The Saga Continues: ELECTION NIGHT 2020, PART 3

WARNING: This fictional article contains adult language and racial slurs that some may find offensive.

Andy and Carrie had fallen asleep on the large, L-shaped living room sofa. Andy lay there for a moment wondering what had awakened. Carrie was still sound asleep, her back to him. Then he heard the sound again, a quiet scratching at the back door like someone trying to pick the lock.

He grabbed the baseball bat that was now always within reach and crouched down behind the kitchen island, alert to the slightest sound.

The lock clicked and the door swung open at the same moment Andy stood up to confront the intruder. 

“Dad!” It was Josh and his friend.

They embraced fiercely and suddenly Carrie was there, too. Andy turned to Curtis and hugged him also. “Thanks for bringing our son home safely.”

“I didn’t. We had each other’s backs.”

“The last thing anybody needs right now is coffee, but…” said Carrie.

“Who can sleep now?’ asked Andy.

“The trip here was harrowing and exhausting,” commented Curtis, “But I’m in.”

“Tell us what happened,” Carrie asked.

Curtis and Josh had left the girls in Oakland with their protective families after dinner. 

“We took 80 south, pretty much hugging the ditches where we could. We circled past three checkpoints going into San Francisco. It didn’t look like they were letting anyone in. But it was the weirdest thing. The BART was running back and forth with no riders.”

“After watching a couple of cycles we crept aboard, Josh in one car, me crouched down in another and rode the blue line from Fruitvale and resisted the urge to jump out once we hit the Embarcadero.”

Josh picked up the story. “We rode to 16th Street and almost walked right into the hands of two National Guard. The African American guy distracted his partner as we ran across the street into an alley.”

“We found a guy sitting on a boat just under the Golden Gate bridge. We gave him a hundred bucks each to bring us into Sausalito.”

“You probably weren’t his first fare for the evening,” Andy commented.

“That’s what we figured, but here we are.”

Armando, his wife Serena and their two boys shared their two-bedroom apartment in San Ysidro with a gruff man in his thirties who kept to himself. Tonight, though, Ramon was positively loquacious, going on and on about that pendejo Trump. 

”At first,” he said, “I didn’t know which way I was going. If I went home to Ensenada, I wouldn’t have to worry about getting picked up for being brown. But if El Pendejo won, he would finish the wall and I could never come back. My family is there. My work and money are here.”

“It’s a decision many of us make on a daily basis,” said Armando.

“What do you have to worry about? You have your whole family here.”

“We have parents, sisters and brothers, cousins and a slower, quieter life back there,” said Serena.

“And I fear for their safety in both places for different reasons,” said Armando. “Here are the gangs and everybody has guns and they look at us with disgust. There just the police have guns and they wave them around while they work for the drug cartels.”

“Very true. So, do we flip a coin?” asked Ramon.

“Do you think there’s any chance we could make it to Canada?”

“There are no crops to tend and harvest,” Armando reminded her. 

“You could be a handyman. You are very good with your hands. The boys are still young. It’s not too late to start over somewhere else.”

There was a knock at the door. It was Ernesto, Armando’s older brother. He was bleeding and could barely stand.

Serena fetched a bottle of isopropyl alcohol and some rags and had him sit in Armando’s recliner in the living room. She dabbed at the cuts on his face as he winced. 

“I think they broke some ribs.” He hesitantly pulled his t-shirt off over his head. One side of his chest was turning purple.

“Who did this to you?” Armando asked.

“White assholes in a pickup truck,” said Ernesto. They told me to go back to my country. Now! Then they started punching me. I fell down and curled up into a ball so they might leave me alone. Then they kicked me until the police came. As soon as they were distracted, I ran away.”

“That’s it!” growled Armando. “We’re going home!”

The boys were excited and jumping up and down. “We’re going home!” The older one, Pedro, 8, stopped. “Daddy, where is home?”

Kenny and his wife Diane were being grilled at the Windsor, Canada station. 

An obviously flustered captain of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Larry Campbell found himself in new territory. “Where are we going to put these people?” he asked when he got his superior on the phone.

“We’ve cleared the Dew Drop Inn for some. They have twenty rooms. We’re filling every hotel in the area. I’ll keep you posted. The worst is probably over by now because people realize that things aren’t going to change.”

“I hope you’re right. In the meantime, I’m interviewing folks who seem a little suspicious.”

“You’re not racial profiling, are you captain?”

“No, but this mass exodus is not like the hippies in the sixties; these are families, people of all different colors and ages. I had better get back to the couple down the hall.”

“It’s about time!” said Diane a little shrilly.

“Sorry, just going to wrap up. Here’s an obvious question: You’re both white. You dress like you have money. Why are you political refugees?”

“I can level with you, right? I mean fear is fear, right? And if we’re in fear due to the political climate, that makes us legit, right?”

“Why were you in fear, Mr…” He glanced down at the man’s passport. “Trump? Any relation?”

“No, but those BLM folks don’t care. They’ll hurt me, us.”

“Does everyone know you, Mr. Trump?”

“No, but…. Show him honey.”

Mrs. Trump’s jacket had TRUMP emblazoned across the back. Campbell stifled a laugh.

“So, you’re ready to capitalize on the name when you suits you, but now it doesn’t?”

“Don’t send us back!” begged Diane. “They’re big and they’re black and they’re ANGRY!”

He stamped DENIED on their passports and called for an officer to process their return.

Commander Trump was livid. He turned on the TV to see how the transition was progressing and he watched the segment on the couple named Trump who had tried to flee the country.

“Just look at the reporter with that smirk on her face! Call management at FOX. I want that woman, Roberta Ping or Pong, fired this afternoon. Otherwise, we’ll take care of her after the transition!”

He looked around to see if anyone was listening to him. Somebody always was. 

“Yes, sir. Right on that.” A prim woman in a floral print dress left the room in a hurry.

Another aide approached him.

“What do you want?”

“Commander, there’s a lady named Nancy Grant waiting to speak with you. She says she’s your spiritual advisor.”

“Okay. Yeah. Send her in.” She was in her forties, hair perfectly coiffed, her pantsuit a shade of lavender.

“Hello, Nancy.”

“Good morning, Mr. President. There’s a breath of fresh air blowing across this god-fearing nation this morning. Jesus says hello and he blesses you.”

 “Good, Nancy. That’s good. By the way, it’s Commander now. Have you set up your Supreme Court yet?”

“Almost there, Commander. We had some resistance from Justice Thomas of all people.”

“The one that scared me was that little witch, Ginsburg. She would give me that look. I half-expected to burst into flames.”

“She’s in a better… She has passed now. May she rest in peace.”

“So, what’s up?”

“I’m reporting we’re already moving on our agenda. Rove v Wade has been eliminated. Capital punishment has been fully reinstated everywhere with only one appeal, praise the Lord. Our lords and ladies of the Court will be meeting further with Congress to put together our wish list for future cooperation. As my NASCAR friends put it, we’re going to be firing on all cylinders.”

“I like it. I like it.”

“May I pray for your success?” Grant asked.

“Sure.”

“I mean now.”

“I’m kinda busy…”

“It will be good for the country if folks turn on their TV tonight and see you praying for the peace of the nation.”

“You’re right. You’re absolutely right. Let’s do this.” He snapped on the intercom. “Get me a photographer.”

A little guy with an imposing camera stepped into the room.

“Let’s bow our heads…” she intoned. Trump never bowed his head. She ignored the irreverence.

“Get the shot from several different angles,” he instructed the photographer.

“Heavenly father, bless this man as he works to reunite a broken country. Help him smite his enemies and restore in his followers faith in the gospel so that America can once again be a Christian nation. Amen.”

“Amen,” echoed Trump.

Suddenly Jared burst into the room.

“Jesus, Jared! Can’t you see we’re praying here? This better be important!” belllowed Trump.

“Hello, Nancy. Sorry to interrupt.”

“Hello, Jew.” Kushner looked to his father-in-law to reprimand her, but not really expecting it.

“I’ll check in with you later, Commander,” Grant said, heading for the exit.

“Build that cabinet! And take that photographer with you!”

“Mr. President!” Jared was excited. It was refreshing to see something other than a sneer on that face.

“Commander,” Trump corrected.

“Ooooo-kay. As you know, I’ve been riding reconnaissance with the Heaven’s Devils militia.”

“That Bible-thumping biker gang?’

“Yeah. We were going through Virginia firing up our civilian troops and we found one compound that was smoldering ash. About 30 dead. But here’s the interesting part…”

“That would be the part that interests me.”

“Almost all of them were killed by arrows!”

“The Indians?”

“That’s what the people in the area claimed.”

“Stupid. Very stupid. All right. Let’s nuke their reservation!”

“Let me remind you that fallout around the area might kill thousands of your voters.”

“That doesn’t matter. I declared martial law due to campaign fraud. I win!”

“Bold! But you’re going to need a new volunteer army,” said Jared.

“I already have an army.”

“I hear there’s been some uh, downsizing. They’re shooting the deserters.”

“I appreciate the heads-up. Great job. We need you out there. You’re doing a tremendous service for your country.”

“First, I’d like to wash up, eat some decent food and spend some time with Ivanka.”

“Fine, but hurry. You know we can’t count on the lame-stream media to tell us what’s really going on out there. I’m going to shut down social media except for my Twitter account so the nation hears the truth directly from me.”

“You don’t think Ivanka and I…”

Trump made eye contact. “Directly from me.”

Jared tossed off a frustrated salute on his way to the door. “I’ll be heading out again in two hours.”

The receptionist came bustling in as Kushner left. “Mr. Modi is calling from India to congratulate you, sir.”

“More Indians,” Trump mused. “What’s his first name?”

“Narendra.”

“Fuck that. Modi it is. All right. Patch him through.”

Andy saw that Candy was calling. “Honey, are you all right? Are you safe?”

“We’re fine. We’re in…”

“Stop. Don’t tell me where you are. I’m glad you’re okay. Are you still far away?”

“Pretty far.”

“Next question: who’s ‘we’? Be vague if you have to,” Andy cautioned. 

“Let’s just say I’m traveling with a group.”

“I think I saw something about marauding Native Americans on the news last night. Be careful.”

“Don’t worry, Dad. I’ve become quite a badass.”

“When do you think we will see you?”

There was a long pause. “I don’t know. They need me here.”

Andy felt his eyes welling up. “We want you here, but sometimes, well… There are bigger choices.”

“I love you, Dad. And Mom and Josh too. Oh god, Josh! Did he make it?”

Josh grabbed the phone. “Hey, baby sister! Can Curtis and I meet up with you somewhere?”

“Remember where we went camping three years ago and you got stung by a bee and swelled up?”

“You mean…?”

“Yes.”

The four of them had camped in the Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. A village built into the mountainside by the Pueblo Indians more than eight hundred years ago would be practical and symbolic for the gathering nations.  

“We’re on our way!” 

“We’re not there yet. Spend some time with mom and dad.”

“Why can’t your mom and I go too?” Andy asked.

“No offense, Dad, but you get winded walking up the driveway. And there are lots of snakes. Mom hates snakes,” said Candy.

“Got it.” 

“Go shopping for them, Josh. Get everybody stocked up,” Candy suggested.

“Nope. Can’t do that,” said Andy. “We’re keeping him and his friend under wraps. We can’t explain their sudden appearance and definitely won’t know how to explain their sudden disappearance.”

“Good idea,” she acknowledged. “I’ve got to go now. Constant potlucks! Josh, see you soon!”

The cupboards, the freezer, and the fridge were looking a little COVID-19, Andy realized. Thank God they were up to date on their meds.

He played his exit like any other day. “Going to the store. I’ll be right back. Does anybody need anything?”

“I’ll text you my list,” said Josh.

He was applauding his foresight in buying an electric car two months before. He drove slowly, carefully. The neighborhood seemed deserted until he got to the mall.

Big burly types were packing heat proudly wearing their MAGA hats. One stood with the security guard at the entrance of the supermarket. 

“Got your walking papers?” the burly guy asked.

“Excuse me?”

“Step over there. Please.” He motioned to a pudgy accountant type seated at a card table. A poster behind him declared he was the neighborhood watch.

“Do you have two forms of I.D.?”

“Maybe. I was just planning to pick up a few things in the store. What’s this about?”

“Nothing serious. This area has been red-flagged as a possible domestic terrorist zone. This is an effort to keep the area secure and safe.”

“I guess I need to get out more.”

 “Do you have driver’s license, a passport, some kind of government ID?”

Andy fumbled through his wallet. “I’ve got my license and my union card. Will my union card work? It’s got a photo on it.”

“Union card, eh? Okay. I just need you to take the loyalty oath and sign it at the bottom then you’re free to shop.”

“Can I do this later? I’ve got a sick baby at home and… I’ve already done this once.”

“I really need it now. Please raise your right hand and repeat after me, “I pledge allegiance to our Commander in Chief Donald Trump, Anointed by God. Blessed by the Church. Protector of All. Amen.”

“Amen.”

“Sign here.  Thank you, sir. Have a nice day.”

His phone dinged with Josh’s wish list. Going through it, the requests were for practical items like jerky and trail mix that would sustain their energy on their journey. The boy was courageous AND smart!

The store was sparsely populated. Shoppers continued to maintain social distancing and some still wore masks despite the executive order undermining their efficacy. He noted that others avoided eye contact; it made him feel paranoid, like his every move was closely monitored.

As he left the store he looked up at the sky. A massive thunderstorm loomed over the city. They would need ponchos and hats for the road.

It was working. As they moved across the great plains toward a mass convergence, a gathering of the tribes, Candy was happy to know she had played a significant part. Two days later they were in Kansas moving southeast to Mesa Verde. They were now 300 strong and it was getting damned hard to hide their numbers. 

Her walkie talkie roared to life outside Kansas City. 

“There’s a large group of people moving in your direction,” said the scout.

“Do they look friendly or hostile?” she asked.

“Hard to tell. Everybody’s packing these days.”

They were headed to the Jack Reardon Convention Center. A friend of a friend had called in some favors and he was opening it up for them. A group of churches had trucked in food and a local black-owned McDonald’s was also helping out.

They had arrived. The building looked deserted. As the metal gate rose, a flood of vigilantes ran out of the building toward them shooting. Candy saw several warriors fall as she and Ronnie ran to a hotel around the corner from the convention. 

“That large group we saw before is almost on you,” the voice on the walkie reported. “Stand down! Stand down! They’re friendlies!”

The militias were cut off from advancing or retreating. Arrows, small arms, and baseball bats found their marks. There was a far-off noise that General Songbird quickly identified.

“Everybody down! It’s a Huey!” 

The helicopter suddenly appeared over them. Several warriors went down in a flurry of bullets. An RPG appeared from the trunk of someone’s car and was aimed at the Huey. 

“If we do this, we are officially at war!” Candy warned.

“Where have you been, little sister? We’re domestic terrorists! Fire!” Ronnie shouted.

A direct hit sent the helicopter spinning into a residential neighborhood. A fireball indicated where it had gone down.

“We’re at your service, brother.” One of the rescuing band introduced himself as a preacher. 

“Who are you guys?”

“I’m Reverend Milan. We’re elders and pastors and two rabbis from local churches and synagogues with some of our congregations. We brought in the food and realized we couldn’t sit on the sidelines. This president is tearing this country apart.”

“God bless you all!” Ronnie yelled, starting to choke up. He grabbed his walkie. “Captains take inventory of your casualties. Meet General Songbird in the church just north of the Convention Center for a debrief. “

A few minutes later, Songbird looked at the 30 tired, ragged warriors. Before he spoke, he locked eyes with each warrior. “What we’re attempting, guys, is to take back our country. We started small and every day more join the fight. Everywhere along the stop we’ve encountered a mixture of reaction to our purpose and a lot of doubt on whether or not we can complete our mission. I hope you will accept the responsibility ahead of us.”

Reverend Milan approached the general. “May I make some remarks?”

“Knock yourself out.”

The pastor looked around the room. “For those who don’t know me, I’m Reverend Roger Milan, formerly US Marine Corp. Earlier today I was panicking. It’s hard to hide 300 troops. Thirty is tough, but we’re here today because it is possible. So, we are now on the night shift moving buildings and people. Y’all were awesome today!”

Ronnie announced the new plan. “We are about 970 miles from our destination. That’s about two days drive or more depending on the weather. We’ll never make it as one big group moving west. So, I’m asking that you all disperse. Don’t draw attention to yourself, no group larger than three unless you’re a family of five, and keep moving after sundown. Don’t ask for directions. Use your GPS periodically then shut it off. We don’t want them tracking us by satellite. We’re packing plenty of food so take enough to get you to Mesa Verde National Park. We will have more food and other supplies waiting for us there. More are joining the fight: union guys, ex-football players who still take a knee, military deserters, the Muslim Brotherhood, and more tribes. We have a war to win, battle by battle. 

“We have the advantage. Sure, they have the firepower, but they let their guard down because we look like frightened children. It’s an effective disguise.  I know, I know. It’s not a disguise, but we’re on the right side of history on this one and I’m proud to stand alongside each and every one of you. There is plenty to do in the coming revolution. Winston Churchill said fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.“

They all scattered in new directions. Candy and Ronnie continued together, feeling as though they had already moved mountains. 

The rat-a-tat of an assault rifle sounded uncomfortably close. Candy moved away from the growing group of onlookers. She knew they should avoid anything that drew a crowd. She turned around and discovered Ronnie seemed to be drawn, too, moving rapidly toward the gunshots.

“Where the hell are you going?” she hissed.

“It’s probably somebody from our group! I hope we’re not too late!”

The tableau in front of them revealed two dead cops, one white, one black and what looked to be an African American family, all alive. The crowd quickly began to disperse. The two adults appeared to be in their thirties, a scowling preteen girl by their side.

“Who’s in charge here?”

“Who wants to know?” asked Ronnie. 

“Hi,” said dad. “I’m Jeremy. This is my wife Aisha and our daughter, Mika.”

“I don’t recognize you,” remarked Ronnie. “Were you part of our group a few miles back?”

“No, but we heard about the crazy Indians on TV and we were coming to volunteer,” said Aisha.

“What happened right before we got here?” asked Candy.

“We got stopped. They said they were looking for looters. There have been all these marches since he took control of the government. They had us on the ground and searched our car. Do you know what’s scary? Most of these folks don’t have a clue what’s going on all around them.”

Candy turned to Ronnie. “I think we should get out of here before the cops or more militia show up. Chances are they’ve had a chance to fall back and regroup.”

“Come with us!” Ronnie insisted.

“Our car is a VW beetle!” Candy objected.

“That’s okay, we’ve got an SUV with darkened windows,” said Jeremy.

“Let’s go!” 

“Daddy, we don’t know them!”

“This is Candy. I’m Ronnie. We’re on our way to Colorado.”

“Then so are we!” said Jeremy.