Making Your Life a Line

Last night was my first night on the phone banks and it wasn’t bad.  I had something like 120 numbers to call in two and a half hours, and most of them were either no answer or straight to voice mail, which is the new “I don’t want to pick up” of the Twenty-first Century.    I didn’t get any video of me talking, but I did get this:

No one yelled at me, no one cursed, but one guy on the banks kept getting people who say they were voting for Trump and he was having fun with them.  But a fun time was had by all and I’ll be back to do it again next Wednesday.

For now, it’s time to get back to Bristol, England, about three years ago–

Kerry and Berniece Rutherford are together and it’s time they get back to talking.  It’s chilly and damp where they are, but that’s not going to stop them from having a conversation.  Though his case worker notices it’s a bit one sided–

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

While this short conversation occurred Berniece watched Kerry’s movements and body language, listened to his words and the tone of his voice. Though not quite the expert in interpretation as some in her office, it wasn’t necessary. All his answers are short and to the point, all his comments clipped. He hasn’t relaxed once since I arrived and he’s tense as hell. He is nothing like the boy I dropped off a month ago.

She knew the exact question to ask to put her in a position to assess the reason for being here. “How you doing, Kerry?”

He gave a one-shoulder shrug and answered without looking at her. “I’m okay.”

Berniece didn’t look at him as she replied. “Are you really okay, or are you just saying that to shut me up?”

Kerry half turned to his right with a slightly embarrassed look. “I do say that a lot, don’t I?”

“You have an annoying tendency to use that as your go-to answer for everything.” Berniece turned so she was facing the boy. “It makes it difficult for me to know if you’re having real issues because you’re replying to my inquiries with bullshit responses.”

 

Finally!  Someone calls out Kerry on his bullshit.  Kerry does like to hide things from others and that doesn’t make him bad, it just means he’s a teenage boy still having trouble getting in touch with his feelings.  Given that Berniece has never shown any frustration when dealing with Kerry, this is a first for her.  Though she’s not the first to feel this way…

The look everyone makes when Kerry says "I'm okay".

The look everyone makes when Kerry says “I’m okay”.

It’s a good thing Kerry knows when he’s being called out and he’s willing not to get pissy and clam up–

 

He nodded a couple of times as a real look of regret appeared upon his face. “I’m sorry.”

“I know you are, Kerry. But you have to understand—” She moved closer and leaned in, lowering her voice into a comforting tone. “I can only help if you let me help. And I want to help. It’s not just my job, you know.” She lay her left hand upon his shoulder. “It hurts me to see you troubled.”

Kerry looked down and away for a few moments so he didn’t have to look directly at his case worker. Even when he spoke he had difficultly meeting her gaze. “You trying to tell me you’re my friend?”

“I’m someone who understands.” Berniece dropped her hand to her side. “That’s one of the reasons I’m a case worker.”

Kerry finally stopped glancing about and looked directly at the young woman. “Okay. I won’t do that again.”

“Good.” She gave him a half-grin. “So… how are you feeling?”

He sighed loudly. “It’s not good: I’m not good.”

“What’s the problem.”

“Oh, not much.” He stared out towards the gorge again. “It’s just that my life has pretty much become a Doctor Who tag line.”

Berniece decided to let him work his way towards the point he was trying to make, because she knew that was how Kerry often acted. “What do you mean?”

He glanced up towards the sky for a moment before looking directly at her. “Silence has fallen.”

She didn’t need elaboration. “Come on.” She waved her hand beckoning Kerry onward. “Let’s walk up the path a bit.” Kerry fell in alongside and they they followed the path towards the tree line to the north. “What are your parents doing?”

“That’s just it: they’re doing nothing.” He snorted. “They’ve been getting a lot colder towards me: at least it feels that way.”

Berniece kept her pace slow. “Tell me everything.”

Kerry rotated his shoulders, resetting his pack, then started talking. “Last Wednesday Annie and I met up for lunch. Erywin picked me up and jaunted us off to Russel Square to meet Annie, and she and I had lunch at our usual spot there.”

“Prêt à Manger.”

Kerry shot Berniece a quizzical look out of the corner of his eye. “Do you have that in a report?”

She smiled. “Yes. Please continue.”

 

Finally:  he’s admitting that things are home aren’t the best and it’s getting to him.  He’s also a bit surprised to hear Berniece tell him that she knows where Annie and he go for lunch during the summer because it’s a report, but Annie has probably figured this out already–since she knows about all the reporting–and it’s only a matter time before Kerry wonders what else is in those reports.

In the mean time you’re probably going to wonder what comes next.  And, in time, you’ll find out–

Beginnings at Bristol

Before we get into all the writing stuff there is all the personal political things I have to do, because this will be me for like the next eighty days.  I was at the opening of our DNC headquarters in Harrisburg last night, and it was hot and crowded and pretty exciting.  I was fashionably early, sort of:  this picture of the entrance was taken about thirty minutes after I arrived–

C For Continuing Dem Office 0816201601

And it was all hot and crowded and still in the process of being set up when started doing the speech thing:

C For Continuing Dem Office 0816201602

And as I tend to do I found someone to speak with most of the evening, and her name was Amber and she’ll usually do the voter registration while I’m here doing phones.

C For Continuing Dem Office 0816201603

Speaking of phones I do that tonight, and I hope I don’t freak out or go into a crying jag at some point and need a good hug.  We’ll see.

And since I’ll be there from six to eight tonight, I still have time to put in some writing, just as I did last night.  And that brings us to the start of Chapter Two.

Originally this was going to be a much different scene.  At first this was all about Ms. Rutherford going back down to see Annie and telling her the latest news about Kerry, after which there would be much commiserating.  Then I thought, “Why have this be about Annie hearing news?  Why not show what happened?”

And that’s why this scene is the way it is now, with the focus turned from Annie hearing to Kerry telling.  Not only that, but it allows me to open up and show a few different locations around the world, which is what this chapter actually does:  each scene actually takes place in a different location around the world, though one will throw you a little at first.

But that’s for later; why not get to the first scene now?

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Berniece Rutherford popped into existence behind some bushes and spent the next ten seconds making certain no one was close by before dropping her invisibility spell and stepping on to the paved path. She spent a moment admiring the view before turning to her right and walking along the path.

Normally at this time the park around the Clifton Observatory would be crowded with people, but the overcast sky threatening rain and the chilly 14 C temperatures meant only those brave individuals who didn’t mind a brisk day would be here today. She wasn’t worried that the person she was meeting wouldn’t be here since her reports indicated he’d flown in weather far worst than this—

She’d walked almost forty meters when she spotted Kerry standing fifty, maybe sixty meters further up the path. Berniece noticed a moment of hesitation as he tried to decide if she was whom he was waiting for, and she waved to let him know she recognized him. Once she was closer she saw Kerry was in his flight jacket—with the call sign patch prominent—and wore his black jeans over his flight boots. It made complete sense given their location and how he arrived.

She called out to him when she was ten meters away. “I should have warned you that I was coming like this.”

Kerry waited until she was almost next to him before answering. “I should have figured you’d come looking like yourself and not the older version.”

“No need to do that anymore now that you know my real appearance.” She looked him over and realized he was wearing his backpack. “Have a nice flight?”

“Wasn’t bad.” He stuffed his hands in his pockets which led Berniece to believe he’d places his gloves, helmet, and goggles in Hammerspace with his broom. “There wasn’t much in the way of rain.”

“You been here long?”

“About ten minutes.”

“I see.” She turned to her left and looked out over the Riven Avon Gorge and towards the Clifton Suspension Bridge two hundred meters away. “You know this is the first time I’ve been here?”

“Same with me. I’ve always wanted to see the bridge: never thought to come out here, though.” He walked around behind Berniece and turned to face the gorge, keeping her on his right as he did almost ever woman he knew. “The few times I’ve flown into England I always cross the Severn right about where the second bridge is located. This was the first time I’ve flown directly over the Bristol Channel.”

“How long did it take you to get here?”

“Not long. It’s only forty klicks from my house to here, so even puttering along at one-twenty I was only in the air for twenty minutes.”

 

First lets talk the location.  We’re at the Clifton Observatory, which is a park in Clifton, England, next to Bristol.  The Observatory is really more of a location for artist to come and paint and sketch, and generally enjoy the grounds, while the building itself houses a camera obscura that offers views of the surrounding territory via a mirror on top of the structure.

The biggest sight to see in this area is the Clifton Suspension Bridge, which was completed in 1864 and spans the River Avon gorge.  The bridge is used in a lot of promotional pictures, and it was from here that the first modern bungee jump took place in 1979, preformed by David Kirke and Simon Keeling of the Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club.  When you’re at the observatory it’s hard not to miss the bridge because they are close to each other:

Like really close.

Like really close.

Which means this is the view Berniece has when she pops on to the Observatory grounds on her way to meet with Kerry:

I even found a picture where it's cold and gray, too,

I even found a picture where it’s cold and gray, too,

As for Kerry’s claim that he flew forty kilometers to get to their meeting?  He’s fibbing a little:  it’s only thirty-six kilometers.

But what's a few kilometers  between friends.

But what’s a few kilometers between friends.

This scene takes place on 3 July, a week after Annie and Kerry meet in London for lunch–and I’m certain Kerry has a lot of stuff to tell his case worker–

Me and Her

You know what I’m about to say:  no writing last night.  Usually because Friday night is Recap Night, and I should have written a Sense8 recap.  Notice I said “should”.  That’s because I didn’t do any writing.  And why?

I went to a Hillary Clinton rally.

Harrisburg was one of the stopping points for the Clinton campaign last night, and as the rally was only a thirty minute walk from my apartment I decided that, yes, I wanted to go she her.  I have a vested interest in the election this year, and I feel it’s my duty to see to it that the Seventh Seal of the Apocalypse isn’t opened by putting a guy openly embracing fascism in to a position of power.  Plus, this year I’m in the bag for Hillary, so I figured, well, why not go?  I’ve never been to one of these thing before, and it’ll be fun.  Remember this last line, ’cause…

Right after work I went home and did my shot, then changed bags.  The Secret Service wasn’t letting people in with big bags, so I pulled out one that only carried my keys, wallet, and phone.  Then down to the streets and the almost-thirty minute walk to get in line.

And, yeah:  there was a line.

Hillary Rally 0729201601

This was when I first approached the area, and you can see the TSA scanners in the middle of the pictures.  Everyone going in got scanned for obvious reasons.  But this wasn’t the back of the line.  That was, um, in the back.

Hillary Rally 0729201602

This is where I ended up, where I sort of cut in line close to a couple of people I somewhat knew:  someone from my trans support group, and Dr. Rachel Levine, the states Physician General.  So I sort of slid into position and acted natural.  Did I feel bad about this?  No.  Let’s move on.

Now to give you a bit of an idea of the set up last night, here’s a Google Map of the area:

Hillary Rally 0729201620

The building on the right just below the “Broad Street Market” marker is where the rally was being held.  And where I was standing when I took the picture above?  Look down 3rd Street to the left and you’ll see Brother’s Pizzeria.  I was standing right in front of that place.  Oh, and Brother’s actually locked their doors right about the time I got in line because they were almost out of pizza dough due to people in line running in to get slices.  Hungry business, these political rallies.

Oh, and I shot video while in line:

When I shot the above it was about 6 PM/18 hours, and we wouldn’t get to the check points for about another ninety minutes.

Hillary Rally 0729201605

And this part, standing in the sun, was the worst.  It was close to 90 and the humidity was up, so it was unpleasant.  I wore a light top, capri jeans, and sandals.  I did my best, I assure you, to keep the internal heat down, and I was sweating like crazy.

Finally we get through the checkpoints–I set off the alarm like I always do, there must be too much iron in my blood–and we headed into the rally area.

Hillary Rally 0729201606

That woman standing on the podium is where the speaking would take place, and Hillary’s bus would park behind her for a great back drop.  There were camera podiums behind and to the right of me in the picture, and the Broad Street Market is on the left.

The area for the rally wasn’t large–here’s the layout:

Hillary Rally 0729201621

The black line is where people were gathered.  The speaker’s podium is right where it says “St” for N 3rd St, and the blue rectangle is where the bus parked for a nice backdrop.  I decided I wanted to get as close as possible and found myself right below that N 3rd St marker, and waited.

Hillary Rally 0729201607

I had a great spot, I was ready to get picture, I was ready to listen to the message.

And then…  shit took a turn for the worst.

I started getting short of breath.  Then I started feeling light headed.  Then my hands were shaking.  And I had trouble thinking.  And I felt sick to my stomach–

If you’re thinking, “Sounds like Cassidy’s about to pass out,” you win Final Jeopardy!  I actually managed to sit down in the crowd before I went over, which I knew was coming.  Someone called the paramedics–who, by the way, were working their asses off–and they helped me get about half-way to the cooling area.  And by half-way, I mean everything started turning gray about that time and they got me a chair pronto because I was about to pass out.  I sat there for about five to ten minutes recovering, and my biggest fear was if I passed out I was going to loose my bowels, because I felt like that was going to happen.  No way did I want that.

I finally got to the cooling area, and joined the other people there–

Hillary Rally 0729201616

Who pretty much all happened to be women about my age.  There was a time back before I started on the estrogen trip that I may have been able to tough out this stuff, but not now.  I sat and cooled off, had my blood pressure taken–I was told it was way down, which is why I was passing out–sipped water while I got my color back, and adjusted to my new view:

Hillary Rally 0729201608

And as the speakers came on I shot more video:

Now, given where I was, I didn’t get any good shots of the speakers.  The best I could do was this:

Hillary Rally 0729201617

The best came out grainy and overexposed.  However!  I ran into a friend, and she not only manage to get better pictures, but she messaged them to me at the rally.  That means I got–

Hillary Rally 0729201614

Bill Clinton doing all the introductions and being about as charming and articulate as always.

Hillary Rally 0729201611

Tim Kaine doing the next introduction and actually being pretty funny as he got in a lot of digs on–well, that other guy.  And after about ten minutes that led to him introducing the speaker of the night:

Hillary Rally 0729201615

So what did Hillary say?  She touched on funding infrastructure and a smart energy grid and renewable energy, all of which are close to my heart as I love stuff like that.  She talked about working to make it so people could refinance and reduce debt on existing student loans, and work towards making tuition not only affordable, but something you’re not going to have hanging around your neck forever.  A better program with less red tape for small businesses, and more apprenticeship programs for skilled trades, which is something that has slowly vanished with the decline in unions.  (I’ve been in both the United Steel Workers and United Auto Workers, and I saw a lot of apprenticeships in each of the locations where I worked.)  And more funding and support for teachers, because without education, we’re really nothing.

It was a good time all around, even if I couldn’t get in close to the stage to see, I could hear, and that was really why I was there–

Well… not the only reason.

As soon as the speech was over a lot of people filed out, and a lot of people made their way forward to shake hands with the candidates.  And I wanted to do the same.  So I went back into the crowd feeling light-headed and a little ill, and pushed through until I was up near the front, in the area that everyone would pass before heading back into the bus.  Which, by the way, was right there in front of me.

Hillary Rally 0729201618

So I waited about ten minutes, pressed between two guys far bigger than me, and Hillary came around the corner.  She was shaking hands and taking selfies with people, and seemed in good spirits even though she had to be hotter than hell in her pink suit.  (I said later that I should have told her it’s now Wednesday, ’cause us Mean Girls understand what that means.)

And right on time, here she comes.  And the meeting went like this:

Me:  “Madam President!”  *holding out hand*  (Yes, I said that.  Don’t care.)
Hillary:  “Hello!”  (Now I’m left-handed, so I had my left hand out and she switched quickly from her right to left.)
Me:  “Madam President, can I have a picture with you?”
Hillary:  “Oh, sure!”

At this point I start to stick the phone out, but because I’m in a bad position, she actually asks for my phone and hand it to an aid and says, “She’ll take our picture.”

And she did:

And #ImWithHer

And #ImWithHer

Yeah, I look like a seal just come out of the water expecting a fish, and because of all the bright lights from the media platform behind us it’s not the best, but still:  I have this, and it shows I met someone who has an excellent chance at being president.  I was also blabbering like an idiot because I get that way with people I admire.

About thirty minutes later, when I was up cooling off in front of the capitol building, I saw their convoy heading out of town:  three buses, a whole lot of Secret Service SUVs, and a police escort.  I got home and hit the shower ’cause I was a sweaty mess.  And though I didn’t get to bed until midnight because even though I was tired and sore and felt a little like I’d been hit a couple of times in the head and stomach, I was still in good moods, because I was riding a high–

The one that comes when you feel like you’ve somehow touched history in the making.

Fighting For a Better Day

No words of writing today; no words about was edited.  ‘Cause a lot went down yesterday, and it involved me doing something I’ve never attempted before–

I went and got political.

Pennsylvania had gone a long time without non-discrimination laws for LGBT people, and the one that people have tried to pass has been sitting in committee for years, being held up from going to the floor of either chamber for a vote.  Now, as a state employee I have workplace protections, but away from the Capitol Complex (what we call the area where all the state business is conducted), people could discriminate against me all day and night were housing and public spaces are concerned.

When I received the notice from Equality Pennsylvania to come out and help lobby I had to take some time to figure out if I really wanted to go or not.  After all, I’ve always been the sort of person who never got involved.  Yes, I’ll help out where finances are concerned and such, but I’ve always been afraid to go out and get involved, mostly because I’m not good with people face-to-face.

But a lot of that has changed since I’ve changed, and the new motto is “Bitches get shit done.”  And the time had come to get some stuff done.

First off, presentation.  I work for the state, and I like to look professional.  So I figured if I was going to meet with politicians I needed to look like I’d just come over from another office to speak with them–which, actually, I was doing.  So I got out what I call my “lady armor”:  nice blouse, black skirt, hose, heels.  Yes, I walked around in heels most of the day inside because, yo, I’m professional.

Which is why I'm getting a picture in the bathroom.

Which is why I’m taking a picture in the bathroom.

The new phone came in extra handy yesterday because of the ability to get pictures and upload them to social media, and to stay in touch with people.  After one day with a smart phone I’m totally sold.

So about 9:40 I left the office and walked over to the capitol building, which I pass twice a day walking to and from work.  Ten minutes later I was ready to enter:

Time to do battle.

Time to do battle.

Believe it or not this was my first time inside the capitol, only because I had no reason to ever go here.  It’s not as if I do business with these people–I’m just a lowly computer programmer.  Not only was I there, but so were a lot of other people.  I didn’t realize that there would be other groups there to do tours, and there were a lot of kids getting ready to do that.  But I found the people I needed after about five minutes.

The kids getting ready to tour.

The kids getting ready to tour.

 

The Rotunda from another view.

The Rotunda from another view.

 

Just mingling at this point.

Just mingling at this point.

Right on time, we started getting into position.  A speaker’s podium was set up at the bottom of those stairs, a banner was set up above the podium, and the speeches started.  Governor Wolf spoke, as did Representative Brian Sims, the only openly gay politician in either house of the state congress, and the one person who’s worked to get equality measures passed for most of tenure–and, I should point out, the person who spoke at one of my trans support groups back in January, 22015, and helped convince me that I needed to really be myself.

As to where I was?  High up on the steps looking down upon the festivities as best I could.

Not only were their people on the floor--

Not only were their people on the floor–

 

But people watching above as well.

But people watching above as well.

Now I should point out that we weren’t there by the thousands:  it was more like a hundred hard-core who showed up for support, and about sixty who stayed behind to lobby.  We were later told that a usual number to remain and lobby is about twenty-five, so we hit the jackpot–in a way.

After being inside to rotunda we headed outside, where it was a bit cooler and for sure windier, and that sort of off-set the face we were standing in direct sunlight the whole time.  By this time I’ve been standing for about ninety minutes straight and I’m feeling it–and it would be about another hour and fifteen minutes before I could sit.  Again we heard speeches, mostly from people who are in organization that support us, and from a few of the Pennsylvania politicians who support the bills in committee.

People speaking.

People speaking.

 

And people listening.

And people listening.

And where was I?

Up front close to the podium, where else?

Up front close to the podium, where else?

That picture makes it look as if I’m right next to the podium, but really I was about ten feet/three meters away.  But you know me:  I gotta stand out.

Also in that picture is someone who’s acquaintance I made.  There were actually three people I hung out with most of the day:  Celeste and her trans son Alex, and Lexi, who was from outside Harrisburg and had driven in for the event.  After the outside speeches we headed back into the capitol building and went to the cafeteria to sit and eat.  By this time I was back in my flats so I could give my feet a rest, and Lexi and I got in line to get lunch.  (Celeste brought lunch for Alex and her, so they saved the table.)

No, we're not repopulating the Earth; no, she didn't get shot.

Lexi and me.  No, we’re not repopulating the Earth; no, she didn’t get shot and become an AI.

After lunch came the meeting to help us understand how to lobby people who might be on the fence about helping pass the bills, or who were outright hostile to passage.  First, here are the bills in question:

 

SB 1306–Employment Non-discrimination bill
SB 1307–Housing Non-discrimination bill
SB 1316–Public Spaces Non-discrimination bill

 

Rep. Sims was with us in the conference room where we met–yes, it was one of those rooms where committees meet to decide what bills to pass–and he explained how this time around the bills were split up into different areas of coverage, so that three different committees would hear them.  This way, he explained, the possibility of passage was easier, as there wouldn’t be an opportunity to shut down all non-discrimination legislation at once–which has happened for years with the House bill that covers these things.

His advice was simple:  don’t be confrontational; don’t be angry; don’t get into arguments.  Be reasonable and understanding, and most of all be polite.  Even if someone pisses you off, just smile and thank them for their time, and take out your aggression somewhere later in the day away from the Capitol Complex.  Truly all great, sound advice.

Needless to say, I am in awe of this guy.

Needless to say, I am in awe of this guy.

Then someone from Equality Pennsylvania got up and told us one of the secrets to lobbying for this bill:  tell your story and make it personal.  Don’t try and rattle off facts and figures because these people have heard them all:  instead, talk about how fear of being fired has kept you from coming out.  Talk about how you’re afraid you won’t be able to get an apartment or buy a house and be refused service in a public place because you or your significant other or your children are LGBT.  And talk about how passage of these bills will improve their lives and the lives of others.

Though I can't remember her name, she pointed out she was fired from her job as a teacher simply because she was trans, and not because she was a bad teacher.

Though I can’t remember her name, she pointed out she was fired from her job as a teacher simply because she was trans, and not because she was a bad teacher.

After a short workshop we lined up to find out who we were supposed to see.  We each got a senator and a representative, and, of course, I was out on my own, alone, ready to meet people.  However . . . the people in my district were already supporters of the bills in question, so it wasn’t like I had to go bend their arms to get them to vote the right way.  For those of us who had supportive reps, the advice was to go to their offices and tell the people there–usually the clerks manning the place–that we were happy that they were on our side, and to thank them for their support, as most of the time all they heard were negative comments.  So even if we weren’t fighting to change minds, we were helping to congratulate those who were by our sides.

Now, where did I go?

Here.

Here.

The senator I needed to see was in the State Capitol East Wing, and the representative I would see had an office in the building in the upper right hand corner, the Irvis Office Building.  First up was Sen. Robert Teplitz, who was not in when I visited, but was rather in committee hearing legislation.  I passed along my thanks and left.

Thank you, Senator.

Thank you, Senator.

On the way over to my next meeting I was humming The Ties That Bind, because I was in a good mood, and I like a good song.  So a quick musical interlude here–

And then I reached the offices of Rep. Patty Kim, who was also in a committee meeting.  I gave my thanks to her clerk and left.

Thank you, Representative.

Thank you, Representative.

Then it was time to head back to the rotunda and wait for Lexi, who I discovered managed to make it into the committee hearing on SB 1307, the Housing Non-discrimination Bill.  I want to point out that walking underground wasn’t a treat, as the corridor floors were these little tiles that were almost like cobblestones, and if you’ve ever tried walking on cobblestones in heels, it’s a real pain.  But I didn’t let that deter me, ’cause I was in Warrior Princess Mode and wasn’t about to let something like that get me down.

Though you know this was designed and built by guys who believe women shouldn't be in a place like this.

Though you know this was designed and built by guys who believe women shouldn’t be in a place like this.

So back to the rotunda to rest, but mostly to snap a few pictures.

Like this.

Like this.

The upshot of all was reported when Lexi showed.  She was happy:  SB 1307 made it out of committee even though some asshat tried, at the last minute, to add in some HB2-type bullshit, and when that didn’t work, tried to delay the committee vote for a day.  That didn’t work, either, and according to a post by Rep. Sims that came after the vote, Sen. Asshat admitted he didn’t even really understand the bill.  See?  This is the sort of bullshit that goes one with these guys.

After all this we did a check-in with Equality Pennsylvania, waited for Celeste and Alex to show, then went together to get something to eat.  After that we all went our separate ways, and it wasn’t until I was home that I realized how tired and sore I was from being on my feet most of the day, proven by the fact I was in bed by ten and slept soundly the entire night.

I don’t know if the other bills will make it out of committee, but the betting is good they will.  Attitudes are changing, and politicians in this start are realizing that acting like a bunch of regressive bigots isn’t good for business, which is the logic being used to bring on Republican support for these bills.  Will all these bills get passed before the end of the year?  We can certainly keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best.

And if I’m asked again to come and work a few politicians, will I don my lady armor and work for the cause?  You know it.

I mean, I look good working in the Capitol.

I mean, I look good working in the Capitol.

The Short Suppositions

So here we are, the final post of 2014, but the penultimate writing for The Novel That Wouldn’t End.  But that’s not true anymore, either.  Sitting here on the cusp of a new year, there are seventeen remaining scenes, split among five chapters and two parts.  And once those are finished, then it’s The End time and I can take a bit of a rest and figure out what comes next.  There’s also the possibility that I’m going to add one last scene, because the final scene in the novel is really two-in-one, and I do love splitting that stuff up.

The funny thing is I don’t remember writing a lot last night.  Getting into Google Docs and having a friend help with editing another project I’m working on, yeah, that took a while, but when I comes to the novel it didn’t seem like I wrote a great deal–and yet, there’s two thousand and sixty-six words in the scene, and that’s not something to brush aside.

But what were those words?  Questions asked by Erywin, questions answered by Helena, and, it would seem, and understanding between them of what may lay ahead for my kids.

None of this are happy thoughts, but then what are at this point?

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Erywin took a long, deep breath before asking her next question. “Any news on Ruth?”

“According to the people who were doing clean-up, the woman you fought was her doppelgänger. They’ve checked up on her family and they’d fine—mother, father, younger brother, all still alive. She probably left in a hurry from home just like fake Kaden did.” Helena shook her head. “As far as the real Ruth is concerned, we’ll never see her again. The Deconstructors are good at disposing bodies: they either dissolved her after leaching as many memories as they could from her, or dumped her in the middle of nowhere.” She slipped her hand from Erywin’s and folded both in her lap. “I figured a team’s looking into the matter now, and by this time tomorrow Ruth McRoberts will have never existed.”

Erywin hated hearing such news. “Such a waste. The girl has one year of school with Tanith, and for that she dies. Not to mention I hate it when women join up with the Deconstructors—”

“Our struggle stopped being the matriarchy verses the patriarchy a long time ago, my dear. May as get used to the fact there are as many pissed off female witches these days as there are male who aren’t buying into what The Foundation is offering.”

 

Just as they would have done had Kerry and Emma died, it looks like the Guardians are going in and “harmonize”, as they would say, the McRoberts Family with the new reality.  You don’t have a daughter; you never did.  And everyone who ever knew her will forget she existed.  Maybe Tanith will remember her, but she’ll never know that the girl she was talking to the day before she met Annie and Kerry was an impostor.

Also, in that last statement from Helena, you get a tiny glimmer of The Foundation/Deconstructor brouha.  Is it really as simply as a battle between the genders?  Hum . . . you’ll probably find out if I ever get around to writing the third novel.

Something else is on Erywin’s mind . . .

 

“True.” Erywin had been carrying a question since they arrived at the CDC, and she needed it answered. “Why didn’t they attack the children right away? Why did they wait?”

“Could be any number of reasons.” Helena had wondered about this as well. “Best answer I can come up with is miscommunication on the Deconstructor’s part. When Tanith left early fake Kaden probably didn’t check with fake Ruth to see when they were suppose to get together. He probably then told the third member of the party to get over to the mall and get some eyes on Tanith, and by the time he got there Annie and Kerry had already hooked up with Tanith and were on their way to the park.” Helena crossed her legs. “That would explain fake Kaden leaving in a hurry: once they realized there were Foundation witches with Tanith, there was a need to get everyone on site in a hurry. And then the kids went invisible and silent, you were laying low, so . . .” She shrugged. “They threw up blocking spells and waited for everyone to show themselves.”

 

Deconstructors:  Bad Guys You Don’t Want Planning Anything.  And there is some truth here, because they don’t have a huge network, they don’t have centralized headquarters, they seem like a bunch of mopes involved in a rear guard action.  Which, we all know now, can screw up a modern army pretty well if you plan your hit and runs effectively.

Something pushes Erywin’s buttons, however, and it would appear that the Deconstructors moved into KC about a month before Team Salem showed.  As Erywin points out in a passive-aggressive way, that was about the time they were called into action.  So one might assume . . .

 

Erywin sighed before standing up. “Walk with me, please.” As soon as Helena was along side, Erywin began speaking in a low, confidential voice. “Tell me you had no idea we were going to run into Deconstructors.”

“No mentions what so ever, and I didn’t have anyone coming to me with secret information.” Helena stared straight ahead. “You saw the same reports I saw.”

“I believe you. I know you’d never lie to me, and if there had been evidence of Deconstructors, we wouldn’t have gone.” Erywin stopped near a small line of trees and stared out over the lake. “But I think someone in San Francisco knew. I think they were aware of what the kids could do. And . . .” She exhaled a long, low sigh. “I think they wanted to throw those kids into a situation where they’d have to do everything they could to stay alive, and they’d use everything magical they had to make sure that happened.” She frowned. “It seems they got their wish.”

 

If the Guardians are good at watching and manipulating, then one might stand to reasons that they knew there was a good chances that a throw-down was inevitable.  I mean, if you suspect you’ve got a couple of wonder witches working for you, it’d be a shame to let their powers and skills go to waste, right?

And what does Helena think?

 

Helena slowly reached out and took Erywin’s hand. She held it in silence for about fifteen seconds, just staring out over the lake with her partner and companion. “I believe that, too. I know the Guardians too well, and even though everything seemed on the up-and-up . . . it appears that everything was leading to the three of you confronting the Deconstructors.”

Yep–she’s got the same sinking feeling.  Probably even more so for her, because she not only knows the sort of buttholery the Guardians can employee, she helped put the kids on the firing line.

Which leaves my two witches having these last thoughts:

 

Erywin said nothing, allowing the quiet of the CDC campus gather around them. “What happens now?”

“Now?”

“Are the Guardians going to keep after them until they bring them into the fold?”

Helena shrugged. “Why wouldn’t they? They kept after me, didn’t they?”

Erywin snorted. “Yours was a different situation; they knew what you were from day one.”

Helena’s dark eyes shifted just enough that she could take in Erywin’s profile. “Yeah? What the hell makes you think they haven’t known the same about those two?”

 

That’s right, Helena:  plant that kernel of doubt that maybe the Guardians have known something for a while, and this was their way of proving it.  The situation was different with Helena–her grandmother did work for the Guardians, and though it’s never said, her mother works for them as well–and Helena was pretty much learning to kill at an early age.  It could be said that the Guardians have had their eye on Annie for a while, but Kerry?  Well, he did have the fortune of living right in the Guardian’s back yard in San Francisco for a few years, and they picked up on him pretty easily, so . . .

I’m not saying.  At least not right away.

Act Three is currently just over seventy-six thousand words–

That'll do quite nicely, now, won't it?

That’ll do quite nicely, now, won’t it?

–And by the time I’m finished with tonight’s scene with Annie and Kerry, it’ll be closer to seventy-eight thousand.

We’ll see, won’t we?

Flu Bound and Down

The last twenty-four hours have been my own special hell.  By the time I rolled out of Panera yesterday I was feeling sorta okay, but after paying a bill and having lunch, I knew I was sinking fast.  I figured it was a cold, so yesterday afternoon I bundled up, took some medication, and relaxed.

By six PM I knew the truth:  I had the flu.

I was tired; I couldn’t concentrate that well; I hurt all over, particularly in my joints.  I wasn’t running a fever–or if I was, I didn’t realize it–but I was coughing a lot.  Sometimes it was a dry cough, sometimes a lot of stuff from my chest would come up.

It has been hard to do anything, but I’m doing it.  I was out already this morning to pick up some food, things I could eat that would make me feel better.  I had oatmeal with blueberries and honey, with a little yogurt on the side.  Later I’ll have tea and more yogurt.  Light, healthy things that will help get my flu out of my system by helping my immune system.

Oh, and I’m doing laundry, because I have nothing clean, and the sooner I get this done, then I can get back into my pajamas and relax.

I’m trying to write, but it’s slow going.  I can only work about fifty to hundred words at a time, then I have to go sit or lay down for about thirty, forty minutes, because it hurts to look at the screen, it hurts to sit on this little writing chair, and whenever I start coughing my head hurts.

This sucks very hard.

I wrote last night, but over the course of four hours I only managed five hundred and sixty words.  I know:  stupid.  I should have just relaxed.  At the same time my mind was working, and I couldn’t shut it down, so I had to get up and write.  I consider it a victory, because I did create something that was actually worthwhile.  Had to do it, just like I’m blogging today.  I should be resting, but I’m crazy.

And then I didn’t sleep that well, but when I did, I was dreaming of running from zombies and figuring out how to make maps showing infestation locations using Photoshop.  Yeah, it wasn’t fun, and I blame Zombie Lori, because I want to see her come back and eat Rick’s face, and it’s probably not going to happen . . .

"Carl isn't in the house--have you see him?  Shit, I mean--arrrhuggreehug!"

“Have you seen Carl?  He isn’t in the house!  Shit, I mean–arrrhuggreehug!”

Today I rest.  I’ll probably get well enough tomorrow to be able to head into work.  That’s always the suck, because your weekend is completely in the toilet and there is nothing you can do, but come Monday you have your energy back, just enough that you can make it through the day in a semi-coherent mode.  That’ll be me:  semi-coherent, making a show of the situation.  But I probably will feel better tomorrow.

Then I can get back into my life.

Roller Coaster Meditations

The 6th of November will be remembered, not with bonfires and a terrorist’s face becoming a well-known symbol for hackers, but with an enormous wave of people on Facebook declaring the world has gone to hell, the Apocalypse is upon us, and that they are moving to other countries as soon as they find one that doesn’t have any socialist tendencies.

As for me, while I’ll have something to say about last night’s election, I won’t say it today.  I need time for the brain to calm down, and for the head to stop hurting.

Oh, and there’s other writing I need to do as well.

The last couple of days have been difficult.  Stress, stress, stress, and I’ll admit there was a fair share of it coming from the lead up to the election.  It was giving me headaches, sometimes to the point where I found it difficult to think.

But today . . . I think the roller coaster is through with all the twisting and turning.  I think it’s coming into the station, and I can relax.  Oh, sure:  there are still things in my life that are pretty crap right now, but those will diminish in time.  And then I can do what I like.  What I want.

I did write last night, but the distractions–oh, my.  I got the chapters in; on finished, another started.  I got over twenty thousand words last night, but it was a squeaker.  Today, there needs to be more attention paid to the words on the page, and I have to get ready for a big chapter in my NaNo Novel.  Not big in that one will see a gazillion words written, but big in the sense that I have to lay bare a character’s life, and that is going to be painful.  My poor, maimed, little Indri:  you’ll be better for this when it’s over.  Trust me.

I’m checking the word counts on my chapters, and I’m on my track of about sixty thousand words for the story.  A check last night said I was going to end around fifty-three thousand words, but I have a couple of big chapters coming, and that’s going to tip the scales in the end.  There’s even the possibility that–gasp!–I could go more than sixty thousand.

As I always say, the story ends when it ends.  I’m still writing, so when I get closer to the end, I’ll know.

There is something else that I feel, and it’s that I might not end this story before 30 November rolls into town.  Getting my fifty thousand?  Sure.  Getting to the end of the story?  Maybe, maybe not.  We’ll see.  After all, just because the calendar flips and becomes 1 December doesn’t mean you go, “Oh, shit, NaNoWriMo is over!  What time does My Little Pony come on?”  It doesn’t work that way.

You have to keep writing.

I will.  I have this idea that I’m a writer.  I’ve had other people tell me the same.  And, hey, this is crazy, but I keep writing, and someone will buy me maybe.

2012 is all about change.  It’s here; we saw it last night.  Go with it, or get run over at your own peril.

I know what I’m doing . . .