The bedside lamp flicked on once more.
It had been on and off more these past ten hours than in the entire month just gone by.
I cannot count.
These pitiful flesh-scrapings from a felled tree of these thousands; soggy-rank with tears, sodden with such wrong-ridden kind of ink, still doggedly stood and saluted, giving forth words both good and evil, no matter what the cost.
Hot tears blazed. Lucy’s eyes swam with fury. She had almost lost her Saul Friedman forever. How dare they? These evil people. How dare they!
And they printed the speech in full.
They never do that.
So why this?
Senator Marcus Charleston Bubble?
What about Saul? What about Adolf Adams? Or Patti Stone? Or Wallace Quincey? Or the Miller brothers? Or Harriet Fox? Mary Avivah Russell? Stanford Cohen? Ubuntu Grace?
No-one who stood up for what is right ever got more than a few lines.
How could they?
How could they?
How dare they?
What gave them the right?
That’s right, everyone. I have seen at first hand the atrocious dangers terrorism poses to our country. I almost perished when I was consulting with my fellow Georgians. If a Georgia Senator can be almost killed when he is going to meet his fellow citizens, the people of his own state, well…
God alone knows what our enemies are prepared to do to anyone else!
But let’s not beat about the bush. Terrorism cannot exist without support and help. One terrorist on his own can’t do much. Even a bunch of terrorists, say ten, twelve, twenty, twenty hundred, twenty hundred hundred hundred terrorists, can’t do anything unless there are some people out there who want to help them out.
People who hate this country.
Look, let me be clear. I’m just like all of you. I am not made of stone. I’m not callously indifferent to the welfare of our nation and of our leaders and of our people, our citizens, our own fellow Americans who are in danger every day because of people who envy everything we stand for!
But this is just not true. You’re sick and tired of traitors and cowards, I’m sick and tired of them too!
You’re disgusted and fed up with lousy, overpaid freeloaders who are getting paid to spew hate on our airwaves, I feel angry about that crap too, believe me!
And you know what? I’m angry, I’ve had enough, I’m disgusted by these treacherous, unpatriotic pacifist rabble-rousers, I’m gusty as fuck, and I swear, I just ain’t gonna take it anymore!
This is America! The land of the brave and the free! It’s not a land for the spineless, the weak, the craven, and the cowardly.
You know, the Indians, those other guys who were here doing whatever they do, you know, on this hallowed soil even before our forefathers reached this land, well these curious friends and intriguing little fellow patriots of ours; you see, they have a custom.
When they travel, and there is anyone too weak and cowardly to carry on, they just drop them on the side and carry on walking on home to the holy city.
For these people knew well enough, as also did our Founding Fathers, that the foundation of a sound and true republic is courage, and strength, and that there is nothing that will corrode the character and spirit of nation, and bring it to its knees, as the kind of weak-kneed high-mindedness and parasitical, do-gooding, dewy-eyed misery-mongering as we can see all around us here today.
No! No! No! We must not ever let this be!
Don’t you ever let them get away with sapping our strength, our vitality, and don’t ever think about selling the soul of our nation for fool’s gold!
Don’t you ever, ever, EVER settle for peace at any price, because no matter they tell you, that’s what these guys stand for.
And guess what? Deep done, they know it!
And they are afraid…
Afraid of US!
That’s right. They fear us even more than they fear the jihadists! Because the jihadists will never win; but we have God on our side, and the Constitution, and the Founding Fathers, and you know what? For what it’s worth, well let me tell you:
The International Community know we mean business, and they will support us to the hilt, on our pilgrimage towards the greater good, one nation and planet under a righteous and rightly-judging God, and mutual advancement of our common wellbeing and the universal freedom and prosperity of all!
Yes, we are a nation of pilgrims, we carry very little with us, but we carry one thing, and one thing alone:
The dream and the hope of eternal liberty, the greater good and the eternal progress of man and of all his great creations and accomplishments!
There are people in this land, who hate your nation!
Oh! Well hey! What are you chanting? What’s this I hear?
Ha! You got it! Smart people? You all know exactly who I am talking about.
That’s right! Who is responsible for placing us in danger, with their vicious, brutal, unbridled rage against our well-regulated, transparent and accountable systems of surveillance?
Yeah! Who wants us to be overrun with vicious, violent, Arab jihadists from the desert who hate our freedom, and who not only hate the entire International Community, yeah even the Chinese and the Norwegians, but who bear a special mother-loading hatred and extra-special-uber-duper loathing for the leaders of the entire free, errrr, the entire world?
Alright! Who is talking about freedom of speech at the expense of keeping us safe, and is always making lame appeals to Benjamin Franklin, instead of thinking about the present, and the actual real and pressing dangers with which the American people are confronted?
Who is an unprincipled and demagogic (ha!) rabble-rouser and revisionist who hates our Constitution, who tramples the insight and vision of the Founding Fathers underfoot in the name of the expediency of the moment?
And who is it who is plotting to replace our true and authentic and ever-God-given liberties with vicious license, unbridled anarchy, and crypto-socialist authoritarian madness?
Well, I told myself this morning I wasn’t going to name any names. But while I hate the thought of criticizing someone from my own party, yeah, even someone who has behaved reprehensibly and persisted in placing us in danger, and even in mortal peril, every day of our entire lives: there are some things I hate even more than this!
I hate disloyalty.
I hate treachery.
I hate pacifism.
I hate apologists for murder.
I hate every single terrorist sympathiser, without exception!
I hate true-believers and rampant ideologues and fanatics.
I hate cynical opportunists and schemers, above all things in this world.
All these can be summed up in two short words.
Anyone care to give me an answer?
Give me an answer, American people! YEEEAAAHHH! WOOOOOOOOOO!
Give me an answer in Michigan! Give me an answer in Kansas! Give me an answer in Arkansas! Give me an answer in North Dakota! And Utah! And Mississippi! And bring it on home to GEEEOOORGIA!
Whew! Let me tell you something! That felt good. Did it feel good, people? Let me hear you scream. Let me hear you roar. America! America! Or better still:
Yes, Saul Friedman has departed us in body. But many of us fear this guy is still with us in spirit. So don’t you ever dare be afraid, people! Cos you know what? Right is on our side. And sooner or later, right will prevail.
I am going to run for President. Are you with me?
Ha! Yes, I know. And guess what? For what it’s worth, I’m with you too!
And we are going to do some great things that not one of you have ever dreamed of.
But I need you on side.
So, listen to me, my friends: don’t you ever, EVER give in to fearmongering, and don’t you ever give in to intimidation, or emotional blackmail, or wild rhetoric, or propaganda, or pitiful ideological nonsense, or artful manipulation, or any of the hateful crap the regulated media are spewing out about us.
Don’t cede an inch to the quivering cowards among us.
THIS IS AMERICA!
WE ARE AT WAR!
AND ANYONE WHO STANDS IN OUR WAY WILL BE ANNIIIHILAAATEEEEEEEEED!
Almost asleep at last, Lucy jerked up in horror.
Her bedsheets were awash with blood.
It wasn’t supposed to be her period.
She threw her head upon her arms, and sobbed, and sobbed.
Even her own body was against her.
Her own evil body was her enemy.
It wanted to kill her, just as Senator Marcus Charleston Bubble, and Dickie Klindel, and Lynton Goering, and Eva Vernon Letterman, and Benito Scarlett Muskogee, and the President of the Ruby & Sinclair Nixon Foreign Advisory Theoretical Institute, all wanted to kill her husband.
‘My husband,’ she murmured to herself, over and over again, as though it were as clear and unquestionable as high truth itself.
But it was a lie.
Saul Friedman had not died after his heart attack.
And yet, he would never know how much she loved him.
He had gone on artistic retreat to Boston, to get a bit of perspective.
‘Two months, Lucy girl… two little old frickin’ months, is all,’ he murmured, with that same old, sane old, furrowed half-rabbinic brow that made her heart leap with passion that always seemed a thousand times fresher and newer and more vital than the last exhilarating somersault of thwarted tenderness.
‘No,’ she whispered. ‘No, it will never be. I know he won’t come back.’
Would she ever see his face again?