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PART ONE – THE BURNING

THE UNHOLY TRIFECTA

When President Trump took the office of President in the year 2017, few Americans could have predicted the huge changes to come under the rulers that would follow him — changes inspired by his unprecedented example.

And few could have predicted that this man, who started with an approval rating lower than any president before him, down in the toilet, would end up with an approval rating so high up to heaven’s ceiling, it even satisfied him, a man who loved to be adored. His ego feasted on his people’s approval like bees feast on nectar, like kids feast on Big Macs with fries on the side, like flies feast on feces.

As President Trump did more and more untoward things, the American people adored him more and more, which made him do even more untoward things.

But nobody had any idea that any of this would happen when Donald Trump began his rocky reign. Many pundits predicted that he would not last out his first term. Boy, did they get it wrong, wronger than the pundits got it when they thought Donald Trump was a big joke because he started his campaign by, among other outrageous slurs, saying that Mexican immigrants were rapists.

In fact, nothing much might have happened in the Trump years were it not for three events that came to pass late during his tenure, events that came to be known as the Unholy Trifecta.

Were it not for these three events, President Trump would never have been prompted to do what he did. What he did brought about a new America, affectionately known as Trumplandia, but officially known under another name, as decided by President Trump in one of his many executive decrees, which was basically how he ended up running the country. It was how he at first attempted to start running the country, and it was how in the end he did in fact run the country. He was never all that happy about signing laws made by Congress; much happier signing decrees written by him and his close advisors.

The official name for the new America, as decreed by President Trump towards the end of his reign, was the United States of Christ.

It had always been considered an irony of ironies that this thrice-divorced man who liked banging supermodels was so beloved by the evangelical community, whose love he returned by making them an absolutely dominant force in the new America.

President Trump basically tore down the wall between Church and State, to the point that it was impossible for anyone in government not to be a devout evangelical Christian. Many Roman Catholics became evangelicals in order to further their careers.

And when President Trump decreed that America had to go to church every Sunday — making church-going a mandatory activity for the entire nation — he became more than the champion of the Religious Right: he became their hero and their idol, and he basked in it.

But that would not have happened were it not that three events brought about the chaos and confusion which gave President Trump the opportunity to take upon his office the extreme executive powers that enabled him to change America forever, and remake it in his image.

Such events cannot be predicted, and neither can one predict how such events might change the world. Who could have predicted 9/11, and who could have predicted that it would lead to such turmoil in the Middle East, and that soon Europe would be overrun by Arab refugees running away from their failing states?

So nobody could have predicted that something like The Unholy Trifecta could have happened, and nobody could have predicted that these three events would allow President Trump to change America in fundamental ways.

What was this bizarre threesome that changed America forever into the country we have today in the year 2049?

The first event was the drowning of Miami in a hurricane much worse than any preceding one, which hit that city with spectacular results, undoubtedly occasioned by accelerated climate change (after all, President Trump had rescinded all Obama’s regulations about emissions and constraints on the fossil fuel industry; many oil and gas pipelines criss-crossed America, and many a river and lake and water source had been polluted when these oil pipes broke in one way and another; water became a privatized business and was metered and priced exactly like electricity; and despite a few rumbles among an otherwise quiescent populace when the price of water went up to a dollar a gallon, causing many households to cut down their showers by half, which was welcomed by the deodorant industry, the privatization of water remained in force, and Coca-Cola, the major supplier of water, surpassed Google and Facebook and Apple and Amazon to become the richest company on earth).

This Miami storm, dubbed Electra after a great female character of vengeance from a famous Greek tragedy, thundered into the beach city, waves twenty feet high, and besides killing thousands, left the city underwater for three months. It was a much bigger disaster than the storm that had previously battered New Orleans. or Houston or Puerto Rico. Miami was literally drowned, and it took months for the waters to subside. People from other states came to the drowned city to vacation and take snorkel swims over the submerged city, and dive deep among its watery ruins to explore the buildings underwater, and gather some treasures from the underwater houses.

President Trump called in the Army to install order when roaming bands of brigands began to rob and kill to survive in the chaos (or so the official line from the White House averred) which set the template for other take-overs by the Army of other cities in various states of trouble, mostly financial, brought about by Republican Governors who had slashed taxes to such a degree that there was no money left for schools, which led to massive protests, which led to the President sending in the Army to install order, and which normalized the military occupation of more and more cities.

The second event was the terrorist bombing at UC Berkeley, when five bombs exploded at various strategic places all over the campus one morning, and killed a total of four thousand and thirteen students and faculty, leaving over ten thousand more students variously maimed with a great loss of limbs and brain injuries which left many of its brightest students somewhat retarded in their mental faculties.

Three families of homegrown Muslims were charged with this crime (although it later transpired that the bombs were planted by far-right militia supporters from the Bundy crowd). The President immediately moved to have the Army descend on all mosques on the first day of Ramadan and arrest all the Muslims in America and put them on trains running from all over America — for them to be settled in a vast camp in the desert of Nevada. Here they were housed in tents, with food brought in from Wisconsin and other farm states, and here they themselves arranged for schooling for their children and various companies sprang up, their entrepreneurial spirit not having been quite extinguished, and here they established a working society, with Shariah Law being imposed by President Trump, which turned out to be an easy way to keep them in line. Muslims who got out of line were sentenced to death by stoning, and soon peace reigned supreme among them.

The Muslims could then more or less be left to their own devices, being that their own people were placed in control over them (the Army picking the most rabid Islamists and religious leaders as their kapos, so to speak). Their religious leaders kept a very watchful eye over their subjects, and made sure that they prayed five times a day and followed the Koran to the letter. In the end it needed minimal intervention from the Army to keep the Muslims subdued: they did it all by themselves.

A wonderful side effect of the establishment of this permanent concentration camp in the desert was that the Muslims turned the desert into a flourishing farming area, after the President lent them some Israeli agricultural experts who were well-versed in establishing farms in desert areas. So it was that Muslims learned a great deal that benefited them from their natural enemies, the Israelis. History is full of ironies that appeal to those with a taste for irony, and who doesn’t appreciate an irony or two crossing their path?

The third event, which completed the Unholy Trifecta, happened during what came to be called The Last March on Washington. There had been a number of protest marches in the old America during the presidency of Donald Trump, and this one was huge. It came the day after Trump was inaugurated for his second term. During the march, there was the unfortunate shooting of two police officers by a sniper hiding in the crowd in an unknown location, which was thought to be in a very high building somewhere, where the sniper would have had a commanding view of the march and the many police officers who were there to keep the peace.

As it was, he must have been a weapons expert, because the bullets he fired at the policemen exploded their heads in a mass of bits of brain matter flying freely all over the vicinity, and were later determined to contain explosives inside their deadly copper jackets, lurking there like deadly worms inside pretty red apples.

The very hour that these policemen’s brains spattered all over their nearby colleagues, the President angrily tweeted that if one more policeman was shot at during this protest march, the police had his presidential permission and immediate pardon to fire back at the protesters. That was in fact what happened, despite the President’s warning. An officer went down from a bullet, his head exploding in a massive arc of blood and brain matter, befouling his fellow officers, and these officers, besmirched with the blood and brain matter of their downed colleague, and reeking from the smell of fresh blood and bits of brain matter, whitish and grayish, like bits of gutted fish fresh from a nearby river ... these officers, steeped in the blood and bits of brain matter from their colleague, immediately fired back at the crowd.

It was a sickening sight.

Actually, to many Americans who watched the carnage on TV, it was a very cheerful sight, since they took great joy in seeing the protesters mowed down. “Those people aren’t real Americans anyway,” said one very regular average normal everyday American TV viewer on Fox News that evening. “I don’t care if they live or die. They’re better off dead for the sake of our country. We don’t need no stinking protesters around in our land.”

The police got carried away in trigger-happy fury at their fellow officers’ deaths, and especially outraged by the manner in which their dying colleagues’ brains were spattered over everyone in their immediate vicinity, and over the surviving police, all covered in mangled brains and blood, the blood trickling down their uniforms, and the bits of whitish and grayish brain matter settling in their hair and clogging their ears and making it difficult for them to see, so these surviving police, probably quite scared because they were dripping with blood and brain matter, shot many of the fleeing protesters in the back, leaving seven-hundred protesters bleeding and dying all over the Great Mall, with many more wounded in various parts of their bodies and in various internal organs, where internal bleeding caused many to die in screaming agony which could be heard on TV, which played dramatic music fromRear Windowbehind the final shrieks and death rattles and mouth-full-of-blood mumbles.

What a bizarre business it was: it made for very compelling TV, which riveted the nation, as they stared at policemen covered in blood and bits of whitish and grayish brain matter stuck in their hair and ears and eyes. The videos received gazillion views on YouTube.

President Trump immediately declared a State of Emergency, and rushed through a number of presidential decrees which placed the entire country under martial law, with the military in control of all state houses and municipalities. All protests were outlawed. If anyone dare to protest, the police and the Army had the president’s permission to shoot them on sight. When this happened, protests ceased to occur. The nation was in a state of shocked subservience.

Trump promised that the State of Emergency was only a temporary arrangement until “everyone settled down, and we find out what the hell has been going on,” but the resulting peace and quiet got everyone used to living in a State of Emergency, especially after it became clear that crime had come to an absolute halt since the military arrested everyone on the slightest suspicion of criminal activity and immediately brought them in front of a military court where they were invariably found guilty of a Crime Against the Nation — a new crime invented by the White House — and the very next day put in front of a firing squad.

It took only a month of such strict law and order for all crime to cease. Nobody was going to steal even a bit of candy from the corner store, knowing that they might very well be shot stone-dead the very next day and end up cremated or buried in a cemetery, with no one able to protest against their rather unsettling demise, and only their families remaining to grieve and wonder what the hell had happened to them and the country in which they had been free to engage in a little thievery and other criminal activities, now too dangerous to even think about.

So grateful was everybody for this absence of all crime, that nobody seemed to mind that there appeared to be no return to civil governance forthcoming, and America settled into a quiet acceptance of being ruled by the only institution they still had any faith in, the military. Forty-nine five-star generals ran forty-nine states, and they put in officers as city mayors, who ran every city like an army barracks.

The only exception to all this happening was the state of California, which managed to stay out of President Trump’s grasp, and stood fervently against him. In the end, though he could never stop tweeting about them — “the most over-rated state in the nation, sad!” — the president left California alone to go its own way.

Quite a number of Americans moved from other states to California, and quite a number of Americans left California for the real America, so that California ended up being more like Canada than America.

Trump hit back at California by putting a 20% tariff on all goods imported from California to America, but otherwise California operated more or less as a state inside America that was now its own entity, and so different from America as to be its own country. As the sixth biggest economy in the world, it did quite well by itself.

As for the real America, the nation was happy, and also proud to be American. Definitely and decidedly, Americans felt that America had been made great again, as President Trump had promised in his original campaign. The hit parade was filled with songs extolling the virtues of military government. It did not take too long for Trump’s evangelical supporters to clamor for their piece of the action, and Trump soon raised selected evangelical pastors to reign alongside the military. So it was that every state and every city was run by a combination of military officers and evangelical pastors. So it was that President Trump changed the name of the country officially from the United States of America to the United States of Christ, which sealed his popularity forever with the evangelical community, which expanded greatly under his reign, when many erstwhile non- evangelical Americans realized that being part of the evangelical community brought about many privileges shared by this newly dominant group in society.

“Our country is in need of a spiritual rebirth,” intoned a leading evangelical megachurch pastor.

This became known as the Born-Again Spiritual Transformation of America or BASTA.

Abortion was outlawed and church attendance became mandatory. Every Sunday, the entire nation was in church.

“We are a Christian nation at last.” So said President Trump. “We were born a Christian nation, and now we have been reborn as one. It is my great privilege to rule over seven hundred million devout Christians.”

The nation had not grown to seven hundred millions citizens yet, but President Trump was known for his penchant for “truthful hyperbole,” and nobody who was a regular average normal everyday American minded it anymore. It was more convenient to accept the President's sometimes dubious alternative facts as the gospel truth. If it were his habit to speak what had been formerly called lies, it had become the habit of the media and the people to accept these so-called mis-speakings of alternative facts as truth. Why make a fuss about such things anyway? What difference did it make if we happened to live in a post-truth world?

There was some sort of constitutional crisis over the law being changed so that Trump could run for a third term, but that was quickly put aside when the new Congress, filled with military personnel and evangelical pastors who had been urged to run in the last midterms, signed the law that made a third term of President Trump possible. Nobody dared to run against the President, so he became President without an election being necessary at all.

It was clearly established that Donald Trump would be President for life, which turned out to be not that long. President Trump succumbed to a heart attack after a very hearty meal. At the time of his death he weighed almost three hundred pounds, and it was rumored that he could enjoy only fellatio, since his body was too unwieldy to carry out normal sex in the missionary position, let alone any other more acrobatic position, such as the one in which the man lifts the woman up by the legs so he can enter her while he stands up and she is lying on her back with her posterior lifted so her vagina can be fitted to his penis. Such agility was beyond the corpulence of Trump's body.

After President Trump’s death, there was a contest for power between a billionaire friend of Trump, an Army General and an evangelical pastor, and the evangelical pastor won. He turned America into an even more Christian America than Trump had, and most Americans were very happy to conform to his Christian standards. After this president’s death, and another presidential election, another evangelical pastor became president. He brought in a law that made abortion a capital crime. America became a very contented place overall, at peace with itself and its new Christianity, until a massive act of terrorism led to the next stage in its transmogrification.

Here is where our story starts, which will concern the fate of a single and rather singular woman, one Eve Trent, the first woman arrested for the newly promulgated crime of aborting the life of her womb child (or fetus as some scientific literature still referred to the little womb girl).

Eve Trent’s court case riveted the nation like no case since O.J. Simpson’s. Her crime was subject to the ultimate penalty of a death sentence, and this woman’s subsequent fate fascinated not only America, but the entire world outside its borders. Its strong, secure borders had cut America off from the world, and made the world fascinated about what was happening inside those secure borders.

The world had become a stranger to America, and America had become a stranger to the world. Nobody immigrated to America anymore, and the wall on the southern border was of no use anymore, since no more Mexicans had attempted to cross into America for years. The wall was mostly there to keep Americans inside America instead of foreigners out.

This first abortion case was also profoundly interesting in that it revealed that the nation was not as sublimely happy with its state as habitually depicted by the mainstream media, such as Fox News and Breitbart News. There were fault lines running through the nation's seemingly homogenous acceptance of its militarized Christian regime. This case revealed that there was still an influential cabal of uppity women extant who were not taking the fate of Eve Trent lying down. They would have to be dealt with, in order to bring the society to heel. Trumplandia was being threatened from within, by its own women.

How had these women managed to escape the ` enthusiasm of the nation for its spiritual rebirth, for BASTA? How was it possible that there were still some Americans not enamored of the new America? Not totally happy to be citizens of Trumplandia? Not entirely serene about being devout Americans in the United States of Christ? Who were these women who were certainly not your regular average normal everyday American?

These subversive women had to be found — hunted down if necessary — and charged with something.

The new president called these women “American traitors. When we find them, we will prosecute them to the full extent of the law.” (Who the bloody heck in heaven's name forsooth were these nasty women who persisted in their nastiness after they had been warned, and given an explanation, and nevertheless persisted, with the female gall to express their perverse sympathy with Eve Trent, that awful baby-murderess, by using all sorts of underground blogs and anonymous tweets on Twitter to fire their anti- Americanisms at their patriotic citizenry and disturb the calm that was supposed to prevail?)

It was commonly accepted that treason was a capital crime, and when the President called these women traitors, it was commonly assumed that they risked death themselves when they expressed any sympathy with Eve Trent, a sympathy that may have been stimulated by the fact that the women of the entire world outside America were outraged when the prosecutor in Eve Trent’s trial made it clear that he was going to ask for the death penalty.

But before we get to Eve Trent’s court case, let us begin at the beginning of Eve Trent’s story, of how she fell pregnant in the first place, and all the amazing events that happened before her amazing court case, and its most amazing aftermath.

Let us begin at the beginning, when our leading character met the man who impregnated her outside of marriage, whose semen penetrated her waiting egg that had descended from her fallopian tubes into her uterus, there to start a precious life at the moment of conception, a point when his erection was still inside her wet, snug vagina, an impregnation that was frowned upon because it happened outside the purview of the matrimonial bond, even if there had not been any law promulgated against such a thing.

Yet.

We will begin at the public immolation of the Supreme Terrorist, who had committed an act of Supreme Terrorism such as the world had always feared and never seen.

It was at this event that Eve Trent met the man with whom she would become involved, one Adam White, the man who would share with her in the amazing events that happened before, during and after her arrest, the man who would bed her in a fury of frenzied passion, at which time they bonked each other’s considerable brains out like hopped-up bunnies on some sort of amphetamine-type drug, as was known to their immediate friends and even friends of their friends who spoke in awed terms of Eve’s and Adam’s ardent passion for each other. These two, whenever they met, went from the vertical to the horizontal rumba within minutes, sometimes seconds.

Theirs was a love that was utterly singular and different from all other loves, being that it was completely at odds with the ethos of Trumplandia.

So, as we tell the political story of Trumplandia, we will also tell a romantic love story unlike any other, because it was a story that ran head-on up against everything that Trumplandia was becoming and would come to stand for.

The very name of her famous case tells the gist of our story in four words: Trumplandia v Eve Trent.

2. THE STAKE

It was a bright cold April morning, but not too chilly to attend the burning at the stake.

To the south, a bank of clouds pressed close to Wall Street and grazed the top of Freedom Tower. Even after more than a few decades it was still impossible for certain New Yorkers to look at this building and not be reminded of why it was there. Adam White counted himself among them. Somewhere under that glass-clad tombstone lay his portion of 9/11 pain: the remaindered atoms of the snuffed-out love of his life: his wife, obliterated.

To the north, Central Park’s Great Lawn lay unnaturally empty. Police commanded the entrances to the park. People were lining up, eager to attend the torching of the fiend. As one of the invited VIPs, Adam went to the head of the line, his eye passing over a newspaper in a vending machine:

“Nation Awaits Its Revenge on Supreme Terrorist.”

A tabloid had another take: “Arch Fiend To Be Barbecued Today.”

At the east end of the Lawn stood a circular stage, built of solid red brick. From a distance it looked like a spot of dried blood on the expanse of grass. In the center of the stage stood an upright wooden pole. This pole, painted bright red, stood for the death of only one man -- the fiend -- but his approaching end measured the deaths of hundreds of thousands caused by him. The shock of 9/11 was a long- gone decades-old echo, trumped by this new and far more extreme atrocity. Not even the drowning of Miami, or the Muslim bombing of UC Berkeley, or the Police Intervention in the Last March on Washington, came close in their damage to the national consciousness.

A stepladder stood beside the pole, almost quaint in its domesticity. Piles of wood were stacked around the stage: kindling, sticks, branches, cut wood. The pages of neatly bound newspapers chattered softly in the breeze. A thousand chairs – green like the grass – rippled out from the stage.

As he walked through the VIP entrance to the seating area, Adam White saw a number of people he knew only from images in the media.

The new speaker of the House, Eugene Mumm, a leading evangelist.

The Gospel singer with the Number One single, “The Body of Christ.”

The CEO of the giant Sunday Fox Media Corporation.

General “Iron Jaw” Jutknob, beloved ex-Mayor of New York (these days there were almost as many military mayors as there were evangelist mayors).

Tom Wyatt, the mayor of Moon Town, who had taken the weekly rocket commute down to earth to attend this event.

The head of Solar for Christians, the company that had finally beaten the fossil fuel industry at the energy game, and had coined themselves an excellent slogan: “Saviors of Planet Earth.”

The eight-year-old boy who knew all of Scripture by heart and could quote from it at will, and had received a presidential Medal of Freedom for this feat.

The inventor of Death-Be-Not-Proud Pills, that extended human life by as much as fifty years.

Nat Brogan, the founder of Air Solo, the first pilot-less airline.

Brigadier-General Lance Toback, the youngest and flashiest of the new breed of Army officers now serving in Congress.

His youthful rival, Paul David, an evangelist firebrand whose followers worshipped him as though he were a prophet touched by the hand of God.

And the blogger, Christian Controversy, whose rather outrageous website was rumored to be the origin of most of the rumors about all the evangelists who had become big media celebrities, bigger than any film star had ever been. (The latest rumor was that the penis of Pat Robertson, the deceased patron saint of evangelists, was missing. And when it was offered for sale on eBay, that turned out to be a hoax, and the organ offered for sale turned out to have belonged to a pig, and not even to a human, let alone an evangelical legend.)

Just before he entered the enclosure, Adam White passed a very well-dressed group, clustered in a companionable huddle: the latest generation of the irrepressible Trump dynasty, still very influential in national affairs, along with the Bushes, with whom they were in a surprising detente. In the center of this huddle, under his characteristic ten-gallon hat, stood the aging country singer, Brad Wayne, whose number- one single, “Trumplandia,” had long ago given the country a name that many people still used instead of saying America or Jesusland or the United States Under God, out of affection for a former president of yesteryear, who had lived a number of presidents ago. Trumplandia: it honored the man whose controversial presidency had made the new America possible. The country was very different now, but it would never have changed this much had President Trump not started sowing the seeds of this change way back in 2017.

Adam White spotted a young usher and fished for his ticket. The overcast sky drenched the park in a dank, damp stillness. Anticipation stalked the air. The world was ready to sweat.

Drops of blood, Adam hoped.

3. THE BODY

Was this a body any man could want?

Eve blushed. Was this a question any self-respecting Christian woman should ask?

She looked past the slogan on her bathroom mirror -- no mirror was sold without this slogan, which had to be engraved right across the top, the full width.

SODOMY CAUSES TERRORISM.

Subconsciously, her psyche was infused with such sacred truisms.

A PRAYER A DAY KEEPS THE DEVIL AWAY.

THE DUTIFUL WIFE IS A JEWEL IN HER HUSBAND’S CROWN.

GOD SMILES WHEN HE SEES A DEAD TERRORIST.

Everything that invited a look – mirrors, TV screens, computer screens, movie screens, doors, windows, t-shirts, baseball caps, billboards, car windows, traffic lights, book covers, writing paper, schoolbooks – bore the slogans of the Transformation, of which the stricture against sodomy was a mainstay. God had punished Sodom and Gomorrah back in Biblical times with total destruction because of this sin, and He had punished America with the Great Attack and the death of hundreds and thousands for this same transgression.

Eve’s body looked back at her, its nakedness querying the blush in her face: is it Christian to ask whether a man would want your body?

Of course it was, she replied. She was God’s vessel. He had chosen this body to bear children. He had decreed male desire for the female body to be the cause of childbirth.

So.

What did she have in the way of pertinent fleshliness to make the centers of men stand to attention? How sexy was her body?

Did it have the power to drive men crazy with lust, eager to abandon all scruple in a mad quest to possess her?

It was not a question she’d thought to ask herself in years.

But today was her thirty-fifth birthday. She had shed more than half the finite number of eggs she possessed. Her glass was half-empty.

That was why she stood naked in front of a mirror -- to study her appearance with the same scientific detachment she exercised in observing her sexually disturbed patients. A matter of personal science: objectifying herself so she could observe her body through men’s eyes.

She gazed at the past, back when she was pre- menstrual and flat-chested, to when her breasts sprouted and new tufts of hair thickened between her legs. She glanced at the years ahead, to when her vagina would dry up and her pubes turn gray with age. Lest the thought depress her, she gave both past and future a mischievous wink.

So, what were her present assets?

She smiled. Her breasts. Still remarkably firm. Inviting, in the argot of romance books from her teenage reading. Anyone who didn’t know her might think she was the sensuous type – some experienced voluptuary, ripe and dangerous. A classic femme fatale as familiar with the arts of love as Einstein was with the secrets of the universe.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Eve Trent was as strait-laced a character as any devout Beloved. Her breasts might say she carried a lifetime of sexual lore at her fingertips. But when she opened her mouth, the authentically socialized Eve was heard. Proper and well- mannered. Churched. A veritable bride of Christ.

Eve weighed her breasts in her hands, scientifically, two lumps of flesh bemythed by the suckling of infants and marked in the fantasies of men. She asked herself again – was this a body any man would want?

Her breasts answered for her. Yes, they said, it was. Cheeky lumps.

4. THE DATING WEBSITE

Eve had always been a serious girl, even though she had a fund of mischief in her. That seriousness coagulated in the church. She would perch there as Reverend Redburn fire-stormed his sermons, and she’d bask in the presence of the Lord. She felt His spirit among the congregation as a fine dust, a kind of moist flour in the air: an ethereal ether that touched the Beloveds with the idea of the soul.

This ether stroked all five senses. It was a misty light to the eyes, a downy feel to the skin, a milky luxury to the sense of smell, a holy vanilla-like sweetness on the tongue, a hush to the ear. It was God Himself, boring into her every cavity, blowing her up with His spirit as if she were a balloon, so she could float up, past the clouds, to heaven itself, to be by His side.

It was under His eyes that she was inspecting herself.

Her belly. No longer as flat as a young girl’s, but on the other hand, no more rounded than it should be. Another yes.

Her Caesarean. “We’ll give you an extra small bikini cut,” the young doctor had said. Tears pinched Eve’s eyes. She thought of her daughter, the child who had lived just long enough to break her mother’s heart.

This body of hers – had it really lived? Or had she wasted this precious gift from God?

Tears. She should’ve had a child by now. A living one. She was not a fully-fledged woman. The people she knew professionally, especially the rebuffed men, suspected her of apostasy. If she aspired to be equal to men – now there was a Non-Sanctioned Notion -- it was imperative to be accessorized with a husband and child first. Were it not for the importance of her job, she might have come under investigation by the Bureau of Behavior Design and Management already.

Not that her job would protect her much longer.

She had to do something. At her age, and in this society, a single woman was an abomination in the eyes of the Lord.

Her friend Rachel had been badgering her about putting a profile on the dating website ForTheLoveOfChrist.com, visited by the very best Christian men. “You’re not getting any younger, Eve. Do you want to go through life childless?”

Rachel had gone so far as to write her a profile.

The two of them giggled about it. Rachel was right: today, before she went out, she would click her computer to lay her profile at the feet of the Lord. She would enter the world of men again, and play the game of flirtation and sex. The game of love, they called it. A bit of a con, that: you were expected to end up subjugating yourself to a man, as ordained by the Bureau of Behavior Design and Management. How could that be love?


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

I grew up in apartheid South Africa, and was raised to be an elite fascist. But something went wrong with my choice of  teenage reading material, and between Freud, Darwin and Bertrand Russell, I ended up rejecting my nation, my religion and my family. When the apartheid regime banned my first play, I fled for the freedom of New York in  1980, where I created the Absolut Vodka campaign and became a celebrated slam poet in the 90s (google Evert Eden to see me perform).

Q. What is the inspiration for the story?
A.
I worry about what's often called "the war on women" in certain political circles, and the attempt to roll back Roe v Wade. I want women to be free to choose, whatever they want to do with their lives.
Q. Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
A.
I want readers to understand that personal freedom is essential. We must fight any attempts to curtail our freedom by the state, the church, or any other entity that tries to intrude on our personal space. I want women especially to realize that they should continue to fight the feminist fight.
Q. Where can readers find out more about you?
A.
They can google "Evert Cilliers" to read my poltical articles on the highly respected blog 3quarksdaily.com and google "Evert Eden" to see me perform slam poetry live on YouTube, and google "Eve Dada The First Time" to see my YouTube music video.

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