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An American Dream

By , Valley Cottage, NY

An American Dream
It had been several months since the last referendum. Janet stood on the platform as she waited for the train to arrive, observing the sky; the night was pitch-black and inky, as if entirely sapped of joy. The cold, ominous air chilled deep beyond her skin and into her human vitality. She looked into the distance, having experienced the most intriguing premonition: the country was dark, a vanquished flame, and the citizens were crying out with anguished protest.
A beam of light pierced the evening air as the express approached the station. It pulled in slowly, as if suspicious. Everyone seemed suspicious, nowadays. Janet entered the passenger car, weary of her step, watching the other passengers with an air of indiscriminate suspicion. Everyone glanced up drowsily as she walked into the car, but only briefly enough to gauge their disinterest of the subject in question. This was a normal occurrence in New York City after the election of Carter Devereaux and his crew. People surmised the dullest of possibilities after the most recent implementation of corrupt laws consequent of the distorted referendum. Security was increased, bank transactions were monitored, and prices increased were unprejudiced on anything that could yield the politicians an extra buck.
As she was seated by a metro attendant, Janet’s eyes fell on an advertisement directly across the aisle. It was a posthumous recollection of the last Capital senator's campaign, a bleak recognition of the death of traditional politics. In an ironic statement, the poster was bright and radiant. The advert displeased Janet; it seemed to mock her. The jovial, pink letters and the smiling figure appeared to comment sarcastically on the contemporary state of affairs, as if reminiscing impolitely about the deceased glory of the American political domain.
The train’s engine hissed in annoyance, refusing to start initially. Eventually, it gave in and commenced its short lived journey to the next stop. As the car picked up speed, Janet stared out the window, watching the bleak landscape pass by. There was nothing of particular interest; the mountainous view was dull and gray. Janet smiled as she imagined it full of color and vibrancy, just as she had imagined the ….. Her pleasant fantasy was interrupted by a rude voice instructing her to exit the train unless she wished to travel back up the river to Poughkeepsie. The agreeable visionary broken, she bolted up and rapidly exited the express. The hot fumes of the train struck her like a wall upon setting a single foot out the door; she was momentarily stifled.
As she retreated from the suffocating heat to the cool of late Midtown Manhattan, Janet considered not going home for the night. Recently, her relationship with her fiance had grown painfully tense; Janet had known when she became engaged to Andrew that she would struggle to appreciate his affinity for the less gracious political circles, but she never expected him to become a Member. Then again, she had never expected the Truman Party to infiltrate the government. Ever since they had,  Carter Devereaux and his crew of corrupt maniacs had been restricting social liberty for a larger paycheck, and Janet--a social worker--wasn’t happy about it. But she had reached her room.
Hostile air greeted Janet as she opened her apartment door. Her fiance would have just returned from work down at the Municipal Department of Local Affairs. He was most likely in the kitchen, preparing dinner for the two of them. She greeted Andrew in at the table, where he was setting down plates, and then helped him fix the last ingredients in the meal. The room filled with the rich scent of roasted potatoes, but the weary couple took no notice.
They ate in silence.
Janet broke the dissonant quiet. “How was work?”
“Fine,” Andrew replied, neutrally.
Janet paused. “Scam another innocent worker?”
Andrew threw down his fork. “It’s an honorable profession! And Carter is a good person.” He referenced another useless scrimmage of theirs.
“He’s a megalomaniac!” Janet cried. “He’ll tear this city apart, along with the whole country! All he does is take from the people. The whole industry is just a cult of royal metropolitan criminality!”
“He is a public worker and an economic saint! How can’t you see this!?” exclaimed Andrew.
Janet tried to speak, but she was too infuriated to allow words to escape her mouth. Finally, she threw down her plate, groped clumsily for her bag, and rushed out of the apartment, slamming the door firmly behind her.
Janet was upset. She could not understand Andrew’s stubborn irrationality, and it caused her great pain to see her fiance’s unrelenting dealings with the contemporary American devil. When she fell asleep at her nearby colleague's apartment, Janet was numb from the emotional overflow of the night, and the many tumultuous nights leading up to it.
.    .    .
Janet awoke promptly at 6:00 AM. Her friend, Zoe, had made her breakfast.
As they ate, Zoe questioned Janet, eventually asking her when she would return to her destined husband.
Janet looked surprised. “Andrew?” she laughed. “Never.”
“What!?” Zoe was astounded.
“I have spent my life dedicated to the dissuasion of corruption. Andrew wants to perpetrate it,” she responded.
“Hrm.” Zoe muttered, entirely confounded. But she accepted her companion’s resolve. The two had grown up as comrades, and they knew each other with an arguable familiarity.
She would forget Andrew with time. From that point on, she devoted the majority of her work to the resistance of governmental corruption. She would eventually confront her ex-fiance in an intriguing atypical reunion. However, she had clarified here livelihood and established a means for providing others with the color she initially saw in the New York hills; the diminished potential she sought to fuel. And so, Janet carried herself about her life with satisfaction despite the inevitable victory of the entropic forces of destruction.




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