Would you believe I'm looking at an electoral map to write fanfiction? So, this sort of stems off of my last story, where we were introduced to the states (and less directly, the provinces to our north, who may show up every once in a while). I had this one in my head for a while.
God, I hated election season. I kept getting shit flung in all directions from politicians, constituents, and even a crap ton of non-voters. Plus, all the crap I had to put up with from the kids.
What a mistake it was to invite them to a...er, I hesitate to call it a "party", but I suppose that's how it wound up. One candidate gained a lead, another lost a lead. It was against our rules for the viewing party to tell each other where the votes went.
I knew New England was going blue. I also knew the west and the plains were going red. The swing states were fun to watch, and I fell bad for saying it, because a few of her siblings nearly drove Ohio to tears. Alaska was the last one to close his polls, being so far west, but Florida was the last to turn his in (always a slowpoke).
Each state got their own results, a certain number of chips, and a red and blue crayon. It was a fun game for them, to keep track of who was winning. Of course, then there was the aftermath: someone actually had to win. Which meant about half weren't going to be happy, and the other half were going to be cocky. Both sides of which, by the way, made me want to uproot and get away from them all.
Red states were leading for a while as we spread across the Plains. Then we got to the Pacific coast. Once California got up with her chips to dump in the blue cup, we pretty much knew it was over.
I looked at the aftermath of California's casting. I knew it affected them as well, but somehow I didn't think it was all that fair my kid siblings (or children: whatever floats your boat) got to pick my boss. The first thing that happened was New York and California each sat on one side of Texas, easily the most outspoken and obviously red state. He had his head in his hands and had his eyes firmly fixed on sister North Carolina, trying with great difficulty not to look at either his brother or sister.
"So, Tex..." New York started, smirking at Texas. California stifled her giggle with her palm. Montana glared at her.
"Get the fuck out of my face, you ********** Yankee."
"No need for that language, Tex, there are children here."
I'm not typing what Texas said next because I will get flamed for being rude and disrespectful. So, about three seconds into the rave that shut up every one of their siblings, I stepped in.
"Okay, Texas!" I yelled over him. He turned on me instead. I had no idea why he was getting mad at me: I don't get any say in this crap.
"Don't side with him!"
"I'm not siding with anybody! I just don't think that's called for."
Texas looked like he wanted to slap me. I don't think I would've cared. It wasn't as though anything would come of it.
"I agree with Texas," Arizona said.
"We see, Zona; your borders are red," South Dakota noted, staring up at the board with Nevada.
"You don't know what I agree with!" Arizona gave me one last contemptuous glare before going back to his own world. I sighed. I eventually figured out what his problem was: he wanted a fence around his place. I told him no: I would rather be fighting a state than an entire other nation (read: Mexico). He calls me ineffective and lazy. He was hoping that I would change under new management.
"Yeah...Zona, we're pretty sure we know what your problem is," North Carolina said, looking as sunk as her red brothers: her candidate had lost as well. Arizona didn't even dignify his sister with a response.
"Can we do the final reveals now, Kuaʻana? Its late," Hawaii said to me, getting to her feet and stretching.
"What do you mean, it's late? Get on a plane now, maybe it'll be what time it is now when you get back," Massachusetts said.
"Well, all us originals were blue all the way!" New York said, getting away from Texas, who was reaching for the empty holster on his belt (I figured it would come to that at one point).
"Speak for yourself!" three of his oldest sisters yelled in his face.
"Oh. Really, you three?" New York pointed in turn to each Carolina, then to Georgia. He looked back at the map, now being colored in blue by Washington, Hawaii at his left twirling her own blue crayon. "Yeah...you are too far south. Who'd I count then?"
"Probably Maine and me," Vermont called, pointing at his brother to the north.
"Aren't you done yet?" California said, lying on her stomach in front of Florida, still counting up his chips.
"Calm down!" he said, obviously aggravated by his little sister. "You know I suck at math!"
"Seriously, Cali, this happens every election," Connecticut said. "We need to be patient with Florida: he's slow." Florida was not thrilled with his brother's word choice. Nor was California with the nickname.
"Besides, Cali, it's not like Florida will be changing anything. I don't even know what Hawaii's doing with her crayon over there," New York said.
"You trying to piss us all off on purpose, York?" Hawaii snapped, offended.
"Our votes count," Rhode Island said through clenched teeth, "just as much as yours do, York."
"I don't know what your problem is, Rhode," New York said, the smirk finding its way across his mouth. "We're on the same side. Unless I missed a speck of red somewhere in New England."
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN, SPECK!?"
"Rhode," Virginia said calmly, "you colored in your border with a dot."
"You're exaggerating, Virginia! And maybe you wouldn't have to if the map was bigger!"
"If we could see you on the map, Alaska wouldn't fit in the room," South Carolina explained. Her twin nudged her. "Too much?"
"And why does she," Rhode pointed at California, "Get so many votes?"
"We've been through this, every election." New Jersey rolled his eyes.
"Yeah, but why?"
"Clearly, because once you get rid of the senators, there are twenty-six of you in California," Florida said, clearing his calculator. The Carolinas found something he said hilarious (I have a pretty good idea what).
"Good. Now, why can't you tally your votes that fast?" California said impatiently, pointing at Florida's scratch sheet.
Florida turned a bright shade of red and took the paper out of her arms' reach. "Twenty-six is a small number!"
"I got mine done faster than you, and I have nearly two of you in me."
"Fine! Fuck this!" Florida gathered all his chips and proceeded to cross to the jars. He stopped just short, though, not knowing where to dump them.
"Give 'em to us, Flor'da," Texas said. "Doesn't matter: may as well just shorten the distance."
"If it doesn't matter, why not just vote with the majority?" New York said from a chair. I tried do disarm Texas before I let him in here, but short of actually removing his arms, it wasn't possible. I didn't even try to get in the middle of them. Somehow I doubted they'd actually kill each other.
"I see there's just one more thing for us to disagree on," I heard, turning my attention to other groups. Virginia was staring at the map, the splotch of red right between her blue and sister Ohio's.
"Well, I told you a long time ago," West Virginia said, sitting on the floor next to her closest sibling, "I'm not you." Which was in direct contrast to her appearance, the copy faded just two shades lighter brown than the original.
Well, several clinks, right after a crash loud enough to silence everyone. I think Florida finally just ragequit on the whole election thing and threw his coins at the blue jar. A loud quiet pounded on our ears as Florida dragged a chair to sit by himself in a corner. Ohio followed him; Tennessee stopped her by the wrist.
"Not a good idea, Ohio."
South Dakota and Colorado were studying the map as Alaska took the blue crayon and colored in Florida.
"I think we outnumber you," South Dakota was saying.
"Nah," Colorado started counting. "You think that, but you're just bigger and boxier than us."
"Colorado, you're a box, too!"
"Well, 'we' is a general term; look at the coast here. Everyone's small."
"Yeah, unfortunately, everyone lives there, too," Wyoming came up behind his brother and put his head on Dakota's. "Without my Senate votes, we wouldn't have the three we, do, right Dakota?"
"Which one?" said South's twin, joining them on Colorado's other side.
"Either of you." Those three - along with Delaware and Vermont (and me acting as the capitol) - have the fewest possible votes at three.
"See! I knew that Senate thing was a good idea!" Rhode Island piped up from under a table.
"Rhode, it doesn't help you at all." Cue shock, though I think he always knew it.
I stood and looked at our map. I took a violet crayon and scrawled "11/2012" on the top. Another successful season. I turned to see New York and Texas still going at it, now backed up, respectively, by Virginia (yeah, I'm surprised, too) and Nebraska. Florida was no longer in his corner, but I didn't know where he went. Hawaii and Alaska were asleep by the table: even being on opposing sides wasn't about to ruin the little time they get together when the lower (or upper) forty-eight convene.
I characterize the election season by the extremes. The true blue like New York and California, and the full-blooded red like Texas and Arizona. And also the third extreme: the swingers so confused they almost quit (insert Ohio and Florida). But there was more to it than that. No one - not even the victors - ever came out of an election happy. Sure, they went to bed content that Tuesday night (or Wednesday morning...or sometimes, because of Florida, a week later), but none of them like the outcome.
Or as successful as it gets. "Ok, I think we're done here, guys. 'Ey, Nebraska!" I said, making her jump and let go of Virginia. "We're done. Can't change it, so there's no point."
I'm pretty sure as they filed out, I heard one of them mutter, "To hell we can't change it."
Is it up to par with the original? I don't want to continue it there: it doesn't fit with the events. That had a specific plot, but it wound up just being America remembering and reconnecting (best he could) with his kids (I'm retconning: the relationship varies state-to-state). And I liked it where it wound up, on an ambiguous ending. This'll just be one shots.