The Avocado spoke to Mayor Garcetti about why he would dedicate so much of LA’s budget to the LAPD when it is so painfully obvious that they have lost the trust of the community and do not seem at all concerned with the safety or freedoms of Angelinos.
After thinking about the question for several minutes, Mayor Garcetti wiped the crumbs from his mouth and said proudly that the LAPD is filled with heroes who protect the community every day who, “all things considered kill a lot fewer people than they don’t kill every year.”
I pressed the Mayor on the issue and his thoughts on the People’s Budget movement which seeks to defund the LAPD and use the money for social and community welfare programs. The Mayor said he did not support defunding the police before leaning in and warning me: “They all have guns and are allowed to kill people. It’s best just to give them the money and not ask too many questions.”
“I didn’t mean what I said in my prepared statement last night,” Michael Moore said at the start of a 6 hour Police Commission meeting in which he actually spent part of the meeting wearing a “Blue Lives Matter” mask.
As the afternoon went on, hundreds of speakers called for the immediate defunding of the LAPD and the passage of the Peoples Budget, which seeks to use the over 1 billion tax dollars funding the police on community services that are statistically less likely to result in the murder of innocent people and attacks on peaceful protesters.
Police Chief Moore spent the majority of the meeting rolling his eyes, thinking about the ending of Game of Thrones which he loved that prick, masturbating to the sounds of black tears and all of the people calling for his resignation, and texting officers in the field encouragements as they were literally firing rubber bullets at protesters in Hollywood and Santa Monica during the meeting.
Thanks to a lucky find on the wall of an El Segundo glory hole, I was able to get hold of Chief Moore’s cell phone and had the following text exchange with the head of the police agency that has seen over 500 people murdered by his officers. Here is an excerpt from our over 6 hour-long conversations.
The Avocado reached out to Mayor Eric Garcetti about the thousands of people calling for Chief Moore’s firing at the public meeting and why the Mayor chose not to attend. A rep for the Mayor’s told me that he was “unavailable” for the meeting, but we learned from the aesthetician threading his eyebrows this afternoon that the Mayor was aware of the community’s feelings but “didn’t care–you know what, I think we can go thinner on the left brow.”
Amidst all of the chaos happening across the country, a touching moment occurred when a group of militarized police officers briefly took a knee in solidarity with demonstrators protesting police brutality before going back to brutalizing them.
“That man shouldn’t have been killed, but it’s just a few bad apples,” posted all of the people you suspected you hated on Facebook alongside a picture of an officer kneeling before a crowd hit with smoke bombs not 45 minutes later. “I just don’t see how destroying property helps things!” they added before turning on Rhianna and telling themselves that they’re not the problem.
The Avocado spoke to protestors about seeing State and Federal police kneel before the crowd in support of George Floyd and an end to police brutality.
“I think it’s pretty great that cops are supporting us. I think it means we’re finally getting through to them and that real change is how America’s police treat its citizens” said 28-year-old Marissa Johnson moments before she was shot with a rubber bullet. “Call my mom,” she told us before blacking out.
Here’s a compilation of police attacking peaceful protestors:
Here’s another picture of a police officer kneeling:
“We’re going to have to keep things closed for a while,” said President Trump after a night of protests over the murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minnesota. “Folks, there’s a pandemic happening and it’s very serious! We need to make sure no one is out protesting America’s insistence on killing unarmed black people and spreading the virus.”
The statements mark an about-face from the President who just last week called for a complete reopening of society and praised throngs of armed, almost all white protesters advocating for social distancing restrictions to be lifted.
The Avocado spoke to several white thirtysomethings on Facebook who believe the public’s reaction to George Floyd’s death indicates that America’ is finally acknowledging the harmful effects of systemic racism in a way that the murders of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Renisha McBride, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Michael Brown, Laquan Mcdonald, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Jamar Clark, Anton Sterling, Diamond Reynolds, Charles Kinsey, Walter Scott, Oscar Grant III, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, Ahmaud Arbery and hundreds of others did not.
“I think this is really going to start to change things,” posted a well-intentioned woman named Denise on Facebook before signing a petition demanding “Justice for George” and then spending the next three hours unironically commenting on videos of black people looting a Target in Minnesota that she thinks that sort of behavior is disgusting and that someone should call the police on them immediately.
“America has a long way to go toward racial equality,” posted Denise to her 873 followers, even receiving a like from Daniel, a former colleague and the one black friend she has on Facebook. Daniel had started to write out an explanation on how equality is not possible without systemic change but decided to just spend the time it would take to educate his well-meaning white acquaintance with his son who was still too young to know how broken this world is.
“Ah, man, that’s so not fair!” laughed Bill Hader when he heard people were talking about his hair from 2007 again. “Everyone wore their hair like that back then. We all just listened to The Killers and grew out our bangs. It was a simpler time,” said the 41-year-old actor.
The Avocado spoke with the Barry star about what he thought about our joke that he would have to grow his hair out again during the quarantine. You know, cause no one can get a haircut.
“I mean, it’s not really a joke, right?” he said politely over a phone interview I had set up by pretending to be Ronan Farrow. “You’re just making an observation that I used to have long hair, but like, everyone had long hair back then. Tom Cruise had long hair, you know,” said Mr. Hader before launching into his Tom Cruise impression. “Your joke is glib, Ronan. You’re glib!” he imitated Cruise, before telling me he was just kidding but really had to go. As he hung up I could hear him say to someone in the room “Jeez Barb, that Ronan Farrow is a real schmozzle.” I was devastated.
Sitting alone in my apartment over the next few days, I couldn’t get Hader’s words out of my head. Was I really a schmozzle? His early 2000’s hairstyle was, in retrospect, funny, wasn’t it? Did the world forget? Are my comedic instincts really that out of touch? I decided I needed to talk to Bill Hader again to find out what exactly he meant when he said I was a schnozzle. Admittedly, I have a lot of time on my hands these days.
On Monday morning I reached out to Bill’s agent, Lilian Lord-Fauntleroy, pretending to be Ronan Farrow and asked for a follow-up interview. Lilian must have heard about my joke about how Bill Hader used to wear his hair during the second Bush administration because she hung-up the phone as soon as I falsely identified myself. “Barb, don’t take any more calls from that kibitser Ronan Farrow,” I heard her say as she hung up the receiver. A kibitser, really? I knew I had to get to the source or Ronan Farrow’s reputation and my self-esteem would be forever damaged.
The next day I googled “where does bill hader live” and was surprised that an address came up without much difficulty. That seems like an invasion of privacy, but regardless I decided I had to go to Bill’s home to convince him that I was neither a schmozzle or a kibitser.
My heart raced as I knocked on his door. After a moment Bill Hader peered through the window, his hair an awkward medium length, and yelled for me to “leave the package at the doorstep.” I yelled back that I wasn’t a delivery driver but was actually Ronan Farrow from the other day and I had some follow-up questions about my joke about his hair from the other day.
“You’re not Ronan Farrow,” he yelled out. “And I already told you that wasn’t really a joke,” he added before telling Barb to call the police. “Mulaney wouldn’t call that a joke.”
“Yeah, but before you hung up the phone on me you called me a schmozzle. What did–why did you say that?” I called through the glass, tears beginning to form. “I’m not a schmozzle, Bill. I am NOT a schmozzle.”
“I didn’t know you heard that,” Bill said, looking remorseful.
“But I did hear it, Bill! I heard it. So what does that mean? You think I’m a schmozzle?”
I could hear the sirens approach and watched Bill Hader’s face contemplate what to say next. He began to speak, but stopped himself. I knew right then that he really did think I was a schmozzle. And as the officers exited their patrol cars I felt for the first time in my life that he might be right.
“I’m sorry. Please don’t come back here…” Bill said softly, “you fucking schmozzle.” As he said this I felt an officer’s hand grab my shoulder and saw Bill Hader laugh as I was carted off by some mamzer police officer.
After bailing out of jail I returned to my apartment and began to replay the events of my life and the previous few days and came to the conclusion that Bill Hader’s hair was funny in 2007, even if he, or the Glendale Police Department, or Ronan Farrow’s lawyers who sent me a cease and desist letter this morning don’t agree. It’s not an indictment or anything, just, some people look better with short hair. It’s a funny joke, cause people can’t get haircuts right now because all of the barbers are closed. I’m not a schmozzle.
With 100,000 Americans dead from the Coronavirus, President Donald Trump spoke to the Nation on Memorial Day in an effort to honor the dead and heal the wounds of a divided country.
Here is the transcript of President Trump’s remarkable oration:
Dear fellow citizens,
The coronavirus is currently changing life in our country dramatically. Our ideas of normality, of public life, of social interaction – all of these are being put to the test as never before.
Millions of you can’t go to work, your children can’t go to school or go to daycare, theatres and cinemas and shops are closed and, what is perhaps the hardest thing, we all miss the human encounters that are otherwise taken for granted. Of course, in such a situation, each of us is full of questions and worries about how to go on.
I turn to you today in this unusual way because I want to tell you what guides me as President and all my colleagues in the Federal Government in this situation. This is part and parcel of an open democracy: But we also make political decisions transparent and explain them. We justify and communicate our actions as well as possible so that they are comprehensible.
I firmly believe that we will succeed in this task if all citizens see it as their task.
So let me say that this is serious. Take it seriously too.
Since the Second World War there has not been a challenge to our country that depends so much on our joint solidarity.
I would like to explain to you where we currently stand in the epidemic, what the federal government and the levels of government are doing to protect everyone in our community and limit the economic, social, cultural damage. But I also want to explain why it needs you and what each and every one of you can contribute.
On the epidemic – and everything I am telling you about it comes from the Federal Government’s ongoing consultations with the experts of the Robert Koch Institute and other scientists and virologists: research is being carried out under high pressure all over the world, but there is still neither a therapy against the coronavirus nor a vaccine.
As long as this is the case, there is only one thing we can do, and that is to slow down the spread of the virus, stretch it over the months and thus gain time. Time for research to develop a drug and a vaccine. But above all time so that those who fall ill can receive the best possible care.
America has an excellent healthcare system, perhaps one of the best in the world. That can give us confidence. But our hospitals would also be completely overwhelmed if too many patients who suffer a severe course of Corona infection were admitted in the shortest possible time.
These are not just abstract numbers in a statistic, but a father or grandfather, a mother or grandmother, a partner, they are people. And we are a community in which every life and every person counts.
I would like to take this opportunity to address first and foremost all those who work as doctors, in the nursing service or in any other function in our hospitals and in the health care system in general. They are at the forefront of this struggle. They are the first to see the sick and to see how severe some courses of infection are. And every day you go back to your work and you are there for the people. What you do is tremendous, and I thank you for it with all my heart.
So: the aim is to slow down the virus on its way through the United States. And in doing so, we have to rely on one thing, which is existential: to shut down public life as far as possible. Of course, with reason and a sense of proportion, because the state will continue to function, the supply will continue to be secured and we want to preserve as much economic activity as possible.
But everything that could endanger people, everything that could harm not only the individual, but also the community, we must reduce that now. We must limit the risk of one infecting the other as much as we can.
I know how dramatic the restrictions are already now: no more events, no more fairs, no more concerts and for the time being no more school, no university, no kindergarten, no playing in a playground. I know how hard the closures, which have been agreed upon by the federal and state governments, interfere with our lives and also with our democratic self-image. They are restrictions such as have never been seen before in the Federal Republic.
Let me assure you: For someone like me, for whom freedom of travel and movement was a hard-won right, such restrictions can only be justified as an absolute necessity. In a democracy, they should never be decided lightly and only temporarily – but at the moment they are indispensable to save lives.
That is why the tightened border controls and entry restrictions to some of our most important neighbouring countries have been in force since the beginning of the week.
It is already very difficult for the economy, for large companies as well as small businesses, for shops, restaurants, freelancers. The coming weeks will be even harder. I can assure you: The U.S. government is doing everything it can to cushion the economic impact – and above all to preserve jobs.
We can and will do everything we can to help our employers and employees through this difficult test.
And everyone can rest assured that the food supply is secure at all times, and if shelves are emptied for a day, they will be refilled. I would like to say to everyone who goes around to the supermarkets: stockpiling makes sense, it always has, by the way. But with moderation. Hoarding, as if nothing will ever be available again, is pointless and ultimately completely lacking in solidarity.
And let me also express my thanks here to the people who are too rarely thanked. These days, anyone who sits at a supermarket checkout or fills shelves is doing one of the hardest jobs there is at the moment. Thank you for being there for your fellow citizens and literally keeping the place running.
Now to what I feel is the most urgent need today: All government measures would achieve nothing if we did not use the most effective means of combating the virus spreading too quickly – and that is ourselves. Just as any one of us, indiscriminately, can be affected by the virus, so now everyone must help. First and foremost, by taking seriously what we are talking about today. Don’t panic, but don’t think for a moment that he or she doesn’t really matter. No one is expendable. Everyone counts, it takes all our efforts.
This is what an epidemic shows us: How vulnerable we all are, how dependent we are on the considerate behaviour of others, but also – how we can protect and strengthen each other by acting together.
It depends on everyone. We are not condemned to passively accept the spread of the virus. We have a remedy for this: we must keep our distance out of consideration for each other. The advice of the virologists is clear: no more handshakes, wash your hands thoroughly and often, at least one and a half metres away from the next person and, preferably, hardly any contact with the very old, because they are particularly at risk.
I know how hard it is to do what’s being asked of us. We want to be close to each other, especially in times of need. We know affection as physical closeness or touch. But right now, unfortunately, the opposite is true. And that’s what we all need to understand: Right now, distance is the only way to express caring.
The well-intentioned visit, the journey that did not have to be, all this can be contagious and should really not take place now. There is a reason why the experts say: grandparents and grandchildren should not get together now.
If you avoid unnecessary meetings, you will help all those who have to deal with more cases every day in the hospitals. This is how we save lives. This will be difficult for many, and that’s what it will come down to: not leaving anyone alone to take care of those who need encouragement and confidence. As families and as a society, we will find other ways to help each other.
There are already many creative forms that defy the virus and its social consequences. Already there are grandchildren who are recording a podcast for their grandparents so they won’t be lonely.
We all have to find ways to show affection and friendship: Skype, phone calls, emails and maybe write letters again. The mail is getting delivered. We now hear about wonderful examples of neighbourhood help for the elderly who cannot go shopping themselves. I am sure there is much more to come and we will show as a community that we do not leave each other alone.
I appeal to you: Stick to the rules that now apply for the near future. As a government, we will always re-examine what can be corrected, but also what may still be necessary.
This is a dynamic situation, and we will remain capable of learning from it, so that we can always rethink and react with other instruments. We will then explain that too. That is why I ask you not to believe rumours, but only the official communications, which we always have translated into many languages.
We are a democracy. We do not live by constraint, but by shared knowledge and participation. This is an historic task and it can only be accomplished together.
I am absolutely certain that we will overcome this crisis. But how high will the number of victims be? How many loved ones will we lose? It is largely in our own hands. We can now, resolutely, all react together. We can accept the current limitations and stand by each other.
This situation is serious and it is open.
This means that it will depend not only, but also on how disciplined everyone follows and implements the rules.
We must show, even if we have never experienced anything like this before, that we act cordially and reasonably and thus save lives. Without exception, it depends on each individual and therefore on all of us.
“I just don’t see why this is necessary,” said 88-year-old Marina Del Rey resident Abigail Breslin-Price-Waterhouse-Cooper. “We aren’t named after this singer, Lana, or whatever.”
“True, but unfortunately “Del Rey” is now associated with Lana Del Rey and she was critical of Beyoncé or something on Twitter this week and we think it’s best to just change the name so we don’t appear to support white feminism,” said Janice Hahn, a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors whose district includes Marina Del Rey.
“What’s wrong with being a white feminist? Isn’t it good to be a feminist?” asked Ms. Breslin et al.
“Woah, are you kidding me?” asked Supervisor Hahn. “The world has no place for white feminism because frankly if your feminism isn’t inclusive then FUCK YOU, Ms. Breslin-Price-Waterhouse-Cooper,” said a visibly shaken Hahn before adding, “It’s people like you that set the women’s movement back tens of thousands of years!” before ordering police to arrest her.
The emergency name change occurred after singer Lana Del Rey responded to criticism that lyrics to the songs she writes do not empower women by referencing the lyrics of singers like Beyonce and Doja Cat who write about “being sexy” and “wearing no clothes”.
“Her comments seem pretty innocuous” said Supervisor Hilda Solis.
“Are you fucking kidding me, Hilda? What you said is totally a white feminist comment,” said Supervisor Hahn to the only Hispanic on the Board of Supervisors before calling for her to be recalled.
The Motion to rename Marina Del Rey ultimately passed with a 5-0 vote by the Board of Supervisors. The Avocado asked Ms. Hahn why LA County is governed by a five-member Commission, each of whom oversees such a massive geographic area that it seems impossible they could truly reflect the values or properly advocate for the needs of the many diverse local communities and interests they represent.
The Last Dance, ESPN’s 10-part documentary about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, gave viewers a behind the scenes look into one of the greatest dynasties in sports history. But for as meticulous as the 10-hour documentary was, it left a lot of questions unanswered. Here are the seven biggest questions I was left scratching my head about after completing the documentary.
1. What’s going on with Michael Jordan’s eyes?
Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time and The Last Dance gave viewers insight into how his competitive spirit drove him to greatness. From the time he entered the league Jodan played with such a palpable intensity that competitors claimed they could see it in his eyes. And speaking of eyes what is going on here? They’re yellow, right?
Is he sick? Is it a black thing? He was drinking a lot during those interviews, I’m just saying.
And while we’re on the subject of Michael Jordan’s looks, can we talk about the Hitler mustache he wore in that Hanes commercial? I mean, that’s a weird choice and you just know the director and the people on set from Hanes got together to figure out how to best ask him to shave it off and probably ended up contacting Jordan’s agent about it but after getting some resistance ultimately decided not to press it since they only had a few hours with Michael on set so they just let him keep it even though it really did evoke Hitler.
2. Was Michael Jordan poisoned before the flu game?
One of the series’ most dramatic sections told the story of Michael’s infamous ‘Flu Game’ during the Bulls’ 1997 Finals appearance against the Utah Jazz. According to legend, Michael developed the flu the night before game 5 of the series but willed himself to play despite his illness. The documentary casts the game in a different light and infers Micahel had been poisoned by five (I assume) Morman Jazz fans that delivered a tainted pizza to his room the night before the game.
Is that what Michael and his team of curly-haired security guards really believe because if so I want to see a 10-part series on how that crime was orchestrated. In the documentary Michael says he was hungry at 10:30 PM and his manager started calling different restaurants but the only place open was a pizza shop so Michael’s manager placed the order and then said five delivery men showed up to their room to deliver the pizza which made Michael ill. That means that this poisoning was not planned, but was merely a crime of convenience and the fact that five (probably Morman) pizza men could make a poisoned pizza, have the necessary conversation and back and forth needed to agree on impromptu poisoning the biggest star in the world the night before a championship game, and deliver the pizza all within 30 minutes is a Jordanesque achievement unto itself and deserves at least a 30 for 30.
3. How come my father didn’t love me?
One of the defining moments in Michael Jordan’s life was when his father was murdered shortly after the Bulls won their third championship. Michael’s father was a central figure in his life as many fathers are but not mine.
My father is a man in New York named Alan Sucher who abandoned me shortly after I was born. The truth is I wasn’t even aware that he existed and was told growing up that my (now ex) stepfather was my biological dad. The situation actually mirrors the first few verses of Alive by Pearl Jam except where Eddie Vedder’s real daddy was dying my father remarried and had three new kids.
I always wonder how different I would be if I were raised by, or even just knew, my dad. Would I be happier or more secure? Would I be a better father to my own infant son? Or did his absense somehow make me a better parent because I know the emptiness that can be caused by a parent’s wilful absense?
For years I kept Alan Sucher a vague figure that I knew nothing about. I had been told he was a mean man from his mother who once contacted me when I was in high school, but I didn’t want to know anything about him because turning him into a real person and not just a boogie man I could blame for my problems allowed me to avoid dealing with the anger and sadness I felt. Once Alan Sucher became a real person then his choice to abandon me became real. So I thought of him as a nemesis and during the hardest parts of my adolescence, and the years my mother and I spent without food or housing, I cursed him for our troubles.
But at some point I realized he wasn’t the cause of all of my troubles and that it was silly to be scared of information. So I Googled his name and found his Facebook page and started collecting facts about my real father.
I spent hours scouring the internet for pictures of him and was amazed how much I saw myself in his face. It was during these late night research sessions that I discovered he had three children, the oldest of whom was only a couple years younger than me. As I stayed up late stalking their Facebook pages I studied pictures of their intact family on vacations and at graduations and Thanksgiving dinners and found it so hard to understand how Alan Sucher, the bastard who made me a bastard, appeared not only capable of love, but in fact bestowed love to a trio of children who looked so much like I did. I spent weeks thinking about these siblings and wondering whether it was possible that in addition to a heavy brow we also shared some genetic personality traits or interests that would one day bond us.
After weeks of wondering I decided I would write my brother a message through Facebook introducing myself and letting him know that I existed. I spent hours crafting a long message that contained my own biography and made clear that I wanted nothing from him except to get to know him. I told him it was up him whether he wanted to write back and that if he didn’t I would respect his decision and not contact him again.
He never wrote back. He blocked me. But my unknown sisters didn’t, a mixed blessing in that it has left open avenues for me to continue to catch glimpses of my father and the children he prefers and their life together that will never be mine.
4. Who the hell is Kenny Lattimore?
Throughout most of the documentary, Michael Jordan comes off as a no-nonsense competitor. But in one of the series’s most lighthearted scenes Jordan sits on a bus jamming out to music on his headphones. When asked who he was listening to Jordan responds “Kenny Lattimore,” proudly boasting it was a new album that he was able to listen to because he was friends with the singer.
Who is Kenny Lattimore? I mean, I remember 1997 R&B– you had that Next song about dancing too close to a lady and getting a boner, and then the My Pony song, and probably a few Mary J. Blige or Boyz II Men songs still on the radio. But Kenny Lattimore?
I looked it up. Here is the song Jordan was listening to in the clip. Is this sexy? Was it ever sexy? Did Michael Jordan have sex to this song? If Alan Sucher or my siblings read this does it come off as quirky and humorous or the ramblings of someone with severe abandonment issues who probably should have worked to address it a long time ago?
5. Where was Karl Malone?
One of the highlights of the documentary was hearing Jodan’s competitors describe what it was like playing against the greatest basketball player of all time. Conspicuously absent from the documentary was Karl Malone, who played in two finals against the Bulls. Why would Karl Malone refuse to talk to the documentarians? I mean, if they asked Justin Timberlake to be in the documentary they definitely asked Karl Malone. Are you telling me he just said no? He had no interest? He was too busy?
And while we’re on the topic, I’m supposed to believe Alan Sucher never had an interest in knowing what was happening with me my entire life? He had to have typed my name into Google or Facebook at some point. He must know I’m not a giant screw up or anything. I went to law school and have written briefs for the Supreme Court, for Christ sake. I started a successful non-profit. I’ve moderated a Congressional debate. I married my high school sweetheart. I have a child who I live with and never once thought about leaving. I run this stupid website and have made enough money in my life despite coming from nothing and having never been given a dime from him that I don’t need or want this guy’s money. But despite all that he still had no interest in like even knowing? Even just a little? My point is Karl Malone should have been in the documentary and it was a dick move that he wasn’t and I hope he feels bad about that decision.
6. At what point did they write the Space Jam movie?
The plot of Space Jam involved the Danny Devito alien wanting to build the best basketball team in the universe so he sends little shrimp aliens to earth to steal the essence of the best NBA players including Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, and Sean Bradley for some reason. The shrimp aliens don’t steal Michael Jordan’s essence because at that point he had retired from the NBA and was a baseball player. So when Bugs Bunny’s team needs to play the Monstars they kidnap Michael Jordan who agrees to quit baseball and play basketball again.
When was this script greenlit? Real-life Jordan decided to return to basketball after the 1994-95 baseball strike cut his season short. He rejoined the Bulls in March 1995 and started shooting Space Jam in June.
Two months just isn’t enough time to organize a production of this size from scratch, which means there had to be some idea of a script and pre-production work and scheduling happening before Michael decided to return to basketball. But if that is true then what was the original plot of Space Jam? Did it always involve Michael Jordan returning to basketball even though when work began on the movie he was publically committed to being a baseball player?
At what point was the decision made that Space Jam would be about Michael Jordan finding his way back to basketball and also at what point did Alan Sucher decide he was just never going to meet me or acknowledge that I am his son? Was it before he left? Or maybe when he left he promised himself that he’d have some role in my life in the future but as the years went by that initial commitment he made to himself to be there for his son started to fade? Or maybe he thought that trying to start a relationship with me would cause problems or hurt feelings with his new kids or their mother and invite them to ask uncomfortable questions about what type of person their dad really is and how he could have done something so unbelievably shitty to an infant who only ever wanted to feel like he was wanted?
7. Are we still allowed to listen to R. Kelly? I need to cry now.
“It’s time to open up the country!” said N.R.A. spokesperson Nathanial Rifle-Association. “We’re at a war against a virus and how else are we going to show that virus we are strong if we can’t buy guns and then shoot guns at people going to movies or going to school or eating at restaurants or going to concerts?”
As state and federal officials consider how and when to reopen the economy Americans are itching for a return to normalcy. But health experts warn that a proper balance must be struck. “If we do this correctly we will be able to create targets for gunmen who have full access to firearms without also triggering an uptick in coronavirus infections,” said CDC spokeperson Dr. Penelope Antwind.
Since businesses and public spaces across the country have been shut since early March the U.S. has seen a drastic decrease in mass shootings, a decline that has not gone unnoticed by everyday Americans. We spoke to 15-year-old high school sophomore Abigail Lentil who said that while her transition to a Zoom curriculum has been surprisingly positive it was difficult getting used to not being worried about getting murdered at school every day. “I used to always get scared whenever I saw Jameson come toward me in the hall, but he isn’t as scary now that he is just a face sitting in front of a Rob Zombie poster on Zoom.”
After six weeks in a light quarantine, Jack Winston stopped keeping track of time. He wouldn’t admit it, but he missed the excitement that accompanied the lockdown’s early days, back when fear of the virus’ spread compelled him to stay up all night tracking Italian morbidity rates. The panic that defined March and April had been replaced by a constant, ever-present anxiety that hadn’t spiked since he found out his job status was transitioning from furloughed to terminated. Since then the days have felt blended, broken up only by the occasional thrill of going to the grocery store for pasta or paper towels, although even those adventures have been less pleasant because his mask had really started to smell.
Jack couldn’t remember whether it was Tuesday or Wednesday when he woke up this morning and gave up on the analysis before deciding. Dates become entirely anecdotal without the deadlines that accompany a normal work schedule or the occasional celebrations that end up peppering a calendar. This fugue is only intensified by the steady, seemingly endless current of new streaming content that doesn’t so much premier but just assimilate into the vastness of things you plan to watch one day; though you know you never will.
Most days followed a similar routine consisting of screentime only occasionally interrupted by a Postmates delivery. He’d venture to the store only if absolutely necessary. Texts and video calls with friends and family had become less frequent, likely because no one really had much left to say. these days.
Occasionally, Jack would write. Or at least prepare to write by making himself some tea and opening up a word document containing various ideas and starts of phrases that invariably remained just as incomplete at the end of the day as it was at the start. His attitude vacillated between a strong belief that this time was exactly what he needed to create and a certainty that he hadn’t the talent or attention to actually do so. The former feeling would motivate the tea-making and word-fiddling parts of his writing sessions, while the latter would compel him to scornfully close his laptop. Jack expected this droll, albeit comfortable, existence to continue until his savings depleted, which would certainly happen before the economy recovered enough for him to find a new job. He didn’t like to think about what would happen then.
On Thursday, perhaps, of some week there was a knock on Jack’s door. He called out, “Just leave the food at the door,” which was met with a still louder reply.
A woman in her late 20s stood before him. “You’re Jack Winston,” she said. It wasn’t a question, she knew who he was. She wasn’t wearing a mask.
“Yes?” Jack said through his. “Are you from Postmates?”
Her name was Amberlyn and it took her several minutes to convince Jack to let her inside his apartment. He resisted until he felt the speed of a gunshot just miss the young woman’s head and enter the doorframe that he obliged.
“What’s going on? Is someone shooting–”
“Dad, listen to me,” she said, instinctively.
“Dad?” Jack asked the girl who appeared at most only a few years younger than he was.
“My name is Amberlynn Winston and I’ve been sent back in time to stop you from writing your novel, have you finished it yet?”
“My novel?” Jack asked. “I haven’t really made much progress,” he said honestly. “That’s great,” she said, looking almost confused. “By this point in the timeline you should have been almost finished. According to legend, you completed the manuscript by the 25th.”
This all surprised Jack and as he took it in he tried to calculate how long it would be until the 25th. He guessed it was around a week.
“I have to go back, I only have a few more moments before the jump,” she said, taking in the lines in Jack’s face that mirrored her own. Her reflection was interrupted by another loud bang at the door.
“Amberlynn! Open the door right now!” yelled an ambiguously European accent. “Who is that? Why is he shooting at you?” Jack asked the girl claiming to be his daughter.
“That’s Murphy. He’s trying to catch me before I jump,” she said, Murphy’s fist continuing to bang at Jack’s front door. “He’s from the resistance and he desperately wants you to complete the novel. But don’t worry, he’ll never get in here before he jumps back.” Jack continued to question his daughter but she said there was no time to explain everything, only that she had a 6-minute window before she would be sent back that was about to expire. Murphy would be sent back through time seconds after.
“I always wanted to meet you,” she said to her father, the grave implications of which were immediately apparent to Jack. “I’m glad you were able to,” he told his daughter as he watched her disappear. Not thirty seconds later Murphy’s rapping vanished and Jack was left only with the strange memory of what had happened and a bullet hole in his door frame.
Jack returned to his couch after all that excitement but found it difficult to concentrate on anything other than the knowledge that he would be giving birth to a daughter in the next year or so and would most likely be dead shortly after. The act of meditating on his own mortality compelled Jack to start journaling these feelings. For the next several days Jack had filled hundreds of pages with musings about the impermanent nature of being and ways in which society could organize itself to maximize the utility of its resources not individually, but collectively.
The ideas flowed from Jack as easily as anything had and less than a week after his encounter with Amberlynn he had completed what he believed to be a manifesto of incredible importance. As he completed its final sentence it dawned on him that this document which his daughter so desperately wished to nullify had actually been inspired by the act intended to destroy it. The paradox of it all seemed inexplicable, if not ironical, and after some consideration, Jack decided it would be better for the world to publish his manuscript. The only publisher Jack was aware of was Penguin so he sent it there with a note that read-only “Please publish this book. It appears destined to be important.”
Two years after completing his book it was published. It’s release coincided nicely with the economy being fully reopened and Jack took his book on tour where he spoke at college campuses and bookstores about the limitations of modern society, a message that had become co-opted by the leftist student group called Jokarda as a call for revolution. It was on one of these tours that Jack met a young woman from Jokarda named Ruth. Over the course of several days Ruth told Jack about their plan to overtake the current regime and while the seeds of what would eventually be known as “The Winston Rebellion” fomented so did his feelings for Ruth. Within weeks she had moved in. She became pregnant only weeks after the last box was unpacked.
Believing he’d never meet his daughter, Jack spent the next several months inside the house so as to not risk injury or death. The paranoia grew so much that Ruth had moved back to the Jakorda compound right outside of Escondido. She made him promise he’d join them once the baby was born. He said he would, although he knew he’d not be able to live that long. As the familiar creep of isolation began to reattach itself to Jack’s life he decided it was too painful to simply wait for an end that could occur at any moment.
As the last of the pills were swallowed, Jack wondered again whether the chemicals making their way through his bloodstream was just another example of Amberlynn causing that with which she so desperately wanted to stop. As he drifted into sleep he received a text from Ruth that she had given birth. “What should we name her?” she texted Jack. “Amberlynn,” he wrote as he faded. In those last brief moments, he thought of his newborn daughter, eagerly anticipating running into her again, somehow, in 2020 for what will surely be the same tragic misunderstanding.