Debate Night Finale

This time, you feed your tween at the kitchen table, not in his bedroom, perhaps because it is the last ‘debate’, hopefully the last time a thug will have the opportunity to one-on-one malign a better man in front of America, because after January the thug will be traveling to jail, or preferably one of the very cages he’s confined all those children to for the last 4 years.

Perhaps you want your tween to hear some of the ‘debate’—although he’s pretty obsessed with his Nintentdo Switch game and stuffing his mouth with cheese tortellini and you don’t invite him to join you on the couch.

And you’re pretty sure you don’t invite him to join you on the couch because you don’t want him damaged by the lying thug. And yet you also want him to hear the lying thug because you don’t want him to be damaged by the lying thug.

You plop on the couch and cocoon in your blanket with no appetite and glare at the TV in the family room which is also part of the kitchen and within sight of the kitchen table and your blissfully eating/playing tween—your fingers white knuckled around a bottle of sparkling water.

You turn up the TV’s volume.

The ‘debate’ begins just as your spouse arrives.

WHERE’S THE FLY! you yell, gesticulating at the TV and your spouse high-fives the tween and sets his briefcase on a barstool and helps himself to dinner, joins you on the couch, kisses your cheek before his first bite of tortellini and tells you:

Everything’s going to be all right.

He is reminding you of your self-proclaimed mantra you’ve been self-proclaiming since the magic-making fly appeared on the fake VP’s head.

Everything’s going to be all right.

WHY AREN’T THEY MUTING HIM! you shout and your husband suggests to the tween that he take his dinner upstairs.

Your tween lingers by his parents before bolting.

Crazy, your tween says.

Right? his dad concurs.

Everything’s going to be all right, you mumble.

What’s that, Mom? your tween asks.


Your tween knows the current times are unprecedented. He distance learns. He wears a mask when walking the dogs around the neighborhood. He sees his friends on Discord or FaceTiming while Robloxing. He reminds his mother to wash her hands when returning from Trader Joe’s, which makes her dab tears of gratefulness from her eyes once her hands are dry.

Can’t wait until I can vote, your tween says and galumphs upstairs.

You share a tender glance with your husband because it was yesterday that the tween was a tow-headed toddler and next month he’ll graduate into teenage status and voting will be an option for him the next time you blink your eyes and suddenly you and your spouse are holding hands.

Sometimes, you see Alec Baldwin doing his impression of the fake president doing an impression of himself. You wince when Joe does. Your eyes, too, pop with wonderment at the dumpster-fire depths your country has reached. When Joe glances at the audience, you presume he is sharing an OMG UNREAL, RIGHT? moment with his wife.

cocooning blanket

But this time, you practice not panicking. There is simply no more time to panic. Early voting has reached record breaking heights. You have voted. It is time to pull up your big girl pants, knock off shouting anything except GO JOE and simply support your country. When you feel your BP rise, you vibe Joe your mantra.

Everything’s going to be all right, you vibe to the next President of the United States.

You scream-cheer with the rest of America when Joe gives his concluding message. When Jill Biden appears in her tropical print dress with matching mask and glides swiftly by the thug and that lady that doesn’t like to touch him, you cheer louder and keep on when Jill wraps her husband in her arms.  

Pretty sure Emma Thompson will play Jill in the movie.

Yours in everything will be all right,


About PB Rippey

Writer, wife, mother, grateful. Fiction, memoir, poetry, kidlit (MG), member SCBWI.
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