn’t feel and of a sort of dull slowness had passed. He was faced with emotions like a warm ocean squall sending a wave of superficial self-awareness that threatened to overcome the wall of the man who refused to learn to swim.

 
Immediately his body felt heavy and his muscles seemed to detach themselves from his conscious control. As a slightly painful tingle which made him feel suddenly alienated from his walking corpse surged throughout his body every breath became an enormous undertaking. His labored breathing was soon coupled with thunderstorm of apprehension rumbling within the pit of his stomach. He was nearly crippled by the tonnage of guilt, anxiety, fear and anger of a life half lived. His breathing became a staccato cacophony as years of unprocessed emotion putting massive pressure on his underused tear ducts.

 
Yet he was too close to that sweet nothingness to cry. Instead he thought back coolly and perceptively on the string of endless possibilities that had led him to this seeming eternity of falling. He took comfort in the new endeavor, of categorizing already counted events. As the categories become clearer, and more numerous he channeled them towards the breach of his emotional damn. As a sense of familiar control returned so did his mnemonic acumen. With this his mind cleared, his heart vanished, the vacuum returned and he started counting again. He counted the events and calculated probabilities and explored several scenarios and hypotheticals until he had narrowed it down to one possibility. It was decision that would, in essence, stop him from falling. With only a few blissful milliseconds left, the accountant could now meticulously muse about that decision and the alternate universe it created.

 

Forty years ago to the day the accountant made what he thought was the most important decision in his life. That day the paint on the walls of the funeral parlor was pealing. The ebony walls had turned as gray as the mood and Death permeated through the walls like the 159 paint chips lying on the ground. His father, in a new $600 tux, new hairdo and brand new $120 glasses had never looked better. It seemed almost disrespectful to look so good at a funeral.

 
There were exactly 50 people surrounding him, enough that for a time the future accountant successfully forgot that it was his father’s funeral. The accountant continued to count, much like he does now, until everything was accounted for. The leaves on the fake plant, the pews, the cracks in the ceiling, the number of times the white haired women said “um”– every little detail noted. It was first time in his life since that counting began that he could remember it stopping so abruptly, having merely run out of road. It wasn’t until then that he cried.

 

“How did he die?” Everyone seemed to whisper at once.

“I think he had a heart attack” Replied one elderly man with a dubious connection to the deceased.

“At his age?”

“No, he was shot. I heard the gun blast myself.”

“You sure? I think I would have heard about that on the news.”

“They don’t report suicides on the news, Darline.” His mother said quietly and bitterly.

To the accountant, the voices were just tidbits of gossip coming from vague bickering shapes. The accountant remembered wanting to shut everyone up–by force if necessary–but that was not his mother’s way. She still played bridge with the woman she knew the accountant’s father had been sleeping with for years.

 
A slow moving worn down man with a face full of wrinkles (none of which were laugh lines) and thick horn-rimmed glasses walked down the main aisle of the death filled room. He had slow but powerful and fluid gait. He seemed like a man whose youthful vigor still clung around him unused. He stopped, periodically, to talk to some of his parishioners who were in attendance. It must have taken him fifteen minutes to walk to twenty yards from the entrance to the podium.

 

Once at the podium the Pastor the Unitarian Church of God John Ignatius, wise beyond his considerable years, preached.

 

“Good evening. We are gathered here today to bid farewell to a loving father, dutiful son but never-the-less deeply flawed man. It is with a heavy heart that we say good-bye to a fellow soldier against evil who lost the final battle with himself. We all know that this final battle, this inner struggle with ourselves, is difficult. Yet the lord did not intend this battle to be fatal. He saved us through his grace and it is by this grace that we persevere. We give ourselves to the lord and receive everlasting life so in metaphoric death comes rebirth. When we give into ourselves, when we create our own timeline, there is no rebirth. As we consider this self-forsaken soul whose death strikes a foreign cord in all of us, we can only ask ourselves ‘how do I wish to die?’

 
The eulogy went on but the accountant stopped listening after the pastor asked that question. Thinking back on it now, there had been some more respectful eulogies in that church. Yet the accountant’s mother was angrier at her husband than sad at his premature death and she must have let Ignatius know. As a boy, all he could understand in those 132 words was the final question. Unfortunately the father idolizing accountant heard that question and decided on: falling.

 
Had the accountant thought of any other word at that precise moment it was possible, even likely, that he would not find himself standing on a bridge looking down yearning for nothingness—reaching for death’s embrace. But as it stands he was. He remembered, in a strained yet absent way, that usually he forgot about the moments he spent deliberating that question when he counted the worries to form the bricks for his wall. However, peering over the edge, his potentially falling children, souls struck by a receptive cord, flashed through his mind and he stepped back for the 40th time. Yet unlike the 39 times before he felt something about himself that he couldn’t grasp. He felt a strange almost ephemeral call to action. A call to start living. He felt a desire to reach out, to call his children whose phone numbers he had memorized. With that eerie yet profound feeling teetering on the rim in the recess of his mind he turned around, got into his car and drove home to the wife he might love again. As Paul got in that car without counting the steps he still found himself thinking: Maybe next year.

 

*Thanks to Quinn for helping with this revision of an old short story of mine

Call For Help With Next Article On D.C. Affordable Housing

Priced-Out-DC-Cover

 

I’m looking to build on the issues touched on my post last week. I’m hoping to start a project that will consists of interviews about housing in D.C. As it stands now the project will have three parts. The first part is interviewing people active in some area of housing, race, culture or history that could give an overview of either the history of their field of D.C housing issues or the current state of D.C housing, the second part part would be collecting oral histories about housing in D.C with activist, developers, landlords, life-time residents, recent transplants etc to talk about what it is like to be resident of D.C from a housing perspective. The third part would be written articles tying the two together.

I’m still in the planning process and am hoping to find people willing to be interviewed twice. The initial interview would not be released but would be part of my background research. The second would take place after I personally have a grasp on the enough of the history to ask insightful questions. I have a few initial interviewees already but am hoping to get more. I am planning on getting the project hosted by an organization that is working on housing advocacy in D.C.

I’m also looking for connections to people who should be interviewed. If you no a college professor working on this, a long-time D.C resident or block club captain etc let me know. If you are interested in helping out please e-mail me at aarongoggans@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

It’s Almost Time To Talk About Capitalism

I’ve written a lot about gender and dating in past couple months. I hope you have enjoyed reading it, I know that I have enjoyed writing it. In the past couple of weeks however, in between online dating and reading about how to be an ally, my insistently churning mind has turned to yet another issue: Capitalism. Whether it is how images of success and appeal are gendered and sold to the public or viewing displacement and gentrification as unavoidable and good, capitalism has been on my mind recently. I don’t hate Capitalism. I think it is a lot like Democracy. It is the worst system in human history, except for all the other ones. I think it is no more or less flawed of an idea than Communism. If you take Communism to the extreme you get the USSR and if you take Capitalism to the extreme you get robber barons and Banana Republics. Human suffering seems to equal under both systems. I’m saying that more people didn’t suffer in Communist Russia than McCarthy’s America. I’m saying that Communism gets free healthcare in Cuba and Capitalism got us slavery in America. Neither system is inherently evil and both are quite wonderful in theory.

So, in preparation for a few weeks spent writing on Capitalism, Alternative Economies and Consumerism I was hoping people could point me to some resources. I’d like interesting articles, essays, books or video’s about these issues if any one has any. I’ve been thinking a lot about the economy lately but I’d like to be a bit more informed.

 

capitalism-cartoonweb

Dating Darcy

Darcy, Moped[**Disclaimer: This account, like all the previous and future posts about my romantic life, are to be considered all almost entirely fictional unless clearly stated otherwise. Any resemblances to real life women who have been unfortunate enough to go on date with me are a result of the statistically common reactions to my many idiosyncrasies**]

Its late afternoon in DMV and I’m running late for the date. My latest addition to my healthy lifestyle involves walking everywhere and I’ve forgotten how long it takes to get to the Café from my house. I’ve walked this route every morning for a week and I can hear my father telling me I need to be more observant as I consider my next move. I debate texting Darcy to let her know that I’m going to be late. It is 10 minutes before I said I’d meet her and I’m about 8-12 minutes away. If I show up exactly on time I’ll seem punctual but I will have to walk fast enough to break out into a sweat to do so. I slow down and decide better to be fashionable late and put together than on time like a hot mess. I consider calling my friend Sam to ask if I should include an exclamation point after the sorry. I decide that Sam is probably too busy having a job and being all responsible to help me compose a text message right now. I decide that go with the exclamation point anyways. My brother always told me not to use smiley faces but I think all other punctuation is kosher.

Sorry! I’m running a little late.

She replies a minute later: no problem at all!!!

 

I pause in the middle of the street to decipher the message. I ignore the horns of oncoming traffic as I try to decide if three exclamation points mean it is really is not a problem at all or if it’s really not a problem…like…at all. As I begin walking again, the exclamation points seem to be more and more angry. Of course she’s mad; I’m going to make her wait. I debate whether or not to text her a joke about a troll underneath the 11th street bridge but I think she needs to see my face for it to be funny. I try and time my burst of quick walking with the gust of autumn air, exerting myself only when the wind will keep me from sweating. I vaguely recognize that this makes me look like a crazy person and vow to stop when I’m within eye sight of my destination. If I’m lucky I’ll arrive with a minute to spare having sent a text message saying that I would be late. That should show that I’m both punctual and considerate.

Two blocks away from the Café I slow down just as I’m starting to get nervous. I wonder if every woman I walk by is actually her. Perhaps she didn’t want to wait in the Cafe itself and is leaning next to her moped smoking a cigaret like a Parisian woman. Could she have dyed her hair, gained 20 pounds and invited her husband on the date or is that someone else? I as I start to look for her, not knowing if she will be waiting causally outside for me or take a sit inside, I marvel at how attractive D.C is. I begin to understand the value of making an effort to look nice and anxiously look at myself in the reflection of the store windows. I cringe at my overweight body made even more awkward by the only clean shirt without holes in it. Check that…my last non overly offensive smelling shirt without major holes in it.  She said that she didn’t like guys who spent more time getting ready than her and she seems to revel in that “I just got out of bed look.” At least she will be put at ease by my homeliness.  15 yards away from the Brown Bonnet, where a local feminist blogger described meeting her partner so vividly that I thought it would hold some the same magic for me and Darcy, I begin to wonder if I want her to be more or less attractive than her pictures.

I begin to think that if she is more attractive than her pictures I may start to feel that I’m not good looking enough for her. Then instead of meeting cool, calm and collected Aaron she’ll get sweaty, voice still somehow cracks at 25 Aaron and even I don’t like that guy. She’s pretty enough in her pictures that if she was less attractive in real life she’d be as attractive as me and therefore easier to approach.

I see her sitting down at the same table I imagined the blogger was sitting at. Life is imitating blog and make sure to note it for my next comment. She’s wearing the same argyle sweater that she was wearing in her profile picture from Vienna. I know I shouldn’t say that though because then she might know how often I looked at her profile. I notice that her back is too the door which means that June was wrong last night she said that the mug shot in the pictures was real. If Darcy spent time in Prison she’d never have her back to the entrance. Before I walk up to her I find myself hoping that she is in fact as pretty as her pictures. I think I could handle that. I remembered to brush my beard so I’m looking pretty good despite the stripped shirt.

I start to approach her from behind. I realize how that would sound in my re-telling of this moment and I pause trying to map out a path through the crowded café that would allow me to casually walk up to her and not seem like a creeper. Instead, my Uchicago awkwardness permeates through the moment and she senses my presence. She turns, rather gracefully I might add, to see me starting at her. I could have saved the moment with my charming smile instead I give her my “well, this is awkward…you caught me” smile.

As I see her face I realize it is worse than I imagined. She actually looks the most like her third picture, the one where she pretending to sing a Britney Spears song at a New Years party. She has the type of face that you know that most people find her attractive but you’re not sure if you do yet. She’s basically Jennifer Garner in in beginning of the movie, before you know if she is the nice character or the stern mean one. I stare at her for a second and sense my face flash the moment’s disappointment.

“Hey, I sorry, I wasn’t sure if that was you” I say knowing that it was her but finally brandishing my charming smile.

[**Disclaimer, for those you who don’t know me, you should be aware that there is no empirical evidence to suggest any difference between my charming smile and my creepy smile. The jury is still out**]

She smiles back. It is a warm smile that instantly makes her seem more attractive. “It’s okay” she says with no understood ellipses.

I take the seat across from her and as I tell myself not to do that thing where I try to figure out if someone is attractive while they are talking to me. I don’t listen though and find myself analyzing her facial features as she describes racing over here because she thought she was going to be late. When she mentions not having enough time to finish getting ready I smile and tell her she looks nice. It’s a temporary lie.

I haven’t decided if she is attractive yet but I noticed that she had brought a copy of Carcassonne and had set it out on the table. I decided that it was inevitable that I would fall for  any girl this smart, nice and with affinity for board games. I knew that eventually I would think that she did in fact look nice, so it wasn’t really a lie.

Before I begin an internal debate of the fact that because she was in fact very well dressed the statement “you look nice” would have been true even if I wasn’t attracted to her, she asks me if I’ve read any John Rawls before. I panic. I was prepared to fall for this girl slowly, with her attractiveness becoming more and more readily apparent over time. My confidence and comfort was supposed to raise as fast if not faster than my attraction. If she started talking about “A Theory of Justice” my voice would almost certainly crack.

I stare at her for a second. Only her slightly inquisitive tilt of the head reminds me that I have yet to answer her question.

“Yes” I say confidently, suddenly proud that I was able to so speak clearly to such an attractive young woman, “I have.”

She smiles again and I get butterflies for the first time since I read her message about how she is surprised at how comic book heroes have started killing their enemies after decades of calling it a line they’d never cross. I decide that she is being super generous in accepting my oddities. She must either be a closet awkward person or just a generous person. I’m personally fine with either but I’m hoping for the first. As she talks about “A Theory of Justice” I lose track of all my dating tips: I forget to manage my eye contact and stare intently into her eyes, I forget ask her if she want dessert and order so much food myself that assumes I expect her to share, and I forget to compliment her three times. Instead I forget that this is a date and allow myself to be dragged into a pleasant intellectual discussion.

The particulars of her argument matter very little to me. I get the sense that though we are both engrossed by the subject matter we a still being too polite to have a real argument. We are mostly discussing feelings about the practicality of the theory and trying to politely disagree. I am fascinated by the way her mind works though and the clarity with which she can reconstruct my arguments as she gets to see is she heard me correctly.

“You really think that democracy is overrated?” She asked with her butter fly producing smile, clearly thinking I’m being sarcastic and loving it. I decide not to press the point and lie for the second and last time that night, “no, I’m just joking. Of course I love Democracy.”

It’s ten o’clock before I realize we have been talking for hours. I’ve developed substantial if somewhat hard to pin down feelings for her by the time she says it’s getting late and she needs to go to bed. This is the moment when all the advice columns tell me I need to make my move. I am supposed to gauge the situation and go in for the kiss [except for maxim, which seems to think I should assume I’m going to bed with her].

I look at her and she has an amused look on her face and I can tell she had a good time. Yet, ultimately I decide that a mutual good time is different than mutual romantic interests. She was pretty, smart, funny, nice and interesting. I’d definitely love to see her again but our connection was one of exciting potential and not immediate lust. I raise my hand to give my signature and slightly boyish two fingered salute good bye as she sticks out her hand to shake mine.

[**Disclaimer my signature salute is not as nearly as creepy as it sounds. It is literally waving goodbye and not something from one of Dave Chappelle’s “Great Moments in Hook Up History”**]

I realize askmen.com would say that I put myself in the friendzone with that move but then I’d just say “you’re a website, what do you know” and walk away confident in my disbelief in the existence of zones…I only believe in having awkward conversations about how we feel about and will you go out with me? [Yes. No. Maybe] notes.

77. With a zoomph

This is a really interest flash fiction piece by another writer I read today. The rest of his story is also really good. I suggest you take a lot at it.

300 stories

With a zoomph the canister landed in the invoice box. That was curious. The pneumatic post office had for decades been the most used communication tool but nowadays was rendered obsolete by more modern means. In fact, Griffin – the postmaster general – would probably have been made redundant long ago had anyone known he still existed.

 

cover

Read the rest of the tale and 100 more stories in 300 words or less in YOU’RE GETTING SLEEPY, THE HYPNOTIST’S APPRENTICE YAWNED.

Available at the Createspace Store, at amazon.com, amazon.co.uk or any other Amazon store in your territory.  E-book is also available.

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Dear Lola

Dear Lola,

 

I found Saul. We’re in Philadelphia and you’re an idiot. He said that he has been calling you and you never pick up your phone. He has traveled half way across the country looking for you. I don’t understand why you asked me to find him. If his messages sounded so distressing why didn’t you pick of the phone? Anyways, I told Saul where you live and he is leaving on Thursday. He is doing okay now. He hit a rough spot but he is back on his feet.

Chapter 20

Dear Saul,

 

I hope this gets to you. I spent my last couple dollars of this months pay check to over-night it because I know you don’t stay in one place for very long. Me and Haley are doing okay. We are where in Cleveland, we arrived two weeks ago. We’re staying at a shelter called Saint Jude’s Battered Women’s Shelter. Sister James has been taken real good care of us. You’d like her. She was an atheist studying history at Harvard before she entered the convent. She found her faith while in the peace core in El-Salvador. It is a long story but I think you’d find her interesting.

She loves to discuss the philosophy of Bible. She believes that faith should be rationale. She is a little bit of a radical so she doesn’t often talk about these kinds of things around the other nuns. So I’m sure she would love to talk to you.

Anyways I got a job at that the restaurant you told me about. I’m just washing dishes now but the Janitor is going to retire in February and they said I could have his job. He makes $14 and hour. Can you believe it? Soon me and Haley will be able to have our own place. On my current wage I was able to get Haley some new clothes and was able to buy her a brand new uniform for school. I didn’t want to send her to school in hand me downs. She has had enough of that.

Haley loves it here in Cleveland, she is at a Catholic Elementary School Called Blessed Heart (I can feel your eyes rolling). It is a good school and yes despite your numerous attempts I still believe in God and am a God fearing catholic. The school is pretty liberal as far as Catholic schools go, no talk of eternal damnation if you don’t do your homework and the nuns are not allowed to hit the children.

I haven’t heard from Carl but I’m still afraid he’ll find us. I can’t thank you enough for what you did. I don’t think any man has every stood up to him like that, or at least never done it and walked away.  I think you really scared him. I don’t know what me a Haley would have gone if you hadn’t let us stay at your place for that month. One more week with him and God only knows how black and blue I’d be. I’m gone and there’s no going back this time.

I thought about what you said I think that I’m going to go back to school. There is a Junior college about a mile away from here and they have financial aid and night classes. I saw how much fun you and Janice were having at Berkley I thought maybe I could have that too; all night long conversations with bad coffee and cheap vodka.

 

Oh, and I was going through our luggage and I found that poems you lost:

 

In the in between

I am a runaway soul

flight my daydream

 

Death a sweet escape

And life is a charming trance

Runaway with me

 

In the in between

A poem is a life line

love a memory

 

Runaway with me,

Flee to another world

Swift as a whisper

 

cross the universe

through one thoughtless action

through the in between

 

Chapter 19

The 12th street blues

 

In the morning we’ll be so hungry

That we’ll eat these words

But tonight we’re going to sing

In the morning we’ll forget the music

But tonight is the night we dance

Tomorrow they will forget us

But tonight our art will live

For we are vagabond poets

 

We sleep out at night

Drinking the constellations

Taunting the muses

By hiding behind the stars

 

We are the tricksters

The word benders

The theme stealers

And dancing thieves

We steal words from the heavens

To satisfy our arts greed

 

We are the wordsmiths

Plying our trade on the stage

Alchemist;

Turning our canvasses to gold

We are merchants

Trading our harmonies and melodies

For our owns soul’s profit.

 

We are vagabond prophets

We foretell the future of human awareness

Our poems, tea leaves

Floating in the oceans of our imaginations

Liquid inventions of consciousness

Expanding the minds of all that take head

 

We paint the golden eternity of now

Just to mark arts progress

Turning the present into stepping stones

With each stroke we write the future

With each stroke we dye the fabric of space and time

Turning fates white thread into Technicolor dream coats

 

We are vagabond players

And all the streets are the stage

Re-creating life on soaps boxes under the bridge

We shift through your public façades

And act out the parts you try to hide.

Showing the world bare breasted

We turn our bodies into Tableau vivants

Moving pictures of your society

 

We are the underbelly of your beauty

18

I met him sitting in the Honolulu airport yesterday.  He was noticeably overdressed for the weather making him look quite odd wearing a suit jacket in 90* weather. Though other than that he seemed to be a normal mainland American. I politely asked if I could sit next to him, seeing as how it was practically the only seat left in the terminal. He replied “it’s a free country isn’t it?” That phrase is the most irritating phrase in all of American vernacular and so, despite his kind smile, I already disliked him. And so, trying hard not to display my irritation, I sat down and leaned as far way him as I could. I hate talking to people I meet at airports.

I have flown enough to recognize where someone is from based on whether, when, how or why they start a conversation. Like Texans seem to think it is rude not to talk to someone when you sit next to them and a lot (though not all) New Yorkers are accustomed to looking straight forward and some actually have the ability to politely avoid eye-contact. Suburban moms are always trying to round-up their kids and always ask if you have kids as if they need to commiserate just to get through the day. There are the college kids who are always on the phone talking to there girlfriends and the liberal arts kids who are reading whatever lefty book is in style, they usually don’t say anything.   Then of course there are the men who always try to hit on me. I’m not going to be pointlessly humble and say that I was not a very attractive woman.

I didn’t take the time to try to figure out which one of them his was. It was only after they said the flight was delayed due to bad weather that I knew what sort of man he was; he worst sort of man to sit next to: a yawner. It takes a seasoned traveler to see a yawner. The average person may think they are just yawning because are a little tired or bored. No. These people yawn to start a conversation. They yawn and then say something that you of course a agree with. “Jesus Christ how long we going to be waiting here” which you might “I hear you” and then boom you have inadvertently entered into a conversation without knowing it. They follow up with a “I mean, it’s like, it, it’s going to be a twelve hour flight and now we have to wait another 3 hours. Give me a brake. Now I’ll never X…” What they say after that is the crucial part of the hook.

Is he trying to get into my pants and say something that makes him sound sensitive or something that’s cultured or one that makes him seem rich and successful. Is he merely going to start a conversation out of boredom. Or is he one of those rare creatures who just finds other people interesting. By rare I of course mean I had never met one but assume that they were out there somewhere.

“Where are you headed?” he asks quietly.

“Seattle.” I said curtly.

“Business or pleasure?”

Not that its any of your business but “A little of both, actually I’m in advertising and meeting an important client but my mom lives in Seattle as well. It’s her  50th birthday today and I want to surprise her.” Why and I talking to him? “You see, I’ve been so busy with my new job that it has been almost a year since we last talked.”  Still talking? “Me and my mother used to be very close but after my dad died…”

He just sat there patiently, empathically, smiling and laughing and comforting. I talked for three hours and he didn’t say a word. Eventually it was time to board the plane. I switched tickets, from first class, with a little girl flying unaccompanied for the first time just sit next to him for the next 12 hours.

“So what brought you to Hawaii and where are you headed?” I said anxiously knowing it would be thrilling. Why im I so interested in him? He isn’t even cute. Lie.  Okay, not that cute.

“Just felt like flying, and this was the longest flight I could afford.” He said shrugging his shoulders and smiling just sort of a grin. Was he  serious? Disappointment crept in to my thoughts. I expected something more.

“Odd. I know. But that’s just what I do.” He said

“Fly?” I asked

“No, travel for the sake of traveling.”

“What do you do for money then? Trust fund?” I said, slightly irate.

“No, I’m an artist, and I sold one over priced sketch to an over eager buyer in Hawaii. I sold it to her just to come here. She like the way I painted more that the actual outcome.”

“How’s that?” I asked

“It is a technique learned from a friend. I sketch out a picture then use spray pant, pastels and oil pant to color it in. Through in some music and a little Pollock style abstract around the edges and it is fun to watch. My friend is much much better at it though. Sold the sketch for $50 bucks and she bought some cheap tickets to fly me out here.”

“Over priced at $50 bucks?”

“Yeah, like I said, my friend was much better. We flew down together but he stayed.”

“So, I’m guessing that is not how you make your money then.” In a half question, half surprised statement. Hipster?!?

 

“I’m not a hipster.”

“What?”

“I don’t like being poor for the sake of being poor. I did once, but that was long enough ago for me to grow up. I just hate working but I wouldn’t turn down a million dollars. Plus you need an address for most jobs, and that means a rent and a carpet.”

“A carpet?”

“Yeah, a carpet is an anchor. You only buy a carpet if you plan to stay in one place for a long time. It’s the physical embodiment of a lease.” He remarked, casually looking out the window. “The boring thing is where I’ve been, the exciting thing is where I’m going.”