- Tim Mathis
A Dog Catches its Tail
Updated: Sep 4, 2022
At this stage, the crowd can’t be stopped.
And at this stage, Dan from accounting is nothing if not part of the crowd.
With tattoos where his eyebrows used to be, there’s really no going back.
LIVE FREE OR DIE.
Dan is a good guy with a gun, an AR-15 slung across his back. He’ll only use it if he has to and it hasn’t come to that, yet. The seven policemen that were guarding the Capitol were firing into the crowd but they’ve pulled up now that the patriots have made their way through the doors. The crowd surges forward and he’s pushed to the front. His eyes lock with a cop.
The cop is the one who’s scared, not Dan.
Dan is raging in a way that he hasn’t since he was a teenager. “We’re doing this for you!”
His Louisville Slugger slams into the officer’s stomach with a “whomp.” The officer falls, and the crowd surges over. Dan finds himself pushed against a wall in what feels like a tide of Freedom! Democracy! Justice!
Lining the Capitol halls are paintings of men who Dan knows to be traitors. The crowd has forced his face against Carter, but there’s also Clinton, Obama. One by one he tears them from the wall, and tosses them into the wood chipper that is the teeming mass of protest.
This feels like 1776.
Or Limp Bizkit at Woodstock ‘99.
It finally feels like the Spirit of America is alive again. Things have gone too far and finally, finally something is happening.
Victor Brumley has been fighting for people like Dan in a way that no one has before. Now Dan is fighting for Brumley.
Dan roars, and the crowd surges again, lifting him from his feet.
Dan tumbles into a nondescript office, riding the tide of surging patriots, his body crashing to the ground as the mass of bodies forces the door shut behind him. The shouting and explosions are muffled behind the door. It’s sturdy, like Dan thinks of himself. Solid American Oak.
Suddenly still, disoriented and shaken Dan feels alone, separated from the mass that drove him here.
But he’s not.
He hears whimpering, and from his low vantage point he can see a form huddled below the room’s only desk.
From New Jersey Democrat Lannie Chandler’s perspective, Dan is a man sweating and shirtless, American flag painted upside down across the face like warpaint. White New Balance sneakers like the President wears. A gun slung over his shoulder and a tactical belt holding up khakis. A frame that she’d describe as doughy, and the aesthetics of a professional wrestler. For her this is the picture of terror. Her internet harassers incarnate, here in the one place where she was meant to be safe as the Speaker of the House.
Their eyes meet in the space between the desk and the floor.
Dan paces. He posted on the president’s wall 30 minutes ago.
@presidentbrumley I have the speaker. I repeat. I have the speaker.
@presidentbrumley this is not a troll! I have the speaker!
His posts may have been lost in the storm so Dan started with direct messaging.
The target has been obtained. Sent 12 minutes ago. Unread.
Mission accomplished! Sent 6 minutes ago. Unread.
I’m not sure if you got this. Please reply. Sent 3 minutes ago. Unread.
At times like this a man could grow anxious, accidentally kidnapping the third most powerful political figure in the United States. But whatever happens, Dan is happy that Victor Brumley finally gave normal people like himself something to fight for. Something to live for.
He has the gun trained on her but there’s nowhere to go. He puffs his chest, glares at her. He’s keeping himself between the Speaker and the door.
The Eagle has landed! Sent 1 minute ago. Read just now.
Dan’s heart races.
Wait, what?! Blocked??!!
The president’s phone is buzzing and his television is blaring. It’s been an exciting day, but his 12 year old son Stryker won’t shut up about calling off the crowd.
“Dad! Police are dying!”
Dammit! What does this kid even know about politics?! Who does he think he is?! Donations are rolling in and business is booming.
“Stryker, shut up! Go play in your room! I’m this president, not you!”
These phone alerts are driving me crazy!
Brumley posts on his public profile: “I’m the president, not you!”
Block block block.
At least the Spark News pundits get it. Cassidy Blake is practically shouting on screen. “Patriots have been pushed too far! This is what happens when you undermine democracy. You hate to see it, but I can’t say that I’m surprised it’s come to this!”
“That’s right,” he mutters, “This is what happens when you mess with Victor Brumley.” Brumley is on a first name basis with Cassidy. He’s always thought she’s hot.
A banner ad for Brumley Vitamin Supplements rolls across the bottom of his television screen. Brumley smiles and shouts to the next room, “See Stryker, America is on my side!”
Cassidy stops suddenly, lifts her hand to her ear, cocks her head to the left, shifts to a measured tone.
“Excuse me everyone, this just in. This is big news. Spark has just received word that someone has been posting to Brumley’s wall that they have the Speaker of the House. We are yet to confirm but there have been at least five posts making this claim!”
Brumley looks down at his alerts.
Back at the Capitol Dan feels his phone buzz. He looks down. A direct message from @presidentbrumley!
“Listen carefully, you have a very important assignment…”
At 12:15 PM, America turns on their television to a Spark News exclusive and the shocking scene of the Speaker of the House in her signature blue dress on her knees, cowering. The man behind her is a nightmare version of the Macho Man Randy Savage. Shirtless. Dad bod. Farmers tan. AR-15. War paint and facial tattoos. A red, white, and blue Brumley flag is draped behind them.
The Speaker begins to read from her phone - hand trembling and voice quivering.
“I have been asked to deliver a very important message.
With the downfall of democracy perpetrated by the losers in our country, such as myself, Lannie Chandler, it’s time for patriots to act. There’s never been a more important time to be healthy and ready to fight.
And there’s no better way to stay healthy and strong than with a daily supply of Brumley Vitamin Supplements. Order online now with code REVOLUTION1776 and you will receive a 25% discount on all orders over $100. All proceeds will directly benefit the Brumley Fight for America legal defense fund.”
The camera is trained on the Speaker’s face. She’s shaking and tearful. It’s a humiliating posture that will cost her the next primary. In the background Dan is strong, stone faced, his eyes wide behind the red, white and blue makeup. Sweat runs into his eyes, “LIVE FREE OR DIE” offering no barrier where his eyebrows used to be.
Both stare silently into the camera while an ad drifts across the screen: BREAKING NEWS! “Brumley says fight for America at www.brumleysupplements.com. Code: REVOLUTION1776.”
Years later, even Brumley’s lawyers couldn’t say for certain whether they saw Dan’s resolve crack even for a moment before the screen cut to black.
For more grand adventure, existential despair and good plain fun, I hope you'll check out my books.