Stories

Fiction stories, some original, some parody and satire.

Bill is…not content

Bill sits at his old seat in the bar. He got it back tonight by showing up early.  Mutt is lying under the chair, snoozing it up.

Officially Mutt is not supposed to be in the bar at all (those damn hygiene regulations or some such) but since Bill is a regular, almost as old as the beams holding up the roof, Lance lets him bring Mutt in in the evenings, although he warned Bill that if he hears that any city guys are coming in, Mutt will need to temporarily make himself scarce.

Bill has his usual tall Miller Light in front of him. He is watching Fox News, as ever. Tucker is on a roll, yelling about those ungrateful sons of bitches in Tokyo, who won’t salute the flag properly. Damn it, why did they select them in the first place? Lance used to call that soccer player woman with the pink hair Megan Rap Music. Bill liked that, he understands the joke, making her out to be black when she is very white. And bent as a three-dollar bill, haha.

He takes another gulp of Miller. Things are different here. Since Randy disappeared, it hasn’t been quite as friendly. They have a new barman, Dave. Randy hasn’t worked out where Dave is coming from, but the signs are not good. Why, the other day Bill walked in (well, it was a bad day, he limped in on his cane) and the damn TV was showing CNN. What is this shit? Where was the American television station? A quick word to Lance, and Fox was back. But Bill suspects that Dave, who is a lot younger than Randy, is not One Of Us. His suspicions were aroused the other day when a video of Biden came up on Fox, and Bill growled “not for long”. Dave asked “what does that mean?”

“Trump will be back there soon, you’ll see” said Bill.

“How is he going to get back there?” asked Dave.

Bill said nothing, but he seethed. Of course Trump will be back. Those Democrat swamp-dwellers couldn’t find their ass in broad daylight with a flashlight and a map. They are already kow-towing to China. Yes Mr Chink, No Mr. Chink, three bags full and you can have Taiwan Mr Chink. Time for paybacks. Impeach the sonofabitch and Kamala the Ho. Everybody knows the election was rigged. Look at the pillow guy’s lawsuits. They’re going to get that shit overturned any day now.

Tucker goes to commercial. Bill takes another gulp and looks around the bar. It’s different these days.

Bill’s buddies are not here very much any more. This damn virus has made many of them shy of going out. What the hell is happening? Two years ago there were no seats along this side of the bar. Now half the seats are never filled except on Friday and Saturday nights.

But the biggest news, which is really sticking in Bill’s craw, is the rumor that Lance is going to request proof of vaccination to allow anybody in the bar starting…Real Soon. Dave said the date is not fixed, but Bill heard it from Old Joe, who said that he is going to stop coming in if it happens. Old Joe seems to only be here about half the time these days.

Old Joe doesn’t care for any of those damn rules, especially if they come from the government. That might have something to do with his run-in with the IRS and the courts over child support a few years ago. Since then, the mention of the word “government” usually has Old Joe growling, and drinking even faster. And that guy can drink.

If the silly vaccination rule is for real, maybe he and Old Joe can find a different bar, where they don’t have to have that damn vaccine and muzzle up just to get in the front door. Besides, is Lance going to make Mutt muzzle up as well? Bill is hoping that the governor will do what the Texas guy did and prohibit cities and businesses from imposing mask mandates and requiring proof of vaccination.

Of course, what Bill won’t admit to is that his real problem is that little needle. Ever since knee high Bill has been terrified of hypodermics. When you are 4 years old, even a small one looks like it is half the size of your forearm, and when it is being waved in the air by a massively tall human authority figure, it is…scary. Bill remembers getting a tetanus shot. It hurt like hell, and his arm was stiff and sore for days. No thank you. No more of that inoculation shit. Plus, he keeps hearing that it gives you flu symptoms for up to 2 days. That’s ridiculous. You should go to the doc to get cured, not catch something.

Bill looks at his glass. Most of the Miller is gone, but he has to be careful. He asked Dave for a sub 2 nights ago, because he was out of cash, but Dave appeared to not understand him initially. When Bill explained the arrangement that he had with Randy, Dave smiled. Then, without saying anything, he went to the middle of the bar, and moved Lance’s sign that says “Even God Pays Ca$h Here” up one shelf to the middle shelf, and angled it towards Bill. Then he went off to serve somebody else. Bill got the message.

Bill wondered about asking Lance. Hell, he is part of the furniture here. And when he tries to move his knee and his back, it sure feels like it. These days both of those parts of his body feel like creaking timber. But Bill knows that the arrangement was strictly between him and Randy. He doesn’t want that conversation.

Mutt stirs, and makes a bored dog sound, and scratches his body with a back leg. Then he puts his head down and goes back to doggy dreaming.

Bill sits alone with his thoughts. His knee is really painful tonight, and the beer isn’t enough to even dull the pain. Bill knows he needs a knee replacement. The doc told him 3 years ago. But he fears even going into the hospital might be the last thing that happens to him. Kevin, the brewery distribution guy, went into hospital in the next city last year after complaining of stomach pains for weeks, and within a month he was dead. He never left the hospital. Cancer. That’s what happens when you go in there. Sometimes you never make it out.

Bill knows his son and daughter-in-law want him to get both his knee and back fixed. His daughter-in-law even offered to come down from New York and help him with his recovery. Bill nixed that idea pretty damn quick. A city woman driving him around? Hell no. The embarrassment. Besides, she couldn’t handle the truck. It does pull to the left a lot under braking these days. You gotta be a man to keep that damn thing straight. Bill’s buddy Aaron says steering arm is bent and the brakes need a rebuild, but that costs money, which Bill doesn’t have.

Bill drains his glass. He looks up. Fox is on weather. Nice girl. Dave is talking to a new couple, who look younger than the normal age range. He hopes Dave is not pulling in Democrats. The horror.

He straightens himself on the chair, his back speaks and not in a good way. These days, getting down is more painful than getting up on this chair.

Everything seems to be going to Hell in a handbasket. The guy who could have sorted everything out is gone, replaced by those damn business-as-usual sharks, the virus won’t go away, and now the bar is changing around him.

Bill fumbles in his pocket for his car keys. Mutt hears, and gets up off the floor.

 

 

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Bill walks out of the chapel

Bill blinks in the sunlight as he steps down the steps onto the gravel outside the chapel. His knee informs him, for the umpteenth time that day, that I Do Not Like Steps. Bill takes a deep breath as the pain shoots up his leg yet again. He stops, trying to hide the pain, waiting for it to subside.

The couple behind him steps around him and walks over to a group of people standing on the right of the gravel walkway.

Bill hates funerals and remembrance services. They always seem so forced. Rows of people, some of whom look confused, and a bunch of people who cannot keep it together. All that cheesy music. Then you have to listen to all that rose-tinted BS about The Deceased. Kind to animals, helped old ladies across the road, pillar of society, yada yada.

Bill went to the funeral for the bank manager 2 years ago. It was total BS, with everybody telling everybody else what a fine person Brett was, when almost everybody Bill knew thought Brett was a chiseling sonofabitch, who would have sold his mother to the highest bidder if he thought he could turn a quick profit. Lance, the manager of the bar, would pretend-show his hand, minus two fingers, when talking about his relationship with Brett.

But, unlike all of the other services he has attended this one feels different. In the casket, with its shiny artwork and handles, is the body of Randy the barman.

Randy was Bill’s umbilical cord to the bar, a happy-go-lucky guy who seemed to be up, no matter what shit was going on. And Randy was a stand-up guy. On more than one occasion, when Bill either had forgot his wallet, or had no money to speak of, Randy would surreptitiously cover Bill’s missing money for his drinks, as long as Bill paid him under the counter next time around. People like that are good to know.

Randy, just like Bill and most of the regulars, didn’t believe this Covid shit. After all, Donald said it was the Chinese virus. Those damn Chinese, exporting everything to the USA, including their viruses. They had to have invented it to screw with us.

The bar never wanted those damn muzzles. So Lance made it clear that he wasn’t going to enforce any stupid mask mandate. Those epi-whatever guys could go whistle. Career dudes in white coats telling us what to do? Screw them and the horse they rode in on.

Of course, Bill had to listen to his son and his damn daughter-in-law every time he talked to them on the phone about the Covid epidemic in New York. As Bill’s buddies down the bar used to say, New York was full of city wimps. They had never done an honest day’s work in their lives. So yeah they were always going to get Covid. So when his son said “you need to mask up Dad”, Bill would either change the subject, or laugh and make some comment about not looking like a horse with a feed bag. And his son would sigh, in that way that reminded Bill of his ex.

Bill and his buddies laughed as the virus killed people in New York. As far as they were concerned, this was good. Who needs those fucking hedge fund managers and arbiwhatisname experts anyway? They probably caused all of the crashes anyway, with their chicanery and Jewish buddies.

Then, late in the Summer, the local bikers, including Lance’s younger brother, went to Sturgis. They texted Lance to say that they were having a great time, and no damn masks. That governor in the Dakotas seems like a sensible woman.

However, 3 weeks after coming back from Sturgis, Lance’s brother phoned him to say that his buddy Don was in the hospital with pneumonia. No, not Covid. Pneumonia. He was going to be OK they said.

10 days later they heard that Don was on a ventilator. Not Covid, said the biker guys. Bill remembered telling his son, who laughed out loud and said “If you say so Dad”.

2 weeks later, Bill limped into the bar to find Lance’s wife Trixie in charge. She told Bill that Lance was with his brother and Don’s wife. Don had passed away that afternoon. “It might be Covid” said Trixie.

Bill had heard rumors that several people were in the ICU in the next town over with Covid, but the guys at the bar still kept waving it off.

Then Lance’s brother and his wife were at home sick. Then Lance’s mother was sick. Then she was in the hospital. Then she passed, less than a week later. The bar closed, and for 4 days Bill was at home, drinking beer and watching the TV as the election season unfolded, with that idiot Biden and the black or mulatto or Indian Kamala woman being rude about Donald every damn night.

When Bill returned to the bar, Lance looked shell-shocked. He was also coughing. Bill joked with him that he had Covid.

“Not me” said Lance. “Just a cold”.

2 nights later, Bill walked into the bar. No Lance. Nor his wife. Randy whispered to him over the bar corner “they think it’s Covid”.

Bill phoned Lance the next day. Lance sounded out of breath. He said “this is no fun. Stay home for a while”.

The next night, Bill found to his dismay that Lance had closed the bar again. Damn it.

After 3 weeks, Lance opened the bar again. But now everybody had to mask up. Ferchristssakes. Bill thought Lance had more sense. A few of the diehards stopped coming in because of the “muzzle rule”. Bill thought about it, but went anyway, although he would pull his mask down from his nose at every opportunity.

Bill was puzzled by Lance. He seemed like the sort of guy who didn’t give a damn about those stupid government mandates. Bill, jokingly said to him one evening “hey, what happened Lance? I thought you were braver than that?”

Lance leaned over the bar and stared at him. Bill suddenly saw a different look in Lance’s eyes. “Bill”, Lance said softly, “I had to watch my mother stop breathing because she could no longer get enough oxygen from the tube. I hope you never have to do that.” Then he walked away down to the other end of the bar.

Randy was not much for masking. He pulled his mask down every chance that he got. Unless Lance was around. Randy would roll his eyes occasionally at Lance, with that “yeah I need to do this but the guy is being a horses ass” look in his eyes.

The idiot Biden won the election, well, he SAID he did, and the courts agreed. More BS from the swamp, said Randy. Bill’s son said “we’re in New York, Trump’s always been an asshole”. Bill shook his head. What had Donald done to piss off these people? They must be guilty of fleecing the regular folks if they were that hostile to Donald. Those guys on 6th January had a point. The place needs a proper clean-out.

Bill was still wondering whether Donald was going to be able to depose Idiot Joe and get back to the White House when he walked into the bar one Tuesday night. Lance and his wife were there. No Randy.

“Where’s Randy” asked Bill.

“Randy has Covid” said Trixie. “He’s at home”.

“Covid?”

“Tested positive”. Bill had heard that the Covid test was not reliable. One of those NewsMax guys. Maybe Randy just has bronchitis or something.

“How is he”.

“He sounds terrible, and his sister is watching him”.

It was a quiet night. Another guy came in and began talking about his sister, who was in the hospital with Covid. He sounded worried. Bill went home wondering if he should get tested. Nah, he thought, before he fell asleep on the couch again.

Bill hurried down the bar the next night. Now Randy was in hospital. On oxygen.

The following night the news was better. Randy was on less oxygen.

Not so good on Friday. Randy was not responding to treatment. He was on more oxygen.

Saturday Bill found out that Randy was intubated.

On Monday, Lance phoned Bill to tell him that Randy was in a bad way. Apparently his lungs and his kidneys were failing.

On Tuesday evening, Bill walked up to the front door of the bar to find it locked. Uh oh. A quick phone call confirmed the worst. Randy had passed late in the afternoon, after the doctors pulled life support, with his lungs, kidneys and other organs having failed.

Bill went home, pulled out his bottle of Jack, and got slowly drunk.

The next day, Lance rang him up. “You need to get tested” was how he started the call. He suggested the local CVS. “I’ll make the appointment for you”.

So it was that Bill found himself outside the pharmacy drive-through window, with a girl handing a kit to him. Sticks up his nostrils, tickling and irritation.

Yesterday the tests came back. Negative. That was good, Bill would be able to go to the funeral. So here we are.

Bill starts walking over to where Lance and Trixie are standing with Randy’s parents and sister. He pulls his mask up over his nose again. God this feels weird. How do those doctors put up with this for hours at a time?

Bill feels that awkward feeling that he does not like. He is going to have to meet strangers, and he realizes that he has not met anybody new in…well, since this damn weird-shit virus showed up from China. Or is it India now? Every time Bill turns on the TV some dude is banging on about Covid variants or some such. Those Chinese must be very clever.

The knee twinges again, then a bigger twinge. Bill pauses for a moment. His doctor told him 2 years ago that he needs a knee replacement. That sounds serious. Bill is on Medicare now, but there is a waiting list.

Bill suddenly wants to be somewhere else. Ideally he would be down at the bar, but the bar is closed, and his buddy is being loaded into the hearse car in front of him. Bill wonders how he can get his beers when he is out of money, which seems to happen every month these days.

It feels like the end of an era. No beer on credit, Idiot Biden is in charge, and those damn judges keep throwing out the Trump lawsuits. The damned swamp is still there. His Son keeps telling him that everything will be OK, but it sure doesn’t feel like it.

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Bill is bored, tired and puzzled

Bill pulls the ring off another Miller Lite and pours it into his sole remaining beer glass.

Next to him, mutt stirs, looks at him with one eye open, then settles back down again.

Bill is bored. He also weights 15 pounds more than he did 2 months ago. He is pissed off because the baseball season is not starting, so he cannot watch the Pirates. His parents were born in Pittsburgh, and family loyalty, you know how that is.

Bill is also fed up, because the bar is closed. Those damn social distancing rules. Who the hell does that stupid damn governor think he is anyway? Screwing over honest working people like himself to allow all of those suburban folk to behave like scared wimps. Did the United States win World War I and World War II after helping all of those wimp countries, so that those people can cower in their expensive houses?

Bill takes a big gulp of his beer. As he does so, his back speaks to him once more, and not in a good way. Bill was told over a year ago that he had herniated disks in his lumbar spine once again. Haha, your spine is made of wood now, said Randy the barman. More like a set of carving knives, said Bill. Some days getting up from this sofa is a struggle. This is one of those days.

Bill spoke to his son last month. It was an odd conversation. His son and his daughter in law are hiding out in New York, unable to go out because of the damn virus. Bill doesn’t understand all of those big city folk. New York was supposed to be all brave and resilient (that’s the word that Randy uses when he is being snarky about somebody for being a wimp). Now they are all either hiding indoors or supposedly dying like flies.

Something does not add up. This is not America. This country is supposed to be great. Those New Yorkers are clearly wimps. Tucker said so. Bill remembers that his son was not pleased when he told him he intended to go shopping without a mask. Something about him catching Coronavirus, or as Randy calls it, Chinese Flu. Randy thinks it is an invention of the Democrats working with the Chinese, and Bill agrees. It was the usual conversation with his son, who seems to have gone totally liberal.

Bill idly flips to another news channel. More guff about Covid this Covid that. Everybody seems scared of this. He rang Randy the other day to ask when the bar was re-opening, and was amazed when Randy said “possibly never”. Apparently the owner is out of state, because his mother is in the hospital with Covid.

Bill wants to be in the bar now, instead of here. This is no fun. At the bar he can shoot the breeze, talk with Randy, who seems to be able to sum up the people who are not patriots with a single word or short sentence. Bill thinks Randy should run for political office. We need more plain-talking folks like Randy and Donald Trump.

Bill doesn’t understand what has happened to Donald. He does seem to be talking in circles a lot these days. But those silly women asking him damn-fool questions. Why don’t those bitches just shut the fuck up and go visit a kitchen, or something. Donald is clearly upset by the Chinese Flu. He is showing he cares about us. They should give him a break and back off. Sheesh.

Bill moves to get up to go get another beer. His knee says “Hello Bill, I am still here and I think you need to know that”. Bill curses under his breath as his knee objects to the walk. This damn body is falling to pieces. Some days he can barely move. He hobbles to the kitchen with mutt following. Bill looks down at mutt. Mutt is everything a dog should be. Faithful, obedient, knows his place, and barks up a storm whenever strangers approach the house. Mutt looks out for others. What happened to that? All Bill was hearing at the bar before it closed was the story about the developers now building townhouses on the site of the furniture factory. Great. More of those damn yuppies with their Priuses and cats. Goddam it. Cats. Horrible creatures. You can’t get them to do anything. Use ’em for target practice. That’s what Bill and his buddies used to do in high school.

Bill opens the fridge door. Hmm. Not much there apart from the beer. He will have to go shop tomorrow. The only good thing is that he was able to put gas in the car for almost no money last week. The bad thing is that everybody in the supermarket will look like they are about to go rob a bank. Those damn masks.

Bill takes another can of Miller and walks back into the living room. Just in time. Sean is on talking about disloyal Democrats. Geez, those guys are scum. Still taking their orders from that bitch Hillary and Hussein Obama. It is time for a clear-out. They released a lot of prisoners from jails. Time to put the real criminals away.

Bill’s son was talking about how they cannot visit Europe this year. Based on what he is seeing, who would want to visit Europe anyway. Bill does not understand why people want to leave the United States. The rest of the world definitely is a shithole. Especially China. Those guys are trying to screw us over. Cheap goods, now this damn virus. Donald should just nuke them. Time for a clean-out.

Bill tries to get comfortable on the sofa, but his back keeps talking to him. Mutt curls up next to him.

Bill puts his hand on mutt’s back. Warm, soft, fluffy. Bill remembers the time when life was good, when the furniture factory paid good money, before he wrecked his back, when his wife was still being nice to him. What happened to all of that?

He takes another big gulp.

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Bill is getting ready for Superbowl

Bill hobbles slowly from the kitchen into the living room of his small house. His dog is sprawled, oblivious, on the carpet in front of the television.
Bill looks down at the dog. Damn it, he thinks, I wish I could be my dog. He doesn’t seem to have a dicky back and a creaking knee.
Bill went to see the doctor last week, after months of being nagged by his favorite bar worker Randy. It cost him money – real money, and resulted in the doctor muttering a string of three letter acronyms, stuff like “ACL”, “PCL”.
Bill hates those medical professionals. They talk all big words and mumbo-jumbo, like they are educated or something. Maybe they’re in practice to become politicians. Whatever. Apparently Bill’s knee is about to fall apart, and he needs surgery. But Bill is not going to get surgery any time soon. After what happened with his back, Bill wants to stay away from those damn doctors for a while. In the meantime, he hobbles.
Bill has a few bar friends coming over for Superbowl. They are all mostly going to be cheering for the Eagles. Hell, why would you want the Patriots to win? With pretty-boy Brady under center, and that scowling guy Belichick running the show from the sideline?
But Bill, being cranky Bill, went out to the store and bought Patriots paper plates and cups. He wants to see the guys’ reaction. Plus, although he doesn’t care for the Patriots, the are Winners. And Bill respects winners. “Winners not whiners”, that was what his buddy Mark used to say at the factory all of those years ago, when they watched sports together.
Bill sometimes wonders how Mark is doing since the factory closed and he lost touch with him. Mark moved to California (of all places) to find work. California! Bill remembers joshing Mark at the bar when he admitted he was moving to the People’s Republic. Bill just hopes that Mark was not indoctrinated by all of those gay-loving Marxists in places like San Francisco. Mark’s daughter was the one that talked him into the move, and you know how devious women and girlfriends can be.
At one time, Bill’s wife would cook all manner of food for Superbowl, and they would even have the wives over. But since Bill’s divorce, he tells his male buddies to “just bring what you want to eat”. Mostly, they just drink and heckle the players, or discuss the female sideline reporters.
Bill still does not know why they have women on the sideline. This is a man’s sport, dammit. Let men be men, that’s what Bill says. All of this equality shit grates on him. If God had intended for women to be equal with men, he wouldn’t have given them tits and a pussy, har har.
Bill told the guys at the bar last night that this will probably be his last Superbowl. The NFL seems to have become a sissy league, with all of those silly rules about catches, pass interference, helmet-to-helmet…what is this shit? In Bill’s high school days, if you had your bell rung, they gave you smelling salts, and you put on the helmet and went out there and got stuck in again. None of this “how many fingers do you see? What is your name?” bullshit from those damn medical guys while the game went on. And then there are all of those guys kneeling for the anthem. How dare they. In my day, Bill would have jumped in the air to salute for the anthem. The NFL needs to clear all of those ungrateful sons of bitches out of the place. Like Donald said. Damn it, why won’t those whiny-ass fake news people shut the fuck up and let Donald take charge? He knows what is needed.
Bill glances across at the picture on the wall behind the sofa. The one that shows a mythical NFL player, like John Wayne, bursting into the end zone, as light shines, seemingly from above. Nice picture. Real Man conquers the world. Bill skates past the rest of the story in his mind. The part where he bought the picture the week after Superbowl, and hung it on the wall to cover a hole in the sheetrock. The hole made where he heaved a wine bottle through the wall after his favorite NFL team lost in overtime to exit the playoffs.
Bill spoke to his son for the first time in months the other day. His son lives in New York with his girlfriend, and they are getting married next year. Bill doesn’t know if he will be invited to the wedding. When he told her to shut up yapping and fuck off back to New York two Thanksgivings ago, after he realized that she was one of those East Coast limousine liberals that Rush talks about, his son didn’t speak to him for a year.
But it matter not matter any way. Bill doesn’t know for sure if he will even be able to walk by that time, at the rate that his knee is going, he will probably be in a wheelchair by then.
Bill sits down gingerly on the sofa, and the dog comes over and puts its head on his leg. Bill looks down at the dog, and suddenly feels sad. Why can’t everybody be like the dog? You know, eager to get along? Ley bygones be bygones?

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Bill down at the bar

In most small towns all over the world, there are one or more bars. (“Cheers” was an idealized version of the local city bar, with characters built up for television).
Every bar has one or more characters. I’ll call our guy Bill.
We all know Bill. He is there most nights, often on the same seat or stool. He buys a string of beers, smokes a lot, watches the TVs, and talks to anybody who sits next to him or claps him on the back.
Bill grew up in a classic atomic family. Small house with a front and back yard, one sibling, US flagpole in the front, nice manicured lawn, occasional road vacations.
Bill’s Dad was a Big Strong Man. He had been drafted and served in Vietnam. Then he left the army, and got a factory job. Dad was always outgoing, until it came to talking about Vietnam, then he would clam up, and a troubled look would come over his face. The family learned to tip-toe around that war. They also learned to stay away from him when he yelled at Bill’s mom, which seemed to happen a lot.
Bill’s Dad was a big strong man. Until one day, when he fell down on the stairs, and Bill heard his mother screaming. The ambulance arrived, then the EMTs. But, the looks on their faces told the story. Dad, Big Strong Man, invulnerable, manly, The Rock, was gone. A blood vessel deep in his brain had burst, and that was that.
Bill’s mom was a quiet woman. Bill would see her occasionally weeping in the living room, but Mom never said anything about his Dad, other than “he has demons”. Then she too would clam up. After his Dad died, his mother would sit alone for hours, staring into nowhere. Bill wondered what went on in her head, but he and his sister soon learned that asking questions was a waste of time.
Bill left high school at 18, bored with the education system. Bill wasn’t good enough at sports to be a jock and Get The Girls. He also wasn’t good enough at studying to go on to college. Not that his parents could have afforded the tuition anyway, after his Dad died. Besides, universities when Bill was growing up were infested with Communists and pansies. Well, that was what Bill’s dad always said.
So Bill went to work, with several other high school buddies, in the local factory. The job was boring, but the wages were good for the area, and the factory had been there for several decades. Bill worked his way up to a lead role in assembly, and thought he was doing OK. He got married to a girl he met at a local restaurant, and started a family. Life, it seemed, was good.
Then the factory suddenly closed. BOOM. No warning. “Moving production to Mexico” was the terse summary. There was no union to protect the workers. Bill lost his nicely paid job, his work buddies, and his sense of belonging. He began bouncing from short term job to short term job. Then he worked on a construction project one week to make some extra money, and suffered a bad back injury. He spent months in rehab, but his back will never be the same again. He cannot get out of bed without a struggle, and some days standing is too painful for more than a few minutes.
So Bill is now on permanent disability. He became a growling, rage-infested asshole, addicted to painkillers for months, so his wife left him and took the children. Bill ended up going to rehab for a second time, this time to learn how to not pop pain pills like sweeties. After a struggle, he managed to kick the pills.
Now Bill lives alone in his little house, with only his dog for company. He collects his disability check twice a month. He occasionally looks for work, but after 3 years of unemployment, and with a back that rarely allows him to stand comfortably for more than 15 minutes at a time, Bill, according to the government, does not even exist as a member of the unemployed. He has officially been declared a Person Of No Interest as far as employment statistics are concerned.
So Bill sits, sometimes uncomfortably, drinks his beer, and talks.
And Bill has opinions.
Oh yes. He has opinions.
Lot of opinions.
Bill opines about Everything.
Sports (he is sure to always let us know which team he hates this time around in the game on television, and why).
Families. Bill always has a good word for his local relatives, and not many good words for his distant relatives, who are distant because they are Not Like Him. (The idea that they might be distant because they moved to get away from his incessantly judgmental ratchet-jawing is something that most probably never occurred to Bill). As for his ex, well, let’s not go there.
Bill reveres the flag, the anthem and the pledge of allegiance. His Dad flew the flag in their little front yard every chance he got. To him, the flag and the Pledge of Alliegance are an integral, deeply emotional part of being American. He thinks that anybody who doesn’t share that opinion must have something wrong with them. Or they must be one of them furriners. Bill doesn’t trust furriners.
Politics.
Ah yes, politics.
Bill has a lot of opinions about politics.
Of course, Bill hates nearly all politicians. They look to him like a cross between smarmy used-car salesmen and game show hosts. They have suits. They talk in long sentences with way too many of those 100 dollar words. They always seem to be in somebody else’s pockets. And the “somebody else” is sure as hell not Good Honest Folks like him. When the factory closed, after Bill and his buddies, working on a short-term deal, had to dismantle the machinery and pack it into crates so it could be shipped down to Mexico so some damn foreigners could use Their Machinery, the land was soon sold to a property company that seemed to have a connection with the local mayor. Suddenly the land became zoned residential, and lots of new housing was built. Bill will tell anybody that listens to him that the Mayor was a crook in league with the developers, screwing over Regular Folks. As usual.
Politicians always like to act Smart. Bill doesn’t care for Smart. To him, smart people are inherently untrustworthy, the sort of people who you shake hands with, then immediately check your pockets to see if you still have all of your possessions.
Bill holds his nose every time he goes to the voting booth. Sometimes Bill doesn’t even vote, he hates the sons-of-bitches so much. Of course, Bill won’t admit that he doesn’t vote, he wants to make it clear that he understands the meaning of the phrase “civic duty”. Oh Yes Sirree.
Bill was going to sit out the 2016 election. He sure as hell wasn’t going to vote for That Bitch Hillary. Why, didn’t she and Bill arrange for all of those people to disappear and die? It must be true, it was all over the internet. And those damn emails…
Then there was that Bernie guy, colonel Sanders or whatever. The old Jewish guy from one of those librul states. All he did was waffle about universal healthcare. He sounded like he wanted to give Bill’s money to those moochers and takers. Bill was damned if he was going to see the gover…er, his hard earned money being given away to Folks Who Didn’t Deserve It.
…but Bill wasn’t going to vote for the Republicans either. For a start, there were dozens of them, and they all wore those damn suits. And they talked all of those sentences with them high-falutin’ words. Same Ole Same Ole.
Then along came Donald Trump.
Wow.
Bill loved him some Donald Trump.
Here was a man who Told It Like It Is. Bill hates people who beat about the bush. If you think something is Bad, say it for gawds sakes. Don’t be a pussy. None of this wimpy “I think you are mistaken” bullshit.
Donald did it right in those debates. “WRONG!” That’s what you tell those assholes! That Bitch Hillary is clearly completely Wrong. And those librul journalists had it coming too.
Donald was a real businessman. All of those casinos, hotels and golf courses. And that gold in his penthouse. Why, he is clearly Successful, not like those other politicians who talk smart and then get found with their hands in the till because they can’t make their own money, only live off OUR money. The only till Donald has his hands in is his own till, and by golly he has lots of money!
Yessir, Donald is the man, says Bill. He will stop all of this lily-livered nonsense about “rights” and “diversity”. Bill knows that “diversity” is just Smart people-speak for “let more of those brown folks in”. Why should all of those freeloading wetbacks get to stay here anyway?
Yeah! The Wall! Bill worked in construction for a while, and he knows a thing or two. If China could build that great wall umpteen thousand miles long without even having concrete mixers, hell, We Can Build The Wall twice as high.
As for the rest of the world…pffft. Bill knows what goes on in the rest of the world. It shows up every night on the TV. It’s a scary place, full of socialists, communists, furriners, brown people and more of those whiny-ass titty-babies who hug trees and love the Spotted Owl or some such, and who hate the military. Rush told him. Then they beg and plead for America to bail their sorry little asses out all over again. Pfftt!
And Muslims. Billions of Muslims. Why, they are probably swimming the Rio Grande even as Bill speaks again. They have to be. After all, doesn’t everybody want to come to America?
Bill’s pal Donald is going to sort out the rest of the world. We have dozens of aircraft carriers, and all of those F-35s or whatever number they gave the planes flown by Tom Cruise and his buddies. Now, those military guys – those are Real Men, doing Brave Stuff. Vanquishing all enemies, foreign and domestic. Or something like that. Donald, he respects those military guys.
Donald wants America to be Great. No more of this “yessir nosir” crap from our President. What a wimp that Obama guy was. Always bowing and scraping. Didn’t he know We Are America? You know, that nation that bailed out everybody else’s sorry ass in umpteen wars? Why aren’t these people grateful, instead of behaving like a bunch of whiny pissants? Look at the United Nations. A bunch of people, either wearing those con-man suits or dressed in dishrags, complaining about America. Donald will tell them where to go screw themselves. Probably they screw camels anyway, haha.
Hey, want another beer?
You see, Bill loves Donald Trump because Donald Trump, as far as Bill can see, is Bill.
Or he is what Bill would love to be.
Bill would love to go sit in that fancy Oval office, his feet up on the table, telling it like it is. He would love to phone up some little shitface dictator and yell down the phone “listen, cocksucker! You release our ambassador in 12 hours or I will order in the cruise missiles. Now do the right thing, fuckface!” Then Bill puts down the phone, high-fives the military, and picks up the phone again to accept congratulations from that other pissant dictator. Yessir, THAT guy knows his place. Bill just has to make sure that he keeps toeing the line. And if he doesn’t, well, we have a carrier group nearby…
All of those people whining about Donald Trump’s twitter or whatever? Well, lordy lordy, it’s all of those swamp people, the coastal elites, and those prissy liberals with their fancy talk and whining about “equality”. Those little rats are pissing and crying because Donald is rooting them out, ending their silly games, their plotting, their corrupt dealings, their elitist hob-nobbing. Screw the lot of them.
Yessir, Donald is Getting Stuff Done. Those ungrateful NFL players sure got put in their place last weekend. How dare they disrespect the flag like that. WE made them millionaires and this is their idea of gratitude? Tell it like it is Mr President. None of this political correctness bullshit. Donald’s a real man. He doesn’t stand for nonsense. Men need to be men. Keep up the good work.
Bill looks around. The bar is almost empty. Those guys who were sitting with him, they went home to their families hours ago. Not many young people come in here these days. They all went to the city, like Bill’s son, who went to one of the cities, and now comes back once a year for Thanksgiving.
Or at least he used to come back once a year for Thanksgiving.
Bill loves his son, but wishes he wasn’t living with that silly girlfriend who told him over dinner last Thanksgiving that he was a misog…or something that didn’t sound very nice. Bill soon told her where to go. Oh yessir. Now they won’t be back for this year’s Thanksgiving. His son told him they are going skiing in Canada.
Skiiing. Hah! Bill can’t even bend down to tie his shoelaces any more, so he wears slip-ons out of the house, and slippers in the house. No way would he be able to put on skis. Some days Bill wonders what happened to the years when he could lift anything above his head, including his kids. Now he can barely lift himself out of a chair.
Bill shuffles off his bar stool, pays his tab, and slowly heads out for home. He will park his car, gingerly ease himself out, shuffle indoors, turn on the TV, listen to His Man telling it like it is, and then laugh at the libruls whining on the chat shows. Sheesh, they’re such an ungrateful bunch of pussies. But Donald will sort them out. Time for them to toe the line and work to Make America Great Again.
And Bill, after wincing as he peels of his underwear, slides into bed. Another day is done.
In his mind, Bill is Donald, and Donald is Bill. Sorting out Shit. Draining the Swamp. Making America Great Again. Did I say MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN?
And Bill sinks into sleep, into the zone of certitude and vindication, where Right is Right, Wrong is Wrong, and everything is simple and sraighforward, and easy to square away. And where his back no longer hurts, his family is together and happy, and he still has a steady job.
If Bill ruled the world.
But then Bill would be Donald.
And Donald would be Bill.

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