Has a New Civil War Been Declared?

trump

The man everyone loves to hate.

Warning: This essay discusses issues of Donald Trump, racism, physical assault, and other forms of violence, hate crimes, and whether or not people are ultimately responsible for their own actions. If you think reading about all that might be upsetting to you, please find something else with which to occupy your time. By the way, I’m sure I’m not going to win any friends by writing and publishing this essay. Thanks.

A few days ago, I wrote a fictionalized version of an incident where 25-year-old Chloe Wright allegedly used her car to deliberately attack a man, nearly hitting him and significantly damaging his car, all because he had a “Trump” bumper sticker on his vehicle and, in a verbal altercation, admitted to voting for Donald Trump.

I fact checked the heck out of the story, and that was the only motivation I could discover as to why she would risk seriously injuring or even killing another human being. He didn’t threaten her, he didn’t cuss at her, call her names, or do anything to her other than having a bumper sticker on his car and telling the woman who he voted for.

He’s fine, and I’m sure his insurance will cover the damages to his vehicle, but Ms. Wright, if convicted of all the felony charges against her, is facing several years in prison, and even once paroled, will forever have a criminal record as a convicted felon.

I wonder if she thinks it was worth it?

This isn’t an isolated case, but I could spend days and days chronicling similar incidents, although (hopefully) none of them were equally as potentially lethal.

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Are You Sure You Want to be a Cop?

wright vehicle

Vehicle of a woman charged with assault with a dangerous weapon – attributed to Boston station WBZ-TV.

“But why are you arresting me? He’s the racist!” Melissa Becker was struggling and putting up quite a commotion as Police Officer Irene Atkins pressed her against the side of her car and handcuffed her.

“Need any assistance?” Atkins’s partner of four years Mike Shelton paused while taking a statement from the victim, 37-year-old Preston West.

“No, I’ve got her.” If it had been any other male officer, Irene would have taken the question as condescending, but Mike was one of the few in the Department who cared more about doing the job right than whether a cop was a man or a woman.

“Watch your head.” She eased the 25-year-old Becker into the backseat of the patrol car, holding the top of her head so she wouldn’t bump it as she entered. She’d already read the younger woman her rights and wanted to get this circus over with as fast as possible.

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The First Woman President of the United States

chelsea clinton

Chelsea Clinton introduces her mother, Hillary Clinton, on the final night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 28, 2016. (A. Shaker/VOA) )

“You see, Hillary? It worked this time.”

“It should have worked last time, George. Then, I’d have been re-elected by now and have had a second term in the White House.”

“Don’t complain so. Your health is none too good as it is. The strain of the Presidency would have probably earned you a stroke or heart attack years ago, and then Kaine would be President.”

“Even running against Trump, he’d hand him his ass.”

“Don’t be crude. You’ve just become the mother of the President-elect, and all thanks to my behind-the-scenes work.”

“At least Putin couldn’t pull a rabbit out of his hat a second time and get Trump re-elected.”

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The Target

Taxi

Photo credit: Kai Pilger pexels-photo-462867 Taxi

Peter took a taxi from JFK into Manhattan, seeing the driver frown in the rear view mirror when he gave the address.

Anna had met him outside Terminal 4 where she’d given him the item secured in a laptop case. He was the only one in the organization who could deliver it to the target, but it would mean his death as well. It hardly mattered, He had stage four liver cancer and would be dead soon anyway.

Arriving at the Trump Tower, he paid the fare adding a generous trip. He had more in common with the driver than the man might expect.

Showing his ID, he was waved through every level of security except the Secret Service. Fortunately, the laptop was a working model.

“Donald, how good to see you again.” He shook hands with one of his oldest friends. They exchanged pleasantries in the President’s private suite, and then, “Let me show you that information we have on the FBI.”

The explosion killed them both instantly, raining debris onto 5th Avenue.

Listening to the news, Anna felt both grief and joy. Now maybe the government would reunite all of those poor babies with their parents at the border.

I wrote this for the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner – 2018 Week #25 challenge. The idea is to use the photo above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

No, I’m not advocating assassinating President Trump or hurting or killing anyone. However, Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which has been blamed for the separation of parents and children who have illegally attempted to enter the U.S., is all over the news and social media. Also, all you have to do is search twitter for the hashtag #resistance, and you can see the tremendous response to this policy in specific, and President Trump in general.

So I thought I’d create an extremist form of that resistance, one in which even some of Trump’s closest friends have joined, and one that is willing to use lethal force to enact political and social change.

It wouldn’t be the first time.

Oh, “Peter” and “Anna” are totally fictitious and is not based on any actual people.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com. Remember, this linkup still needs a lot of love, so please consider contributing a story. Thanks.

There Are Worse Things Than Being A Tourist

versailles

The Palace of Versailles, France

“But I was just explaining the subtleties of the brass and tortoise shell…”

“It is forbidden, especially in English. We have paid guides and audioguides for that sort of thing, Mademoiselle. I must ask you and your party to leave.”

The museum guard then called reinforcements and escorted Julia-Sophie Dansen and her American friends out of Sun King’s grand apartments and the Palace of Versailles.

Once outside, the specialist in 18th century French art and curator of one of Amsterdam’s most prestigious art museums whirled back toward the Palace entrance and at the retreating guards. “You arrogant pricks. The French are worse than the American President!”

They could see the guard’s stiffen and momentarily slow their pace but then they re-entered the museum.

“Don’t you think that’s a little harsh, Julia-Sophie?” Henry gently tried to calm his host.

“They can’t do this to me. I’ll burn them alive on twitter!”

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to take a Google maps street image and location and use it to inspire the creation of a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

Today, the Pegman takes us to The Palace of Versailles in France. This location has a very rich history making the selection of a specific topic very difficult. Of course I thought of some sort of historical piece, maybe involving time travel, but I’ve done that so many times before.

Then I looked up recent news articles about the location and hit the jackpot.

I decided to base my tale on a news story published on 31 October 2017 titled Versailles Palace accused of throwing out art historian for ‘commenting on works in English’ to friends .

It seems that Marie-Noëlle Grison, a specialist in 18th century French art and junior curator of graphic arts at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum was visiting the Sun King’s grand apartments with three “American friends” and was explaining to them the subtleties of brass and tortoise shell marquetry by André-Charles Boulle, the King’s illustrious furniture maker. A guard stopped her saying it was “forbidden” for her to do so stating that there are “guides and audioguides for that” (Oh, and other museums and similar establishments in France are guilty of similar behavior according to the story).

He then called security and had Grison and her party ejected (I made up the part about her yelling at them afterward).

This whole thing seems pretty unreasonable from my rather limited American perspective but apparently on top of the general admission, the museum charges €7 (£6) per person for a group guide and a private guide costs €15 per person, so perhaps this is a matter of economics and not just whether or not Grison was disturbing other museum patrons.

That seems kind of greedy and certainly arrogant to me, so I thought I’d have a little fun teasing the French along with Donald Trump just a bit. The news article certainly did nothing to improve my perception of the French but then again, the average French person might be quite different from museum guards (I can only hope).

By the way, this did create a small social media storm on twitter and the museum eventually offered an apology, though from my point of view, a rather half-hearted one. Go figure.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

Redefining Reality

Trump

Donald Trump on season 13 of the All Star Celebrity Apprentice live finale – Getty Images

Michael Flynn's lawyers have told other defense lawyers in the ongoing Russia probe, including President Donald Trump's legal team, that they're no longer able to share information, a source familiar with the matter told CNN.

“What channel is this, Johnny?”

“CNN, dear.”

“Can we change to something else? I’ve seen this already.”

“Sure, Mandy.”

John Norton picked up the remote from where he’d laid it near his crotch, pointed the device at the new 55″ Samsung they’d fought long and hard for at Wal-Mart’s Black Friday sale last week, and pressed a button.

Trump criticized the NFL for the third time this week -- Friday's tweet took aim at the players and commissioner Roger Goodell. Trump wrote that Goodell has lost control and added that "players are the boss."

“Really, Johnny. Isn’t there anything else on?”

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Strange Curses

junk on sidewalk

© Yarnspinner

“I’ve got nothing. What about you, Munoz?”

Alicia Munoz shook her head. “Beats me, Lambert. My Abuela said she was a Bruja and did some pretty strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Secret Service Agents Munoz and Dallas Lambert were investigating the objects in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Eleven small pots, burnt wood, a collection of stones and bricks, a bag containing feathers, and a plastic water bottle.

“The eclipse maybe?”

“Maybe. The crazies are coming out of the woodwork over it.”

“Has the suspect said anything, Munoz?”

“Hunt and Murray are doing the interrogation. Let me call in…”

Alicia’s cell rang. “Munoz here.”

“It’s Hunt. You won’t believe it. Suspect’s told us everything.”

“What?”

“He’s Stephen Keller, homeless, in and out of state mental hospitals.”

“So what’s this crazy shit in front of the White House.”

“Get this. He was cursing the President. He was cursing Trump with blindness.”

“What, he wants Trump to look at the eclipse without his protective glasses? That is nuts. Oh, Hazmat’s here. Gotta go.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of August 22, 2017. The idea is to use the image above to craft a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long with 150 being the ideal. My word count is 174 and I had to do a lot of editing to get my original story down to that size.

Yesterday, the “twitterverse” went nuts because President Donald Trump really did look briefly at the solar eclipse without his protective glasses. I saw the video and he glanced up just for an instant and may not have looked directly at the sun. Still, it was a foolish thing to do since even the tiniest bit of exposure can result in eye damage. Nevertheless, I’ve not heard any subsequent reports that he’s suffered from vision loss.

I made up all the stuff about a curse and I have no idea what any of the objects in the photo are used for. I had to think of something, though.

By the way, “Abuela” is “Grandmother” in Spanish and “Bruja” means “witch”.

To read more stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

All Too Human

robot trump

Illustration by Lauren Hansen | Image courtesy iStock

“But why a humanoid robot at all, Carol? Do you have some sort of Isaac Asimov fetish or something? Our fascination with humanoid robots went the way of twentieth century science fiction.”

“I want to see just how human we can teach AI to be. Up until now, we’ve focused on using machine learning to teach specific skill sets such as determining which airline passengers are potential terrorists, or selecting fraudulent online purchases among the millions of legitimate transactions. We’ve even incorporated AI into lifelike sex dolls to create the world’s first fully functional sexbots.”

“And all of those have solid business logic behind them. They’re worth the R&D money. But this?”

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The Dossier

Trump and Putin

Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Aleksey Nikolskyi/Getty Images and Jim Watson/Getty Images.

Ex-KGB Chief Oleg Erovinkin was found dead in the back of his black Lexus just blocks from the Kremlin. The cause of death had not been revealed, but it was under mysterious circumstances.

Thousands of kilometers away, MI6 Agent Christopher Steele bought a “burner” phone and made a call to a number less than a dozen people knew about.

“Station Sahara. The line is secure.”

“This is Christopher Steele. I have the dossier. I want to come in.”

“Requesting identity confirmation.” The voice on the other end was deliberately distorted and Steele realized he had minutes before they traced his call.

“November three sixteen charter gulf forty-seven.”

“Identity acknowledged. Continue.”

“I want to be brought in by Adam Hunter personally. I will call this number again in twenty-four hours and will give the location of the meet only to him.” Being brought in from the cold by MI6’s Chief of Operations was a lot to ask, but they’d do it. The dossier was that important.

Steele didn’t wait for a reply. He broke the connection, threw the burner on the concrete floor of the basement apartment he had rented, and crushed it under his foot. In twenty-four hours, he’d be in a different country. He had to come in before the Kremlin reached him.

Ten minutes later, he had hired a taxi and was headed toward the Athens airport. He had the dossier on a thumb drive. Everyone, including his colleagues at MI6, believed it held incriminating evidence against America’s newly inaugurated and widely hated President Donald Trump.

The Russians had killed Steele’s confederate Oleg Erovinkin so he couldn’t reveal the truth and now they were after him. Steele found Trump as reprehensible as many others in the western nations, but he was not the subject of their exposé, and it was worth his life and the lives of anyone who he’d come in contact with to reveal his information.

Steele made the mistake of allowing himself to relax in the back of the taxi, so he didn’t immediately realize it was pulling over on a nearly deserted stretch of road.

“What?” Steele opened his eyes to see a silencer fitted over the barrel of an automatic. “Time for you to join Erovinkin.”

The taxi driver emptied his clip into Steele’s chest, relieved him of the thumb drive hidden in the inner lining of his jacket, dumped the body on the side of the road, and then drove away.

An hour later, the assassin was on a flight to Moscow, the dossier once again secure in Russian hands. No one must know President Putin’s true ally in the American government. Not until it was time to act.

This story, including the characters, is based on an actual news story published at a number of independent sources including this one. It strongly suggests that the Kremlin had former KGB Chief Oleg Erovinkin killed because he had helped compile a dossier implicating Donald Trump in illicit cooperation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. MI6 Agent Christopher Steele is currently in hiding, supposedly because his life is at risk as well.

I decided to twist the information into the realm of fiction for the sake of suspense and intrigue. I have no idea how true any of the information is at my original source, but it seemed worthy of a small, modern-day spy story.

The story is somewhat similar to one written by J. Hardy Carroll which was also based on a true event. Hopefully, my spin on the tale makes it unique.

The Child Came Home

boy coloring

Image: Children’s Advocacy Center of Grayson County, TX website

Julian was 35 years old when reality became too much for him. It wasn’t so much his dull job at the accounting firm, or his break up with Jill after seven years of living together. His parents think it must have been the disappointment, the loss of hope for the future that took his mind and spirit. He had such expectations at the beginning of November and now in December, they were crushed. So Julian’s parents watched as he sat on the floor of his old room with a coloring book and crayons. He was their little boy again.

This was a piece of flash fiction (less than 100 words in this case) I recently submitted to The Drabble. I received an email from them saying it didn’t meet their needs, so I figured why waste it? Yes, it is a commentary on how some people, at least according to the popular press, are so overwhelmed and dismayed by Donald Trump’s recent election win, that they seem to retreat into less “mature” behavior. I wasn’t poking fun at these individuals, but rather trying to communicate the tragedy involved in such decisions.