The building looked like any office space. Instead of cubicles, just a few desks and computers occupied the area. The corporals, Cortland Carras and Samantha Hillinger sniggered. Only to themselves, however. They dared not let the gunny or staff sergeant see them laughing at the uniform of the Marine that outranked all of them in the room. Master Sergeant Kent Kipton wore the same digiprint camouflage uniform as the others. He pressed it and affixed his insignia in the proper places. The only thing that caught the attention of the corporals was the master sergeant’s sleeves. They looked like two flat monster truck tires rolled up just past his elbow. They looked like two soggy donuts approaching his upper arm.
The studio lights seemed to permeate through every crevice. Producers and electricians and other staff members busied about the space, ensuring that this show would be a knockout. This warm summer day became belied by the artificial lights and pumping air conditioning system. Makeup and hair crews applied their talents to the two figures on stage. Jill Mackey peered at her subject for tonight with slight disdain and a little wonderment. She stood 5'9" but could not compare to the 6'8" of Mr. Taylor Goshon. Jill revealed nothing that would indicate her 57 years on this earth. She wore a purple pantsuit with pearls and buttons and matching pumps. Goshon exhibited his 63 years of life with a thin grey beard that wrapped around his visage. He wore a light blue shirt and dark suit, a grey and white striped tie, and brown loafers.
Gold and platinum balusters with encrusted diamonds sparkled like bioluminescent creatures. The king and queen stood at the top of the stairs and walked with elegance and precision. They journeyed down the spiral case with as much splendor and care as befitting royalty. Their black skin shone against the white garments that covered their bodies. The queen showed honey brown skin and donned a full length gown. She displayed relaxed, flowing blonde hair. The king’s skin showed medium brown and he sported short locks with a pristine mess dress uniform. Once they reached the bottom of the stairs, a gaggle of photogs snapped pictures with flashes lighting up like bottle rockets. They made their way to the grand ballroom stage where everyone in attendance shot to their feet. “The Star-Spangled Banner” played from the live orchestra. This was America.
“You mean I can’t even get a square? No e-cigs? Nothing?” The woman shook her head no and placed a patch on her arm. Her eyes rolled back in her head. “Damn, that feels good.” This spring day, where the blossoms have burst open bearing the gifts of the trees, saw the predawn decades before the Great Transition in the state of Delaware. Before every right was respected, the lawmakers had to tinker with the apparatus. Yellin Boer, gaunt and smart in dress and appearance, strolled up to the counter to buy some nicotine gum.
The signs read mainly the same thing. “God Bless,” “Anything Will Help,” and “Thank You.” Some were funny. Those sign holders seemed to get the most alms. One read “Why lie? I need a beer,” and yet another reads “Give me weed.” The bitter winter wind blew gusts in their faces. That holder raked in the even more spare change. The holders lined up along the street sitting on their sneakers like ogling, crouching statues with their hands on their placards. Tongues dry and cracked and faces scorched from the sun made the way from downtown Newark a challenge for the young business professionals that populated this part of town. Techies who drove to work with plaid shirts and six hundred thousand dollar expense cards passed these men and women on the regular. Most of them gave the standard, cookie cutter answer, “Get a job.” One particular woman, Kenisha Fender, took the time to appraise each sign. Her oak colored skin and her flowing locks made her unmistakable as her company’s CFO.
Summer rain pattered on the rooftop like some incessant drummer pat-pat-patting this Wilmington, Delaware home. Horace Karl played an augmented reality game when the door opened. There was a shuffle of wet coats and an umbrella in the mudroom that aroused Karl’s attention.