Andrew and Neil go to an amusement park where Neil gets lost and Andrew *definitely does not* panic and worry, please! You are so amazing!
So like I kind of kept to the prompt??? Amusement park became State Fair, and Andrew and Neil lowkey became all the Foxes??? I’m sorry???
The parking area is already filled to the brim when they arrive. Andrew is pretty sure this doesn’t even count as a parking lot; the large field weighed down by rows upon rows of cars. There are numerous people in reflective yellow jackets using neon orange cones to direct traffic, and Andrew follows the line of cars to the next available spot. Matt’s truck pulls in beside the Maserati, and everyone climbs out, smiles out and wide in anticipation. Families and groups of teens alike weave their way through the cars around them, their chatter and laughter carrying on the breeze. It’s almost enough to drown out the screams and music coming from the Fair.
Despite it only being early October, the air has a chill to it with the sun gone, so the Foxes pull on hoodies and jackets before heading towards the epicentre of excitement. The sky is a pale indigo above their heads, a view stars blotching the inky surface, but the bright flashing lights up ahead are quick to wash them out. With each step closer, the scent of fried dough and spun sugar gets stronger, and seems to fuel the buzz reverberating through the group.
It doesn’t take long to get tickets, and then they’re moving through the entrance gate into the fairgrounds. The lights and sounds are even worse in the mix of things. A cacophony of chaos that grates on Andrew’s nerves and twinges at his temples like the start of a headache. He briefly wonders why he even agreed to come to the State Fair, but he finds he minds a little less when he takes in Neil’s expression. The striker’s face is bright, and his eyes are wide. The start of a smile tugs at the corners of his lips as he whips his head around to take everything in.
“Let me guess,” Andrew starts. “You’ve never been to a State Fair before.”
“Actually, I have,” Neil says. “Crowds like these are a great way to lose someone who’s chasing you.”
“Oh my god; that’s so sad,” Matt chimes in. “You need the full Fair experience, Neil! We’ll start with the Tilt-a-Whirl.”
The banner, 3 feet by 20 feet, was unfurled atop the pedestal around 12:50 p.m., according to National Park Service police. It was affixed to the outside of the public observation deck at the base of the statue by nylon rope.
LILA PARK. 34 YEARS OLD. LES MIS. VETERINARIAN. GAL GADOT.
born and raised in tel aviv, israel, but moved with her parents, brothers, and twin sister to nyc when she was just a kiddo. her parents made sure to teach her as much as they could about her culture and where she came from and though she observes and honors quite a bit of it, most of her views are very westernized.
lila took an interest in animals at a super young age. she was always trying to set up little clinics for the animals that roamed about in her backyard (they never cooperated) or bringing in stray cats and dogs that she found roaming about, much to her parents dismay.
in high school, her love for science and animals took a backseat to her love for theater and she turned into the stereotypical pretentious musical theater kid tbh. she still is on the low, but she does her best to pretend that she isn’t.
she wanted to pursue a career on broadway but after endless lectures from her parents about how impractical it was, lila opted to go for a job that centered around her second biggest passion – animals.
because she kept her promise to keep her grades up, her parents paid her way through school and that’s about it? she stayed in nyc for work and works mostly with smaller animals, reptiles, etc. at a clinic in downtown new york.
she met her husband, hudson, at a volunteer event and they became fast friends, but danced around the idea of actually dating for a long time even though they both knew they were right for each other. long story short, they eventually went for and now they’re married with two kiddos: otto (5) and olivia (2)
FELLOW PARENTS - people with kiddos around otto and olivia’s age would be grand! they can take fun little trips to parks, museums, and do other little fun things with their smols. they can also have nights out with just the adults as a fun way to get out!
GENERAL PALS - lila likes to have a large circle of friends, so i imagine she’s got quiiiiiite a few friends? she goes out of her way to help those that she considers to be her pals, even if they’re just acquaintances because that’s just how she is tbh. she’s 100% a people person and will do just about anything for you. she’s the epitome of that meme that’s been floating around of that guy who told his friends he was hungry, so they all surprised him by showing up on his doorstep with pizza.
TBA - i’ll be adding to this list when i can think up more things that i want, but if you have any ideas you’d like to throw at me before the site’s up, feel free!
Amidst the confusion, and despair, and disbelief, it was suggested to me by a very close friend of mine (I won’t say her name, to protect her identity) (Ann. It was Ann) that perhaps a few people would enjoy hearing my thoughts on this election. So I sat down at my computer, cleared my head, and opened a document. Then I started crying. So I had some hot chocolate, and my close friend (Ann) rubbed my back for a while, and I got myself together, and sat down. And started crying. Then more Ann comforting me, and more hot chocolate, and back and forth like that for about six hours or so, the chain of hot-chocolate-and-back-rubs only interrupted briefly when I had to run to the store for more hot chocolate packets (“Just give me all of them, all the boxes,” I remember saying, through tears, to a very scared stockroom boy) and now I am ready to go.
When I was in fourth grade, my teacher Mrs. Kolphner taught us a social studies lesson. The seventeen students in our class were introduced to two fictional candidates: a smart if slightly bookish-looking cartoon tortoise named Greenie, and a cool-looking jaguar named Speedy. Rick Dissellio read a speech from Speedy, in which he promised that if elected he would end school early, have extra recess, and provide endless lunches of chocolate pizzandy. (A local Pawnee delicacy at the time — deep fried pizza where the crust was candy bars.) Then I read a speech from Greenie, who promised to go slow and steady, think about the problems of our school, and try her best to solve them in a way that would benefit the most people. Then Mrs. Kolphner had us vote on who should be Class President.
I think you know where this is going.
Except you don’t, because before we voted, Greg Laresque asked if he could nominate a third candidate, and Mrs. Kolphner said “Sure! The essence of democracy is that everyone—” and Greg cut her off and said “I nominate a T. rex named Dr. Farts who wears sunglasses and plays the saxophone, and his plan is to fart as much as possible and eat all the teachers,” and everyone laughed, and before Mrs. Kolphner could blink, Dr. Farts the T. rex had been elected President of Pawnee Elementary School in a 1984 Reagan-esque landslide, with my one vote for Greenie the Tortoise playing the role of “Minnesota.”
After class I was inconsolable. Once all the other kids left, Mrs. Kolphner came over and put her arm around me. She told me I had done a great job advocating for Greenie the Tortoise. Through tears I remember saying, “How good, exactly?” and she said “Very very good,” and I said, “Good enough to—?” and she sighed and went to her desk to get one of the silver stars she gave out to kids who did a good job on something, and as I tearfully added it to my Silver Star Diary she asked me what upset me the most.
“Greenie was the better candidate,” I said. “Greenie should have won.”
“I suppose that was the point of the lesson,” I said.
“Oh no,” she said. “The point of the lesson is: people are unpredictable, and democracy is insane.”
Winston Churchill once said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except all those other forms that have been tried.” That is perhaps a pithier and better way to get my point across, than that long anecdote about Mrs. Kolphner. Should I just erase all of that and start with this? Whatever. I’m pot-committed now, and is there extra caffeine in that hot chocolate? Because my head feels like a spaceship. The point is: people making their own decisions is, on balance, better than an autocrat making decisions for them. It’s just that sometimes those decisions are bad, or self-defeating, or maddening, and a day where you get dressed up in your best victory pantsuit and spend an ungodly amount of money decorating your house with American flags and custom-made cardboard-cutouts of suffragettes in anticipation of a glass-ceiling-shattering historical milestone ends with you getting (metaphorically) eaten by a giant farting T. rex.
Like most people, I deal with tragedy by processing the five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. My denial over the election results was intense. My anger was (in Ron’s words) “significant.” My bargaining was short, but creative — I offered my soul and the souls of all of my friends in exchange for 60,000 more votes in Milwaukee, to any demon who cared to accept. (Tom told me it was a terrible deal, but I didn’t care, in that moment.) My depression I have already mentioned. Which brings us to Acceptance. And here’s what I stand on that:
No. I do not accept it.
I acknowledge that Donald Trump is the President. I understand, intellectually, that he won the election. But I do not accept that our country has descended into the hatred-swirled slop pile that he lives in. I reject out of hand the notion that we have thrown up our hands and succumbed to racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and crypto-fascism. I do not accept that. I reject that. I fight that. Today, and tomorrow, and every day until the next election, I reject and fight that story. I work hard and I form ideas and I meet and talk to other people who feel like me, and we sit down and drink hot chocolate (I have plenty) and we plan. We plan like mofos. We figure out how to fight back, and do good in this infuriating world that constantly wants to bend toward the bad. And we will be kind to each other, and supportive of each other’s ideas, and we will do literally anything but accept this as our fate.
And let me say something to the young girls who are reading this. Hi, girls. On behalf of the grown-ups of America who care about you and your futures, I am awfully sorry about how miserably we screwed this up. We elected a giant farting T. rex who does not like you, or care about you, or think about you, unless he is scanning your bodies with his creepy T. rex eyes, or trying to physically grab you like a toy his daddy got him (or would have, if his daddy had loved him). (Sorry, that was a low blow.) (Actually, not sorry, I’m pissed, and I’m on a roll, so zip it, super-ego!) Our President-Elect is everything you should abhor, and fear, in a male role model. He has spent his life telling you, and girls and women like you, that your lives are valueless except as sexual objects. He has demeaned you, and belittled you, and put you in a little box to be looked at and not heard. It is your job, and the job of girls and women like you, to bust out.
You are going to run this country, and this world, very soon. So you will not listen to this man, or the 75-year-old, doughy-faced, gray-haired nightmare men like him, when they try to tell you where to stand or how to behave or what you can and cannot do with your own bodies, or what you should or should not think with your own minds. You will not be cowed or discouraged by his stream of retrogressive babble. You won’t have time to be cowed, because you will be too busy working and learning and communing with other girls and women like you, and when the time comes you will effortlessly flick away his miserable, petty misogynistic worldview like a fly on your picnic potato salad.
He is the present, sadly, but he is not the future. You are the future. Your strength is a million times his. Your power is a billion times his. We will acknowledge this result, but we will not accept it. We will overcome it, and we will defeat it.