It is just past mid-January. The almost-ex-prez is sitting at the desk, staring at his smartphone. It begins shaking in his hand. There is a pile of documents on the desk, his Sharpie lying on top. The Sharpie suddenly rises into the air, black ink dripping from its pointy end. Almost-Ex hears a strange sound and looks at the giant big-screen TeeVee hanging on the opposite wall. The TeeVee is sprouting red fur! It slides down the wall and lands on the floor with a furry crash. As it explodes, tiny people fall out and begin yelling in big voices. “It’s not over till the recount is done.” “Always attack.” “It’s a conspiracy.” “It’s Fake News.” “Don’t listen to nobody but us.” “We know the Real Truth.” “Never give up.” “Never give in.” “It’s time to fire—”
Almost-Ex fails to hear the door open. When he finally turns his head, someone is coming in. It’s a woman! She’s a goddess! She’s taller than he is.
“I am Kamaladurga.” The woman, whose head is almost touching the ceiling, looks down at Almost-Ex and smiles. “Buddy, your time is done.” In a flash, the goddess is wearing a white suit and carrying a golden sword. “Puny One,” she says in a calm though thunderous voice, “Puny Perversion of the Presidency—Be Gone!” She waves her sword.
Almost-Ex tries to stand up and fight, but his legs fail him. The teleprompter beside the desk goes opaque. He has nothing to say. After several minutes of vain gesticulation, he manages to find his voice. “Who….”
The goddess speaks again. “I am your worst nightmare. I am Victory. I am Fortuna. I am Pax. I am Concordia. I speak with the Voice of the Women.” Kamaladurga raises the golden sword again. “Old man, you’re finished. Get lost…or else.”
“Or else what?” But Almost-Ex cannot face her. Instead, he turns to face the wall behind the desk, where his Army of Defense has been gathering since the Awful Days of the Voting. But they’ve changed! The mighty men, uniformed and tattooed and holding mighty, lethal weapons, are suddenly naked, tattooed, teenage boys. Their manly parts are shriveling, drooping, dripping, dropping off. The manly barrels of their manly weapons are likewise shriveling, drooping, melting. Bullets are leaking out like polluted water in a kitchen sink in a city abandoned by the EPA. The melted bullets puddle on the floor, joining other puddles that have suddenly appeared. Almost-Ex waves his magical MAGA hat. Nothing happens.
“You have been here for far too long.” Kamaladurga gestures toward the door, through which both she and Almost-Ex can see into the other offices in which toads are now hiding under desks. “Yes, indeed, the times they are a-changin’.” The goddess smiles and gestures with her sword. A new door appears in the back wall of the office. The room spins, and suddenly the door is in the front wall. The door opens.
And the women come in—women of all ages, women of many ethnicities, many races, many times. They are dressed in classical garb, in the long white dresses of the suffragists, in stylish modern business suits, in dungarees and work shirts, in flowery dresses and aprons (plus heels and pearls), in school uniforms and jeans and tees (with and without statements), in every costume a woman can wear. They are carrying their own weapons, too—bright swords and spears, pneumatic riveting tools and electric drills and hammers, carving knives and big forks, fountain pens and sharp pencils, books on the law and other useful topics. The women gather around the goddess.
“I am standing with the women,” says Kamaladurga, “with all the women women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all. Women who have worked to secure and protect the right to vote. I reflect on their struggle, their determination, and the strength of their vision to see what can be unburdened by what has been.”
Almost-Ex is nearly beside himself. After great effort, he finally croaks, “Where’s my Roy Cohn?” A voice comes up from beneath the floor. I decided long ago, it says, to make my own rules. And I got away with it. Almost-Ex nods his head. “And I will always get away with everything I do. Like you, Roy, I am all-powerful.” (He ignores the laughter coming from the women.) “I learned from you, Roy. From you and Rudy and Rush. We are the powerful men!” (More laughter from the women.) “I will never concede anything.” He waves a golf club. The women ignore it.
Almost-Ex stands up to fight. But again his legs won’t support him! As he collapses against the desk, the unsigned documents swirl up into a wild tornado that roars up to the ceiling and around and around the office. The big wind retreats only when the women raise their weapons. Suddenly it’s a brisk, thawing, late winter’s breeze that fills the office. As the documents fall on the floor, a woman carrying a big broom sweeps them under the desk, which begins to sink into the papery mess. Almost-Ex pushes against his chair and finally manages to stand up. “I’ll take you all the court,” he yells at the women. “I’m calling my lawyers,” he shouts at Kamaladurga.
The goddess laughs. “The rest,” she says, “is silence.” Almost-Ex opens his mouth again. Nothing but drool comes out. A woman wearing an old-fashioned nurse’s white uniform steps forward and puts a strong paper mask over the impotent mouth.
And as the windows reveal the dawning of a new day, the office door opens again. An ordinary-looking man walks in. The man nods to the women. The goddess repairs the desk. The man takes his seat. “Okay, folks. Let’s get started here.”
[Note: I borrowed the name Kamaladurga from a friend who must remain anonymous. Many thanks to her.]
Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D. (www.barbaraardinger.com), is a published author and freelance editor. Her newest book is Secret Lives, a novel about grandmothers who do magic. Her earlier nonfiction books include the daybook Pagan Every Day, Finding New Goddesses (a pun-filled parody of goddess encyclopedias), and Goddess Meditations. When she can get away from the computer, she goes to the theater as often as possible—she loves musical theater and movies in which people sing and dance. She is also an active CERT (Community Emergency Rescue Team) volunteer and a member (and occasional secretary pro-tem) of a neighborhood organization that focuses on code enforcement and safety for citizens. She has been an AIDS emotional support volunteer and a literacy volunteer. She is an active member of the Neopagan community and is well known for the rituals she creates and leads.