She was at the gate but entrance, to Tilley’s surprise, was not automatic. The woman ahead of her in line, tousled and troubled, was being held up as the gatekeeper rustled through his cards for her credentials. Cards! The organization was behind the times and, naturally, an eye scan was not possible.
Tilley had assumed they would have a record of who she was. She expected them to be like Santa and know if she were good or bad. Hopefully, they wouldn’t be petty enough to worry about a lapsed membership.
Off to her left, an alternate door of bristly steel caught Tilley’s eye. A well-endowed woman in a svelte red dress beckoned her over. When Tilley shook her head, a slender young man replaced the woman. Ignoring his inviting smile, she swung around to discover the person ahead still agitating for entry. It was worse than trying to get past a bicep-rich bouncer.
Her father had always insisted it was all in whom you knew, he being comfortably ensconced with the influential. He was right, had she been a more steadfast member she might have been whisked through the line. Unfortunately she had been an independent thinker.
In recent years, when she started getting creaky bones, she had been courted with pleas to join up: declare her affiliation. She should have responded to the opposing sides’ propaganda and chosen one or the other.
A skeptic, reluctant to jump on board with causes or clubs, Tilley had dismissed the extreme alternatives. Both sides insisted that only they offered a sane solution. One offered short, the other long term, benefits. If you cast your ballot for one, you might suffer now, but if you chose the other you would suffer later. So whether to be hurled forward in a hand basket to hell, as one leader insisted would happen if she didn’t come on board with him, or to be floated into the heavens for an idyllic life as the opposition insisted was on offer if she opted for her. Dismissing both sides as junk mail, she had dallied, hoping for a third choice—an independent party—for those not ready to sign up for either of the dominant duo.
“No vote is a vote for the winning party,” a friend had insisted. “Once the polls are closed and you sigh the last breath, too late to change your mind.”
So here she was, no way to slip through the gateway but finally her turn at the gate. The frail custodian in his beige jacket leaned forward—were those wings on his back?—“Ready to join the throng,” he invited. Still she hesitated.
To her side the woman in red, skirt slit to the thigh, reappeared. “Still time to choose us,” she crooned. “With global warming, you’re used to hot weather. And we offer more fun than you’d have playing a harp.”
“We’ve changed with the times,” the winged gate man barked. “We have electric keyboards.”
“Whatever,” said the lady in red, dismissively.
Published at Corner Bar, Vol.2, Issue 7