loser chapter 2 cont

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

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Submitted: February 03, 2017

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Submitted: February 03, 2017



"Christmas was simply the darkest hour of the year for which we come together to celebrate its passing." Jimmy Little.

Back in the living area she sat on the floor to open another box. She ripped back the tape and opened the top to reveal a dozen canvasses that she had painted over the years she lived in the cottage. She had completely forgotten about her foray into oils. One by one she withdrew her work: a still-life of fruits, a copy of Van Gogh's Church at Auvers, a portrait of her mother wearing an oxygen mask, another portrait of her mother as a young woman from a wedding photo, and several of boats on Boston harbor. She had forgotten how amazingly fast time flew by when she was painting, how it had helped her to get through the last years of her mother's cancer and passing. There were two empty canvasses and her wooden paint box in the bottom held her brushes and paints. She needed to paint again but looking about her cramped apartment she wondered where she could make that happen.

Outside the back door the flakes were thicker still. Scout had wandered over and was peering out. "Okay Scout," she said, "we'll go out." She threw on her coat and stepped outside with her dog. Scout ran through the deepening snow to the back fence while she cleared the back step with a broom. She couldn't see any stars looking up but just the muffled light of the moon. Scout came back happily and stood at the door wanting to get out of the cold. Her back legs shivered almost all the time now.

Constance decided she would put away the plates since they had dried and work her way through the bowls. Tomorrow she would take care of all the glasses and silverware. One of those boxes had more kitchen-ware but she knew she couldn't possibly fit anything else in her kitchen. She placed the red plate on the table by the door so she wouldn't forget to return it to Kat then started to wash her yellow bowls. Suddenly she felt tired again and almost gave up, thinking how much time she would have to kill the next day. Then she took a deep breath and reminded herself she wasn't missing a thing. 

She sat back down in her chair, proud she had finished washing the bowls and clicked out of the fireplace. Pa rumppa pum pum. She checked her Yahump page: no new mail and the headlines were still the same. The United States was going to become involved, joining Russian forces on the ground by February. The United Resistance had finally failed to keep the war at bay, and now we would see what they'd been warning us about, what Trump and Pence would do with their expanded power. Once the president had successfully outlawed abortion the Resistance seemed to implode. How could some women backslide on such an important issue? But put in economic terms, too many people could not resist the less expensive healthcare Trump offered. A year and a half later that health care was not in place. Constance didn't understand how people could so easily forget how close the country had come to offering universal healthcare, once upon a time. 

Constance did what she could for the Resistance, sending emails and gathering signatures for each of the measures. She had cried way back when, when Hillary didn't win and she didn't have to wait long for the few she knew who had voted for him to feel like they did have it great, before. No one had imagined the trauma to democracy the man would cause. Just six months into his Presidency he had quickly filled Sotomayor's seat following her freak accident. Then everything came up to the court for review. Education had suffered, health care and woman's rights. Now we were going to join Russia in a foreign country to put down an invisible and already-eradicated enemy.

When she woke on Christmas the snow was at least two feet deep outside the back door. She opened the heavy glass door and the short wall held across the doorway. Scout looked at her. Constance took the broom from the corner and whacked the snow away to clear the steps. She had never bothered to buy a shovel. Finally she cleared the top step then made a path into the snow. Scout went to the end and squatted to pee. Back inside, Constance put the water on to boil before changing out of yesterday's clothes now dusted with snow. Usually she would sit in her chair all night and start betting on the early races in the United Kingdom and in South Africa. Today she just sat quietly staring out at the snow and wondering what the facts were on this weather. The web sites that had kept the public informed about the climate had all been gagged for nearly three years and even the rogue sites had quickly disappeared. Things that had seemed important to fight over like education, health care and social security had turned out to be a smoke screen for the real target of the administration. Oil was back on top. Putin was now in control of the largest oil reserves in the world.

Just as she'd expected, life under Trump the bully was a lot like being a kid again living under her alcoholic father's rule. She had been forced to watch him kill himself in the same sad way that Trump was killing democracy, slowly every single day. No wonder she buried herself in the races. Losing was better when it was only money. Local police that had been forced into ICE activities were now rounding up all Muslims. Hate crimes were up. Unemployment was up. Inflation was outpacing salaries. Asthma rates were up. Communities across America were finding lead and other contaminants in their drinking water. The deregulation had been great for profits though, and a few ghost towns had come back from the brink with the influx of new mining and fracking investments only to find their populations devastated by increased pollution and earthquakes. With all the ground water being contaminated, Trump Water was raking it in but the Republicans still denied there was any conflict of interest, as the children were running it.

Yuck. She hated to think about it. As a child she had listened to the same denials, projections and insults. Everything was somebody else's fault. What her father believed was great was never open to discussion. He had spouted family values but he had hit his boys from the age of two and his wife whenever he couldn't control himself. He had degraded and disowned Constance when she'd come out at the age of twenty-three. His death had never really freed her as she had always imagined his being dead would. All the vitriol was soaked up inside her. 

He had been confined to a home for the last fifteen years of his life and she had never gone to visit. Hearing stories from her sisters and brothers was enough to keep her from bothering. He never knew where or who he was and usually broke down into tears if he recognized one of his children. Then he'd beg them to get him out of there, where he couldn't get a goddamn drink. Once Kat was there to visit and was checking in when he wheeled himself up to the nurse's station and started shouting about coffee.

"Get me a goddamn coffee!" he told the nurse, not even recognizing Kat standing there.

When the nurse returned with a cup of coffee he had gone into a fit, punching his fist down on the desk and screaming that he'd asked for a goddamn glass of orange juice.

In the home he had remained combative, breaking his roommates' glasses with a punch to the face. Within weeks they had to put him in restraints, but after a few years he had lost most of his strength and his limbs were palsied by Parkinson's disease. Officially they said he had Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome but  Constance knew that was just a scientific way of saying his brain was pickled in alcohol. Just like Dad, Trump continued to lie about the greatness of his ideologies while all along he was undermining the people's freedoms day after day. He continued to take credit for everything good, and ignored anything bad, unless he could pin it on someone else and then he discussed it forever. First he'd rounded up the illegal immigrants, and then he had turned his full attention on the middle class, taking away their healthcare, reducing Medicare and stealing the social security benefits that the public had been paying into their entire working lives. His tax reform helped only the rich. Public education had been defunded and women's rights had been turned back centuries. Beating your wife was not against the law, again. The choice to have an abortion was outlawed. Sustainable energy technologies had been snuffed by the subsidized coal and oil industries.

She thought his next target group must be the LGBTQ community as he seemed to be gearing up the fight against liberals. Pence's new national program offered free conversion "art" therapy to all, for which she'd received literature in the mail. After Russia's $500 billion deal with Exxon, Russia had retaken access to the Baltic Sea from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and now  the shipping of millions of cubic feet of natural gas to lower Europe from Scandinavia was endangered. Russia was about to begin piping into Eastern Europe. That deal had turned out to be the golden apple for Trump, while all the dismantling of our democracy was just to deflect attention.

Constance drank her coffee and watched the light change as the sun moved higher in the sky. According to the weather reports the temperature was supposed to remain low through New Year's so there wasn't much chance of all the snow just disappearing. She could still Uber over to Kat's if she felt lonely. Kat's four grown children and her three young grandchildren had stayed overnight and were probably ripping open gifts right about now. Christmas was really fun when there were young children around, she considered. Finally she made breakfast and started putting away everything she had taken out of the boxes the night before. She might need the lesson plans if she decided to work in one of the many charter schools popping up. She'd be forced to teach Creation theories and no real science but she would teach them to read at least. She probably wasn't going to paint anytime soon. Once she made the bed her studio was as tidy as she could make it. Then she sat down in her chair again and checked the racing website to see what would be happening the next day.











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