If Only Jamie Knew (Love in the Time of Fascism) A Tragedy

If Only Jamie Knew (Love in the Time of Fascism)   

A Tragedy  

     It started that year we had no winter. Maybe they wanted to stop the riots in Hong Kong, bring down the Chinese economy, stop the refugees at every border, slow the climate activists worldwide and their smart scientists who told us it was time to stop just about every post-modern activity we were so used to.

     It had been nearly three years, and I still couldn’t shake my heart free of Jamie and he wouldn’t keep his body away from mine. It was a soured thing, because he couldn’t hold onto any other woman. I was just a back-up singer and he was just a groupie, sad, really sad.
     The natural world we’d fought so hard for was still in a tailspin, but some clandestine agent from some country had dropped a virus on the world, bringing money, and all of us, to our knees.  Pretty soon, there’d be no more jobs, food, gas, electricity, phones or medicines.  Pretty soon, it would only be Outward Bound foraging and hunting.

     But being isolated, locked down, quarantined, held apart from seeing one another for fear of contagion, was the cruelest law of all.  My mind, heart, senses and body felt deprived.  This was no way to end our civilization.  This wasn’t how to face our extinction, just around the corner.
     We knew this was some kind of dress rehearsal for the tsunamis to come, the ones that would destroy our 450 nuclear reactors. And, we could see some brave leaders, but also the selfish ones, the spin-doctors with no handle on the truth, no ability to face realities, to cope or give us any human hope.

     If we couldn’t go outdoors, couldn’t congregate, couldn’t see each other, we needed to feel cared about by those in charge, not put off, not obviously lied to, not forgotten.
     All we had now were the internet, cable tv, our homes, cooking, sleeping, our pets, our clothes, our possessions. We’d passed cabin fever weeks ago, when they closed all the schools. Now, it was nearly every business too. My libido disappeared, my art, my music, and often my writing dried up.

     I’d stare at the sky, stay under three quilts for warmth and comfort, look at the dirty rugs and litter box, not care about the trash or mail, couldn’t make a phone call, hated the news, hated texts and emails, missed my long-ago, very snuggly fiancé.

     What mattered anymore but kindness?  Nothing.  Because deep down we knew that soon that’s all we’d have anyway. That our dreams would be suffocated by plus-three degrees of warming, as all the animals continued to die and nothing could grow anymore. 

     We were going to go out with whimpers and with bangs. Jamie and I would never get and have what we really, really wanted, even though we were both too blind to know that we already had it, that we already were it.

I wanted every beautiful man I’d ever loved to hold me, all together, all at once, as the radioactive Cherenkov blue glow from every reactor consumed us instantly, darkening earth forever after.

But, no. If I didn’t drive to Spring Hill soon, they’d be shooting us on the streets from Hummer-tanks just for being outdoors.  If I didn’t go to Green Bank, West Virginia, the floods would be drowning my entire city, maybe even my entire state. Who cared about low gas prices, with no money, no food, no fuel left? By the time I decided, I probably wouldn’t have the nerve to try to outrun all the governor’s men to get to Jamie.

     Nightmare, “The Twilight Zone,” sci-fi, Armageddon—that’s what this is, and inescapable, like that other weird tv show, “The Prisoner,” or that weirder movie I hated, “The Matrix.” Sleep is my only escape from the nearly 8 billion-peopled planet I used to adore. There’s no way out of here, nowhere to go. We’ve boxed ourselves in with trash.

Sometimes I wish we didn’t understand.  I think the animals have always known more than we do, but we didn’t listen to them, didn’t watch them, didn’t care.
     Most people are so busy just trying to survive that they don’t have the luxury of caring very much about anything else. But I have, and I do, and I want it all back now.   And I want Jamie to love me like July and August 2017, to say again that I’m saving his life and that he loves me.
     Why is everything suddenly so impossible?  Must the Book of Revelation really come true? I know Christ will find me wanting, not one of the chosen few.  I broke the laws all the time, to be caring.  And I paid the price. I don’t expect to be forgiven for loving the forbidden, for finding and giving tenderness to the most damaged, like me.  I wanted to. It was my choice, and theirs.  But now, none of that matters.  It’s all too late.

Jamie has ADHD, severe diabetes and high blood pressure. He eats and and lives clean and green, but smokes pot.  I have high blood pressure and mastoiditis and a bunch of other bodily challenges, but we both fight on. He’s self-centered and mouthy.  I’m clingy, jealous and angry.  We’re both smart and sassy, but I get all quiet around him.

If my tax money, Social Security and renter don’t come through, I’ll be homeless and car-less.  I’m over-extended after a lifetime of thrift and sterling credit.  Jamie met me on a down-turn.  I met him suicidal from too   much rejection.  I always get my man, except for him.  He never gets the girl. I felt sorry for him. He feels sorry for me, since meds made me chubby. He’s chubby too and really clueless.

I’m loyal to a fault.  Even after he assaulted me that one Christmas, as a punishment for still being in love with him and wanting to sing his praises to all.  Oh, no, he’s a secretive cuss, a self-confessed chauvinist in hippie garb. None of that matters a bit to me.

What matters is he doesn’t want to belong to me, or have me belong to him.  Can’t blame him.  I know his history of being betrayed.  But I can’t accept that excuse.  I have a bad history too and I’ve worked hard to become healthy and loving. His reluctance is fear and stubbornness that has nothing to do with me.  If you’re gonna nail me, you’re my hammer and I’m all the way in.

Knowing these are the last crises in the world makes it easy for me to say and do whatever I want.  I trust myself and there’s no waiting now.  All rules are slashed. All bets are off.  The real world’s gone bye-bye. 

There’s really no way back to where we were before, knowing the response government has for us—undependable, unreliable, self-serving, half-truths, blatant lies, confusion, deflection.  Trust is completely broken.  Pretty soon they’ll kill the good ones like Sanders and Cuomo, then come for us, the activists and intellectuals who think for ourselves, out loud.  At least I know Jamie and I stood for something, something precious and valuable, something worth fighting for—our planet, nature, the animals, one another. We haven’t backed down.  When they come for us, I just hope he’s squeezing my hand, very tightly, like he does in bed, right before I help him cry out in ecstasy.

Susan Beverly MLA

Susan Beverly MLA has gotten awards for her writing since first grade, including her adult play, two short stories and many poems, as well as being published in lots of small journals over the last twenty years. She's run critique groups, reading venues and been a featured poet worldwide. Under The Thunder, a CD of poetry was requested by her many fans because of her sultry voice that would sound amazing even reading a phone book. SusanBeverly2003@yahoo.com Her writing credits include: Smile Hon',You're in Baltimore, Digges' Choice, The Sunpaper, Wordhouse, Throb, Event Hoizon, Carroll County Times, Baltimore's Child, Omega, Ashes & Sparks, Postcards from the Beach, Out of the Mouths of Men, Delmarva Review, Hawaii Review...


  1. This is a first for the publication. Fiction loosely based on current events. The editor unlike most is actually fair and open-minded on publishing quality and interesting subjects. Great sense of urgency and melancholy.

  2. I would prefer the journal sticks with Art. I didn't get anything from this but the usual pandering junk i hear on the radio.

    1. My thanks for your visitation and I hope you see your way to visit more or view other works that might fit your fancy. AC is dedicated to the arts and I have been rigorous by not allowing writing that does not reflect an artistic format. The tragedy in the plot of this piece is not overshadowed by its current setting and I didn't see any need to call it something other than short fiction.

  3. You are a tolerant editor. guess you have to be with difficult people who can't see past their television. The work is unique and refreshing. From her definition nearly anything can be called political. I prefer you stick to good writing and screw her.

Previous Post Next Post