The Conversation We Never Had

A man in a red t-shirt sits watching TV alone in his condominium drinking a can of beer. He has recently quit smoking and feels like shit. He is wearing three nicotine patches. He has had a bad day at work. His wife has left him for another…

woman.

There’s a knock at the door.

“Hey,” the man at the door says. He’s about the same age, and build, and race, and is also wearing a t-shirt. His is blue. “I’m here because our data indicates that you voted for Trump?”

The red shirt man frowns and gives a curt nod.

“Right. Do you have a minute to talk?”

The red shirt man shrugs.

“I’ve been assigned to you,” the blue shirt man says.

“What?”

“A grassroots organization called People for a Recognizable Tomorrow is putting 100 million volunteers on the streets to talk to every Trump supporter to try to help them make a better decision in 2020.”

“Well,” the red shirt man’s face turns pink. “He isn’t perfect, but nobody ever gave him a chance!”

“I hear you when you say that no one gave Trump a chance, but I don’t want to talk about that now. I want to talk to you about who you are. Your hopes, your dreams…”

“Not interested—” The red shirt man moves to close the door. The blue shirt man sticks his foot inside, and raises his hand. He says the next paragraph quickly, as if it has been memorized.

“I’m authorized to buy you a case of beer a carton of cigarettes or a steam download of a new video game, also, I have a code for a free month of HBO Go with any gift offering of your choice.”

The red shirt man scowls. “You serious?”

“Yes. And I don’t hate you!” the blue shirt man says. He smacks his own forehead. “I was supposed to say that earlier!”

The red shirt man rubs his nicotine patches. “I quit smoking.”

“That’s hard. Very stressful. I quit a few years ago.”

“Really?” he laughs. “I thought democrats were perfect.”

“Nope,” the blue shirt man says.

“What kind of beer?”

“I have a list you can choose from.”

The red shirt man nods.

The blue shirt man pulls out his phone. “This is an Amazon Beer Right Now demo rollout. Here are your choices. It can be here in fifteen minutes.”

The red shirt man looks at the phone, and selects an inexpensive American beer. In cans. “It’s the kind I like,” he says levelly.

“Me too,” says the blue shirt man without a hint of irony.

“I already have HBO go.”

The blue shirt man nods and they both go inside.

***

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Posted in Free Fiction, Ugly Partisan Politics

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