Hilary: I can't go back. I've seen the death squads.
Theo: how many?
Hilary: thousands is a conservative estimate.
Theo: oh come on, you didn't see him in another timeline? one where he had a glint in his eye whenever he talked to a different group? where he didn't do anything but infest the country with his infrastructure? where he negotiated with threats? and plastered his brand with stickers of his name over all the screens? where he was the first person to purchase a country?
Hilary adjusts her skirt to her new flying parameters.
Hilary: it's hard getting down my thoughts mobile like this. I didn't change the platform they did goddammit. this is adeau, dear boy. uh, man. you gotta start over somewhere.
Hilary rushes into a hole in the timeline snake and crashes into a wild and woolly winter wonderland.
the ladies are experiencing their first harsh winter in this strange alien land. everyone else is gone. dead probably. they have no food. no usable water. but cruellest of all they have no direction. they reached the end, then they jumped over the end pictured as a black hole the size of a puddle, and kept going. they are full of purpose with no path. they are getting frustrated:
CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK
that song didn't help either. the dreamy woman on the cover and the calls for feminine royalty and the scratchy beats and panicked piano and Skins intro vibrato were meant to soothe but instead all the reflection reduced them to rubble.
Carmen is missing her friends and sobs uncontrollably. she places two eggs on her eyes. see, she's getting lazy. you must always perform the spell properly despite your mood. Herlina is buried in her phone ostensibly doing research but really scrolling through the blank instagram rolls. Harfi speaks up.
Harfi: come on ladies! buck up! use less cream on your chins! are we men or are we boys? grow some boobs. we can make it. we just have to believe. in ourselves.
Carmen: no, in something bigger. stop your yelling, you're scaring the cats.
cat 1: do you hear that? I'm meowing like a leopard but I can't hear it.
cat 2: me, too. or I hear yours, not mine. miss. miss! do you acknowledge our furry faces?
cats: well how do you like that? first time in human history our cuteness didn't work. come on, it's up to us. how are we with frozen salmon?
Carmen: *pulling her hair out* oh my god I think the cats are missing! more loss!
she cracks open the egg on her newly-bald head. it's a bad one. it's a blue rotten one, the stench rising up and flattening the girls with its power. the yolk is glistening garbage. the smell of a rotten egg is unlike anything you've ever experienced. it's an odor that never gets acquired to, it just lingers and sticks your body with death forever. the three are knocked out cold. except Harfi, she comes to a few minutes later out of sheer Harfiness. she wrestles her way out of the circle hold the blanket of rotten vapor has on her sisters.
Harfi: fuck this. I'm searching for food. or better yet a drink. and I'm not sharing.
Carmen: Herlina, dear, you remember that club we all went to, Butts n Bouquets?
Herlina: well this was before we knew each other. but I was there, picking out patterns for the wallpaper.
Carmen: it was a grand ballroom made out of the trunk of the Grand Oak. it was mandated I go, Lysander's orders, he wanted me to get out more. the purple curtains were heavy in the way palace curtains are. and the only thing that ever played was techno.
Herlina: come on, dance therapy? he wanted you to go out more, with him. in fairness though he was searching for a mother for his three sons. I comforted myself with the free cioppino saucers they handed out. after you pay $1000 a pop a night for a ticket.
Carmen: those were good times. you know times are good when they're expensive. I feel like dancing...
Harfi trudges along until she lucks upon a log cabin in the white woods visible only from the head of its stovepipe. she massages the backdoor down with the last of her will and testes. the shoppekeeper is a scared old lady.
Harfi: hallelujah. these winters are insane. is this the norm for this planet?
Keeper: please don't deport me.
Harfi: whatdaya got? price is no option. cos I don't have one. I'll pay anything. I'll let you fuck me for this food. you resemble the human Hilary who ran for office. I don't pay attention to politics much, I just like to shoot. I go where they tell me.
Hilary: um, I am native speaker. I have wishbone.
Harfi: look lady I don't have time for your sob story. just sell me the goods.
Hilary can't take the fraud anymore. she has less stamina for this than her opponent, and comes out of the shadows.
Hilary: well that was the problem. with this election, this country, and this life. nobody talks to one another, they just revert to their echo chamber where they feel better than facts. it's just gonna get worse the less we do it until we become two competing black holes. and you know how that turns out. we need to fuck like rabbits, not go down the rabbit hole. now I have exactly one Wishbone left.
Harfi: I knew it was you. I just needed the extra animation to keep warm. okay, Carmen's eggs are not viable but I'll take any more good luck at this point. crack that bone in two. like our Academy exercises.
Hilary: no, it's Wishbone salad dressing. in the stained-glass bottle.
Harfi: oh that is my church! I used to buy it. sometimes with baby carrots, sometimes without. I would drink it right out of the bottle. makes for a cheap pick-me-up when you don't have alcohol on the battlefield. spicy. caliente.
Hilary: thank you, I do look good for my age.
Harfi: got any chips?
Hilary: got one chipa. could be more in the storeroom out front. I'm new here.
Harfi: what kind of weird foreigner food is that?
Hilary: hey! no need to be rude just cos you're dying inside. it's bread, dude, bread. everyone eats bread.
Harfi: wanna join us? that's all I got. add your unfollowed expert to the chorus of shrill voices who can't agree on anything.
Hilary: that's a myth that women can't get along. we aren't jealous of each other, we're just annoyed that we can't fool one another cos we know all of our tricks. it's easier and more fun to play with the inert emotions of clueless men.
Harfi: we got a lot of work still to do as a people. it's like we made no progress at all. like we regressed. like we've been keeping secrets from each other this whole time. but what do I know? I don't shape policy. I have only one identity. oh I'm glad you survived.
the unlikely tandem make their way after waiting for a break in the blizzard and reach the camp site. there's no more fire. except what's within. on the grounds of the crash site there now stands a fully-formed dancehall constructed out of wood which shines brightly brown against the otherwise white landscape.
Harfi: what the fuck? I was expecting them to be in the fetal position, stillborn.
Hilary leans against the left door with the circle window.
Hilary: it gets cuter. take a look.
Carmen and Herlina are inside the club, which is decked out with punch and drapes and sick beats, not uptight but upright but in a trance. one cat is on top of Carmen's head, the other cat on Herlina's head. the cats are gently kneading the ladies' hairs trying not to claw them.
Harfi: I see their lighters. they're waving them around. poor things were so cold they hallucinated they were hot. like that Twilight Zone episode.
cat 1: wrong. we've been keeping them calm. otherwise they would have freaked out and died.
cat 2: hey got any food? I'll even eat human food at this point. like bacon or whatever. and we do have names. if you care.
Hilary: your pussies can talk? I could have used that.
Harfi spots Herlina putting the aquamarine gem into her mouth and tries to block it but she's too late. Herlina bites down on it and cracks all her teeth.
Herlina: mmmm free water.
Harfi: you crazy bitch! I mean witch.
the aquamarine is dropped but doesn't shatter into a million pieces. but it is left with a definite splinter down its middle, where a layer of magic mist begins to blow out.
Hilary: no filter. this is real.
Harfi: but is it rotten?