matador<<<>>>In the beginning, the universe was created. This made a
of people very unhappy and is widely regarded as a bad move.<<<>>>You
cannot solve a problem by thinking on the same level that created
it.<<<>>>I don't want to achieve immortality through my children. I want
achieve immortality by NOT DYING.
I was just making dinner, and a thought occurred to me. So I decided to scribble
it out in something short. I know, I always say that, but I DID it this time. Go
me! I don't want to spoil who everyone is in the story, so I'll keep this
minimal. This one's thanks to 16Volt.
They're not mine. I don't claim they're mine. They're Aaron Sorkin's and NBC's,
don't sue me, please--come on everyone, you know the words to this song! Not
getting money from it, not intending to.
This is songfic in that a song by 16Volt inspired it, more out of general feel
than entire lyrics. Anyone else who knows who 16Volt are gets my appreciation.
;> For the rest, you'll have to make do with the title. I'm not going to give
much away about this, because I want it to be a little of a surprise.
Unfortunately, because of the content of this story, I'm going to have to put an
aircraft-carrier sized warning on it. This warning DOES SPOIL the story's
contents, but it is going to be necessary because someone, somewhere, could get
offended. I'm not one of these 'how dare you be offended' types; I'm very happy
not forcing anything I think on someone else. So, a) if you read this warning
the story will be spoiled, but b) if you offend easily you may want to give it a
This story contains racist language, attitudes, situations, and actions. I am in
NO WAY WHAT-SO-EVER promoting, backing, or expressing in any way a preference
for these things, I am simply presenting them in a story. I'm something of a
pathologist in that I'm interested in the nature of the disease, and how it goes
about destroying things, hence the story's title. Of course this warning totally
ruins what the story is about, but I know it has to be here because SOMEONE is
going to read this and think, "SHE'S WHITE PRIDE! OBVIOUSLY!" We won't get into
how morbidly funny that accusation actually is, and let's leave it at I AM NOT
SUPPORTING RACISM IN ANY WAY. There, I've said it a handful of times, if you
still come away thinking I'm sympathetic to racists, you're just stupid.
Summary: And I'm thinking of ways to blow it apart, just like all the dreams
that rot in your heart...
Feedback, questions, comments, critiques, and criticisms all go to
The Dreams That Rot in Your Heart
There it was again, that feeling. Agitation, frustration, and irritation rolled
into one terrible combination that threatened to send him into one of his moods.
His mother called them 'episodes', but the guys called them 'moods'. It was a
degrading term, meant to imply he was like a woman during her time. It dug at
him, like an old splinter, whenever someone said it.
"Hey Troy, you in one a' your moods again?"
"Eh, forget him. He's havin' a mood."
"Boy, don't let yer moods get in the way of yer work!" That last usually had a
good punch in tow.
Maybe if he hadn't lived where he did, it wouldn't've been such an issue. In
Boston, or Philadelphia, he'd've been taken to a doctor by now, one of those
head-shrinkers. They'd have produced a fancy term or other to describe his
episodes, written a prescription for something at the local drug store, and then
he'd have been taken home to the 'burbs.
Of course, Troy didn't live in Philadelphia, or Boston. He lived here, in a
small burb in West Virginia that was only 1 or 2 steps up from a ghetto. It was
too urban to really be a ghetto, and too populace to qualify as the boons.
Somewhere in that limbo between isolation and saturation his family's little
blue house sat, with a half-broken picket fence and a dying lawn.
Troy was sitting in the local diner, alone at one of the booths that faced the
main highway. He had homework to do, and as such his books and papers were
spread before him in formless chaos. Troy's parents weren't entirely stupid;
after insisting he get good enough to attend the community college in town, they
continued to harass him about getting good enough grades so that he could
qualify for some merit scholarship or other. He'd pointed out that being a WASP,
and male at that, didn't really bode well, but they were determined that he get
the education they hadn't, in a state university. Troy couldn't imagine why,
though. He didn't want to go away. He wanted to stay here, with his friends.
With Tammy, and Joe, and AJ...
Troy scrunched down in the booth a little more, absently looking out over the
empty highway. It had been quiet the last few days, too quiet. When too much
time passed without something happening, Troy got like many others
did--restless. Actions defined him, not inaction, and the last few days--hell
the last few weeks if he was being honest--had been nothing but inaction. Get
up, help dad more with the fence, go to school, come home, do homework, go hang
out with his friends, come home before 1, go to bed. Repeat ad nauseum. Soon
school would be out for the summer term (which he didn't plan on attending), and
in place of that and homework his father would expect him to work at Mr.
Rafferty's mechanic shop like he had the previous summer. It would all be the
same, though. It had been for three years now.
This particular mood wasn't being brought about just by the lack of anything to
do as the school year slowly crawled to a close. It was also the result of the
TV mounted over the bar. The old Sony was positioned behind Troy's booth, and
thus out of his line of sight, but he could still hear it over the murmuring
jukebox on the other side of the diner, at the other end of the bar.
"As I look out over this magnificent vista..."
It was him again.
Troy simmered. He was unlike many of the kids at the college in that he'd voted
freshman year, which had been a Presidential election year. When his father and
mother had carefully explained to him the two candidates, and when he'd done
some reading on his own, he'd been appalled. That man was running for
President? Talk about the blind leading the blind...
And if the Democrats getting the White House hadn't been bad enough, there were
more recent events that really stuck in his craw. Take, for example, the
daughter and that black guy...
No, don't take it. You'll get into a mood. Troy reached for his glass of
water and took a swig, hoping it would settle him down. He got so worked up
about that. Even Tammy thought it was weird, and if anyone had expressed
distaste at seeing the President's daughter with the new aide, it had been her.
She'd compared it to screwing her dog.
Troy smiled a little. Tammy. He had to admit, he liked her. He liked her a lot.
Unfortunately, she seemed more interested in Jim...
"Can you believe the shit they show on TV here?"
Troy glanced up and smiled slightly as Darren slid into the opposite seat of
the booth. "Hey man, what's going on?" Troy asked, clearing some his books off
the table. Darren shrugged.
"Eh, nothing, same as usual. You doin' your homework?" he ribbed a little. Troy
gave him a narrow look but diligently stuffed all the schoolwork into his
"Yeah, big Calc test on Friday." He shoved the bag into the seat next to him.
Darren was looking over Troy's shoulder at the TV. They both listened to the
President speak for a minute, then Darren snorted at something.
"Can you believe that guy's still got 2 years left to ruin everything?" he
asked, his tone bitter. Troy sighed inwardly; it looked like there would be no
avoiding the topic.
"Yeah well, maybe someone will dig up a useful scandal, like they did with the
last guy? And get all those hearings going again."
Darren snorted. "Don't I wish." They were both silent for a moment, then Darren
sat forward a little. "You know, I was talking to Carl the other day. He said
maybe someone should do something about it."
Troy's brow furrowed some. "Do something?" he echoed. Darren nodded.
"Yeah, ya know. Something."
Troy looked around nervously. He was not without paranoia. "We probably
shouldn' say that so loud."
Darren scoffed. "Come on, Troy. What you think they got people out here? We'd
Troy leaned forward, his mood finally uncontrollable. "We'd know? Like those
fucking hicks in Alabama knew? The goddamned FBI was up their asses inside an
HOUR when they tried to pull that little stunt with their new nigger mayor!
Chrissaskes, Darren, the government has people everywhere."
Darren was taken aback, and for a moment, the only sound in that end of the
diner was the lazy fan on the counter and the President's voice droning on the
TV, the jukebox having fallen silent. Then Darren spoke. "Well well, someone's
daddy's been feeding him all manner of scary stories at bed," he drawled.
Troy shook his head and looked back out the window. "Fuck you," he muttered
darkly. Darren smirked.
"Hey man, my point is, if this is the sort of shit we got to put up with,
someone should do something!"
"You mean Carl's point," Troy corrected him absently. Darren waved the comment
"Me, Carl, whoever. We should do something. To them."
Troy rolled his eyes. "Right. Do something. The guy walks around with fifty
armed guards and you wanna do something."
Darren paused. "So you're out?" he asked casually. Troy's gaze jerked away from
the highway sharply.
"Out? Out of what?"
Darren didn't respond, because he didn't need to. Troy's eyes widened slightly.
"You two already have something going?" he hissed.
Darren nodded slightly, as if he too was afraid of being watched. "We do. Got a
few weapons, got some ammo, got some ideas..."
Troy swallowed. "And what the hell d'ya want me for?"
Darren shrugged. "Carl wants three. Yer dad taught you himself since you were
Troy bit his lip. This was it, then. One of those decisions that changed one's
life. Five minutes ago, he'd been annoyed at the prospect of a boring existence,
and now he was contemplating a capital crime.
Troy shifted in his seat. "Just what are you two planning?"
It had started early. His mother was the less overt of the two, but even she
displayed it. The way. The attitudes.
They're inferior. They're less than we are, and anyone who says otherwise is
either under their thumbs, or has their blood in them. No matter how white they
look, they're inferior too. They're not from good lines.
Growing up, he'd never been lead to think there was another or better way of
looking at it, and so he didn't. He didn't go to school with black kids, didn't
live near black families. In fact there wasn't anyone 'of color' for at least
twenty miles, and at that point you'd already reached the larger of the local
cities. They were in groups there, where it was safe.
When Troy had reached twelve, his father had started to take him to the Pride
meetings. They were once a week during off times, and twice a week otherwise,
held in one of the aircraft hangars at the abandoned airport. It was a nice
hangar, actually, and it sported several fans for the summer and space heaters
for the winter, a refrigerator, and even a modest stereo for listening to music.
The local hunting and fishing groups convened there before a trip, and as such
several trophies graced the walls. The outer gunmetal gray paint was flaking and
needed a new coat (again), and the Pride's badge was losing some of its color.
Troy's father wasn't as militant as Carl's. Mr. Leroy could be downright
frightening in his zeal, and he had a mouth to make a sailor blush. Troy had
always prided himself on the extent of his vocabulary, but Mr. Leroy had terms
for the various races that Troy couldn't begin to entirely understand.
Not being raised by a fanatic had altered Troy's outlook somewhat. It meant he
didn't get into fights if he was ever in town and confronted by anyone, but it
also meant he simmered, and this simmering resulted in the moods. There were
times when the ferocity in him was like a blindness he couldn't see through, and
the only way out was to go somewhere and hit something. There was a baseball bat
and an old log out back of the house for that, but occasionally, Troy wished he
were in Carl's shoes. When Carl was feeling the need to hit something, he
usually tracked down a person, or perhaps an unlucky animal.
Troy didn't hold with hitting animals. Unlike blacks or Jews, they didn't know
any better, they were just animals. He liked dogs, as a matter of fact, and for
that reason he made sure to scare off any strays he saw hanging around. No need
for Carl to have extra targets.
There was Tammy, Carl's younger sister (by less than a year), and Darren, who
lived two houses down from Carl and was the same age. Jim was one of the older
kids, getting ready to graduate from college. He'd spoken at length during the
meetings about how he planned to further the Pride's ways.
Good for him, Troy had thought, not particularly concerned with what Jim
was going to do for the clan in his impending absence. He was more concerned
about his own, which as summer approached was a year away. He would graduate
next year, and then what? The real world as well? Join up with Jim and help him?
None of that appealed to Troy. He didn't know what he wanted in life (except
maybe to have Tammy just once before he left town...), but college didn't feel
right. It didn't feel like the right path.
When he'd been a little boy, his first dream had been to be a fireman. He
didn't see too many of them, so far out in the country like this, but his
family's TV got three or four channels via air reception. Then, when he got
older, he wanted to be a policeman, and then a doctor. His father had been
interested in his son's predilection for public service, because it was a
position he had a great deal of respect for. His mother figured it was a phase.
Now, when he looked back, Troy wished he still had those dreams. They had been
As he progressed through middle school and had his first few run-ins with cops,
any desire to be in law enforcement was wiped out. Thomas came back from the
Navy a complete asshole, and so that consideration died. Being a doctor was too
expensive (no one said it to him, but he felt the sentiment none-the-less), and
after an incident with a fire when he was thirteen that dream withered too.
By then the Pride meetings had taken their hold, and while he'd been interested
in them, he realized that there was little in this world that tolerated a
Professional Pride Member. It wasn't really a career so much as a belief, like a
religion. He had to have something else.
So, he'd drifted through high school, keeping out of trouble with the blacks as
best he could, more often pulling Carl out of fights than getting involved in
them. It wasn't that he didn't want to, it was just that his father always
impressed upon him the absolute necessity of being careful about things. He had
to get into a position of power before he could afford to be as militant, as
volatile as Carl.
That dream supplanted the old ones. A day when he wouldn't have to pretend,
when he wouldn't have to act tolerant of his black or Asian teachers, when he
wouldn't have to say all the right things to his counselor. The day was a long
time coming, though.
This dream, this dream wasn't a bright, shining one like the others had been,
full of the innocence of youth and the promise of a simple life. It confused
him, it made it difficult for him to think in class and it made his dissatisfied
with any choice put before him. Nothing felt right at all, up until that
afternoon in the diner, when Darren laid out an impossible idea to him.
Carl settled into the kitchen chair, like his father might do at a meeting.
Troy refrained from making any comparisons, as it was Carl's family's house. The
Leroys were in town, and his sister was already asleep. Darren and Troy had
snuck over, so as to avoid attracting any notice from their parents. When the
three of them convened privately, their every move was noted.
"Did he already tell you?" Carl asked anxiously. Troy nodded.
"Yeah, he told me you were planning something."
Carl's grin turned decidedly hateful. "Not just something. We wanna get that
Troy attempted to not sound too bored when he said, "Carl, you need to narrow
it down a little."
Darren snickered, and Carl narrowed his eyes. "Do you think is funny?" he
snapped in as harsh a voice as he could, with Tammy asleep in the bedroom.
Darren sobered some. "It's not funny, not at all. This is real, okay? I'm going
to do this, with or without you pussies."
Darren bristled. "Where do you get off--"
"Hey, hey," Troy said, placing his hand on Darren's arm and urging him to sit
back down. Darren sat reluctantly, never taking his eyes from Carl.
Troy looked over at Carl. "We never said we weren't with you, we just wanna
know if you have someone specific in mind," he clarified.
Carl rolled his eyes. "You know, the aide. The one screwing the President's
daughter!" he said in a low, sharp voice. Darren's eyebrows raised.
"Woah, you're goin' for the gold. How you think we're ever gonna get near him?"
Troy frowned. "He's right, hitting him is as hard as hitting the President.
They're always together."
"They sure are. But it won't be so hard this time. I got a friend who helped me
out, from the Roslind Pride."
"Is this that skinny punk, what's-his-name? Timmy?" Darren demanded. Carl's
lips narrowed into a fine line.
"Tommy," he corrected tightly. Darren sat back in his chair forcefully.
"God, what a fucking idiot--"
"Don't go talking about him like that!"
"He IS a fucking idiot, and you know it! He's a Jew-loving--"
Carl bolted from his seat and would've reached across the table with his fist
if Troy hadn't seen it all coming and grabbed him by his arm.
"Stop it, you're gonna wake her up," he snapped, jerking his head in the
direction of Tammy and Carl's shared bedroom. Panting, staring at each other
like junkyard dogs, Carl and Darren both pulled free of Troy's hold.
"Shut up," Troy growled at Darren. He looked back at Carl. "What's Tom
Carl took a few deep breaths to calm himself down. "He's a janitor, right?
Works in a building at that Newseum thing. He says there've been some suits in
and out of there recently. Says the last time this happened, the President made
a visit to the area."
That got Darren's attention. "He think he can get us into the building?"
Carl nodded. "Yeah. Slip us in before the FBI get there, so we don't get caught
going in. We just have to make sure we don't get caught when they sweep the
Troy was chewing on his lip. "So we three sneak in before they get there and
wait, and when he's arriving or leaving maybe, take our best shots?"
Carl shook his head. "No, two of us in the window, and somebody on the ground.
As a signal. That way we know it's him."
Darren chewed on that idea. "Troy should definitely be in the window, then.
He's a better shooter than both of us."
Carl nodded. "S'why I wanted you to get him. You're better than me too, Darren.
There's just, a problem, with being in the window."
Troy realized it just as Darren did, and a large chunk of ice settled into his
stomach. "They'll...they'll have snipers on the roof, right? They do that."
Carl nodded slowly. Darren gulped. "Christ, we'll get shot?"
"Yeah. Might only get off a half-dozen rounds before they figure out where you
are, and those bastards don't miss." Carl's voice held a certain amount of
regret that was morbidly fascinating to Troy. He actually WANTED to be one of
the ones to die, but what it boiled down to was he didn't have the shooting
ability. His eyesight wasn't as good as theirs, nor was his experience in target
shooting with anything other than a rifle and scope on par. Worse yet, they'd be
using handguns by necessity in this case.
It had to be them, then. Troy looked over at Darren as something wild and
feverish made what little hair there was on his shaven head stand on end.
I will go there, and kill them, and then die. Is this what I want? He had
to consider it seriously. Would the people he left behind be proud that he'd
freed them from the hypocrisy of this man and his daughter? Or would they only
be sad that he'd left?
No, they won't be sad, because I'm not going to miss.
Darren had already nodded his assent at Carl. Troy looked up, and did the same.
Sneaking out was the toughest part. They actually needed to be in the building
by six, so they could hunker down and wait for the arrival of the suits. They
packed some snacks for the wait, in addition to the ammo and the guns.
Surprisingly enough, it wasn't as difficult to get them as they'd feared. They
purchased them on the way there in Darren's old run-down Civic that was almost
older than they were. It wasn't insured or licensed, so they had to be careful
about where and how they drove it, but it also made the perfect cover. They wore
hats, so no one could tell at first glance that they were skinheads. They needed
to attract as little attention as possible.
Getting into the building was the easy part. Tommy had loaned Carl one of his
key sets to make copies, and that gave Darren and Troy the run of the basement.
By six most of the office workers had cleared out, and the two young men snuck
in and slowly climbed the stairs to the fifth floor. By six thirty they were
cowering under desks and waiting, hearts pounding, as the Secret Service prowled
the building, ousting stragglers. After a very, very tense hour, they stopped
looking on the upper floors, and Darren and Troy were able to take up a position
in some manager's office with large windows that overlooked the Newseum.
It had been Carl's decision to wait until the President and his entourage left
the event, as opposed to when they were arriving. He liked to peruse the rope
lines, and Carl had suggested this would be their best, maybe their only chance.
When the cars arrived, Troy felt it again, the hair standing on his head and
that feverish, odd rush. His heart beat unnaturally fast as he watched them
enter the building and vanish from his sight.
Carl was right. No good shots their. But if the cars are facing the other
way for the exit... Troy and Darren settled in to wait.
Darren nudged Troy awake from his dozing. He didn't speak, but instead jerked
his head at the window, mouthing, "They're leaving."
Troy sat up hastily and checked the glock he'd chosen again. All full, although
if Carl's prediction was right he'd be lucky to get even part way through the
All I need is one, he thought calmly.
Inch by inch, they slowly opened the window, not wanting to attract attention
with any sudden movement. Carl was easy to spot in the crowd, even from this
distance, with the blue Expos cap he'd filched from his dad. Troy flexed his
grip on the glock experimentally, his mind racing. He glanced over at Darren,
who also looked excited and afraid.
The crowd began to cheer, and Troy's attention snapped back to the people
below. The limos were there, and as he'd hoped they were facing the opposite
direction as for the arrival. Perfect line of sight, Troy thought.
There, coming out of the building. The President, waving his hand, and just
behind him, the aide. More people, the staff he assumed, followed in pairs and
singles, also waving to the crowd enthusiastically. There was one woman walking
with the daughter, and she was turned so that her back was to Darren and Troy.
She was a secret service agent, Carl had said. Troy kept his eyes on Carl, who
still hadn't given the signal.
Just then, he did it. He pulled his cap off, nodded slightly at Darren and
Troy, and turned away. The woman had to have seen him; she turned and searched
the office building before seeing them in the window. Troy's heart skipped a
"Now!" he shouted, leaning out and firing. Darren followed suit, shooting
quickly and randomly, his accuracy less than stunning.
It seemed they'd only gotten off a handful of shots before the Secret Service
retaliated, first from the ground and then the snipers they'd known about
spotted them. Troy saw something out of the corner of his eye and glanced at
Darren just in time to see him painted with a small red dot, then jerk back from
the window as the distant rifle's shots caught up with the lasersite. He looked
back out the window and, not bothering to see if he too sported a targeting
mark, took and aim and fired one more shot.
Over the din of his own gunshot and the screaming below, he didn't hear the
bullet that got him, but it felt like it landed square in the chest. He felt as
if he hand been punched, and suddenly his balance was gone and he fell back,
striking the desk behind him. His breath was painfully short, and he didn't have
the strength to get up.
For several minutes Troy lay there, his blood pooling around him. Through the
open and now shattered window he could hear the cacophony of screams and sirens,
then suddenly tired squealed as several cars fled. There he goes. Is he in a
limo or an ambulance? Troy wondered dimly.
Darren had fallen back beside the desk, but even from his distorted angle Troy
could tell his friend was already dead. A couple of lucky shots to his neck and
several more common ones at center of mass had landed swiftly.
Troy was somewhat luckier; he'd fallen back so quickly that none of the other
shots had hit him, although he could see near misses in the splintered wood of
the desk that loomed above him, toward the edge of his sight. The single shot
had no doubt hit some sort of major artery, and he didn't have much longer
before bloodloss caught up with him.
In spite of the cold creeping up on him, Troy smiled a little. He'd gotten
someone. He knew he had. That lost shot, he'd aimed carefully, at the back. He
wasn't sure if it had been the aide, or someone else, but they'd been hit. He
just knew. Just like when he'd first gone hunting with his father, and he'd
known it was his bullet and not his father's that had done the deed. His, and
I got them, Troy thought faintly as the darkness of the office closed in
on him from all sides. I got them, dad.
He was dead before the first Secret Service agents bolted into the room.
Well, there we go. Took me about 10 hours to write it.