what else can cheer this man up but a nice smooth crime

The Quick Change

Based on an @otpprompts prompt about quick-change AUs that I can’t find for the fucking life of me, so whatever.

           Jack was sitting stage left, one hand flat on the prop table beside him, the other pressing his headphones against his head. Techs were rushing behind him as they moved the sets at the fasted speed humanly possible; meanwhile the actors were clearing the stage for the protagonist’s solo number.

           “Okay…the transition is done, bring up the lights,” Jack murmured into his headset.

           “Lights going up,” Rick responded, wearing a headset of his own up in the sound booth. The lights lit the stage again, and what had once been a heavily populated battle scene was now a vacant stage with a single backdrop, and one lone man standing in the center. Jack appreciated the dramatics of it, but he couldn’t really focus on it given that he was basically in charge of the whole show.

           When the actual stage director called in this morning saying he was violently ill (and they believed him, because he actually vomited while on the phone), Jack had been “volunteered” to take his place for the night. And sure, Jack had experience in positions of tech leadership, given that he was in charge of the light and sound booth upstairs, but he didn’t feel like that exactly qualified him to be in charge of almost the entire musical, even for just a night.

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Letter to Mom


I had very much wanted to avoid this email, but since you insist on keeping at it, even when I’ve repeatedly asked you to leave it alone, I’m left with no choice to be blunt with you.

While all the stuff about the finances is true, the heart of our decision is that we are not coming to Thanksgiving because of the election, because of your vote for Trump, and because of your dogged insistence on disrespecting me, my beliefs, and who I am. I simply couldn’t bear the thought of being around your glee at the result of this horrific election.

I think Trump is a catastrophe for this nation. I think Pence is even worse. You happily supported a man who is a bigot, a narcissist, a racist, a misogynist, a man who treats women like objects, who thinks nothing about violating their bodies. A man who *multiple* woman accused of sexual assault. A man who is utterly devoid of a moral compass and basic human empathy. A man who, in just a few short weeks, is due in court to face accusations of raping a child. Every woman who has ever been sexually harassed or raped by a man – and you personally know more than you probably realize – has just been told that sexual assault does not disqualify you from being President of the United States.

You support someone who is endorsed by freaking Putin, by the KKK, who not only didn’t distance himself from white supremacists that supported him, but welcomed them with open arms and stoked the fires of racism for his own selfish benefit. You support a man who mocks the disabled. You support a vice president who believes you can “cure” gayness with shock therapy. You support a candidate who has no understanding whatsoever of policy, who is laughably ignorant of basic civics and constitutional law, who is tacky and ineloquent and an embarrassment to this country. He’s a con man who gets into petty spats on Twitter, and he just conned an entire nation into giving him access to the nuclear codes. Trump is a mean, hateful, and deeply stupid bully, and this is who you thought would be the best possible choice for the leader of the free world.

With Trump and Pence in office, we are facing the prospect of 20 million americans being stripped of healthcare. We are looking at a level of authoritarian fascism that should nauseate anyone who believes in the ideals of our nation, but instead you cheer him and act like he’s the savior of our country. His embrace of white supremacy has emboldened racists across the nation, given legitimacy to their repugnant views, and already we’re seeing a huge uptick in hate crimes, people being attacked for wearing a hijab or being black or being gay. Girls being grabbed by the pussy in school because the new president said it was ok, even desirable, to do so. Newt Gingrich, who’s on the short list for a cabinet post, has openly expressed his plan to resurrect the House Un-American Activities Committee. You lived through the McCarthy age, Mom, so I don’t need to tell you how panic-inducing that should be. My non-white, non-male, non-straight, non-Christian, non-citizen (and naturalized citizen!) friends are legitimately terrified for their safety now, and their fear is not without cause. Actual neo-nazis are THRILLED with your choice for president. Sit with that for a moment.

We are on the verge of being past the point of no return with climate change, but you’ve put into office a man who doesn’t believe in science, believes climate change to be a hoax, and has the power to screw up the future of our species for generations to come. I’m not even going to get into the implications of his ability to nominate a supreme court justice(s) who will very probably find a way to end Roe v. Wade at last, because while you most likely see it as the sweetest victory of all, I think that it is barbaric and the most awful thing to happen to women – including the woman my own daughter will be one day – in the modern age, being forced to stay pregnant regardless of the circumstances of their pregnancy, being told that the pregnancy is more important than their own lives. You’ve made it abundantly clear that you value fetuses above the lives of the living, breathing, independent women (and sometimes girls!) who carry them, and that will always, always be utterly revolting to me. Pence fully believes that abortion should be illegal, no exceptions, and as governor of Indiana jailed a woman who had a miscarriage. Overturning Roe v. Wade is not going to stop abortion, Mom. It’s going to stop safe abortion. But women will still need and seek out abortions, so they’ll have to go back to the way it was before Roe: giving themselves abortions, seeking out underground, unlicensed providers. More women will die, but you don’t care about that because yay, babies, right?

I am horrified by all of that. I am horrified by your support of Trump, because literally *none* of his values reflect actual Christian values: kindness, humility, care for the poor, caring for the sick, loving people who are not like us, and a basic respect for the humanity and dignity of every person. They do not reflect what this nation is about: being a welcome home to people who are fleeing often terrible circumstances in hopes of making a better life for themselves. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to be free” is liberal bullshit to Trump. Either you are white and born here and ok, or you are brown and should be kicked out of this country, or prevented from coming here in the first place.

I am deeply ashamed of you, that you were so quick to set aside your values to elect this monster because you’ve bought into all the slanderous BS about Hillary. She was an imperfect candidate, but she was staggeringly qualified for the job, far more than any other candidate who’s run in the last 30 years, and you just didn’t care. You, who I admire so much, who had to fight so many of the same battles she did – being underestimated because you are a woman, being told that you weren’t as good at something because you are a woman, being held to a higher expectation of perfection and performance than men are. You fought (and continue to fight!) sexism in an industry that is still predominantly male, and established a business that continues to thrive, and yet you got suckered by this preposterous, offensive narrative that she’s the most evil woman on the planet.

This is not simply a difference of opinion. I fully respect and support and will fight to the death for your right to live your life, worship whomever you want, love whomever you want, without interference. But you and the republican party have hopelessly entangled faith and politics to the point where they’re one and the same. You believe it’s ok to eject people who are Muslim, deny basic human rights to people on the basis of their sexuality, force women to carry a pregnancy to term no matter the consequences.

I’m sure that you’ll be dismissive of this, see it as me just being a sore loser, and that you’ll use it as further evidence of “how far [I am] from God.”

But you know what? I finally don’t care. I’m done placating you, trying to play nice, trying to smooth things over, trying to protect your feelings, trying to steady the boat you are so determined to rock. I do not believe in your version of Christianity, because, put simply, I find it to be completely at odds with the actual teachings of Christ.

You can believe whatever you like, and I fully respect your right to do so, but my respect and tolerance cease the minute you try to insist on making everyone else believe what you do, particularly when they resist, as I have, for so long. You don’t respect anyone who doesn’t adhere to your deplorably narrow version of Christianity. People tell you to stop, but you don’t. You simply are unable to deal with someone who doesn’t believe exactly what you believe, and so you push and you push and you push and you pray and you proselytize and you passive-aggressively leave books behind when you leave and you jab and you don’t let it go because you are so unshakably certain you have God on your side.

And honestly, who can fight with that? If you are dealing with someone who believes without any doubt whatsoever that they are doing the will of the Almighty, what good is it to at least try to have a dialogue, find some common ground? I foolishly believed for years – *years* – that it was possible. That one day you’d finally just accept me for who I am, even though I do not fit into this unattainable, idealized vision you have of What A Godly Daughter Should Be.

But all of my achievements – an amazing husband, a smart and delightful daughter, a great house, a college degree with honors, a job that isn’t perfect but is still more than sufficient to support my family, a loving and diverse group of friends who adore me for who I am (not who they think I should be) – are ultimately meaningless to you, because I don’t go to church, much less a church that would meet your approval. It doesn’t matter, because I am not someone who reads the bible. It’s worthless to you because I don’t pray.

I have coped with your lack of acceptance for years and years because I had the naïveté to hope that maybe one day you would just be ok with me being me, and that is clearly not going to happen. There is nothing, short of becoming this strange, super-christian, republican woman that is literally *nothing* like who I actually am, that will get you to accept me and love me, without judgment or disapproval or condition, for who I am right this second. I know this is true because I heard it for years from the churches we both went to. I’ve heard it from your own mouth: nothing in this world matters unless we are followers of Christ. But it’s not even that: it’s *your* version of a “follower of Christ”, the one that allows for no diversity, no difference of opinion, the horrendous and condescending “love the sinner hate the sin” attitudes towards the LGBTQ community – the one your buddy Pence would all too happily subject to electroshock therapy.

That, in particular, hits home for me. Mom, I am bisexual. I am in a happily married, committed relationship with a man, but I also know very much that I am attracted to women, and could easily have been in a long-term, committed relationship with a woman if I hadn’t met D. It is not a sin, or a character flaw, or a choice. It is who I am. I have no more control over it than I do the color of my own skin  And it’s a thing that I’ve never told you until now, because I know you *do* consider it a sin, and a character flaw, and a choice, all based on some cherry-picked bible verses that don’t actually say what you think they say. I was afraid of your disapproval, and was ok hiding it, even though I knew it was dishonest of me to do so.

If there’s one bright spot in all of this, it’s that your intolerance, your attitudes that had made me so afraid to be completely honest with you about who I am, have made me a better mom. I know that there is nothing in the entire universe that would keep me from loving my daughter exactly for who she is, not who I think she should be. I am raising her to be a kind, moral person who knows that she has her parents’ love and support at every step of the way, who knows how important it is to respect people, even when people aren’t exactly like us. That there’s nothing she could do or be that would make us think of her as less-than. That we are deeply invested in assuring her long-term happiness, no matter what form that might take. There isn’t a single holy text in the entire world whose teachings I would pick over her, or try to force upon her. She trusts us, and D and I work hard to make it clear that she can talk to us about anything without fear of judgment or recrimination. And for her especially, I could never in a billion years support someone as grotesque as Trump. So for that, at least, I am grateful.

Anyway. If you’ve made it this far, congratulations, and thank you. But here is where I am going to be abundantly, unmistakably clear in what happens next. I am not being overly dramatic when I say that the future of our relationship hinges upon what you decide to do with this information.

1. Stop preaching to me and my family. Stop trying to “save” me and my family. You believe what you believe, and that’s fine; but your repeated attempts to make me believe the same thing has been incredibly damaging to our relationship. I am not trying to convert you to my point of view, other than for you to learn how to let people live in peace. All I am asking for here is to be left to live my life in peace. That’s it. Let me and my family live our lives without you feeling the need to change it or judge it or point out how ungodly you think it is. Don’t send us books, don’t leave books behind if you visit, don’t buy us tickets to “godly marriage” seminars. We are not interested. Period.

2. Make an effort to respect me, respect who I am, even though I am not who you want me to be. My beliefs are worthy of just as much respect as yours. Your unshakable desire to be right, all the time, to not accept people for who they are, has been damaging to many relationships, not just ours. That’s not my battle to fight, but I point it out only so you understand that it’s not just our relationship that has been badly hurt.

3. Leave me out of your politics. You have known for ages that I am deeply liberal and a proud feminist, but you still didn’t think twice about including me in your group texts about the GOP convention. I didn’t say anything, because I knew you were happy and that was fine, but it was also indicative that you don’t really think (and/or care) that someone who has a completely different political perspective from yours might find the whole thing distasteful and nauseating.

This is how it is. Stop preaching to us. Try to figure out how to respect me for who I am. Leave me out of your politics. 

None of this is open for negotiation or discussion, because my attempts to negotiate with you, beg you to work with me in the past have been utterly fruitless and just led to a bunch of tears and fighting. That time is done.

If you can accept this, difficult though it may be for you, great. It will take a long time to repair our relationship – and please know, a lot of this is on me for consistently choosing peace over honesty – but I am still an idealist, and would like to think it can be fixed. I know I can’t change your beliefs, and I don’t want to. All I’m asking for is for you to extend the same basic courtesy and respect to me.  

If you cannot accept this – and I’m fully prepared for you not to, since your faith is one that doesn’t encourage compromise or mutual understanding – then I really am going to have to separate myself and my family from you even further. I don’t want to, please believe me that I don’t, but dealing with a mom who doesn’t accept me for who I am at a fundamental level has taken its toll.

I’m done placating. I’m done smoothing things over. This is me being utterly and completely open with you.