we are here to vote either for or against a new election. we are given what looks like popcorn balls, styrofoam seed pods. when you split them open children’s colorful refrigerator magnets are inside. they aren’t letters, they’re symbols. to vote for trump, you use any of the red magnets. some of the reds are overlapped triangles. to vote for a new election you put your blue magnets in the basket. but not any blue magnet. only the Nauthiz runes count. the trouble is that the pod is filled disproportionately with reds (with some useless yellows and greens) and of the three blue magnets in my pod, only two are the Nauthiz rune. i palm them and go up to the desk where the election official is. i ask for clarification on the rules. the reds are for trump and the blues that look like this are for a new election, correct? she is belligerent. she tells me no. it’s not for a new election. it’s for further discussion. What?! how much more discussion could there possibly be? we need a new election! and the pool of possible votes is already rigged! i show her my pod of possible votes, keeping my runes to myself. she looks in and grunts. she says it must be a mistake and gives me a new pod. i know it will be the same ratio and don’t even open it. instead i got through the halls to find Obama in his office. I see his secretary. she’s very sweet, she sits and listens, she’s understanding and sincere. She apologizes that she can’t talk longer but her student has arrived and she needs to teach a course now. she pats a thick book and a student approaches. i nod and step away. but i glance toward his office once more and I see he is in. i rush to him. i tell him how awful it is. how people think they are voting for one thing but they’re not. how even if they were, it would never work because it’s rigged from the beginning. he nods. he validates my frustrations but tells me there isn’t a way to change it right now. we have to be patient.
i got home to a dorm. i don’t know where else to go. when i’m in the kitchen i see someone drive by in a car and throw a molotov cocktail at our house so hard that when it hits the concrete walkway and explodes, it cracks the sidewalk. they know a black man lives here. that’s what it’s about. everyone feels it’s so permissible to hate now and to do so violently. i wait to be sure they have moved on and i go outside. a white pillar like those at the US Capitol Building is beginning to catch fire. i stomp it out and go back inside. i go up the stairs to a common bedroom. girls are there, crying and sniffling as silently as they can. i stretch out on my stomach on an empty bed, giving into my misery and confusion and helplessness.
Standing in front of a weather-worn mountain cabin, the green muddy cliff rising behind it. the big picture window shows the scene behind me. i sit on a old fence post admiring it instead of turning around. it’s reflected so perfectly that it looks as if the modest home were filled with sky. it’s breathtakingly beautiful. even the remains of an old dead tree that reaches past the bottom of the window frame seems to belong. i know i should get moving but i need to take a picture first before the sun goes down. before i lose this light.
jenice and paul are taking me on a roadtrip to an event. i don’t know why they’re taking me. not that i don’t appreciate it, i just think that they feel sorry for me and that takes the fun out of it. i’m staring out the window when i notice a cloud that is sprouting several funnels. it’s gorgeous and scary looking but not in a way that makes me afraid. i tell them i see a funnel cloud and they turn off onto a skinny dirt road between hillsides. should i stop? jenice asks. yes! i tell her. NO! paul yells. Do not stop! she pulls over anyway. do you see it? i ask them. they are looking through the rearview mirror. jenice asks about a cloud but it’s the wrong one. the one that looks like a mushroom top, i tell her. it’s moving fast, you’ll see it soon. and when it begins to pass the edge of the hill to our right we all see it. it looks like a giant squid floating in the sky, whipping it’s electrical tentacles of lightning every which way. GO GO GO! paul shouts. it’s suddenly dark and pouring rain. we get stuck between the hills and have to get out to push the car. are we pushing it up or down? i ask them. DOWN! and so i do and the car moves easily enough. in front of us is a brick path leading to frat houses. one of the kids is holding a beer and moves the cooler blocking our way in. we haven’t registered for this event and a friend of his is chiding him for letting us in. what was i supposed to do? he yells back, pointing at the sky.