Portland, OR
November 2nd, 2020

The words seemed to ring hollow in Milton’s skull, reverberating like a maddened group of hornets trying to get out as he kept his eyes fixed to the flatscreen. He knew that Chad was standing next to him, describing just what might happen if he decided to pull out of their deal once more, but the words buzzed about in his mind without any real meaning as he tried to reconcile the fact that his wife, his love, the woman whose hand he’d asked in holy matrimony, had been cutting him off at the knees the entire time he’d been trying to procure for their future.

“By the time you have kids and those kids are grown, you’ll have become a fully-integrated Democrat and ready to start cheering when Republicans like your wig-wearing tanning mishap are shown to be the cowards they really are. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a blessed moment to me.”

Chad was speaking directly to Milton, keeping his voice just low enough so that no one could hear, but there was such vehemence in the words that he couldn’t have missed it if he’d been shouting. The son of a bitch was gloating, and unfortunately he had every right too as Milton could see the tally of votes as it heavily favored the Democratic candidate. His side had lost, the Republicans were surely weeping at this point, and there was no telling just how long it would take to recover from the mess that had been created in the past four years.

“You won,” he said quietly, “I’ll honor our bet. But you’re a bigger loser than I am.”

Milton downed his drink in one gulp as he turned to face Chad, who was looking somewhat confused, as well as just a bit angry at the sudden outburst.

“And how is that?” Chad asked with a wolfish grin, “You were the one that welshed on the deal the last time, remember? How exactly am I the loser here when my side has clearly won?”

“Your candidate is going to take the White House,” Chad replied, feeling absolutely impotent as that hated smile widened, “But you had to run to my wife to make sure that I followed through. You had to tattle before I’d even done anything, which I wouldn’t have.”

“Don’t be a poor sport now Milty,” Chad said, offering him a mock pout as he reached out to pinch Milton’s cheek, something Milton hated profoundly. Instead of letting it happen he knocked Chad’s arm away, glaring at him as he could see his wife approaching from his peripheral vision.

“Milton?” she asked, “Honey is-”

“Stay away from me,” he said quietly, adding just enough force to his voice as he did before turning away, “Go make your back alley deals and leave me be.”

The shock on his wife’s face might have hurt if he’d stayed to watch it appear.

(to be continued)

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