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She is an adult, who is an adult wearing no pants and a member of the House of Representatives, scrolling Twitter with some kind of red weed-whacker-haired adorable freckled disaster of a fetal baby lesbian sitting next to her. Some part of her hopes and expects to see said fetal baby lesbian grow up to be a Mythbuster or something: she knows who she follows who are too softhearted to softblock her, and it's Wal-Mart haircut versions of runway styles who she worries about endlessly until she finds a nice distracting bar hook-up.

 

She will probably be unemployed shortly. She was a bootstraps success story of the twenty-first century. There were some nice diversity pat pieces about her being the first Latina slash Hispanic slash Latina woman to Get Elected As Et Cetera, while practically raising Baby White-Stepdaddy-Issues, and she's part of the club of girls who don't talk about what internship bonuses paid off which student loans on her knees.

 

The official word that she's not allowed to say on TV that she is, and that Rozzie throws around even though Robin was the one to be Rozzie's shoulder to cry on when she traumatically discovered the dark secret that, contrary to her political ideals, she thought vaginas were kind of yucky and hated asking about pronouns--

 

Well. Tiny Indiana University teacher of Gender Studies had her face a class full of hopeful ragtag kids: the Adderall-is-lacking-here ambiguously brown kid, who'd probably grow up pretty alright. The guy who was just there to get laid. The bitchy bi bro who was somehow fate-mandated via the joke that is being that white and that poor in Indiana to be the morality chain for the horndog.

 

She has the oops-ditzy weather lady bit memorized. She knows how many times hashtags making fun of her have gotten into the Twitter Top 10: they move in neat little cycles next to her campaign donations and her actual real-world votes from where she'd been lukewarm enough to get moderately alright people to check a little box for her, like, say, people who don't hate the homeless for being gay but hate them for being homeless, and people who only hate the homeless who are gay and have to pretend they were all wounded in some Godly righteous war in order to give their tax dollars over, and other people who probably won't commit murder over someone's funny religious headgear but who she worries about anyway.

 

The thing is, she does keep up with where she's from, in the sense that she's from the same town as a girl who's hiding out against code in the shitty dorm-room of drunken bi lesbaby drama, and dating a parents-too-nice-to-get-her-diagnosed example of Aspergers who'd probably go on to make funny art films.

 

The phrase they used when the Nice White Lady took her in to the free clinic out of concern at the church and lied about being her aunt was 'Pervasive Developmental Disorder'. In her most cynical heart of hearts, she uses the phrase 'Arrested Development', because she watched it and laughed at the jokes in all the expected places, even though she woke up one day and was tired of the joke being her.

 

Like the WASPs and closet feminists with old crappy zines with uteruse-- uterii-- politically incorrect organs on them that she drinks box wine with, she donates her shame money to the clinic that she buys her thirty dollar a month birth control from. She doesn't do it for Roz, who got more money off her only sex tape than what Robin got in white lie money from an embarrassed married senator when a condom broke. She doesn't do it for her younger self. She found a backdoor place that had the good shit and knew what they were doing, via the dealer she got her Ritalin from when she couldn't stay awake between feeding two growing kids and bullshit-backwater-Indiana poli-sci exams.

 

If she'd been less well-connected, it might have been meth and McDonalds shifts. She did a stint in some form of victim crisis support in the rurals for the publicity after a DUI, same as anyone else, and she saw the trailers, and she spent three hours throwing up from that bit that got cut out with the dead white lady and the crosses everywhere. All she had to do was straighten her hair and talk less like she lived on hashtags and she could get some free drinks and mediocre dick there, and she's never been so glad to get out of Steven King bullshit hell.

 

She went to the Nice Lesbian White Lady's Gender Studies Class. That's too long to be a hashtag. She knew exactly what she was doing, except she's not sure what she's doing at all.

 

She thought she was a grownup, but there's a poster of General Leia on the wall, and even though she's too classy to be a social worker, Leslie The Gender Studies Professor is clearly too raw from the ol' divorce from her failed attempt at going hetero to be heading into discreet therapy for celebrities anytime soon. She is maybe, against all Robin's tired personal experiences to the contrary, someone nearly-whole and real and doing her best. She looks like the future.

 

The nice suburban home she will lose her mortgage on due to losing her job never really fit right. She had a cat who was smart enough to look after himself if she left out extra litter. Has. She hopes Leslie The Gender Studies Professor isn't allergic to cats and doesn't really expect her to go out and face real life. She's been exceptionally kind, so far. She's a mid-life-crisis divorcee in a government-subsidized apartment who's probably a better human being than Robin, objectively speaking.

 

She held Robin's hand and watched cartoons with cute ukeleles and two small lesbians fusing into one large lesbian made of love, even with the press outside her apartment. It was a strange kind of promise kept. It's maybe something like romance. Maybe Robin needs to switch meds again. Maybe she's in love. If someone had to dig it out of her, like maybe the redheaded baby on the couch who's too young to remember that Reagan laughed at AIDs and that Clinton did, too, but whose daddy the church man that everyone Knew About had a shotgun and had her in a car going down the highway to destination unknown in some horror story of zealotry and grief--

 

Maybe she'd say, to that kid, theoretically speaking, that it was the thing she needed the most in the world. It'd be in a small voice. It might not need to be said. She's getting a face full of Facebook pictures of an ethnically ambiguous girl in a dinosaur hat. She has a new little sister. She thought that Leslie The Gender Studies Professor was bringing the kid in as some kind of statement on Robin's nice suburban home. Instead she has one of the first real friends she can remember making that doesn't involve cheap margarita pitchers or petty divorce scandal gossip, whether participating in or party to.

 

She hopes that the elderly lady from church who only let her sip the margaritas as if she hadn't first broken into a minister's secret-shame liquor cabinet at twelve, and who did pretty nice glittery nail art and crochet, and is probably surprised to have survived the third round of chemo doesn't unfriend her for being a rubbish U-Haul lesbian. The dollar store craft tutorials are cute. The lady could probably use weed, if Indiana can ever stop arguing with itself about it, although it wouldn't do her tendency to get her grandkids mixed up any good.

 

"Roz, Roz," texts Robin, and immediately regrets it. Her sister is some next level Machiavelli shit with ironic pink straight woman ties on Instagram. It is always a mistake to open any communications with her via any term she prefers. Even "Yo bitch" would have been better.

 

"Roz," she adds with increasing desperation, "Roz, you fucked up, I'm super gay for Disney Social Justice lady. This is more than an outing scandal, you yenta, and now you have to live with this. Roz! I know your fanfiction pseud or whatever, Roz! I know you wrote fanfiction about Pete Wentz!"

 

It possibly has more misspellings than it does in her head, because she's excused herself from surprise baby sister that she is now ready to kill a man for, and surprise baby sister's surprisingly bitchin-ass fundie baby best friend, who has a wrist brace and a brittle look in her eyes that Robin first saw in a Warped Tour mosh through a chain of convenient excuses.

 

(She wonders if she will ever talk to her first white girlfriend again. She wonders if they'll talk about how he turned out not to be a lesbian. She wonders if he'll ever get out of the gas station and back into coding and graphic design. She wonders if the sex with his boyfriend that she can't stop seeing drunk posts about through mutual friends is any good.

 

She wonders if forum troll white bi guy is really any better at keeping horny guy reigned in to basic human standards of not being a trashbasket, because her own interns, who do her unpaid labor in a system she'd had to fake being ready to do anything in with sad backdoor handjobs on top, had apparently missed that memo.

 

She wonders about her definition of Made It, and Getting Hers, because she thought she got hers and now she wants to adopt ethically sourced ethnically generic Neil Patrick Harris babies with the nice white lady. She hopes that the fundie baby best friend really is okay, and might suggest roller derby, if she's off the painkillers for that wrist this early and is still raring to have a go at someone.)

 

"Lol u cant use the word yenta its not like we're jews", replies Roz, which means that she's salty about a good zinger from Not White On Twitter, who unlike Roz will probably inherit Robin's job. Roz has not adjusted yet to the fact that she couldn't start a band called Racetraitor in college and then drop out to live in a van until she could become a rock star, on account of it having already been done, and that the best she'll probably get is a short-lived MTV reality show before a retirement to live out her adulthood doing something else entirely to pass the time. Maybe she'll play the first odd couple mixed woman on a tv series about fake psychics. It's hard to tell with Roz.

 

Roz also thinks that Robin is too unfamiliar with boredom and Google to know that Racetraitor isn't just what they call Robin on Twitter when she's too tired from visiting childrens' hospitals to make the cartoon villains look less bad, and signs a deeply hypocritical bill on immigration-- not because of her, no, her mother was bona-fide mail order and had all the paperwork together, but because at least half of White stepdaddy's issues are that his own daddy was a Jew who forged papers to get into New York when His Kind weren't welcome there and Europe was having another outbreak of the old ethnic cleansings.

 

Robin hopes in her awful gay heart of hearts that her loud little sister doesn't understand why Robin can't look stepdaddy-dearest in the eye anymore. It's because she can't handle telling him that the closest he ever came to parenting her was not touching her in Law & Order places and being calm about it when she broke his favorite Lego model of The DS9 Ship. He tells people he has a state representative for a daughter. He tells people he is proud of her. He also reads Twitter, and she hopes that she's not lesbian-marrying her emotionally lukewarm nervous stepfather who never leaves his office, but she's maybe starting to resent that idea a lot less as she falls into the weird romcom flow of her actual life.

 

She's maybe starting to see why her mom's Minion memes on Facebook got happier, toward the end. There's only so many photos you can see of Dina in a Dinosaur Hat before your heart feels prepared to barf rainbows. She's been converted. She's a true believer now. She may watch Shrek sober for the first time.

 

"I hate you so much", she texts to Roz, meaning it with her whole heart.

 

"Wut wld u do if u were a white bitch?" asks Roz. She sends another picture that is either two tanned legs or two hotdogs. It's blingeed. Robin's sister is the incarnation of Satan.

 

"how good is salty bi white guy at twitter" she caves and asks.

 

"There are wiki pages with official showrunner quotes about his headcanon for satury morning crnstnos" replies Roz.

 

She might be wrong. Roz may have finally turned off autocorrect. "oh my god bitch are you texting during sex while i plan my weed lesbian presidential campaign, you are ruining my life" says Robin. "you can't make me have to fix the united states and then leave me for dick, we need to go saints row on this asap with less carnage and more cartoon ukeleles, i'm not as smart as kanye, i'll probably make it work but i'll have to be sober for most of it"

 

"Wrk smrt nt hard!!" says Roz. Roz has not turned off autocorrect on her phone. Robin knows that she does this on purpose. Robin knows that in her heart, on some level, she herself has always been meant to be a washed-out fast food middle manager, in one of those ways that would follow her if she woke up in some cult classic modern fairytale and was crowned Rightful Queen Of The Goddamned Universe Because Plot. It doesn't have to be true to weigh down her bones.

 

If Robin has to be a plausibly-deniable-intellectual-hippie to stop being a waffle about human rights to the god damned Senate, then so be it.

 

She shoots off emails to everyone who follows her mostly-unintelligible Twitter camwhoring that makes her look like a vapid moderate-bot. One of them is, she's pretty sure, a shell shame account by an insecure pop-star who doesn't realize yet that he's too old to care about whose jokes he laughs at on Twitter; he's got a few catchy things under his belt, and half his friends are Ethical Employment Imported from the kinds of desperation situations like "undocumented guatemalan kid growing up in grow op basement as trimmigrant" who've gone on to pay their rent with funny Youtube series.

 

She emails Bill Fuckin' Nye, who she once very badly lost a drunken debate with on purpose in such a sarcastic way that even some straight white Christian Republican men sent her little Facebook messages via intern that they were Sorry If They Had Offended Her.

 

She has been in politics too long to lose the best job she's ever hated to something like Oops, I Want To Hold Hands With Poor White College Lesbian Who Likes Cartoons. Her career has aged her soul like bad French cheese.

 

It's her best shot, but it may or may not matter to her whether or not she pulls it off and does good with it, even knowing she doesn't fire on all cylinders at all times. In this moment, she is in the bathroom of someone who hums "I'm Changing My Major To Joan" while making cruelty-free pancakes that aren't objectively worse than drunken 3AM chain restaurant pancakes. She kind of wants to propose.

 

She wants to be General Leia in the heart of an adult woman who probably scrupulously tags all of her secret Steven Universe discourse. It could be a side effect of the camera flash, but she's thinking it might be love.

 

Her phone is a very nice phone, as phones go, with its camera, and one of the conspicuously nicer things that Leslie owns is a Budget Gaming Laptop that probably gets a decent framerate on the action dating sim RPGs that have likely filled more than one lonely night with boxed wine. It'll have a killer good webcam in it for no good reason.

 

She starts a vlog with a lurid hipster-looking opening splash that the single remaining intern cobbled together. He's clever, for a twitchy white kid. It's probably bad for his health that he was the only Slutty Family Candidate Robin DeSanto intern scrupulous enough not to get fired in a dystopian fratboy pharmaceutical abuse scandal or leave over her being a lesbian.

 

"Hey! Uh, Joyce." says Robin. She needs at least one token converted-from-oops-kinda-hate-culty-in-retrospect Americana apologia prodigy as a new, improved, more humanized not-intern. She hopes that somehow she can swing the funding to pay for the apartment the kid is splitting with her new Future Mythbusty Lesbian Sister For Life. "So my donation money to pay you for it is probably gone on account of everyone knowing that I'm a lesbian, but, uh, want to do an interview on what you wished sex ed had taught you? We can cut out the parts you don't like." she says.

 

"You just look kind of like you've got something to prove." says Robin, which is a blatant appeal to the girl's ego, but also to her own, because she's finding herself with a lot more to prove than she ever expected of herself.

 

"It sounds like that Mike kid is bored enough to fight with the Youtube commenters for free until I've got the demographic shift pulled." says Robin. "You might have to sponsor some designer birth control advertisements. And some yogurt. And a vaccine or two. It might be embarrassing."

 

Fire-in-her-eyes punched Lesbian Best Friend's scary fundie terrorist dad, and testified against him to the cops, and hung her faith and her world on the thread of one desperate, scared girl who'd been partly saved by a daredevil gymnastic vigilante in a janitor's jumpsuit.

 

She's practically Captain Goddamn America but legit. She is apple pie and truth and justice. She will retweet fanart of herself in a Sailor Moon outfit drawn by a small child.

 

"I'll save my interview for when I've got my bachelor's, so that I'm at least as qualified as the science guys on cable television." muses Becky. "Dina and I can co-host it."

 

"There'd better be singing." Joyce negotiates. "And it'd better be on PBS so that kids without cable can watch it. You're at least as nice as Sesame Street."

 

They bicker amicably and hash out a plan over Leslie's dark roast french press coffee that's been ethically sprayed with extra caffeine, comes in a bag with a skull on it, and tastes like motor oil. Robin feels more alive than she ever did in college.

 

The video cross-posted to Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook goes viral faster than people can actually be watching it, which is a promising sign as far as free advertising goes.

 

"My name is Robin DeSanto." she says. "I'm a state representative. I'm a real woman who lives in real life in messy ways, and I'm more than a few years late to being old enough to live as who I am."

 

"I'm here to talk to you about heroes," she says, and the camera refocuses on Joyce.

 

Mike puts the kibosh on the rainbow edit American Flag, which is one of the reasons why she signs a contract and has it arbitrarily notarized and framed for her pay-pal-ing his wages from the gray-market advertising that is her bread and butter. He will be honest with her about what's too embarrassing to do for positive Diverse political attention on social media.

 

She has to know that her tomorrow means believing in good, in that goddamned softer world way. Even if she has to see one of her own sister's gross fake-orgasm sex tapes talked about on Fox again. She has to give her professor lesbian free reign of nerd decorating in a not-empty suburban home where she'll have a quiet office. Nerds need that kind of thing.

 

She has to prove to Becky, at least, that lesbians can own property without completely selling their souls to suspiciously ironic antichrists first. Even if they're mixed.

 

The paparazzi aren't armed. People love a show.

 

It's time for her to really believe in love.