Bad Dream by Brenda Ann Eckels, aMGC (c)2016
I dream a lot, once my broken body manages to get into the REM state. Sometimes I remember them when I wake up. This was one. Just a horrible dream I had during my nap one day.
Trump got the nomination. He won the Oval Office, and a GOP/Tea Party majority in both House and Senate. The head men at GOP National ran the country.
My $16 in food stamps, my electric assistance, my fuel assistance got shut off, my Medicare and Medicaid went up, and food got even more expensive. The grant that helps pay for the wheelchair van disappeared, and I started to miss appointments and to run out of food more.
About a year later I got told that instead of an SSDI check, I would get a voucher to take to any Stockbroker or Investment Bank to open an account and live off the interest and dividends. The best I could get was a money market account based on a group of military contractor stocks, and most months I got a deposit of $125.00 in dividends.
No one went out in public without a gold-looking Trump pin, but even so I got harassed by Makers roving the streets. I learned to always say “Making America Great Again!” in a loud happy voice whenever I saw them, police, politicians.
I was able to keep my apartment, but only after agreeing to cover the rent that used to be subsidized by taking in roommates. The landlord didn’t care, as long as they got paid. My adoptive parents moved in, as did my sister and her family, a few others, as Section 8 was abolished. It was so crowded, we often got sick.
President Trump travelled constantly around the country to rallies. Sometimes the news would say in advance he was coming, but most of the time you just got a Tweet to show up at a certain stadium at a certain time. Everyone over 18 either had a phone or a Twitter watch. Those were free from the government. Shutting off your phone or watch GPS was outlawed.
Once at the stadium, you clutched and watched your phone, waiting for the tweets:
“Making America Great Again!” You had to be ready, shouting it loud, happy, and holding your right fist up high in the air. If you didn’t look “devoted” enough, the Makers in the crowd or the people around you would point to you, grab at you, and the soldiers and police would drag you out. Sometimes, you never saw those people again. Sometimes you did, always with bruises.
Sometimes you would get a tweet, half kill yourself to get your family there, and it would just be a preacher or a senator. It didn’t matter. If you missed a rally, they knew. Your GPS would give you away.
We had only one time we dared to have Ma, so sick she couldn’t sit up, not go. We made sure to call 911 and get the letter from the EMT’s for her and one of the older kids to stay. The Makers still showed up the next day, and trashed our entryway, throwing our coats on the floor and so on.
This one, though, we knew would be Him. We got 24 hours notice to get from Rochester to Manchester. It had to be a Presidential rally. We carefully fired up the lawnmower engine on the adult trike, and Dad’s old Ford pickup, hooked the wagon Dad and I had made the second year, and got on the road. Counting the littlest ones, there were 14 of us.
My brother in law rode shotgun, sitting on top of the big barrels of gasoline we stole from abandoned cars. My sister steered the trike, while Ma and the others rode in the wagon. I drove the Ford with Dad next to me. We made good time, as both could go off the crowded roads, but the trike only went 8-10mph loaded and pulling the food in the baskets. My sister was locked and loaded too, behind the wagon and truck, with a handgun. Just in case.
We got to Manchester in the dark, and parked at my brother’s place. They were not as thin as us, because they had gotten one of them a job with the GOP office there. If you worked for the party, you got special “shopping days” where all the stuff was 50% off. But, they were antsy every time we had to come. “Brenda,” his wife said “you gotta repaint that side of the wagon. It is looking faded.” I agreed, and until we all left for the last couple miles to the stadium, I was busy retouching the painting on the side with Trump’s head in front of a waving American flag. I touched up both sides of the truck, too. Patriotism was important, and the best way to be allowed to have a vehicle on the road.
Ma, Dad, Me all had wheelchairs, and we had strollers for the kids. Everyone except my sister and my brother’s family walked, she rode the trike, they had bicycles. The roads all had folks like us. Only GOP officials could afford cars, and the Makers either had SUV’s or armored carriers like the soldiers. You had to stay to the right, and folks like us weren’t allowed on the highways. My brother still had his 2 cars, but always went with us to rallies. They weren’t high enough to have a parking space anyway.
On the TV stations, you never saw any of it. 24/7 the broadcasts were full of how everyone had at least one car, how there was no homeless, shows about new factories making the newest drones and weapons, the parades of ISIS prisoners of war, the liberation of Iraq. There was a show each month profiling someone who had gotten rich using their voucher in the stock market.
It was hard to find a place to lock up our bikes, but finally we found a spot in the cemetery. Ma reminded the young ones not to go near the bikes after the rally until we said so. We adults slathered Vaseline with poison on the lock, the handlebars, and the seats. Dad bet me one ration of bread that we’d come back to only one dead thief. Sucker bet. Idiots would step on the dead body and try anyway. Almost always the chains would have cut marks.
We all had to turn over our phone or watch to get inside. I had to explain the photo of the line of dead cars I forgot to delete. Thankfully, my explanation I was catching the sunset worked, even though they made me delete it.
We got in, and took our seats, clutching and staring at the screens. The jumbotrons were showing the Christian Rock band playing music.
“3” “Kids, get ready” we adults hissed…
“1” Fist tight, arms rising…
“Making America Great Again!”
They went on for hours. Up on high, “Goppers” as we called them, enjoyed all kinds of free food, as did the people, mostly officials, who got floor seats. Those of us who were in the stands were not allowed to leave our seats, and the hawkers with the soda, candy, popcorn were too expensive for even my brother. Our group did get a bit more room however, because of our wheelchairs.
At the rally, I watched my friend, a poet, a dissident, a…prophet? He barely made it in, long hair, sandals. But he cheered really loud, and had his fist up first every time. He would just randomly do it, so the Makers made fun of him, but didn’t stop him. I had seen him at lots of the smaller rallies, but never a Presidential.
The video played, and Hail to the Chief came over the loudspeakers. More chants. Trump had said his 3 carefully crafted lines, all that passed for a speech, and it was the part where he just kept the cheers going, faster and faster, until the end when the music would blare, fireworks go off, and it would finally be over unless you got pulled out of line to be interviewed. My brother and his family, never us skinny, toothless, poor and disabled.
My head hurt, my fist hurt from being clenched so tight. My face even hurt from keeping my smile on. I was dizzy, having only our bread and vegetables we grew to eat. We all had scurvy, protein deficiencies.
And suddenly, I heard my friend, behind me, at my ear: “Mic check. Remember. Tell the stories.”
I turned on my phone camera so I could see over my shoulder. One more cheer, a wave, we stood, shouted “Death to Muslims!”, we sat…
Except my friend, now two rows back. He kept standing. A pit grew in my stomach. Oh, No…God, no…
He gracefully pulled the shirt off his body, over his head in one sweep, his long hair flying, exposing his bare chest…
.. with a rainbow flag and “#anonymous” painted on it….
A full second? Maybe less? The cameras turned, one on a drone swooping in, and suddenly all you could see on the jumbotrons was the Makers and everyone around him turning, punching, grabbing…him falling….the crowd going wild, cheering, stomping their feet, chanting “Traitor! Traitor!” His bloody, battered body being dragged away, and then the screens filled with Trump smiling. “Thank you, Patriots, for catching that nut! Let’s hear it! True Americans!”
It wasn’t until late that night, long after the man had appeared next to me outside the stadium, that my video hit the underground. That was when I saw that one of those in front of him had a syringe. My friend only felt the first few punches.
Dad and I sat in the quiet cab of the truck, our phones resting on the back bumper, and talked, again, of moving north. The Wall was already up to Mexico. The military had all the harbors. The Underground could only take healthy, able bodied, and if you went with them and got caught…
The deep North was still open. Especially in winter. “You should go.” He said. “They have all your blogs, your Democratic and Green Party work. Your gay rights posts. You should go.” His eyes were so sad.
I woke up, shivering, in my dark room. Booker raised his head, perked his ears, asking “What? What’s wrong?” I comforted him, drank some water, went back to sleep.
Less than a month later, the videos of the Trump campaign rally, the teenager who didn’t do anything but miss a cheer, playing with her phone, came up on my YouTube suggestion list. I made it to the bathroom, throwing up my ensure. Since then, it has been at worse….
Just a dream….We Americans can’t be that stupid. We won’t be that stupid….God, We will wake up, right?
#Elections2016 #NeverTrump #HumanRights #WakeUp! #Anonymous