POLITICAL SUPERHEROES

ONE

You have to understand how things were. The liberals had grown quite accustomed to winning. They had won five in a row; that's nineteen years of liberal presidents, going on twenty. Twenty years without a Republican president or a reality check. Liberal policies had taken root, and the country became something… unrecognizable would probably be the best way to put it.

Take Jan. 8, for example, which was the day before his announcement, but it could've been any other day. It was a routine day, not by sane standards, but for 2080 it was just another trip down the liberal rabbit hole.

"You're soooooo pretty," Officer Thane Stanley said from his NYPD hovercar to the Person of Transgender Persuasion Dressed in Previously Considered Female Clothing, a PTPDPCFC. He said it sincerely as he hovered, slowly moving while maintaining an altitude of only a few feet, working his beat in a predominantly Person of Transgender Persuasion neighborhood.

"Thank you," the PTPDPCFC replied pleasantly without breaking stride.

Super Fair Trade, Long Island was a quiet town, and Officer Stanley didn't expect any trouble. "You're soooooo pretty," he complimented another PTPDPCFC.

"Thanks."

Everyone knew the drill. "You're soooooo pretty," the officer said to a third PTPDPCFC.

"Thanks, officer."

Stanley passed a fourth, attractive individual, but he simply nodded. No compliment. "Excuse me!" the offended pedestrian said while stopping on a dime.

Stanley turned the hovercar around and asked, "Yes, ma'am?"

"Ma'am? Ma'am?! Ugh! I am a Person of Transgender Persuasion Dressed in Previously Considered Female Clothing!"

"Oh." Stanley was surprised, but he tried to save face. "You look just like a regular woman."

"Uh!" objected the PTPDPCFC.

"You know, I was watching some of the old holos, and back in the day, they had these programs where biological females and transgendered females would go on these television shows. And contestants would guess which was which, and if they guessed that a transgender was a regular woman, that was actually considered very flattering!"

"That was before the Transgender Respect and Compliment Act of 2077! That was when we were looked down upon as less-thans! Sir, I am a Person of Transgender Persuasion Dressed in Previously Considered Female Clothing, and you are legally obligated! And you! An officer of the law! This is a predominantly Person of Transgender Persuasion Dressed in Previously Considered Female Clothing neighborhood, officer! You should know that by now!" The PTPDPCFC shook ? head in disgust.

"Oh, man. Oh- uh- no. I meant, oh, no. Oh, absolutely. I am so sorry, and- and might I say…"

"Yeeeeeeess…" the PTPDPCFC said in a far more pleasant, and hopeful, tone.

"...You are soooooo pretty!"

"Thank you, baby." The PTPDPCFC reached up and caressed Officer Stanley's face, and then the PTPDPCFC began to walk away with an exaggerated strut. The PTPDPCFC moved each leg in its unnatural direction, one over the other, attempting to mimic the ridiculous march of a traditional female runway model.

As Officer Stanley continued to work his beat, Summer Devlin felt like she wasn't being protected or served. "No!" the 16-year-old insisted to the Planned Parents receptionist. "I'm not getting an abortion!"

"We've been through this honey," her mother, Iris Devlin, spoke softly but assertively. "It's time."

"I don't care!" Summer stood her ground. She turned back to the receptionist and reiterated, "I am not getting an abortion!" Back to her mom, Summer pleaded, "I will take care of her! I'm going to take care of her, so just- just stay out of it!"

"Now, honey," Iris kept her tone sweet, "President Lawless has explained this to us, you know that. If you're not old enough to vote, you're certainly not old enough to decide to bring a child into the world. The law is clear." As tears rolled down her daughter's cheek, Iris added, "You can have a baby when you're older."

"Kill yourself!" Summer yelled at her mom. "Go kill yourself! You wanna kill my baby? Go. Kill. YOURSELF!"

Iris looked over to the receptionist, who responded to the mom's shaking head with a sympathetic grin and a nod. "Your mom's just trying to look out for you," the employee told Summer. To Iris she asked, "Did you get a Suspension of Choice injunction?"

"I have it right here..." Iris replied while digging into her purse.

"Phew. This beat is more dangerous than I thought," Officer Stanley muttered to himself as he resumed patrol. He would be more cautious. And then he approached a fifth person. "You're soooooo pretty!"

She really wasn't all that pretty, at least not per conventional guidelines. She actually resembled a mini offensive lineman, but the woman still deserved as much respect as did anyone else. "You think I'm a Person of Transgender Persuasion Dressed in Previously Considered Female Clothing?!" She was irate.

"You're not?" Stanley asked quizzically.

"NO!" she called out without huddling. "I'M NOT!"

"But-" Stanley stopped himself from saying what he was going to say, and instead, he went with, "But this is a Person of Transgender Persuasion Dressed in Previously Considered Female Clothing neighborhood!"

"Predominantly!" corrected the woman. "It's a predominantly Person of Transgender Persuasion Dressed in Previously Considered Female Clothing neighborhood!"

"Wait!" Stanley put the brakes on the female's fit. "...Are you taking offense to having been mistaken for a Person of Transgender Persuasion Dressed in Previously Considered Female Clothing?" The realization hit her, and she gulped hard. "...Because, per the Transgender Respect and Compliment Act of 2077, one may not imply that a Person of Transgender Persuasion Dressed in Previously Considered Female Clothing is inferior, in any way, shape or form, to a birth female!"

"I'm- I'm so sorry, officer… I'm- I- I- I don't know what came over me."

"Turn around and put your hands on that tree!"

"Orchid Rose, here in Times Square," she introduced herself into the prop microphone. "And we are discussing the piece of legislation that has the country buzzing. Lawless just doesn't give up. Always grinding. Always looking to change things up, and now he's really putting the pressure on Senate to push his Dignity Act to the head of the docket. What do you think? That's what we want to know, and we're asking these fine gentleman with us here today.

"Let's start over here…" To Orchid's right stood a tall, grizzled African-American man in his mid-70s, who wore a plain black cap and a couple battle scars. "Gerald Fitzgerald is a U.S. Army veteran. Gerald, what do you think about President Lawless' Dignity Act?"

"What do I think of it? What do I think? I don't think I did three tours in Iran so that my country could tell me when to call it a day. I fought for our freedoms, and Lawless keeps fighting to take them away! Yeah, I'm getting up there, but nobody but G-d himself tells me when to be discharged from his kingdom. Nobody! And why? 'Cuz he done wrecked the economy? Done broke Social Security? Now, I gotta pay for his nonsense? Forget that! Pshh."

"Thanks, Gerald." Orchid turned to a group of five youths, whose leader stood at the forefront. "And here we have a local group of young entrepreneurs, who earn their living selling marijuana, which up until just one generation ago was illegal. Can you believe that? Marcus Hill, what do you think about the Dignity Act?"

The young black male of twenty, or so, replied, "What do I think? I think they done had their time. They had their day." Marcus patted his chest as he reframed, "Today our day!" His diverse crew of drug dispensers agreed, and Marcus continued, "Yo, why I gotta pay for some old man, food dribbling all over his face - why I gotta pay for some diaper-wearing museum man to go on like that, huh? That ain't livin' anyway. Once, uh, if homey be at the point where he, uh, he ain't functioning like a regular person, well that ain't a person no more. He ain't no better than a fetus, and he ain't never gonna get better. He just gonna get worse!"

"So, you support the Dignity Act?" Orchid followed up.

"All day," confirmed Marcus, much to the delight of his four friends. "All. Day."

Orchid began her wrap-up, "Well, you can see that tensions are flaring here in-"

"Now, hold on just a minute!" Gerald Fitzgerald interjected. To Marcus he continued, "You're saying that if I get to the point where I need, uh, uh, a little help- if I need a little help, then instead of giving me some help you're just gonna kill me?"

"It ain't killing!" one of Marcus' men spoke up.

"That's right, it ain't killing," Marcus agreed. "It be dignity," he used Lawless' spin. "A dignified death, yo. Ain't nothing wrong with that."

"Nothing wrong with that?!" Gerald turned red with rage. "Come over here, and I'll show you! Come over here you little punk!"

"Come on, officer. I've got things to do," the real woman complained to Officer Thane Stanley. "I pretended to be sorry, and I really need to pick my kids up from school. I don't have time for this nonsense!"

Stanley parked his hovercar and exited. "You should've thought of that before you decided to distinguish between People of Transgender Persuasion Dressed in Previously Considered Female Clothing and birth females, you bioelitist! Now, turn around!" He cuffed her. "You have the right to remain silent. Although it is understood that society might be to blame for your crimes; nevertheless, we must strive to maintain a semblance of order, and anything you say can be used to facilitate the societal safe space, should your case ever be brought to trial. On such occasion, you will have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, that is not your fault, and one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?"

"Can I just give you the bribe already?

"Whatever do you mean?" Stanley played it coy.

"Oh, come on. With all of Lawless' regs, the prisons are overcrowded as it is. And you're making chump change. I know the drill. You don't really want to take me in over nothing."

"What are you saying…" asked Stanley, before raising an eyebrow and adding, "...exactly?"

The woman sighed. "I'm going to reach into my purse now, okay?" Stanley indicated that he had no problem with the request, and although it was difficult to do with cuffs on, the lady managed to pull out a card. "Here. There's like a hundred govcreds left on it. For your troubles…"

The officer accepted the card, sort of. "Do you have any idea just how much the People of Transgender Persuasion Dressed in Previously Considered Female Clothing community have been through?"

"Okay!" She got the hint and retrieved another card. "There. Another, I think like seventy. That should help with the plight of the People of Transgender Persuasion Dressed in Previously Considered Female Clothing. We good? I really have to pick up the kids."

"I think you've learned your lesson," Stanley replied while giving her a nod, before uncuffing her. She was free to go, but her freedom wasn't free.

Young Summer Devlin was learning a lesson, as well. She was not free. "Here," said her mom while handing the Suspension of Choice injunction to the receptionist. "It's all there."

The Planned Parents employee looked over the paperwork and concluded, "Yep." She looked at the patient and added, "The law is clear, sweetie. We need to terminate."

"Baaaabbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!" another employee declared jubilantly, and rather ironically, as he high-fived a coworker.

"Uh, what's going on back there?" asked Iris.

The receptionist giggled and explained, "If we hit 1,000 abortions in a month, we get a pizza party." She turned her head and said, "I want vegetable, Tony. Don't forget me." She giggled again before turning back to Summer and saying, "So, yeah, we're gonna have to terminate."

"Ugh!" Summer was disgusted. "You people are- are- are- you're horrible! No way! You are not murdering my baby! You're not killing her! That's it! I'm out!" Summer waddled toward the door as quickly as she could, but two large men grabbed her. "GET OFF!" the teen screamed as the PP security team carried her in the other direction. "LET GO! LET GO OF ME!" Summer kicked and clawed, but it didn't matter. She was going to one of the termination rooms, as per the Suspension of Choice injunction.

As her daughter was carried away, Iris encouraged, "Be brave, Summer! I'll be right here when it's over!"

In the background, Tony looked into a vidphone and said, "Yeah, uh, we need six large cheese pizzas…" He paused to smile at the receptionist, and then he finished the order with, "And a veggie pie for a stunning lady."

The receptionist blushed, and Iris whispered to her, "He's so cute!"

"Aw, he cute," one of Marcrus' boys mocked the old soldier back at Times Square.

"Marcus'd kill you," another supporter predicted what would happen in a fight.

"As I said," Orchid Rose tried to regain control, "tensions are rising as this landmark bi-"

"Yeah?" Gerald asked rhetorically. "I'd like to see that! Come on, ya' little punk?" He raised his fists and challenged the young leader, "I'm callin' you out. Show me! Show me how I'm done! Show me!"

"You wanna throw, old man?" Marcus didn't back down. "You wanna throw?" he repeated while stepping toward the soldier. "You wanna-" POW! The veteran floored Marcus with a perfect jab. But then came the other four. Gerald got off one more punch before getting leveled. As he covered up while being stomped, Gerald thought to himself that in his youth he could've handled all five of them, but he was no longer young. He was much closer to... Dignity age.

"Stop!" yelled Orchid, but nobody listened. "Help him!" she yelled to the crowd of spectators. "Somebody help him!" Had it been a larger event, a police presence would have been required, but it was just supposed to be a simple seg.

The beating went on for a good twenty-five seconds before their unmistakable hovercar approached the scene. Everyone stopped fighting, Marcus got up, and Gerald slowly rose from the ground. The hovercar landed, and out they came. "It's Racism Man and Diversity Lad!" Orchid gushed to the camera, and the crowd applauded.

The size contrast was clear as soon as they disembarked. Racism Man was a corn-fed Caucasian the size of a barn. He wore a half-black and half-white costume, and his full face mask had the same design; but his massive arms showed, and they were pale white. Diversity Lad was the ebony to RM's ivory. About half of his boss' size and possessing low-level superpowered strength, the partner's contribution was mostly in his highly advanced fighting skills; Diversity Lad was actually among the best hand-to-hand combatants in the world. DL's costume was cut like the original Robin's, but with every color of the rainbow swirling around, to represent diversity. Both get-ups had been designed by Racism Man, who was a rather wealthy dolt.

"What is going on here?!" the big man demanded to know.

To Marcus and the boys, Diversity Lad threatened, "Am I gonna need to shove one of y'all's heads up another one of y'all's a-?"

"Now, now, Diversity Lad..." the boss gently reprimanded. "We've talked about this…"

"Look at them!" They beatin' on an old man!" DL pushed his way through Marcus' men, which introduced a couple of them to the sidewalk. "Are you all right, sir?"

Gerald didn't look good, but he was tough. "Yeah… yeah, I think so. The five of 'em jumped me!"

"Unbelievable," Racism Man stated while shaking his head.

"Whoa, hol' up," Marcus Hill said as if he could explain it all away. "This ain't no racist crime."

"Excuse me?" asked Racism Man. "He's an African-American, and most of your group is not! All I see here is a racist crime!"

"Naw, homey," Marcus corrected. "I'm black! We ain't jacked him 'cuz he black. We jacked him 'cuz he old!"

"Oh." Racism Man's body language suggested that he was embarrassed. "My apologies, I misjudged you." To his sidekick he said, "Come on, Diversity Lad. Let's go."

"Whatchu sayin' 'let's go,'" DL gave his boss some lip. "Look what they done to the man!"

"I'm tired of going over this with you," RM chided. "Our mission statement is to stop all crimes that are racist in nature. We have limited time and resources, and we must stick to our charter. This is not a racially motivated crime. Get in the hovercar!"

"Second we out, they just gonna beat on the old man some more. Come on, Racism Man! Don't be tellin' me that the only bad thing in life is racism. We already here. Just let me crack them skulls, and we bounce. Gimme ten seconds!"

"Diversity lad, do not make me repeat myself!" Racism Man was getting upset. "So long as I pay your salary, you do as-"

"Yo' daddy's trust fund pay my salary!" the employee corrected.

Still pointing his finger, Racism Man amended his statement. "So, long as my father's trust fund is paying your salary, you will do as I say!"

"Oh, so you my masta' now, 'Racism Man?'"

"Get in the hovercar, Diversity Lad! NOW!"

Diversity Lad beelined toward Marcus' crew, and he actually knocked out two of them before Racism Man grabbed him and hoisted him up onto a massive shoulder. "Put me down! I'm gonna stab you, Racism Man! I swear I'm gonna stab you! Put me down!" Kicking and screaming, Diversity Man was deposited back into the hovercar.

"Don't make me dock your pay, Diversity Lad!" warned his boss, before lifting off.

The hovercar rose, leaving the veteran, Gerald Fitzgerald, to fend for himself against three thugs. He threw the first punch, flooring one. But Marcus and his associate tag-teamed Gerald, and then another comrade regained consciousness and joined in, so it returned to a three-on-one. They dropped the old man and beat on him mercilessly. If only seniors were considered a race, everything would've been fine, but they weren't a race; and due to Lawless' devaluation of human life, seniors were not worth much at all.

That was 2080, and that was why the United States of America needed Maddox Trump. It was a long shot. Republicans hadn't won in going on twenty years, and the Dems also had control of the Senate and the House. Lawless had been Vice President for eight, President for going on four, and despite the abysmal state of the United States he was considered a shoo-in for another four. Due in large part to immigration policies, the Democrats simply had the numbers, and the Republican Party was circling the drain.

Enter Trump. The first big rally was held on Jan. 9, 2080, and the energy outside Trump Tower was amazing. "Thank you. Thank you very much… Do you know why we're here today?" They thought that they did. "Yeah? Why? … Okay, okay… I hear you… I'm not saying that you're wrong, but… hmm… Are you sure you're ready for this? … Okay, you've convinced me… Let's get to it…

"Thank you so much for coming out today. This is a very special day for me and my family. We have watched the country that we love deteriorate into something that bears no resemblance, living or dead, to the United States of America. This is not America!" The thousands in attendance agreed, and they did so for a full roaring minute.

"You see those officers over there? They're doing their job, it's just that under President Lawless…" The boos were deafening. "I know… I know, you don't have to tell me… Can you believe that he actually called me? He called to warn me. He reminded me of all his anti-free speech laws, and he told me to be very careful with what I say today. I can't state anything about any of his protected groups that is anything less than an indisputable fact. Any comment of opinion which is negative and pertains to, for example, Islam…" The audience jeered, and their hatred toward the religion that had changed their country was palpable. "Y'see, he's allowed to say anything positive about Islam, but I'm not allowed… to tell the truth."

The officers began conferring with each other, and Maddox noted, "Look over there and you'll see them deciding whether or not I just broke the law. I implied that the truth about Islam may not be all positive. They're deciding if they should arrest me. I had to run every sentence that I will utter to you great Americans by my lawyers. Those are the times we're living in right now. And today, my mouth is covered… but that won't be the case for long… Y'see, there's a provision. When Lawless' agenda was about to pass, there was chaos… there were ultimatums, and ultimately a concession was made. The presidential debates - only those before the general election, not the primaries - those are still a 'safe space' for free speech. So, on those few nights that come around every four years, we get to tell the truth. And that's exactly what I'm going to do on the debate stage when I wipe the floor with Lawless, on my way to becoming your next President of the United States of America!"

The ovation was heard, and felt, for blocks. The assumption that Maddox Trump's gathering was for the purpose of announcing his candidacy was confirmed. "But that's not awe-uhllllll!" Maddox teased in a sing-songy voice. You guys know us. You know the Trump brand, you know TTN - Trump Television Network… Do we ever disappoint? Do we ever do anything halfway? I am announcing my candidacy for the presidency, yes, as expected, but I bet you don't know what else I'm announcing? Got your attention? Good…

"The year is 2080, and despite the various regressions that we've suffered under the fascist - even with that gigantic mountain in our way - through our entrepreneurs and talented scientists we have made huge strides in some areas. One of those areas is cryogenics.

"As you know, a couple months back we had the first successful reanimation. Right here in America! George Wells is alive and well, and G-d bless him.

"It's a very expensive procedure, and, as of now, the odds are stiff. Every attempt at reanimation runs over two hundred million dollars, and that's just to take a shot. But I think, when I tell you who was the second man to successfully undergo reanimation, you'll agree with me that it was worth every, single penny... Hey, remember money?" The audience laughed, and then Maddox continued, "Anyway, this great man left specific instructions in his will. He told his family that when there would be a real shot, take it. He set aside enough money for a bunch of attempts, but, well, he was always a winner at everything he did, and this time was no exception…" Goose bumps made their way through the crowd. Could it be?

"...We kept it quiet, and if you know the guy, you know he's not going to make a small entrance. He does everything huge. Huge! My fellow Americans, I want you to give the greatest reception that you can muster, for the greatest president in the history of the United States of America… Please welcome the 45th president of the greatest country in the world... and my great-grandfather... Donald Trump!"

Wow. It was possibly the hugest ovation that he'd ever received. It really was him, and he looked exactly the same. "...Thank you! Thank you very much… I love you, too… Thank you… Thank you, great sign, thank you… Oh, we will make America great again, but first we have to make America America again!" The audience response grew even more energetic in response to that last part.

Once the noise finally died down, Donnie Politics - as he had affectionately become known in 2018 - well, at least the Republicans used the nickname with affection - got down to business. "My great-grandson is going to fix all of this, but he needs your help." He shouldn't have pointed. Donald pointed out to the crowd, which prompted another lengthy ovation.

"And I see that you're ready to roll up your sleeves. I see that my America isn't totally dead. There's still hope, then. The spirit of America still remains inside us. They can try to take it away - and they have - oh boy, has Lawless tried. Big time!" The boos were deafening. The crowd of mostly conservatives despised their current President. "Look over there," instructed Trump. "See them? They're here to arrest me if I do something that we used to accept as a G-d-given right. Can you believe that? If I exercise my right to free speech - and I was so sad to learn that that was taken away from us…" The crowd jeered and hissed. "You're right," agreed Trump. "You're absolutely right…

"Listen, he actually called to warn us. President Lawless put down his golf club and called us…" Laughter. "He did. He reminded us, for example, that if I said anything negative about Islam…" The crowd let loose again. "...I understand… I understand your pain… But he warned me. He said that if I said anything negative which was, in any way, shape, or form, anopinion - we can't have opinions anymore! If I would say any- a word, if I say a single word, they're gonna arrest me! Them. Right over there… What Maddox told you was completely true. I love that name. Maddox. I love my family…

"Lawless has covered our mouths with a big piece of tape. But it won't be that way at the debates. We're gonna rip it off! We're gonna rip off the tape!" The audience cheered, and Trump explained, "When my great-grandson steps onto that stage and does exactly what I did when I beat Hillary - and I am so, so proud of Maddox and his entire family - so very proud. Maddox, get over here. Come on over…" The great-grandson returned to the podium, and Donald lifted Maddox's arm in victory. Perhaps it was a tad premature, but the crowd ate it up.

"Isn't he great?" Donald asked, while Maddox went back to the side of the stage. "They didn't completely lose their minds. They had the good sense of leaving a teeny tiny limitation on their anti-free speech laws. I refuse to call them what they call them. They're anti-free speech laws, that's what they really are. You know it, and I know it." The audience agreed strongly. "At the debates, we're gonna rip the tape off of Maddox's mouth, and he'll win. I promise you we will win. And you will win! We will win together!"

After another ovation, Donald continued, "But before I turn it back over to my brilliant, brilliant great-grandson, who we are all so very proud off, so proud… I want to tell you about just the most appalling thing that I learned since I was brought back to life… 'Reanimation' they call it, can you believe that?" The audience laughed it up, and then Donald proceeded, "I want you to look over there. Right there next to Lawless' fascist thugs… Look over there… That's Racism Man and Diversity Lad. Can you believe those names? They're here to make sure that I don't say anything true. And what kind of name is that? 'Racism Man?' It makes it sound like he's racist. And don't get me wrong, he is!" The crowd loved it. Well, most of the crowd.

Offended, Racism Man turned to Diversity Lad and complained, "That's not what it means! He knows that's not what it means!"

"You know what just happened? They left an elderly African-American male, who served this country, and they just left him to get beaten, savagely beaten! They just walked away. The crime wasn't 'racist' enough for them to stop, can you believe that? This brave veteran, Gerald Fitzgerald, stood up to some punks - that's what they are - these punks were supporting Lawless' horrible ideas. Horrible! Worst ideas I've ever heard in my- in either of my lives!" Laughter. "...And they ganged up on him, because, let's face it, they're cowards. That's what they are. And Racism Man and Diversity Lad, they're cowards too!"

That time it was Diversity Lad's ire that was raised. "I ain't no coward!" he complained to his boss.

Donald continued, "Anyone who prevents free speech is a coward! What are they so afraid of? They're afraid that people will listen to what my great-grandson has to say, and that's why Lawless sent those two quote-unquote 'superheroes' to scare us. Are we scared?"

"NO!" responded the audience.

"ARE WE SCARED?" Donald asked again.

"NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!" The thunderous chant just kept on going and going. Taken aback, Racism Man gulped, and it was in that moment that he made his decision.

The first two volumes of Prose Comics are currently available on Amazon and Kindle!