The Flyovers knew them as "The Dowdies." Made them into stories to frighten their brainwashed children into line. "Be good or the Dowdies will get you."
It wasn’t just an idle bluff — a way of getting the little Eichmanns of America to do their daily recitations of the Bible and the Constitution (as if that ancient document still mattered). No, it was a real threat, because sometimes from the shadows skinny forms emerged; gaunt, hollow-cheeked, foreheads immobile and mouths clenched in a hard line of existential disgust. They could drop a man at twenty paces with a Jimmy Choo stiletto and they were plain hell at smothering sleeping guards with a Coach handbag.
Life hadn’t always been a scramble to stay alive while fighting against the forces of pasty red-state ignorance and egotism. Once, a long time ago, Maureen had been living a pretty good life. She had a column back when there were real newspapers. All the News Fit to Print, and she was one of those entrusted in determining what was Fit. She was good at it, too, with a nose that let her find the real news amid the phony scandals. Maybe, she mused, that nose for news was part of the break down.
That was a nonsense thought. She knew what they needed, those blind fools, and they had ignored the wisdom she offered them. She didn’t believe in Jesus, of course, but she understood how the character would have felt when scorned by the peasants he had been sent to save.
No use moaning over spilled Evian. Maureen brushed back back a strand of her now-mousy hair…no more weekly appointments with Sergio, another casualty of the intransigence of those cursed Tea Partiers.
They just didn’t know when to quit. They kept insisting — the nerve of them — insisting that the Constitution (she hated even thinking that word) limited the powers of the government. They were crazy. Government is the one thing we all have in common, but they just wouldn’t bend.
It was for everyone’s safety, for the good of every faithful citizen. That was why martial law had been declared. There were plots afoot against Him by those racist homophobes. She didn’t have to say His name to feel a delightful frisson that took her far away from this gutted Oscar de la Renta boutique. For just a moment, she was young and beautiful and important again, and the right people were in charge of the miserable lives of the rest of the country.
"Mo," someone called.
She looked up. The fickle Greek woman everyone called "Puff" was holding two bottles in her hand. Like the rest of them, Puff once had a different name. Wealthy and with influence almost as important and pervasive as her own. "Which one?"
Maureen considered. The Chanel Grand Extrait burned brighter, but the Clive Christian No. 1 smelled better when afire. "Clive," she said, and Puff stuffed the Hermes scarf deep into the glass neck.
They were ready. Mo looked around, checking her crew for signs of tension, fear, or, worst of all, doubt. There was none. Stiletto heels were snugged into holsters. Manicured hands tightened around buttersoft leather straps.
"IOWT!" she said.
"IOWT!" they shrieked back.
IOWT. In Obama We Trust. Words worth dying for. And tonight, she’d make sure some of the bitter clingers died for them. Her crew, her girls, they nodded at her, and as one, with the faintest click of deadly heels, they eased into the shadows. The shadows where they now lived.
She had wanted only to bring enlightenment to the benighted. They just didn’t know what was good for them, and now their stupidity had wrecked everything that was good and right and pure in this world. And for that, they would pay.
It wasn’t the way Maureen wanted to live. She hadn’t chosen the Dowdy Life. The Dowdy Life had chosen her.
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