Epiphany in a Pizza Shop

A Trumpian Reverie

  By Evan Lockwood Illegally stoned on a plant not federally legal yet, in line at a pizza shop on a Friday night. The line is uncomfortably long for being this stoned. A young girl – clearly the daughter of an employee – swings one of those fifty-cent sticky-hand vending machine items; the sticky, stretchy kind in the shape of a hand that stick to glass and metal, but become useless once they touch any surface with hair or fuzz. She’s talking on a cell-phone that is bigger than her six-year old face and swinging the sticky-hand and it keeps catching – first on the glass door of the cooler with all the soda in it, then on the television that sits on top of the cooler. The sticky hand nails President Trump in his orange face; the monster, sitting there, speaking to the press about his thoughts and prayers. “To the students, families, teachers and personnel at Santa Fe High, we’re with you in this tragic hour, and we will be with you forever.” It’s been two weeks since Trump told an NRA convention that “Your Second Amendment rights are under siege, but they will never, ever be under siege as long as I’m your president.” Two weeks since he told an NRA convention that he was in support of teachers bringing guns to school and allocating money to turn schools into fortresses. CNN cuts away and now the sticky-hand sits on Anderson Cooper’s brow. Headlines regarding yet another senseless shooting – this time in Texas – plaster the screen. “SUSPECT SAYS HE SPARED PEOPLE HE LIKED”. Another kid shot ten people the day before their school’s graduation ceremony. When I was a kid in New Jersey in 1999, Columbine seemed like something that had happened on another planet. It was scary like a meteor crashing into the desert is scary. Something that was totally possible, but not very likely to ever happen to me. “She’s busy!” The sticky-hand pulls off of Cooper’s nose and the little girl swings it again. THUNGK. It sticks against the cooler again. “Mommy’s busy!” Columbine was an outlier. A blip on the graph. A lone occurrence. Parkland and Santa Fe feel like quarterly occurrences. For this little girl, this could be her every day by the time she’s in high school. The girl’s mother is counting her end-of-shift money in a booth behind the boundary of the counter. It’s not enough money; that much is clear. She looks frazzled. She’s no older than thirty. The little girl keeps yelling “Mommy is busy!” to someone on the other end of the phone. The line is reduced by one. The little girl swings the sticky-hand. It slams against the floor. A Hispanic fry-cook pauses for a second to watch CNN – which cuts back to Trump telling the press how sad he is for these students, and how his administration will do whatever it takes to protect these children. The cook shakes his head and mutters something before going back to the grill. The line reduces by one more. They call my name and I give them my money and take my food. The sticky-hand slaps against the TV once more, but it’s dirty now. It sticks to Trump’s face, but the hand slips off. It’s not as strong as it was before. It’s been tainted.  
  About the author: Evan Lockwood is the creative nonfiction editor of Ragazine.CC. You can read more about him in About Us.