December 10, 2016
Jack Climber sat on his kitchen floor and surveyed the wreckage. Closing his eyes he could feel a breeze swirl around his head that felt like a caress on his face. He figured he was feeling the breeze because the evil bastards who just left must have neglected to shut his front door.
He slowly, and very awkwardly, lifted his broken body up off the floor using the kitchen counter to support his weight. Upon scanning the cluttered ruins of what used to be his happy home, he limped over to the front door and looked outside. His once well-manicured lawn now was overgrown with weeds and littered like a garbage dump. There was his mattress laying over his front sidewalk, wet and rotting along with some old clothes that looked to be his neighbor’s and even a small safe rusting in the driveway, its contents vacated long ago.
Slowly, Jack shut his splintered and duct-taped door and tied a little knot of string through the hole where the bolt lock used to be. Then slowly, he hobbled down the hallway before collapsing onto some dirty blankets on the carpet in the corner of his bedroom where his bed once was.
Jack Climber was dying. He knew it and at the same time he wished he could turn away from the fact. He had not eaten anything of substance for nine days now and he finished the last of his clean water yesterday. In a short time, he would lose consciousness. The fear of what came afterwards caused him to choke a little and he began to cry. Was there a heaven? Or would it just be black nothingness? He sniffled a little, wiped his nose and began sob uncontrollably. Wasted water, he thought.
How did this happen? Like a DVD movie set to rewind, Jack’s brain went backwards, scene by scene, to a happier time. Was it real? Or was it a dream?
He met Jill on the university campus, near the campanile. He was walking to class when a Frisbee came out of nowhere and hit him hard on the back of his head. It was a beautiful afternoon in early May two weeks before the summer break of his junior year. The day was glorious but not near as glorious as the brunette bouncing her way to him like a graceful gazelle constructed, in part, of Jell-O. She was wearing a short sleeved blouse, jean shorts and smile that seemed to outshine the sun. That encounter was the first of many awkward meetings, some happenstance, some not. Eventually he asked her out and she said “yes”. The rest was history.
When Bill Clinton won the presidential election in the fall of 1991, Jack and Jill were elated. They worked so hard that year on the campaign, they decided to celebrate. They flew to Colorado to do some hiking and camping. It was then, after a hard day of hiking, Jack took a pail up to a little bluff to grab some water from a mountain stream there. On the way down, Jill jumped out from behind a tree. This startled Jack, caused him to trip and roll down the rocky path to where he hit his head on a boulder. Jill, while chasing after Jack, also fell and tumbled onto him in a dusty heap, laughing. It was right then and there with a bleeding heart, and a gaping scalp wound, that Jack asked Jill to marry him. Perhaps out of guilt, she said “yes”.
The next years were a blur. The birth of both his son and daughter. His post graduate degrees, the professorship at the college and then his position in the Department of Education. The big house, the expensive vacations, the summer home, the BMW’s and Mercedes. They were set for life. He was just a decade away from retirement. With his government benefits and pension, he might have even retired a few years early. But now, he was about to die instead. He didn’t deserve this. Any of it.
Didn’t he live right? Didn’t he do what was expected and more? When Barack Obama won the presidency it was the happiest time of his life. Obama was the greatest president in history. The United States prospered under his leadership. Equality and justice were on the rise.
When Jack’s thirteen year old son told him he wanted to be a girl, Jack could not have been more proud. His son was so brave and Jack did everything he could to support his son and others like him. He led his family on various marches, rallies and parades in support of the LGBT community. He even borrowed money from the bank to later pay for the final operations.
When his daughter met Mohammed during college, Jack and Jill were both very supportive before, and after, the wedding ceremony at the mosque. They were also very happy when their baby girl converted to Islam and they wished the newlyweds well, even giving them money when Mohammed took their daughter and the baby back to Detroit. Jack missed her but at the same time it was better than if she met some Christian and lived here in town, married to a close-minded bigot.
But everything fell apart when prejudice, intolerance and misogyny triumphed over the possibility of America’s first woman president. Never was Jack more embarrassed to be an American than during the fall of 2016 and afterwards. Shame on the ignorant Neanderthals who voted to take America back to the 1950s. Hillary Clinton won that election. More people voted for her than Trump. She was a First Lady, a Senator and later a Secretary of State. She had the most experience but she lost to an ignorant blowhard; a typical white male who could barely conjugate sentences with words exceeding two syllables.
Trump’s win marked the end of the nation. His economic policies were so short sighted and destined to fail, it is no wonder he was assassinated. Still, it was too late. The Trump train had left the station and nothing could prevent the financial crash of 2018; which happened exactly the way the Russians intended when they helped Trump to win. It was all part of the plan.
When they came for the Christians and the other deplorable racists and haters, Jack was glad. Wherever they were taken to, Jack could not have cared less. When they came for the guns, Jack said to himself: “Finally. Now we will have peace in our inner cities and all across the land.”
When the gangs started raiding the neighborhoods, Jack was devastated when Jill ran off with that prepper guy, but maybe it was for the best. Better than turning tricks for canned goods like his transgendered daughter did downtown during the beginning of the crisis.
But now, everyone was gone. Everything has been taken.
In the darkening still of the room, Jack closed his eyes. He heard gunshots a few blocks away followed by the tortured screams of women.
None of this was his fault. He didn’t deserve this.
Damn you Donald Trump. Damn you to hell.
It was so close. It could have been beautiful.