You lied to me, Zerelda said.
The second-in-command of the bugaboo revolutionary movement held a hockey stick.
I found this in your closet, she said.
I was thinking about trying out for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Earl said.
I found this, too.
The photograph showed Earl standing among shards of glass with his back to a broken Capitol dome window. He stood stooped over, pulling down both sides of his pants, looking over his left shoulder and grinning. Earl’s bare buttocks looked like a giant pimpled honeydew melon stacked in a supermarket fruit display.
Zerelda spoke through clenched teeth.
What do you call this?
Moon over Scranton, my personal message to Joe Biden, Earl said.
You were there.
The president invited me, Earl said.
To the riot at the Capitol?
Only for a little while.
You told me you were in seclusion, praying all day Jan. 6 in the basement and couldn’t be disturbed for 24 hours.
I was on a secret mission for Jesus.
Aw, Zerelda, don’t be like that. We’re troops for the Lord. Digital soldiers for Trump.
She fingered the point of a sharpened Chinese throwing star.
Earl started a war dance, leaping in small circles, whooping and hollering the way he did that fateful day in the nation’s capital.
Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump!
I was stuck here all day polishing ammo for your crown of bullets, Zerelda said.
A woman’s work is never done, Earl said.
The metal star caught Earl above the nose, cleanly splitting the skin on his forehead and bouncing off his thick skull. Amazed he didn’t pass out, Earl shook his head to clear the silver points of light that flashed before his eyes.
Don’t be mad at 1776, Zerelda. .
Sitting on the floor in the corner of the living room, Timmy Kelly grunted through the gray duct tape across his mouth.
You shut up, too, Zerelda said.
UMMMMUMMMM, Timmy said.
I’ve had it with men, Zerelda said.
Turning to Timmy, she sneered.
By the way, that loud-mouthed tramp sister of yours had an accident and won’t be voting for Biden no more.
Timmy repeatedly grunted so hard he fainted.
Earl passed out, too.
Meanwhile in the Hill Section of Scranton, worried unduly about the planet’s health, Casey Weatherhogg painted blocky green and purple letters on a protest sign and nailed the poster board to a 2-inch-by-2-inch-by-7-foot tomato patch stake.
The sign said: BEWARE OF PUDDING PEOPLE.
Throwing the picket sign over his shoulder, he headed downtown to U.S. Sen. Bob Casey’s office on Lackawanna Avenue where the lifeless lawmaker reigned as King of the Pudding People with his mushy bureaucratic advocacy, custardy leadership, and tepid tapioca courage.
If Berkeley during the 60s taught Casey anything, his radical college education molded his unswerving regard for the First Amendment. The sacred legacy of free speech is why last year he stopped writing letters to the editor of his local fish wrapper where anxious news executives, complacent corporate company men of the lowest order, regularly censored his missives until enough was enough. Casey picketed the paper for a week, walking up and down in front of the building each afternoon with a handmade sign that said “Fuck the Times Tribune.”
Cops told his mother on him but she said he had every right to free speech and that they should stop badgering two upstanding senior citizens.
A week later Casey urged a boycott of a city seafood restaurant’s Friday tuna steak specials, claiming the casual eating establishment bought fish from an outfit in New York that bought Atlantic bluefin trapped by nets that kill dolphins. Casey used an ice pick to puncture the two-story tall red inflatable crab hanging outside the restaurant entrance. Then he called the TV stations. Cops released him to the custody of his mother.
But he knew he wasn’t getting through. Casey needed a bigger, better revolt. Scranton wasn’t San Francisco but you make do with what you’ve got. All he usually got in return was aggravation from The Man, from The Establishment and even from younger generation pseudo-hipster millennials who considered themselves artists and foodies and worth more than they would ever be worth, convinced how they already knew all they needed to know without paying their dues.
Casey had it with these young bastards. One young shitster in the supermarket recently called him “Pops.”
Excuse me, said Casey, skinny as he was trying to keep social distance while squeezing past the zucchini display.
No problem, Pops.
Then the kid stood so close behind him in the check-out aisle with his mask hanging from under his chin, Casey turned and politely asked for some space.
The kid said it again. Cool, Pops.
After a lifetime fighting racism, sexism, and every other kind of bigotry, now Casey squared off against ageism.
Getting old made seeing, hearing, peeing and simply being a drag. People needed to get hippy. Casey figured his first batch of happy homemade acid should be ready to go by the weekend. Nobody would make a better guinea pig than that bloated plutocrat of a county president judge Dombroski who fined him for his seafood protest.
Casey would give him all the community service he could swallow.
Each Wednesday for lunch Dombroski inhaled a plate piled with pierogis at the Polka Palace restaurant where Casey sometimes ate borsht. How hard would it be to punch up the judge’s pierogis with not one but two drops of handcrafted LSD?
Get ready to turn on, tune in and drop out, your honor.
Time to let your freak flag fly.