Here's Round Two for the 2017 Flash Fiction Challenge for NYC Midnight.
I'm in Group 78.
Genre: Political Satire
Object: Wine Glass.
I hope you enjoy it!
“We need to make a quick stop on our way to the Capitol,” I tell my daughter as I pull off the freeway. “It should only take a few minutes.”
My daughter lets out a deep groan knowing my version of a few minutes really means ten, but I don’t care. I need this to make it through my day. At fourteen, she doesn’t quite get the struggle of adulthood and only really cares about herself, but rather than fighting, she turns on the radio to drown out the silence.
We watch with cheers as the final monument is annihilated. The Washington Monument will no longer scream out oppression and slave mongering any longer, the announcer declares. In the background crowds are shouting, celebrating the end of the idolization of hate spreaders in the nation. The reporter speaks louder to ensure he’s being heard, New statues are being constructed across the country as we speak showing the world we know what and who matters when making the positive changes needed for our civilization to thrive.
I reach over and tap the down button until I can get her attention again. “Aren’t you excited to see the unveiling of the new statues at the Capitol? Today’s celebration is the first in our state.”
She rolls her eyes and scoffs. “Sure, Mom.” Jewel barely looks up from her screen.
I inch the car forward moving up my place in line, then reach into my purse and pull out the flyer. “Here, read the descriptions to me so we know what we’re going to see,” I say attempting to pull her away from her Snapchat.
“Mom, seriously, I don’t care.”
“Jewel, I really think this is something you’ll appreciate.” She’s so disinterested in everything, and I wanted this to be something we could do together. “Ok what’s the first on the list.”
She unfolds the handout to find descriptions. “Fine. The first one is a statue of Kanye. Seriously?”
“Hey, he’s a major icon,” I interject.
“Whatever. Kanye West,” she begins, “a leader in the mental health movement, demonstrated to the world the positive power behind reaching out to others to spread great ideas while practicing mental health coping strategies.” She rolls her eyes and drops the paper.
I shake my head and smile. “What an inspiration,” I tell her. “We should all be like him in our daily life. This is so wonderful that our representatives have decided to do this. Who’s next?”
She lets out a sigh, yet again. “Britney Spears.”
“Oh really? I love her,” I exclaim.
“Mom, please,” she stops me. “It says that she’s an animal activist who worked hard for the liberation of boa constrictors. Is this a joke or something?”
Trying to ignore her disrespect, I look out the window watching the people drive by wondering if they’re as lucky as I am at this very moment. I’m on my way to see our nation’s newest dedication to those who have shaped our evolving culture. I feel sorry for those who won’t be able to witness it like us, but as I watch them talk on their phones and text while driving, I can tell they are as happy as I am, and I smile.
I pull forward again. “Welcome to Starbucks. May I take your order?”
“Yes. Yes, you can. I’d like a grande Pumpkin Spice latte and a bagel, please.” The promotional wine glass on the menu reminds me I should get something to absorb the wine I had with lunch.
“Mom, get me a Pumpkin Frappuccino,” Jewel demands.
I nod and relay her order to the faceless voice. “That’s all.”
We’re still a few cars away from the window, so I turn to her again. “Ok, who’s next?”
She looks back to the circular searching for the third figure. “Simon Cowell is being honored for his demonstration of Freedom of Speech and the power of truth.’”
I just love him on those talent shows, the way he speaks to the children letting them know that their dreams just might not be their realities is touching. “OK, who’s the last one?”
Jewel’s looking back at her phone ignoring me, so I tap her leg. She jerks her head up in response. “What?”
“This is important. What are you doing anyway?”
“Reading the Iliad,” she snaps back.
“Who’s that? I’ve haven’t seen them on YouTube, have I?” I ask, sure I’ve missed the next best thing.
“No, Mom. It’s a Greek Epic. You’re so basic.”
Ignoring her insult, I look ahead. “Who’s the fourth?”
She finds the final description and laughs. “Seriously? It’s Tom Cruise. Apparently, he’s being honored for religious freedom. ‘Tom Cruise and his selflessness shows the world that Scientology is the future. It encourages personal growth, stressing the importance of the individual over reliance on others.’ Mom, is this for real? These people aren’t idols, they’re has been celebrities. Why aren’t we learning from our history and keeping the real figures in our cities? We’re supposed to learn from the past so we don’t repeat it.”
I’m appalled at her intolerance. “Jewel, where do you learn these horrible things?”
“School, Mom, you know that place I go every day for an education? They teach us things like keeping an open mind and respect the Constitution. Fight for the people who can’t speak for themselves. Help the Earth by recycling. Volunteer to help others. These so called ‘icons’ are hacks. We need to be putting our torn down monuments back. Where’s MLK Jr., Rosa Parks, Father Junipero Sera, Thomas Jefferson, Abe Lincoln? Where does it stop? They’re all people who made a difference.”
Why can’t she be more normal? I ask myself and pull up to the window. I pay and retrieve our drinks before looking to her one last time. Her ignorance drives me insane. “Enough.” I can’t take it any longer. These lies she’s “learning” are destroying her. “You don’t deserve to see real history being made. We’re going home.”