The cab driver slowed the car as they approached Claire’s office. Protesters for and against SB 1257 had taken to the streets. The morning news shows had talked about the bill and now the people were angry. Claire rolled down her window, amazed at the showing. Signs for the bill displayed key phrases. Safeguard My Family, Protect Our Gun Rights, Keep the Government out of my Wallet, Protect Babies From Murdering Mothers, God is Good, Kick the Queers Out, Go Home Aliens.
The crazies were out in force. But it wasn’t just one-sided. A closer look exposed to Claire the other viewpoint. Keep the Government Out of My Vagina, Don’t Shoot Me Because Of My Skin Color, Religion – Church Not Government.
Claire had never seen such fast organization. Then the idea came to her. The instruction book for SB 1257, this must have been pre-planned. She threw her hand into her purse, groping for her phone until her fingers felt its cool metallic surface. Yes, God. I have to unload these photos. She checked the time, she had an hour before her meeting.
The clouds opened up, the sound of rain pounded on the windshield of the taxi. The driver stopped the car, unable to move anymore, people were everywhere. “Lady, you got an umbrella?” He twisted his neck, tilting his head to look at the sky. “This ain’t gonna stop anytime soon. An’ these protesters don’t seem ta’ care. What do ya want me ta’ do?”
The rain grew heavier, a virtual downpour. It seemed to rally the demonstrators, their shouting had escalated to a severe volume. Claire pulled her umbrella out of her briefcase, gave the man some money, and stepped out into the street, realizing it was the only way for her to get anywhere.
Sirens could be heard in the distance, the sound meshing with the rain was ominous. She had six, maybe seven blocks to go. “Excuse me.” She smiled at the people, as she gently pushed her way through them. “Please, excuse me.” Someone grabbed her umbrella, and laughed.
Throwing it in the air, the man chided her. “Lady, you gotta do this like the rest of us.” He shoved a sign in her hand.
“Stop it. Let me be.” She felt herself being shoved. Why did I wear these heels? Knowing the danger if she fell, dread filled her insides. She used her left foot to push down on her right shoe until she felt the freedom of its release, then she did the other shoe.
Her feet were bare.
The rain had drenched everyone, but it didn’t slow them down. Claire pushed, terrified with each step, making slow progress. It was just as she had read about, kids at a concert getting crushed in a mob.
She felt a hand grasp her arm. It was pulling her to the side of the street. Her knuckles were white from the tight grip she had on her briefcase. “Senator, don’t fight me.” The man was yelling to be heard over the sounds of sirens, chanting people, the rain. Claire’s fear was suddenly replaced with hope when she realized it was a reporter she knew. Finally, she was nearing safe territory, a clearing where a news crew had set up their equipment to get the scene on film.
“Frank, you are a Godsend, thanks.” She still had her briefcase, her purse, her body intact. Only her precious shoes were missing. She heard thunder and a new discharge of water dropped from the sky. But she was safe, away from the masses. “I’m trying to get to my office, any suggestions?”
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