America, Great Again

USA Flag 1992The year is 2018. Ten months have passed since The Impeachment. The turmoil has all but subsided. Normalcy has been restored.

A woman strolls peacefully through the park. Serenity.

*DING* A clarion bell cuts through the pacific. She stops. Her face tenses ever so slightly. It’s a sound she knows well. A sound from another time. A news alert.

She slides a trembling hand down into her front pants pocket. She braces. Inhale. Exhale.

The woman takes out her phone. Her eyes creep slowly downward. Down toward the screen.

But there is nothing there. A sigh of relief. No push notification. Just the time. 11:08 AM. Eleven o’eight. 11. 8.

She feels the pallor begin to settle in, the suns warmth ebb, the daylight mute. Silence. Gray. Then, *CLAMOR*.

People everywhere. She’s surrounded. Pussy hats and poster boards dance around her. The crowd’s current picks her up and moves her forward. She must get out. She fights cross stream, making for the edge. Kicking, clawing. She casts aside one last bullhorn and breaks free.

The woman stops to catch her breath. She feels a cold tingle atop her head. She reaches out her hand. Icy precipitation tickles her palm. Snowflakes.

The cold spell is fleeting, replaced quickly by heat. The woman falls back as a meteor aflame strikes the ground before her. She gets up and inspects the smoking crater. One word: “BREAKING”.

The woman makes a mad dash as a torrent of fiery chyrons rain down around her. Race. Bob. Weave. Punditry thunders from the heavens as the woman tiptoes her way through the minefield of lower-thirds. Finally, she escapes, scrambling into the refuge of a nearby building.

Doubled over, she gasps for air. She gazes down at floor, exhausted. Her frantic visage reflected back to her in the golden tile.

She looks up. She is in a lobby. A front desk. A potted plant. A luggage cart. All ostentatiously gilt with Midas-ian restraint. As it dawns on the woman the lion’s den into which she’s wandered, her ears pique. Nasally breaths she recognizes underscored by an anthem she does not: “Rossiya – svyashchennaya nasha derzhava / Rossiya – lyubimaya nasha strana“. The stench of ketchup and steak fills her nostrils. From atop an escalator, a shadowy figure descends.

“No. No. It can’t be. You’re not- You’re supposed to be-” The monster approaches closer and closer, its grotesque figure becoming more and more apparent. Its leathery tangerine hide. Its droopy, vile mug.

The woman can barely muster, “Why aren’t you locked away?”

The beast draws its elbows in, its talons out. It bellows, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

The woman: “Impossible. Y- You were vanquished.”

“That’s fake news.”

The beast unveils a hidden object and hoists it high. The severed head of the Hero Mueller. “We’re going to make America great again,” cries the beast.

The woman shrieks, “Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!”

Blackout.

The woman wakes, still screaming. She wipes the sweat from her brow and looks around.

She is back in the park. It was just a nightmare. America is great again.

*DING*

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