Ecochondriacs [31]

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Please note well: In case you were wondering, even though November is over, I will be publishing the rest of this book here, section by section. But if you can’t wait to see how it ends, you can order this book in hard copy, and the link for that is here. In addition, audio chapters are being recorded and released on the new Canon App.

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Chapter 10/Broken Glass Eating Conservatives

Choosing the Battlefield

When it came to standard preparations for the first vice-presidential debate, both Billy and Del were ready. And if all the other stuff hadn’t been going on behind the scenes, it might have been the most interesting vice-presidential debate in years. They were both quick on their feet. They both had mastery of the facts, or at least the facts that they were prepared to talk about. But as it was, with all that other stuff going on in the back rooms, what with all the dirty dealing, it was going to be the most interesting vice-presidential debate ever.

At the same time, Del felt like he was dealing with a serious handicap, in that most of his standard talking points on the domestic side of things were things he knew he didn’t believe anymore. And he had already resolved that he wasn’t going to get out there and straight up lie. Legal abortion for two weeks after birth? Seriously? But when it came to foreign policy, he was still alright, and thought he could represent himself in a way that would not cause anyone to get their guard up. And two days before, the network had delivered the agreed-upon order of the questioning to the campaigns, and foreign policy was first. That part should be okay.

And he had also decided that he was going to go out in a blaze of glory before they got to the domestic issues. He had the thumb drive in his pocket, where it felt like it weighed five pounds. He was surprised he wasn’t leaning over to the left because of it. Del was excited, actually. He was going to do it. His letter of resignation was already written, and scheduled to send five minutes before the scheduled conclusion of the debate. He was going to leave the campaign, and he wouldn’t be chased out by some cooked-up scandal. And he would have done the country a service by exposing the corruption of the entire climate change industry. That was all to the good.

The timing seemed good to him. He knew that Kara had it within her to reflect on their time together in such a way as to manufacture sexual harassment and worse out of it. She certainly had been peeved enough. And in the woke climate of the current Democratic Party, any sexual encounter that the woman afterwards regrets would be handled by the party officials as rape. In this Del was prescient, because Kara had been approached by some top advisors and had actually filed her complaint the day before. It was going to be made public two days after the debate because the campaign thought that Del was a far better debater, even with his recent wobbles, than the walking incoherence that they thought was most likely to replace him. The Vice-Presidential-Candidate-in-Waiting was a lesbian activist named Casey Dupont-Sunder, currently by a major fluke the junior senator from Rhode Island, and a former professor of queer theory. It wouldn’t do to let her debate Billy Jerome, which would be like throwing a stick of cotton candy at a flamethrower. In fact, the campaign wouldn’t want her to do or say anything. She was there simply to shore up the nut roots base of the party, which was larger than it had ever been, and which had been greatly aggrieved by the selection of Del, a straight, white male who was also straight, and male, and white.

But in the meantime, Billy was wrestling with his back-room issues. He thought he had figured out a long shot solution to his difficulty. He was going to reveal the existence of his long-lost son in the course of the debate. That idea had occurred to him about a week before, right after he had prayed about it. He had run it by his wife Ursula, who was game, as she had known for years that the secret was going to blow up some time. Why not now?

After that, Billy had contacted Sheila. He had needed to spend half an hour or so with her on the phone, explaining that the situation was going to come out regardless, she was going to have television trucks in front of her house regardless, and that he thought that this was the cleanest way through. She eventually agreed, and after that, the only thing that remained was Thad. He needed to talk with Thad, and Billy wasn’t at all sure how that would go. Thad could make a lot of trouble, depending on how woke he was, or depending on how angry he was at discovering who his father was.

Billy had broached that topic with Sheila, when he had gotten around to getting Thad’s phone number from her. Sheila had actually laughed out loud. “Oh, no,” she had said. “You don’t need to worry about the politics of it at all. He was only taking those woke classes for the sake of reconnaissance. He has been a broken-glass-eating conservative since sometime in high school. So his foray into woke studies went bust. He was discovered and kicked out of that program after about six months. But he still has no idea who his father is. If he ever asked, I would tell him, and I was going to tell him anyway after he graduated. I think it would be good if you told him. But I have no idea how it will go. He might be really angry on a personal level. But on the politics of the thing? No worries there.”

And so Billy had called Thad. He apologized for doing this over the phone, but he couldn’t figure out any other way to do it, given the circumstances. After they talked, and Billy had said what he needed to say, which he was about to do if Thad let him, he had figured out a way for them to meet.

With that as the opening, Thad had gone out to a deserted waiting room at his fraternity, and had sat down, trying to pro- cess why on earth the Republican nominee for vice-president would call him up and start talking cryptic nonsense. But it was certainly Billy Jerome—that gravelly voice was unmistakable.

“Okay,” Thad said. “I’m sitting down.”

“Well, it’s like this,” Billy had said. “I am your father.”

And at this, Thad had launched. He wasn’t sitting down at all anymore. “What?

So Billy then explained, in broad outlines, the circumstances of what had happened, and how he would love to meet Thad, if Thad was willing. “I was always planning on connecting with you at some point, and telling you the complete story. Ursula—my wife—and I both knew it was going to happen sometime, Ursula more than I, but just didn’t know when a good time would be. This attempt at blackmail just set the timer for us.”

Thad hadn’t committed to anything yet. “So if we were to meet, how would we meet? Without telegraphing anything to the world?”

“All you would have to do is go online to the campaign web site, and fill out an application for an internship with the campaign. I will tell our people to look for it, and then tell them I want to interview you personally for that position. Unusual, but not that unusual, and I will say I have heard through back channels some really good things about you, which I have, and it shouldn’t draw any unusual attention inside the campaign.”

Thad was sitting down again. He breathed in deeply, and said, “I would love to meet with you.”

“Okay,” his father said. “Fill out the application tonight, and I will ask somebody at the campaign about it tomorrow.”

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We Be Libtards
We Be Libtards
2 years ago

“…a straight, white male who was also straight, and male, and white.”

It’s hard to know which of those is the worst but the combination is truly frightening. Can you say, “Institutional-Homophobic-Misogynistic-Racist”?

2 years ago
Reply to  We Be Libtards

Mr. Libtards:
Borg is not amused.

Kristina Zubic
Kristina Zubic
2 years ago

PLEASE tell me he sounded kinda like Vader.

2 years ago
Reply to  Kristina Zubic

Maybe there’s something here?
“But it was certainly Billy Jerome—that gravelly voice was unmistakable.”

Kristina Zubic
Kristina Zubic
2 years ago
Reply to  Laurel

Right? That’s what got me thinking.