People are corporations, money has more power than ever, and billions are spent to protect and promote the interests of and hide the darkest secrets of those who want to be President of the United States. Join with me in search of the truth hidden behind these politicians' smiles.
Friday, August 3, 2012
Chapters Nineteen and Twenty WHITE TRASH IN THE SNOW
Even though this chapter includes one of Bristol Palin's go-to words, "puke," readers should not confuse the character Cristol Saplin for the Palin family princess. This is fiction. Any similarity is coincidence. But you already knew that, so read, enjoy, have a great weekend.
White Trash in the Snow
Pulling away from the porcelain, Cristol thought about
staying home from school. She washed her face while she imagined the
consequences of her options. It was mid-August and school started only two days
ago; most teachers were still reviewing old material to see how much had been
retained over the summer. She wouldn’t miss anything important in the
classroom, but -
Another wave of nausea rose and fell. Shit! She couldn’t
think about school. It was a day to puke and go back to bed until she had to
puke again. If she felt better by noon, she would get up, and add some more
music to her iPod, then watch TV and eat ice cream. (Lately she’d been seeing
more of Ben and Jerry than Wrangler.) Maybe she would do the homework she
didn’t do last night. And maybe not.
Shit! The reality of staying home came on as suddenly as
the nausea.. If she skipped school today, Sparkler’s cousin, Jennilee Jones
would be free to upsize her daily flirtations with Wrangler. It was no secret
that the tall blonde cheerleader was competition for Cristol and would stop at
nothing to win the attention of the boy she called “the dark haired hunk.” Wrangler
couldn’t be trusted, either. If Cristol were not in school today, what would
stop Wrangler from going home with Jennilee?.
Jennilee was Porsche’s best friend and spent a good deal of
time at the Strauss house where Wrangler’s mom pretty much let the kids be
kids. They went there if they skipped school. They had no curfew, and anyone
was welcome to spend the night. Cristol had even stayed overnight. Porsche’s
MySpace was littered with pictures of good times with her best friends. Dozens
of pictures posted this summer showed Porsche with Jennilee, an assortment of
friends and an assortment of booze. Cristol didn’t let Porsche take pictures of
her for that very reason. They would end up on MySpace.
Wrangler didn’t do MySpace, and like Cristol, he didn’t
like his picture taken. But once in a while he relented, or his sister caught
him in the background. It totally pissed
off Cristol whenever Porsche posted photos of herself and her friends drinking
with Wrangler. It always made Cristol
suspicious that Wrangler wasn’t being faithful. Everyone – Wrangler, Porsche,
Sparkler, and all their friends – knew Cristol’s reactions, yet Porsche flatly
refused to remove any of them, and added to the online collection as often as
she could. Sparkler suspected Porsche and Jennilee wanted to bait Cristol into
a fight with Wrangler over the pictures, and warned Cristol not to take the
bait. They both knew that when it came down to it, Wrangler would defend
Porsche’s right to have pictures on her MySpace, and a fight would work out to
be an advantage for Jennilee. It wasn’t
rocket science. Everybody knew that.
Only yesterday, Sparkler had offered a solution. “I’ll pick
a fight with Jennilee. I’ll beat her up for you. I’ll break her pretty little
nose. Wrangler won’t look at her after that.”
The idea sent Cristol into a gale of giggles, but she
couldn’t agree. “You can’t do it,” she
said. “It would backfire somehow.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right.”
“I know I’m right. Wrangler would end up giving her sympathy.”
“Strauss style sympathy – the kind where underwear is optional.”
Cr istol giggled. Sparkler was right. That would be just
The memory of that line of Sparkler’s pushed Cristol to get
moving. She washed her face again, brushed her teeth, picked up yesterday’s jeans
from the floor, and dragged herself to the closet to pick out a comfy hoody. Thirty minutes later she was outside Azzolla
High, the scanning crowd of mingling students.
Where is Wrangler?
He better not have skipped today. If I got here, he better have…. She spotted him over by the edge of the parking lot
with Dan and Carver. They were laughing and hadn’t yet spotted her, but
she overheard part of their conversation. “…and she’s really toned,” Wrangler
“Who’s really toned? Jennilee? Oh, wait, you’re talking
“Oh, uh, hi Cristol,” Wrangler stuttered. He didn’t look
her in the eye.
It didn’t matter what he said. It wasn’t a question as much
as it was an accusation. Texts and calls had come in on Saturday night telling
her that Wrangler had been flirting with Lannie Rias Saturday afternoon in
Walmart. He’d told Cristol he couldn’t
help babysit Pride because his mom wanted to pick out some school clothes for
him and his sister. It had sounded like something Wrangler’s mom would want to
do, so Cristol hadn’t made a big deal out of it. Not until the first text came
in while she was home eating ice cream and watching some lame rented movie her dad had forgotten to return.
Lannie and Cristol used to be best friends and it was
Lannie who, late in seventh grade, had first noticed how cute Wrangler had
become. Lannie and Wrangler had dated, things had gotten serious, and Lannie
had openly shared with Cristol and Sparkler the intimate details.Though Lannie
had been his most steady relationship, Wrangler “went with” several girls at
one time in eighth and ninth grades. He liked to say he was just “a good ‘ole
boy and couldn’t be tied down.”
Maybe it was jealous rivalry, maybe it was hormone-driven
attraction, but whatever it was, girls had been vying for Wrangler’s heart and
parts for a long time now. It was stiff competition. Cristol hadn’t even been a
runner up through those Middle School years. It wasn’t until late May,
when she returned home for the summer, that Cristol began to triumph. Finally,
she was on top and now, she was scared to death of losing him.
The two of them had lost some friends over their hook up.
People took sides when she broke up with JJ after she’d been with
Wrangler behind his back, and of course they both lost JJ’s friendship.It
embarrassed her to remember how possessive she had been of her former
boyfriend. Paranoid that he would cheat on her while she was far away, she had
behaved like a controlling bitch, sending at least thirty text messages a day
to interrupt any wayward thoughts or actions, stalking MySpace for postings or
pictures to suggest that he’d been with other girls, and freaking out if he
didn’t call every night. The kid put up with a lot, only to have his girl make
it with one of his friends as soon as she returned for the summer.
Lannie had still, technically, been Wrangler’s girlfriend
when Cristol first had sex with him. It made Cristol fearful that karma was
going to get her. If he left Lannie – “toned Lannie” - for her, then what would
keep him faithful to Cristol now? Nothing
except keeping an eye on him, which was why Cristol fought the battle to stay
in Azzolla for the school year. Her mother had been right. It really was about
All the thoughts
that flashed through her head reinforced the strong suspicion that it was
Lannie’s toned structure making these guys almost giddy on a Monday morning. I hate Lannie. She and her obsession with
dance. I’d be thin, too, if I had dance lessons twice a week. Real dancing has
to be a lot harder than basketball. She’s in great shape.
Gradually, over the summer, Cristol had gotten chubby. Last week Maple said loudly, while
they were with a group of cousins, “Hey sis, you’re getting’ to be a real porker!” Cristol tried to give her a punch in
the arm, but Maple was expecting it and stepped back. The fist whiffed through
the air along with Cristol’s words. “Shut up! It’s just water weight.”
Since then, Maple had been calling her “Water-Weight.”
Maple was good at being rude.
This morning, what Cristol assumed was water weight was
bulging around her middle. Her new jeans were already too tight. Why can’t I get regular periods? Why do I have
to be one of those girls the doctor talked about. One with an irregular
period.. She said it takes some girls four or five years before it straightens
out. What if I’m one of those that doesn’t get regular until I have a baby. I need
to have a baby so my periods will become regular Ha! Like mom would buy that
story! She was momentarily amused. But her next thoughts weren’t funny at
Maybe it wasn’t water weight. She had to admit, she’d been
eating a lot of junk food. If she could just fight her craving for “Moose
Tracks” she was sure she could be in shape for the school’s Fall Formal. It was
one of the big events of the year. It wasn’t the dancing she looked forward to,
no, not at all. (Even with music playing, she moved like a refrigerator). She
was looking forward to shopping for a sexy dress and going to the parties
afterward. It would be a drink-till-you-pass-out night when parents didn’t
expect you to come home until morning. There was no way she’d miss it. Damn, I’ve got to start a diet today.
Wrangler had turned back to his friends, which annoyed
Cristol all the more. She was wasn’t done making him pay for his flirtations.
Touching Wrangler’s arm, she gave him a snide smile “Toned - is that what they
call it now?” Carver and Dan snickered. Wrangler reddened. Cristol pulled
Wrangler by the hand and he broke from the group. Side by side, they walked into
“So, who’s toned?”
“You were saying, ‘she’s toned’. Who?”
“Yeah, ummm, I was just…” he stammered.
“Just what?” she demanded, coming to a standstill in the center
of a hall and forcing other kids to flow around them.
“Just saying that Lannie is toned. So what?”
“So, why? ”
She raised her voice. “Why were you talking about Lannie?
What’s going on Wrangler? You’ve been
hanging out with that bitch again, haven’t you? ” He saw that
familiar look - eyes narrow and jaw clenched. He hated when she did that, it
was so like Mrs. S.Oh, God, he thought,
Dad warned me.
“What are you getting all pissed off about?” he said.
“Sheeesh, Cristol, loosen up the leash!”
Wrangler turned and walked angrily back outside.
Cristol felt tears welling up in her eyes. She hurried to
her locker, opened it and squatted down, letting her long hair hide her face
while she pretended to sort through books and papers. If he wants to go back to Lannie, why should I care? She deserves him.
I deserve better.
The tears came faster. What’s
the matter with me? I’ve never been the crying type.
It was true. In public, she could remain stoic through anything,
a skill she’d developed young and used often.
Stop it! Cristol. Stop
being such a baby! She scolded herself.She
stood up, straightened her shoulders, and slammed her locker. Turning around,
she saw Lannie and Jennilee walking in with Dan, Carver, and Wrangler.
She slipped into the girl’s room, locked herself in a
stall, and threw up.
CHAPTER TWENTY ONE
Because her Mom was a political figure and the whole Saplin
family lived in the spotlight, Cristol could deal with strangers calling out to
her by name, people wanting to take pictures of her and reporters asking inane questions, all
without a trace of emotion; she simply didn’t invest in trying to respond. She
might give a polite smile, but that was as good as it got. Even last year on
election night, she hadn’t been happy. In fact, Cristol hated that night.
She tried to act happy, but she was a terrible actress, so she fell back
on her standard, blank stare..
A picture of Cristol, Maple, Pride, and their father had been snapped by a
reporter a few minutes after the
announcement was made that Rachael Saplin would be the next governor.
Amidst Saplin supporters in a crowed auditorium, Pride is perched on her
dad’s shoulders, the older girls next to them. Everyone in the crowd is
exuberant - cheering and waving flags. Everyone, that is, except the
Governor-elect’s just-turned- sixteen-year old daughter. The camera captured her gut reaction - shock
and pain. When she sees the photo – framed in her mother’s office – she
remembers how the shock made her ears buzz, the pain felt like a punch in the
stomach. Every time she is in her mother’s office, Cristol moves the picture so
that it is out of sight behind a large one of her mother’s swearing in
ceremony. Someone – maybe her mother – always restores it to its place afterward.
What mystifies Cristol is the fact that no one has ever
asked her about it. Her mom and dad both think it’s a cute picture of Pride.
Her grandparents Heat said the same and put a copy on their wall of family
pictures. Maple liked the picture because she thought it made her look older
than her age. Cristol expected to be
asked about her clear discomfort, but no one ever has. She’s thought about that
and come to an understanding: Either no
one noticed or no one cared. Aren’t they really the same thing?
Rachael Saplin had decided to run for governor without
consulting her children. She’d learned that lesson when Field refused to move
to Washington, DC. Nothing was going to stop her ever again.
Rachael knew what they would have said, anyway. She knew
the three oldest ones didn’t want her to run the state. They didn’t care what
she did, they just cared what it did to them. And they didn’t want to be at public
appearances all over the state.
And so, not quite two years ago, Rachael had invited twenty
friends and supporters over to the house on Cristol’s fifteenth birthday and
made the official announcement that she was running. After the cheering and
toasting, Rachael said “Let’s all sing “Happy Birthday to Cristol and have some
cake.” If she thought that would make Cristol feel better about the whole
thing, she couldn’t have been more wrong.
Crying into her pillow that night, Cristol resented being
used (again) and disrespected (again) by
her mother. Messing with her birthday was a new low. During the following
twelve months, campaigning strategies and events got more attention than any subsequent
family birthday, anniversary, or family tradition. The family suffered from
emotional neglect, and the symptoms cropped up in all seasons. Cristol’s school
work suffered, Maple had her first cigarette and beer and Field found new ways
to abuse his parent’s trust and his own body.
Then, last year, when Cristol turned sixteen, she was glad the
year of campaign obligation was almost over. Expecting, hoping, and praying that
her mom would lose the upcoming election, she looked forward to the best year
in her whole life. “Happy birthday, Cristol” said Grandma Heat as she carried
in the cake. Tad and Rachael were late coming home from last minute
campaigning, and the Heats had come over with cake and ice cream so that
Cristol’s day wouldn’t pass without at least a small party. “Make a wish and
blow out the candles,” Betty urged.
Cristol, closed her eyes and made her one official wish:
that her mom would take time off from politics and stay home for at least a
year. She blew them all out. Yes! I get
my wish, she told herself, grasping at silly superstition because it felt
“Wait! Look! What’s happening?” asked Pride. The candles
“Trick candles!” said Maple. She’d seen them before and
guessed right away who was behind it. “Grandpa!”.
Grandpa Heat thought
he’d played a great joke. “But Grandpa,” said Pride, “now Cristol’s wish won’t
A week later, the dried out remains of birthday cake
sat forgotten in the Saplin’s kitchen in Azzolla, while the beaming new governor
was shown around one of her satellite offices two hundred miles away. ***************************************************************
Previous chapters of this work of fiction can be accessed through the links below. Any similarity to actual persons or places is coincidental. All rights reserved.