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Fiction

Yesterday I left my apartment at 7:15 am, as usual. I was looking forward to grabbing a cup-a-joe from Raphael’s before getting to work by 8. As I turned the key to lock my door, I heard Jethro behind me. He was leaving his apartment for the day, too. 

“Good morning, Jeth,” I said. 

Jethro said nothing and avoided making eye contact with me. His dirty blond hair was as wild as ever, but his machismo had been replaced by a hunched over posture. He looked at the ground and crammed his hands into his pockets. 

“C’mon, Jeth. This ain’t my fault.” 

He turned his head and peered at me with blood shot, angry eyes. “Go away,” he whispered through his teeth.

I retrieved my brief case from the ground. Jethro scurried away down the stairs. A month ago, Jethro wasn’t like this. A month ago, Jethro was always one to speak his mind, however racist and sexist he might have been while speaking it. A month ago, a Confederate Flag hung in the entryway to his apartment—I could see it sometimes from my door. A month ago, Jethro wore a red MAGA had all the time.

I remembered what happened with clarity. Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States, lost the 2020 election. He held a rally in front of the White House on the day Congress was to certify the election. He told his supporters, “We have to fight like Hell and if you don’t fight like Hell, you’re not going to have a country any more.” The incited crowd swarmed and began to head in the direction of the Capitol Building, armed with signs, MAGA hats, and an ax to grind. But then, out of nowhere, the thud that changed the world rang through Washington. It was the loudest sound. Trump shrank behind the podium and shook, peeking over the side, trying to understand what was going on. A second thud resounded moments later. Amateur video captured the inconceivable—a giant in the distance stomping toward Pennsylvania Avenue. This was the Leviathan. The Leviathan changed everything

The networks soon clued into the approaching giant—they filmed his slow approach with rapt attention. Later forensic evidence narrowed the Leviathan’s height to 51 feet, 8 inches. At first impression though, he looked like something out of a found-footage horror film. But, deep down, we all knew this wasn’t a movie. As the Leviathan trod heavily up Pennsylvania Avenue, the protestors scurried faster with each of his steps. He looked like a jaundiced version of one of those aliens from Prometheus—bald, very muscular, but light yellow rather than ivory white. He was definitely a “he.” His huge cock and balls swung as he stomped. 

“You. Who are you? I’m not afraid of you! I’m the President of the United States. I’m the most powerful man in the world!” Trump said into the microphone, shaking at the podium, his voice cracking and reverberating through the PA system.

The next moments play like those reels of news footage you can’t unsee because they’ve been ingrained in your memory—the Zapruder film, Nixon leaving office, Reagan getting shot, Bill Clinton lying about that blow job, or the planes on 9/11 crashing headlong into the World Trade Center. “I’ll call in an airstrike! I swear. I’ll do it!” Trump said. Then, the Leviathan, all 51 plus feet of him, squashed Trump like a bug with his huge bare foot. The microphone amplified the cracking noise—which was, ostensibly, Trump’s bones snapping under the Leviathan’s weight—before broadcasting one final boom that rung out for all to hear. 

It’s hard to believe it all happened a month ago. Everything has changed. After leaving Raphael’s later that morning, I saw Jethro in the alleyway between the downtown buildings. He was arguing with Jose about something, probably related to Jose’s lack of a green card. Jose was a day laborer who got construction work a block from Raphael’s. I stopped and listened. 

“No, señor, do not do this,” Jose said.

Jethro’s posture was now the old Jethro, the macho Jethro, the Jethro pacing back and forth like a tiger Jethro. 

“Why don’t you go back to Mexico!” Jethro said. “There, I said it! I’m ready. Go on. Go ahead!”

“No, señor.”

“Do you hear me, Levi!? You won’t win this! We will be—”

Then, Jethro’s head exploded. His body fell over and onto Jose, who was drenched in Jethro’s grey brain cells and crimson blood. 

After squashing the President, the Leviathan marched to the Capitol Building. Once there, he sat on the steps. He pretzel folded his legs into a lotus position and closed his eyes. 

The airstrike arrived. Over the horizon, five F-15 Eagles blazed toward the Leviathan. Ten sidewinder missiles rocketed at the meditating giant on Capitol Hill. They exploded in a blinding flash and conflagration. The F-15s did a victory roll. But it was premature. The Leviathan sustained the missiles unscathed. The surrounding city blocks, including the Capitol Building, the Congressional offices, and nearby buildings were all disintegrated. As the smoke cleared, the Leviathan swatted his hand in the air. Then, the F-15s crashed into the ground.

“You cannot kill me,” the Leviathan said, unfazed by the napalm assault. “My command is law. You must love one another. You must not question me. The law is my command.” His voice rang out over every television and in every ear. 

“Here, Jose. Here’s a towel,” I said.

“Muchas gracias, señor.” 

Jose wiped Jethro’s brains from his face and walked to the bus stop. He waived at me from under the bus stop awning and I walked to work. Before the Leviathan came, the bus riders—mostly black and hispanic folks—always seemed sullen and defeated, hanging their heads low. Today, things were different. Jose awaited the bus with a seldom seen smile, which was odd considering he still had Jethro’s brains on his shirt. 

As I crossed the street to Inglethorpe & Cavendish, where I work, a large pickup truck ran through a puddle and sprayed me with muddy water. The driver skidded off to the side of the road, got out of the truck, and said, “I am so sorry, sir. I should not have been so careless. Are you OK?”

“Yes,” I said. “No problem. I just need to go home and change.” 

We shook hands and went our separate ways. A month ago, the truck would have probably kept going, its driver laughing all the way to wherever he was going, having doused a black man with muck.

As I walked back to my apartment to change, I thought about the past month. I reflected on how it’s taken a while for the gravity of the situation to set in. Soon after the Leviathan came, the majority leader of the Senate, the Speaker of the House, and one of those Whips, individually, on separate occasions, tried to negotiate with the Leviathan. Each time it was the same: “Sir, I don’t know who you think you are, but this is America and you can’t just sit up here and . . .” THUD. The Leviathan squashed each supplicant with a swift hammer of his fist. After each occasion, he merely restated his position, “My command is law. You must love one another. You must not question me. The law is my command.”

For the next ten days, the Leviathan just seemed to sit there on what used to be Capitol Hill. No one approached him as he meditated there with his eyes closed. But then, heads started exploding. The first reported incident was a Klan meeting in a barn somewhere in South Dakota. Buzzards circled the barn for a few days before the stench crept into the nearest town. The authorities found 39 men strewn about the inside of the barn, blood and brains spattered everywhere. If it weren’t for their cell phones, the coroner might have had even more difficulty identifying the bodies. 

The head pops became more frequent. Newspaper after newspaper reported finding bodies without heads in all kinds of places—board rooms of fortune 500 companies, conference rooms of mega churches, and random cubicles in nearly every office of the Internal Revenue Service. The Leviathan didn’t have to say it, but the message was clear—love one another or die. 

When I finally got to work, Mr. Inglethorpe was moving into Mr. Cavendish’s office. 

“Mr. Inglethorpe?”

“Ah, Malcolm, yes, I decided to move into Mr. Cavendish’s office. It’s not as cold in here and my bones are getting too old for the cold.”

“Has it been cleaned?”

“Yes, last night the cleaning staff took care of it.”

“Do you miss him?”

“Yes, but Malcolm, Cavendish was up to some shady stuff. He knew he’d blow his top sooner than later.” 

“What did it?”

“Oh, he lost a case and took it personally. Called the other attorney an ‘asshat blowhard’ I believe.” 

“At the courthouse?”

“No, no. Here. Right here. On the phone.” Cavendish made an exploding sound and ballooned his hands outward in an exploding motion from his temples. 

“What do you think the Leviathan is up to?”

“Shh, Malcolm! Do not discuss that. He hears you.”

“I’m not questioning him. I’m just curious.”

Mr. Inglethorpe kept a large television in his office. He always had the news on.

“Look!” Inglethorpe said, pointing at the television.

The Leviathan sat in a lotus position and a woman approached him. His eyes were closed. The media had her wired so all could hear what she was about to ask him. 

“Mr. Leviathan, hi, I’m a representative from the Concerned Mothers of America. Um, we’re called the CMA. I was wondering sir. Could you please, if it weren’t too much trouble, cover your genitals? The Concerned Mothers are very offended that you—”

SPLAT. The Leviathan crushed her with his fist, not even opening his eyes. 

“My command is law. You must love one another. You must not question me. The law is my command,” he said. 

April 16, 2021 23:01

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