Bernie Girl

Last night I had this dream :

I went to a coffee shop downtown to work on The Next Great American Novel and suddenly, to my right, I notice a weathered, sad man staring blankly down into a cup of coffee and jim beam. His white hair is in stark disarray, his eyes purple and sunken into his head. His faded suit is rumpled and ill-fitting. He’s wearing a name badge around his neck and I try to surreptitiously read it because he looks familiar. 

The man’s companion to my left says “What’s the matter with you? You don’t recognize your ole pal Bernie Sanders?”

Before I can sputter an apologetic reply, Bernie thumps me on the shoulder and laughs dryly, a paper thin sound that sends chills down my spine. “Oh, now, no matter. I still love you. Will you give your speech at my rally for Hillary?”

“My speech?” I look down and my Great American Novel has been replaced with scribbled notes written in sparkly pink gel pen on a legal pad. I can’t make out the words and I also have an overwhelming desire to not do this. I open my mouth to protest but Bernie interrupts, staring deeply, wildly into my eyes. His face is an inch away and he looks at me like the only thing between him and madness is my acquiescence. I can smell the jim beam on his breath.

I sigh in resignation and agree. He thumps me on the back again and shouts, for the entire coffee shop to hear “And they’ll also be performing a rendition of Aqua’s 1997 smash hit BARBIE GIRL!!”

Everyone cheers. My stomach drops.

Outside at the Hilla-rally it is raining and dreary. The turnout is abysmal and I can spot a few damp BERNIE 2016 t-shirts under people’s crossed arms and angry glares. A vaudeville-esque voice from the back announces me and I approach the microphone, which screeches with feedback over the dead silent crowd. I unfold my notes and read. “This all happened according to plan.”

Some little sick child towards the front shouts “Whose plan?! Whose?!” But before I can answer, the backing track to Barbie Girl begins blaring from the speakers. I try to answer but the music drowns out my words, I can’t even hear myself. I don’t know the words to Barbie Girl but I dance awkwardly and sing anyway, with my eyes closed. At the end, everyone cheers wildly, forever.

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