Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Day Four-Hundred-Eight: Mother knows best

I explained my voting tactic - avoid both candidates until after the election - to Grylock. He thought it was a terrible idea.

"Y'can't avoid 'em, stupid." He was busy picking chicken meat out of his teeth with his poisonheart. Very wise. "You're the damned mayor. You have a stake in all this, whether you wanted one or not. You've got to talk to each of them - ESPECIALLY Libby - and make sure there's nothing untoward with their plans that could jeopardize Pubton. You really don't know anything 'bout politics, do you?"

No. No I don't. But Grylock's a dick, often drunk and occasionally stupid, so I asked both Edmund and Evangelina for confirmation. Sadly, they agreed with him. I always just assumed Grylock knew squat about politics, but, alas.

I went to mom first, as I still fear visiting Libby. I don't know how to feel 'bout her at the moment, and I don't want Grayson meddling with the conversation and mucking me up. Maybe I should have conned mom into babysitting for the day… oh well…

As if anticipating my arrival, mom had a plate of fresh eel cookies set out on the kitchen table, and a big glass of cow's milk from Morris' farm. Hope she at least heated it up before serving it cold - last time I had raw milk my stomach ached for three days.

"SO." Mom plopped down in front of me, waving my dad out of the room. He stuck up a small wooden finger at her back as he left. "Mr. Mayor wants to talk to Mr. Mayor's Mom. Maybe I should sew that up 'n put it on the wall, eh? Mr. Mayor's Mom. Sound good?"

"… sure, mom."

"Yes, yes it does." She stared at a blank spot on the wall, probably visualizing a poorly-embroidered sign covered in typos. Mom can write, but she's not good at it. "What does Mr. Mayor want, eh? Wanna pluck the juicy details of m'plan out of m'brain?"

"Something like that. I, uh, guess you can make your argument again."

She did. Happily. Mom outlined all the details of her ideas, which were, basically, to remain true to the workload as it was. Don't change a thing for now. Use the Hypermole LATER? Sure, maybe dedicate a handful of people under Libby to dig away. Once the town is built she'll have time to do that stuff. But now, oh no, not right now.

"What if she's right about us needin' defenses, though, ma? You know she is. We've been through a lot, 'n barely got through by the skin of our teeth. What if -"

"Ohhh, honey." She reached over and squeezed my cheek, forcing a big hunk of eel cookie out of my mouth. "Whoops. Lemme get that. Honey, you keep savin' us from all that big bad stuff. I'm not afraid. Heck, the things you do 'n go up against, I don't think I have a right to be afraid of anything for as long as I live! You're the best protection we've got, Dragomir!"

I blushed. I'd never heard praise quite like that before. But… "I couldn't… save… y'know."

We both looked at my mom's stewing pot.

She sighed, wiping a sudden tear from her eyes. "I know. You… well, you can't save everybody all the time, you just can't. Robert… at least he died peaceful, 'n he did it savin' your little boy. That's how it looked, 'n that's what I like to think it was. Don't you?"

A horrible thing crossed my mind. So horrible I don't think I can even write it down in you, diary.

"I guess." A long, pained sigh followed, along with a lie. "Thanks, mom. I'd better go - Harold wanted to show me something on the wall."

"Take a few cookies, atta boy." She gave me a big kiss on the cheek and waved farewell, heading to her small solar to knit.

Consequently, she wasn't there when dad intercepted me on the front porch, stopping me with one of his stupid arms.

"You ain't gonna vote for her, are ya?"

I shrugged. "I'm… not sure. Haven't decided."

"Didn't say who I was talkin' about."

"I figured mom." I brushed the arm aside and stepped off the porch.

"But you're on the fence for Libby, too. 'course you are, you don't have a damned clue which way t'go. You're too much a pansy t'take sides in this."

I stopped. "What do you want from me, dad?"

"Balls." He sneered and clenched one of his wooden fists. It wasn't terribly impressive. "Big ol' balls like you SHOULD have. Dunno when they fell off, but they sure as hell did, 'n ya need 'em back. Take a stand, pick a damned side already."

"And what if they're both right?"

"Then stand with your woman! Do right by 'er!"

"Oh come on, dad!" I turned to yell at him. "What, you saying you're gonna vote against Libby 'cause mom's 'your woman'? I know you have a thing for Libby, I'm not stupid!"

"'couse I do. Got a thing for damn near ever woman in this shitheap. INCLUDING your mother. S'what makes me a man. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll leave ya to wallow in your fuckin' indecision while I exercise my manliness with my Martha."

He went inside. I ran as fast as I could. I don't know what he means by that last part, and I don't ever plan on finding out.

Take a stand.

Be a man.

Don't know if I can do that.


Dragomir the Undecided


  1. Come on, Dragomayor. Let's get down to business. Be a man!

    Swift as a coursing river! All the force of a great typhoon! All the strength of a raging fire! Mysterious as the dark side of the moon!