We are on air in three, two, …
Interviewer: “Welcome back to Politics Now!, where we discuss the politics that really matter, now. Today we have a special guest: Senator Hope Bloom. Thank you for joining us on Politics Now!”
Hope Bloom: “Thanks for having me on the show, Sarah. It’s a pleasure to be interviewed by such a distinguished individual.”
Interviewer: “The pleasure is all mine. We’re just happy that you could make time out of your busy schedule to join us today. Shall we get started? Well then, I’ve been following your multiple campaigns: Fair Pay For Migrating Canadians; your fight against exporting alternative energy to Asia; your rallies to prevent the annex of Mexico. You do so much, where do you get this unearthly oomph?”
Hope Bloom: “You see, I’ve always been an active member of my community. Ever since I was a little girl, obsessed with reading and charity, I always knew that I’d grow up to do big things and take on large projects. And what projects are better than those that help my fellow Americans?”
Interviewer: “A true inspiration, yet it seems you’ve also come across so many obstacles in your life. If you don’t mind my being frank—”
Hope Bloom: “Not at all.”
Interviewer: “How did you manage to make it this far without breaking down?”
Hope Bloom: “That is an excellent question. I don’t quite know how to put it, but when I was young, I always felt protected. Not entitled or destined to succeed, I’ve worked hard to get where I am today, but like someone was looking out for me. Keeping me safe.”
* * *
“He’ll be right with you fellas. Please wait here in the lobby.”
The humidity was unbearable. Dank, dark, and hot. Sweltering hot. Hot enough to lend everything a reflective gloss of moist.
There were a few shady looking characters in the lobby. Although they appeared shady because of the meager lighting, they also took on a sort of dodgy shadiness; a kind of organized, almost classy, shady. The kind of shady you’d expect to shoot up a bank with Tommy guns. They well might have. He would associate with those types of people.
“He’s ready to see you. Step right in.”
As the door opened, a pillar of chilled smoke poured out of the office lapping against the warm walls of the lobby before evaporating. They stepped through the portal into the next room. They could barely make out the grand gold plated desk in the chamber. There was simply no way to see through all the frosty haze. He was there, no doubt, they could feel it.
“Hello boys, sorry for the wait, it’s been a busy day. Awful hellish day. Well, don’t just stand there, take a seat, by all means take a seat. Now, what merits this gathering?”
“A child struck her.”
“A child struck her?”
“Yes, a small child, Billy Cronecks (gender: male, age: eight years, two months, and seven days; height: three feet four inches; weight: forty-nine pounds) approached Hope during recess and punched her.”
“Hmm. Is she okay?”
“She is now, but we are worried about—”
“Excuse me for one second, gentlemen.”
They could faintly see a hand reach across the desk. The appendage was clothed in white; it looked like the arm of a suit, probably tailored.
“Doris? Doris, would you be a doll and turn up the heat? I feel like I’m in a damn fridge… What? No, wait, repeat that? Yes please, repeat tha— No, Doris? No, I don’t want you to buy a fridge; I said it feels like a fridge in here. Please turn up the heat. Sorry about that gents. Please continue, so a small child hit her?”
“Yes, the boy struck her. We would like permission to take action.”
“Why do you believe action is necessary?”
“We are worried for her mental health. She is still very young.”
He didn’t respond for a few seconds. The smoke made a kind of billowy hum. They could almost make out the sound of someone screaming in the distance. He responded.
“She needs to learn to fend for—”
A phone began to buzz.
He picked it up.
“Hello? Yes. Do it. Mmhmm. Mmhmm. Well then, convince her. Yes? Then what is the problem? Convince all of them. I don’t give a damn, kill them all, send em all to hell if that’s what it’ll take.”
His attention focused back on the present guests.
“No action is needed. My daughter needs to learn to fend for herself. I have faith that if anything happens to her that you will alert me again.”
“As you desire.”
“Very good. Keep an eye on Hope. She’s worth more than the world.”
* * *
Interviewer: “I see. Well, to approach these challenges from a different angle, do you believe your career has thus far been impacted by your parentless childhood?”
Hope Bloom: “Of course my career has been, and will continue to be, affected by my childhood. Although I never met my parents, I wish them the best and love them dearly. Through my unique childhood experience, I learned to love those who offered me protection, those willing to open themselves up to me. Because of these loving and caring people, I now dedicate my life to bettering the lives of my fellow Americans.”
* * *
Of course the walls were fluffy and off-white. The movies got that part true. What they didn’t portray realistically were the straightjackets and workers. For the most part, unless you had mutilated yourself with a mealtime utensil or demonstrated the acute ability to gnaw your own arm, you didn’t have to wear a straight coat. As for the guards and workers, they were all trained professionals and they always had a pleasant cheery disposition.
Mary was woken from a nap and led down the corridor by a very nice male nurse. He asked her questions about her dreams and how she was doing. She liked the company and smiled the whole way. He led her to a small office furnished with books and ferns and a nice old looking therapist with a little grey goatee and thick framed glasses. Unlike the office, which Mary knew by heart, the therapist was new to her.
“Hello Mary Bloom, I’m Dr. Kingston. I thought it might be lovely to start off with a little game to help me to get to know you bet—”
“Are you sure?”
“And why would that be?”
“Because they’ll switch me again just like with the others.”
“In that case, let us begin. How have you been feeling recently?”
“Yes, just fine.”
“Hmm. Anything you’d like to talk about?”
He opened a manila folder on the desk and scribbled down a few illegible notes. Mary wondered why doctors, medical or otherwise, all seemed to have poor handwriting. She wondered if they could read each other’s penmanship, like a secret subset of English. Doctor code; keeps the patients guessing and the files confidential.
“You don’t have to answer if you do not want to, but what might your issue be with me?”
“I know you’ve read my file.”
“I have, but I’d like to hear it from you, if you don’t mind.”
“I’d rather not.”
The clock ticked slowly as Dr. Kingston observed the woman. His eyes seemed to grow distant, almost dreamy, as if he was deep in thought.
“Hope is doing well.”
“I knew you’d do it.”
The therapist stared blankly at Hope’s mother, “Do what?”
“She graduated elementary school today, aren’t you proud?”
“I asked you to stop it.”
“She didn’t get the highest grades in the class but her reasoning skills are excellent.”
“I want to go back to my room.”
“She’s excited to start middle school, she got into the local honors school so she opted out of going to St. Patricia’s boarding school for talented and gift—”
“Please just let me go.”
“What’s wrong, Mary? Don’t you want to know about Hope, Mary? Your daughter, Mary?”
“LET ME GO.”
Dr. Kingston jolted backwards in his chair, shocked at her abrupt and harsh response.
“Well then, if that is what you wish.” He pushed a red button on the wall and called for a nurse to help escort her back to her padded cell.
“Have a nice day, Mary.”
* * *
Interviewer: “That’s very touching, as we’re running on a clock, I’ll need to rush these next few past you: number one, there have been rumors going around about childhood drug abuse.”
Hope Bloom: “No, I have never used drugs and never will.”
Interviewer: “Two, there was an instance of instability where you attempted to—”
Hope Bloom: “I know what you’re going to say, and no, it was an abusive relationship. As you, and I, and the media makers are all fully capable and rational adults, I believe we should simply drop these petty questions and act like adults but if you must know, I held a special press visit to his house, providing him with funding for surgery and funding for therapy in the hopes he will be able to walk again. There are no hostilities, he voted for me.”
* * *
The noonday sun had passed its climax and began its long decent. The small furry mammal scampered up a tree to its cozy abode. Upon reaching the hovel, its quick one-track mind recalled that the purpose of climbing this particular hickory was to safeguard acorns and such. All of which remained scattered across the yard. It hastily scampered back down the trunk and grabbed a rather oddly shaped seedling with its petite claws. Then it turned straight around and retraced its ascent.
“No John, I’m not in the mood.”
The squirrel paused, frozen against the tree clinging for dear life. That noise, that noise, that horrible noise. It turned its head towards the house and saw two figures, one sitting down and one standing up. Never mind. False alarm. It returned to its mechanical gathering process. Voices kept emitting from the human dwelling. No need for worry, men are noisy, unlike cats, and birds, and squirrels, and other living things. Smaller humans are the worst. Always babbling and drooling and stumbling and crying.
“John, stop. No means no.”
The squirrel found an edible looking object laying in the poorly mowed yard, and discovered, much to its dismay, that the object was rather inedible. Then it turned its attention to a glorious double acorn lying ever so perfectly in a patch of dirt.
“John, stop. I just want to take it easy today.”
“Come on Hope baby, why not?”
The little fella had about seven acorns in its shelter. It would’ve gathered more but kept getting distracted by a particularly bright bird that was rapidly hopping across the grass searching for creepy-crawlies. It wished the bird would go away and leave the insects alone. Gotta stock up for the winter. Or something. There was a commotion in the house, and for the second time, the squirrel was paralyzed with fear, staring up through the glass into the human structure.
“I said NO John!”
“You said that, you sure did baby. You’ll wish you never said that.”
A loud crash echoed through the house reaching the squirrel. A few moments of silence, then the male’s voice from inside the house was quivering, possibly crying.
“Jesus, Hope, what the hell?”
“I said no. I asked you to stop. I said no, I did say no.”
“I can’t get up, I can’t get up, what did you do?”
She didn’t respond. From what the squirrel could see of her silhouette, it appeared as if she was simply standing there, peering down.
“You have to take me to the hospital.”
The brick shelter went silent. The squirrel picked up a small acorn that was missing its stem and clawed its way back up the tree.
“I, I can’t stand up, I’m going to die… I’m going to die…”
The fuzzy mammal was relieved when the bird finally flew away. It was even happier about its nice collection of eleven whole acorns. It decided to take a nap and return to collecting later. So far it had been a good day.
* * *
Interviewer: “And now for the last of these ancient history questions. As you are aware, recently there has been a surge in Youtube hits of a ‘funny’ voice over of a car accident involving a young Christian boy. Very immature and disgusting display of inappropriate humor, yet during the footage, you are unmistakably rescued from the wreck and helped into an ambulance…”
Hope Bloom: “Yes, Terrence Jacobs. I was in a relationship with him at the time. It was a tragic accident indeed, but I learned to live in his footsteps. Do unto others as you wish done to you. It’s become one of my philosophies in life.”
* * *
Hope sat on her friend’s desk, filing her nails. Her friend, Grace, lounged on the pink
sheets of her bed.
“I just don’t know Hope, I really don’t think Phil likes me.”
“Trust me Grace, he likes you. You can see it in his eyes.”
Grace rolled onto her stomach and buried her head in a pillow, shoving an assortment of teddy bears out of the way. She made a defeated grunting noise.
“Hope, I just don’t know! What if he doesn’t like me? I don’t want to get shot down.”
Hope re-examined her nails, crossed her legs, and went back for a second round of filing.
“Grace please, there’s nothing to worry about. You’ll be just fine.”
“I know, but what if he asks me out? What if he wants to… wants to do it on the first date. What if I say no and he tells everyone? What if he chokes on our first date? I don’t know medical stuff!”
“Lets not get ahead of ourselves here.” Hope looked around the room and examined Grace’s collection of unicorns and angel dolls. She never fancied such toys, even at a young age. She preferred to read and draw. It felt so powerful, being able to create pictures of whatever her heart desired.
Grace raised her head, “I don’t mean to be rude but how did you, like, handle it? You know, when… he died.”
“Terrence. His name was Terrence.”
“I’m sorry, I told you I didn’t mean to be rude or anything.”
“Its fine, he’s in a better place now. It’s just that he has a name, and people should respect that.”
“So how did you handle it?”
“Trust me, your situation is not nearly as harsh, and never will be. But Terrence was a wonderful boy, following in the footsteps of Jesus. When he died… it was really hard, but I know he’d want me to keep on going, helping others like he had. Like Jesus had.”
“That’s really cool and moving and stuff, I mean about Terrence following Jesus.”
“Thank you, it means a lot to me, but lets focus on you and Phil. What if he does ask to do it on the first date?”
* * *
Interviewer: “And our final question, there have been rumors that you’re being nominated as a presidential candidate. Senator Bloom, are you going to run for presidency?”
* * *
We’re not allowed to watch her anymore. We used to do it all the time. Keeping a vigilant eye on her. Making sure she had her basic needs, her basic wants. To make sure she was happy, doing well in school. Making friends, being social, dating the right guys. Not anymore. He forbids it. Somewhere during our watching, we crossed the line, we stopped watching and started acting.
When she was born, her daddy was nowhere to be found. She almost made it through high school without knowing why. Her mother was put away just a short while after she was born. Kept in a padded cell to prevent her from hurting anyone. This was a blessing in disguise, kept her from hurting herself. We visited on occasion, questioning her, letting her know about Hope. She would moan or occasionally scream, demanding for us to leave, to stop ‘tormenting’ her. She was not particularly fond of us. The guards didn’t care.
We know her daddy. He’s the one who wanted us to watch her. To keep her safe throughout her life, but only to directly interact if told so. At first, watching her was easy. The most she did was roll around in her crib and drool. We’d keep to the shadows mostly, not wanting to make a scene. If she began to cry, we’d get a nurse to attend to it. One time she decided to stop breathing. The on-duty nurse was also asleep, we freaked out. Didn’t know what to do. We weren’t qualified to handle a baby. He gave us permission, so we woke up the nurse and made her tend to the child. She was frightened, the ward was supposed to be locked. Funny thing is that she’s never told anyone. Most people end up telling stories like that.
Billy Cronecks. That kid was a mess. At the orphanage, she had the displeasure of meeting him. Which meant he had the displeasure of meeting us. After kindergarten, all of the children at the orphanage were moved to ‘big kid’ housing. This entailed a basic roommate relationship, yet because children come in two gender varieties, this meant separate housing for boys and girls. Billy didn’t like girls. He thought they were stupid. Billy doesn’t think much anymore. One day while on the playground, Billy approached her. As far as we remember, their childish conversation went something like this:
“Hey you, girl face.”
“Hi Billy! Want to play doll?”
“You smell like a dog fart!”
And then he hit her. We did not like this in the least. It pained us deeply to see someone treat her like that. We asked for permission to intervene. He’s very busy, you must understand, so many clients to attend to, so many things to do. He told us to wait, that she needed to deal with these situations on her own, to learn, but if the behavior became worse, to come back and ask again. So we did, Billy continued his routine. Pleased with her crying upon their first interaction, he decided to keep addressing her by the name Dog Fart. We became worried for her sake, not wanting him to ruin her. Yet, just as we were told, she slowly grew to ignore Billy. Billy didn’t like that. One day when she was in the sandbox building a castle for her princess doll, he approached with a plastic shovel.
“Hey Dog Fart, you have a stupid head!”
And then he smacked her across the face with the shovel. He gave us permission to act. Billy is the one crying now. He’s the best crier in the whole damn mental ward. They don’t believe him, they don’t believe what we did to him and rightly so. There was no evidence, the most they could do was diagnose him with a severe anxiety disorder and put him on a regiment of pills. He cries less when he takes the pills. So that’s good we guess.
She began high school as best as any middle schooler could hope; peppy, full of life, naive. She didn’t particularly fit any social group, which was good. He told us she would be a star amongst the students, yet never fit in, a popular misfit. People flocked to her, everything she did amazed them. Great grades, friends, tons of friends, although the majority of them were superficial, she seemed to like it. Even the teachers only had good to say of her. This made us very happy. We kept constant watch due to the massive amounts of traffic, yet we let our guards down more than we should have. She began her transformation into adulthood. She began longing for relationships she never had before, began searching for greater meaning.
There was a boy, different from Billy Cronecks. He didn’t hit her. Well, not at first. He liked her, his name was John Whelps. She liked him too. They were inseparable. Things went smoothly. Amidst their hormone driven lives, they didn’t take things slow. Neither regretted it though, until one day when she wasn’t in the mood. That’s when he hit her. For the fourth time, we asked to intervene. He told us that she was strong, that she needed this distrust in men, in humanity, that she would solve this on her own. He was right. The next time Whelps tried to hit her, she slashed his hamstring and dumped his sorry ass. He didn’t call the cops; she told him that if he did, she would accuse him of rape and plea self-defense. She didn’t drive him to the hospital either, just watched him as he bled and cried. We were so proud of her.
Later on in high school, she met another boy, Terrence Jacobs. He’s why we’re not allowed to watch her anymore. We were ok with him at first. He complimented her on her dark eyes, her fair skin, how she seemed so deep, so upbeat, so beautiful, yet somehow troubled. She told him everything. How she grew up not knowing her parents, the orphanage, even about John. He never fooled around, did drugs, did anything. She told him about how she felt lost. Like there was a greater purpose for her life, how she had yet to find it. He said he understood.
He told her about the Bible, the Church, he wanted to take her someday, show her the compassion of God. She said she’d love to. We did not like this one bit. He told us to wait a while before acting, that this might be a phase. We listened and obeyed. As if we ever had much of a choice. It wasn’t a phase. She went once, and then again. Soon she wore a chastity ring on the hand she held Terrence’s with. We pleaded with Him to let us act. To do something, anything, this pained us so much. He told us to keep our cool, that He may not be as powerful as God, but He knew what He was doing. We returned to our shadows to keep watch.
Then it happened. She wanted to join the choir; she wanted to be baptized, to be confirmed in the Church. Against His will, we had to act. We knew He created us. Willed us into this world to keep watch on her, to make sure she learned to be manipulative, to suffer just enough, yet remain sated in every other facet of her life. We had no choice.
One day, after a PG movie and a peck on the cheek, he drove her home. We were in the car. We were in the shadows in the back seat; we were always in the shadows. We are always in the shadows. We went inside his mind. Just like her mother and Billy, we revealed ourselves to him. We showed him concepts that his innocent mind simply could not handle.
And after he cracked, he began to whimper. She was terrified, “What’s wrong?” she asked, pupils dilating. He swerved the car into a tree. She was fine; we knew the future of our action. We wouldn’t have done anything to harm her. Terrence, on the other hand, he had half a steering wheel protruding from his gut. We didn’t care. We took over, just like the nurse, just like her mother’s therapists, we made Terrence turn to face her, his mind all but lost, and we made him speak.
“Your Father is very proud of you. He treasures you above this whole world.”
She sat there speechless, staring into Terrence’s all but dead eyes. We knew she saw us, she saw through his eyes into ours.
“Your longing is not for the Church, your purpose is much greater in this life. Please be patient, all will be revealed soon. There is much to be done before then, but one day you will know. Please, be patient. Be patient”
Then Terrence died. We returned to the shadows once again. And from here, we saw her smile, just like her Father’s. It was a jagged smile, a manipulatively cunning one. Her dark eyes glistened ever so sweetly in the night, and she hissed through her perfect grin, “I understand.”
We’re not allowed to watch her anymore. No, we overstepped our boundaries. He was angry at first, followers of God were off-limits; we weren’t allowed to touch them according to the contract. He removed us from existence as punishment, but then –then he understood our actions. How they were necessary. He brought us back, but she doesn’t need us anymore. She can care for herself now. She does care for herself now, and she’s progressed quite wonderfully. We’ve been reassigned. Promoted in a way. Now we prepare the masses. Assemble the army. One day, she will reign over all humanity. One day, we will take back Heaven.
* * *
Hope Bloom: “While I will not confirm or deny this rumor, it is humbling to know the media believes I am worthy of such a position. I will say, however, that if I am nominated as a running candidate for presidency, I would gladly accept. ”
Interviewer: “Thank you so much for joining us Senator Hope Bloom. All of us here at Politics Now! wish you luck with your endeavors.”
Hope Bloom: “The pleasure is all mine.”