A/N: worse and worse… I listen to Rush Limbaugh and watch the news and these things just make me imagine what Alfred's like right now.
Worse and Worse
"Us Democrats can't run away," said Representative Lloyd Doggett on the televeision, "We've got to stand up and fight back against them." He was talking about the people who protested against him at the local Randalls grocery store when he was discussing the health care bill that the president was forcing. No one wanted it except for the uninformed and the ones in the president's pocket. Hannah Cook, the embodiment of Texas, sat staring at the television looking like she could shoot her television… again. She kept her old revolver away from her for these moments and picked up the bottle of tequila she just bought a month ago. She poured herself a shot and drank it down quickly and put the cap on the bottle quickly before she could consume more. The last thing she needed to be was drunk. That being said, she had plenty reason to want to be.
Hannah was a beautiful woman, tall, strong, with a well endowed chest and small waist. Her hair was a wild, unruly, red curly mess that she had neglected to correct from rushing home to watch the latest local news. She had been to that protest, shouting with the rest of the people. People held aloft signs and were demanding he change his mind on his decision to say "yes" to the health care bill that would incorporate a national health care insurance and a lot of other things at the same time. People wouldn't be allowed to have their private insurance in the end; the elderly would be forced to die because they would be too big of a burden on the system the president was forcing through. Not even all of congress wanted it, but they instead blamed their reluctance on anyone but themselves.
Once again, she made sure her revolver was far away from her. She picked up the remote control from the table beside her and turned off the television. Things were getting worse and worse. She knew it would, she knew it deep down in her very being. She'd seen just as bad before from Mexico's leaders, she'd seen it in Germany's leader and Russia's leaders. It didn't even help that the school system hardly bothered to teach children all of history, instead they cherry-picked the facts they wanted and neglected the rest. History kept on repeating itself. Texas was Texas, Texans were Texans, but even Texas herself had to admit that she had her limit of allowing some of her own children, the Texans, to act as they will. She was thankful that governor still stood his ground, but for how long?
"Texas has yet to learn to submit to oppression, no matter where it comes from," was what Sam Houston had said to the people as well as her so long ago. She was still as wild as ever and she saw the proof that she was still the mirror of the children of Texas that day at the protest. She had warned America, Alfred F. Jones, that it was going to get worse. Oh God how she wished she wasn't right.
Alfred F. Jones, the embodiment of the United States of America, sat in his chair in his Washington, D.C. home and stared at the television. He had grown to loathe watching the news, but he was loathed to not watch it as well. It was a very nasty "catch-22" he'd landed himself in. On one hand he wanted to finish the day after a meeting with the president without having his paranoia struck up once more by the news. It was bad enough that he had to endure the paranoia coming up when he spoke to the president and listened to congress or the senate. On the other hand he didn't want to miss what more these people had to say to insult, berate and completely tear down the American people for standing up for what it means to be American.
"The people coming into these protests," said the speaker of the house on the television, "are wearing swastikas and other such symbols."
Alfred spat out his coca-cola in a spray at his television set and coughed hard enough he had to hit himself on his chest to get his breathing back. What the fuck was that woman on about this time?! Swastikas! The American people protesting and exercising their right to assembly and free speech were suddenly Nazis because they demanded that their government actually pay attention and listen to them?
Alfred wiped his mouth off on his sleeve and sat back into his chair, looking at the coke dripping off the screen of the T.V. He slammed his hand down on the remote and changed the channel to see if he could find something else. One station had people berating Rush Limbaugh for his stupid diet plan, which he could care less about; another station was calling the protesters an angry mob of "right wing radicals" and blamed Rush Limbaugh and other such television and talk show people as the instigators of the movement. It was like Alfred was in the Twilight Zone, except this time Rod Serling wasn't about to pop out of no where and start giving the premise of the story—at least Alfred hoped Rod Serling wasn't about to pop out of no where. Alfred was sure that if Mr. Serling did come back from death to do that to him that Alfred would probably have a heart attack right there.
Alfred got to his feet when he could take no more and pulled his converse sneakers on and picked up his cell phone, hitting his girl California's phone number. He was going to book a flight over to California as soon as he could to get some semblance of reality back to him. "Hey! How's my golden girl, huh?" he said as charmingly as he could. He didn't want to alarm his favorite of the state girls, after all. She had enough to worry about than him.
"I don't know, why don't you try actually calling her," said a familiar voice. It wasn't California. No, it was male.
"Eh? Who's this? You're too soft spoken, man, speak up. How'd you get into my girl's house, huh?" asked Alfred sharply.
"What are you talking about, Alfred? It's me, Matt. You know… your brother," said Matthew Williams, Canada, on the other end.
"Oh." Alfred frowned and looked at the screen on his new phone. He did long for the new gadgets people could put into these new phones, especially the Japanese ones. Oh! That was someone else he needed to talk to eventually. The screen read "Alaska's home", which meant Matt was visiting Alaska. "OH!" he cried out rather loudly as he put the phone back up to his ear. "You're visiting Aga, eh? Hey, you aren't getting her knocked up are you?"
There was an audible, exasperated groan on Matt's end. Alfred liked to exasperate his twin time to time, especially with something that involved sex. Of course, trying to have actual children, in regards to the countries and states and provinces, protectorates and colonies, was impossible. It was sort of like Highlander that way, if Alfred thought about it, except without the cool sword fighting and special effects and quickening. Oh, and they could die, get sick, bleed and age, but it was usually tied to the state of the nation rather than an individual effort. Then, he sighed and spoke again with less irritation. "Look, if you're trying to call Mia, why don't you hang up and call her?"
"How's Aga?" asked Alfred.
"Aga? You don't usually call to ask how she is. Is everything all right?" asked Matt.
"Hey! She's one of my girls, right? I mean, yeah, you get to have sex with her or whatever it is you both do"—at this point Matt was shouting Alfred's name rather angrily—"But it's not like I never see or talk to her ever. I just, y'know, prefer hanging out with the other girls."
Aga Tukkuttok, the state of Alaska, a very pretty Inuit woman with long, straight black hair and bright gold eyes like a wolf's, was not someone Alfred enjoyed the idea of having sex with. It probably had something to do with the fact that Alfred bought her when she was a little kid, practically a baby, from Russia and then sort of ignored her for most of that childhood before having a small hand in trying to raise her properly himself. It was a very awkward feeling he got whenever he got anywhere near her and, while he was obligated since there were only thirteen girls to deal with to come to them and share time with them whenever they asked him to, he simply had trouble doing that with the usually quiet and extremely blunt Miss Alaska.
"Whatever," muttered Matt.
"Is that Alfred, Matt?" asked Aga in the background. "Tell him to remind me when the next meeting is. I need to book ahead of schedule to make a plane flight down there."
"Ah—ah, that's all right, Aga. I can remind you, if you want. Ah—it's not any trouble," said Matt softly.
"Tell her I'll remind her!" said Alfred in his usual cheerful tone.
Matt sighed. "All right," he said, "Talk to you later. Oh, and don't forget that two weeks from now you're coming over for—er—you know—the stuff."
"Oh! Oh yeah! Right! I totally forgot, man! Hey! I'll bring the snacks!" said Alfred, grinning.
"Whatever," mumbled Matt. Then, he hung up. Alfred could have laughed to himself, but he still didn't feel any better for talking, however little, to his twin brother Canada. He made sure he hit the right name as he scrolled through the phone book on his phone and waited as California's waiting song came up. Alfred sang to it, "I wish they all could be California girls!"
"Alfred?" asked Mia Brown on the other end of the phone. "How are you, Alfred?"
"Just dandy! Perfectly normal and everything, of course! Just had a bit of a long day and thought I'd sweet talk my golden girl a little," said Alfred brightly. Of course, Mia knew him better than that, however. She'd seen him more than enough times going through his paranoia.
"Alfred," she said softly, "Are you sure you're all right? You sound a little… um… strained, I guess."
Right on target, as usual.
Alfred sat down finally and leaned into the plush lay-z boy chair. "Alfred, please talk to me. What's wrong?" asked Mia again.
"Was watching the news earlier," said Alfred finally, softer than usual.
"Oh, Alfred," said Mia. She knew how much it bothered him when he watched the news, especially lately. "Alfred, why don't you book a flight over here? It would do you some good to get away from there."
"Yeah?" asked Alfred.
"Yeah," said Mia softly. He could practically hear her gentle smile through the receiver.
"Okay," said Alfred, "I'll do that."
Mia's voice, still as gentle as ever, rang in his ear. "And please don't watch the news, okay? I know how much it bothers you. Just take a break from it."
"Okay," said Alfred softly.
"I love you," she said gently in his ear.
"I love you, too, Mia," he answered. Then, she hung up.
"Alfred," inquired the president, his dark eyes almost glaring at Alfred, "You haven't answered me."
"Sorry, sir," said Alfred quickly. He rubbed the back of his neck and looked away from the president so he didn't have to look into those dark eyes that always seemed to glare at him lately like he'd done something wrong to the man. "What were you saying?"
"I asked you if you could tell me what the other states are saying about this health care bill," said the president, "and anything else. I'm afraid there's a lot of…'disinformation' being spread around about my policies and the bill."
Alfred clenched his fists under the table. "No, sir. I haven't spoken to the girls, lately."
"I need to know if they've heard anything, America," he said, "Because there's a lot of 'disinformation' about how my health care bill is going to take away private health care insurance and force the elderly out of their health care insurance."
"You told a woman that her grandmother probably didn't need a pace maker, but instead should instead take a 'pain pill', sir," said Alfred, clenching his fists tighter.
"You see," said the president, "That's what I mean. I wasn't telling her to only give her grandmother a pain pill, it was just a hypothetical question to begin with and I suggested that maybe it was just a better idea to not give an older person a pace maker, but give them the pain pill instead." After a moment of straightening things on his desk, the president looked to Alfred again. "What else is bothering you?"
"What's with all these bodyguards?" asked Alfred. "The… I.S.E.U. or some thing like that—I don't remember what they're called—they have been used as sort of bouncers for bumping people out of the town hall meetings you suggested the congress people do to explain your ideas, sir."
"What about them? That mob is dangerous. They could seriously injure the congress men and women," said the president.
"They're not a mob, sir, they're just angry, tired and very upset people trying to make congress listen to them," said Alfred, finally looking at the president. For once he was not smiling or looking away from the dark man's eyes, echoing the sharp look that filled the president's dark eyes. "What about those bouncers beating up some guy for selling 'Don't Tread On Me' flags, huh? He was put into a hospital because of that. What about the people not allowed to have a voice, or the people being cherry-picked to listen to the congress people if they express the same views?" The president opened his mouth to speak, but Alfred kept going. "What about them, sir? What about them? These 'bodyguards' are nothing more than thugs! You're putting thugs out there to harm people who are opposing your views! They have as much right to speak as you or I do! They have even more right to voice what they want than either one of us do! What about them?"
The president calmly looked at Alfred, though Alfred could see he hit a nerve. The anger in the man's eyes at being questioned was palpable. "I told you to stop listening to those right wing radicals on the radio and on that news network."
"Fox News is the only one reporting anything! The rest are just saying what you want them to!" snapped Alfred.
The president stood up, his hands on the desk as he leaned toward Alfred. "I've got a meeting with the prime minister of the United Kingdom. I'm sure you'll want to see your friend Kirkland again."
"Brother, man, he's my older brother!" corrected Alfred. "And you still haven't answered me!"
"The meeting is over. I'll have to speak to the states directly, I see," said the president. "I'll start with California, since you talk to her so often."
For the first time since the president took office Alfred grabbed him by his collar and pulled him to him with so much force the president accidentally knocked off several things from his desk. Alfred glared at him angrily, those blue eyes of his livid. "Don't you dare get near her or any of the other girls!" he snarled.
"I'm the president and I have the same right to talk to them as you do," said the president coolly. He then called out for one of the secret service agents waiting on stand-by. They were never usually allowed into the oval office when the president was having a meeting with the strange, constant teenager. "Escort Mr. Jones outside, please. Our meeting is done."
The secret service agent eyed Alfred sharply and grabbed his shoulder hard enough to make even Alfred wince. Alfred dropped his hands and moved away from the president. He then let the secret service agent escort him out of the White House. Once out, Alfred took his time walking all the way back to his home. Once there, he pulled out another cell phone, not his usual, one he bought directly from Japan himself, and dialed Hannah's number. "Yo, Hannah," he said into the phone, "Look, I need you to do me a favor."
"What is it, Alfred?" asked Hannah. She had something in her mouth for her speaking ability was a bit limited by the sound of it.
"Eating?" asked Alfred.
"Nah," said Hannah, "Cleaning my guns. Had a piece between my teeth when you called."
"Keep them handy," said Alfred. "I...I need you do me a favor. Could you please talk to the other southern girls when you can? I'm going to have a hard enough time talking to the northern girls."
"About what, honey?" asked Hannah, her Texas drawl as prevalent as ever.
"The president asked me to rat out the girls for spreading…'disinformation'," he said. "Tell them to keep their eyes out and know that something is definitely up with the people in office now."
"I told you it was happening, Alfie," said Hannah, "But you're so optimistic so I don't push the issue."
Alfred rubbed his face and smiled a little. "I'm also going to take a bit of a vacation, okay? I'm going to go see Mia," he said.
"Oh? Tell Mia I miss her and that she's welcome for some barbeque anytime over here," said Hannah, "I've not had a chance to talk to her. Been yelling a lot at that idiot Lloyd Doggett and few others."
"Oh, yeah?" asked Alfred.
"Got a little revenge out of his pasty ass, though," said Hannah triumphantly, "I toilet papered the shit outta his house and trees. He's got sprinklers too. Lots of them."
"Aw shit, that must've been fun!" cried Alfred, laughing. "Hey, next time you go do that why don't you tell me in advance and I'll get my sexy self over there, eh?"
"While I admit you're sexy, you're still a nerd, Alfred," teased Hannah. "I'll talk to you later, okay? And don't worry. We southerners enjoy a good brawl. Even Georgia and you know how prissy she is."
"Yeah, yeah," said Alfred. "I'll talk to you later." Then, he hung up and looked to the other phone he normally used which was in his other hand. It could just be a fear, strictly paranoia, but he didn't want to take a chance that his normal phone that he carried with him was bugged. He always kept the phone he bought directly from Japan in a secret place on his body and only gave the number to the state girls.
There was a knock on the door of his house that made him jump almost to the ceiling. Clutching his chest and breathing a bit steadier to calm his rapidly beating heart, he eyed the door warily. He grabbed his pistol out of a drawer from a hallway table and checked to see if there was a round in the chamber. Then, he moved closer to the door, edging carefully to look out the side window to see who it was. There was another impatient knock and he reached for the doorknob, gun by his side.
"Oi! Alfred! Open the door!" called a very familiar and welcome English accented voice. Alfred relaxed and stowed the gun back in the drawer before opening the door and leaning out. "Hey! Arthur! It's been a while! Come over to have a drink or something?" asked Alfred, grinning broadly at Arthur Kirkland, The United Kingdom, as the smaller man sort of eyed him with that perpetual frown on his face.
Arthur, much shorter than Alfred, was also slighter in his build than Alfred, more wiry than Alfred or even Matt ever thought of being. He had a handsome face and a wild mess of blonde hair that never stayed well groomed without a great deal of effort on Arthur's part. His thick eyebrows were a part of his face that everyone enjoyed having a good laugh at, especially France. Alfred smiled pleasantly at the smaller Englishman as the other sort of glared at him with those unnaturally bright green eyes of his. "Don't grin at me like that, Alfred, and for God's sake, let me in. It is hot as Hell out here!"
Alfred laughed and moved aside for Arthur and let the smaller Englishman by. Arthur walked in and Alfred, for one moment, caught Arthur looking to that hallway table with some plants in pots sitting on it and that drawer he only partially closed, the gun hastily put back inside. Alfred closed the door and locked it before walking past Arthur to nonchalantly close the drawer and walk past him to the kitchen. "So! What d'you want, huh? Some tea? Coffee? Coke? Oh! Maybe you'd like some of the whiskey Texas bought me. Oh, wait, I've also got some moonshine West Virginia gave me. It'll kill anything inside you," Alfred babbled as he went around his kitchen looking for these various things.
"I saw you being escorted out of the White House," said Arthur as he stood in the sitting room, watching Alfred move around the kitchen through the door. Alfred stopped and put the jar of moonshine on the counter before he could drop it. "Is something happening?" asked Arthur.
"Ah—no, of course not! Whatever would make you think something like that, huh? Anyway, I'm escorted lots of times out of the White House! I remember one time with Nixon that was kinda funny," said Alfred quickly. "Besides, it's nothing to worry about. You know me; I'm sometimes a bit too much for the old guys to follow around all the time!"
"I'll take tea, Alfred," said Arthur. "Oh, I brought you one of the new albums I've become interested in."
"Really?!" shouted Alfred, grinning. "Sweet! I'll get you some of my music off my iPod for you! It'll be a fair trade, yeah?"
Arthur rolled his eyes, but nodded to Alfred and pulled the C.D. from his jacket pocket and put it on the table. He sat down in one of the chairs and waited as Alfred brought out a sleek new laptop computer and plugged his iPod into the port. He then put a C.D. into the C.D. tray and started fixing up the C.D. to burn off the album Alfred wanted to trade for the album Arthur brought over. "So what kind of music is it, eh?"
"Punk," said Arthur, leaning back into the chair. He smirked a bit at Alfred as the younger man laughed.
"Seriously, Arthur, you're freakin' weird, y'know? You're all stiff and wearing those suits or sweaters and ties and stuff and you listen to this stuff. Not that I mind, since you bring me some awesome tunes," said Alfred.
Arthur grunted in mild irritation. "I'm a gentleman, idiot! Besides, I was a pirate before this and I was a thief before even that! But above all I'm a gentleman!"
"Yeah, yeah, whatever," said Alfred as he made the C.D. for Arthur. When he was done, he labeled the C.D., wrote down what songs were on it and put both the song list and the C.D. into a jewel case for Arthur, setting it down in front of the roguish Englishman.
The sound of the tea pot whistling loudly cut into Alfred's ears sharply. He stood up quickly and went to pour the tea as Arthur watched him, frowning deeply. "Alfred, there's something wrong, isn't there. I know you're a complete idiot and rush into things without thinking, but you're acting off!" called Arthur from the sitting room.
Alfred gave a short laugh and fixed Arthur's tea for him. "There's nothing wrong, Engy!" shouted Alfred. He put in the amount of sugar Arthur usually liked and stirred it in before walking out and putting the cup down in front of Arthur.
"Don't call me 'Engy'! It's demoralizing!" snapped Arthur. He lifted up the tea cup and blew on it before sipping and coughing. "Hothothothot!" Alfred laughed at the Englishman as Arthur waved his hand in front of his mouth to cool it down. "Shut it, wanker!" snapped Arthur.
The normal phone for Alfred rang; the tune "Here Comes the Chief" playing to signify it was coming from the White House. Alfred eyed it warily and Arthur finally looked to him suspiciously when Alfred wasn't walking over to pick it up immediately. Alfred smiled brightly at Arthur and waved at him, "I'll be right back! I've got to take this, Arthur." Then, he stood up and walked over to the cell phone and picked it up, hit a button and put it to his ear. "Yo! How are you, sir!"
Arthur watched Alfred carefully, noting that Alfred was even tenser than he had been when Arthur had arrived. Arthur frowned deeply again and sipped his tea a little more. "Yeah, sir, he's here. You done with your meeting? Oh, cool, okay. Yeah, I don't mind letting him stay here if he wants. It's not a problem."
"Don't worry about it, Alfred, I've got a hotel room," said Arthur.
"Arthur says he'll stay at a hotel," said Alfred. "Was there anything else you needed, sir? No? Okay! Talk to you later!" Then, he turned off the phone entirely and took the battery out quickly. He looked to the now very suspicious Arthur and smiled brightly. "Hey, do mind staying here, Arthur? I'll get your suitcase!"
"I said I don't need to stay here, you idiot!" snapped Arthur, eyeing him now with a lot of worry in those unnaturally green eyes of his. "What the fuck is going on here? Why are you so bloody antsy and what happened at the White House, eh?"
Alfred's smile, for once, looked more hollow than anything Arthur had seen in a very long time; at the very least he had not seen Alfred's smile not be genuine since the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and especially World War II after Hawaii was attacked and brutally scarred from the Pearl Harbor attack. Of course the scar had not been a big one, but it was enough to make even the usually cheerful nation turn into a very pissed off, raging nation with guns. "It's nothing, really, Arthur. Besides, you've got your own issues back home, right? Lots of guys trying to demand Sharia Law be implemented and whatever over there, right?"
Arthur put the tea down and stood up. "What's going on, Alfred," asked Arthur again as he walked right up to Alfred and looked up at him. "You look bloody awful."
"I think," began Alfred softly, swallowing slowly, "I think my president is trying to destroy me."
"What do you mean?" asked Arthur, furrowing those thick eyebrows of his.
"It's been going on for a while," said Alfred, still not raising his voice very far. It dawned on Arthur why he would take the battery out of his phone and keep his voice soft: he was afraid his house and phone was bugged.
"Explain," said Arthur.
"The President," said Alfred slowly, "he keeps insulting the American people who oppose him. He keeps saying things like they're only 'right wing radicals' or they're just 'angry white folks' or some stupid shit like that to demoralize or whatever the people who don't agree or say what he wants them to. He told me to not listen or watch Fox News or to Rush Limbaugh, saying they were inciting and instigating the sentiment and spreading false information about his policies, but they're the only ones saying anything that is directly reflected by my girls.
"And just today he asked me to talk to the states and tell him what they think or what they've been saying and then implied he was going to go talk to them himself," said Alfred quickly as he clenched his teeth, "starting with California."
Arthur's thick eyebrows shot up into his messy blonde hair and he backed away unsteadily. He knew California was Alfred's favorite and what's more she was the one that helped rehabilitate Alfred after the Vietnam War. This was beyond anything Arthur had ever seen of the man himself, but he always had the strange sense that the American president was far colder than he ought to have been. At least with the previous president he could see the man genuinely cared about the freedoms of the American people and keeping the American people safe as well as anyone else in the world that asked. The only problem was that he sounded like a complete idiot when he spoke and was easily distractible, much like Alfred himself.
"I'll stay at the house," said Arthur softly, "Get yourself to California and see your Mia." Alfred nodded and moved away from Arthur. Arthur had an idea of why Alfred asked for Arthur to stay at the house, now. It was in case someone came to the Jones' residence and tried to ransack it for information. If what Alfred had described was true, then what they had on their hands was something dangerous and potentially explosive. The American people, as mirrored in Alfred, would not stand still and let someone trample on them without a fight. Arthur only hoped things would resolve themselves soon and peacefully. The alternative was unthinkable. Who would ever trust the American people again if their elected representative turned out to be someone like the bastards Arthur had seen behind Germany and Russia?
When Alfred hailed a cab and darted off for the airport, Arthur was left pondering over the events of the day. He could only hope that Alfred was wrong and just being paranoid. Things were getting worse and worse everyday.