Tension fills up the whole room. Frigid, black tension, inhospitable as Lake Michigan. I sit halfway up the stairs, as the high water line rises, just trying not to drown in it. Kai feels like a ghost to me now; he's just cold water that fills my lungs, or an icy grip tight around my throat. My own hands once again find their way to finger the edges of my cameo nervously. It's the only way I can distract myself from pulling my hair out ever since Trump got in. Got in. Got into Kai? Maybe that's it. Probably not.
He's not fooling anyone anymore. Maybe he is, I don't know. But I'm too bitter and too sick of him, and of this, and of the lack of natural light. I hate this subterranean life. Sometimes if I'm out of the house long enough, I even feel sorry for Kai. He sat down here too long, aghast at the notion of sleeping down the hall from Mom and Dad's descicated corpses. He sat in the dark, chasing the approval of neckbearded Anons; a tab open to /pol, and a tab open to Red Pill forum, while Fox News flashed strobing red and blue binary code into his overactive brain. He didn't love anyone, support anything. Out of that primordial chaos soup, he was just slowly possessed by a simple message: Mayhem is everywhere. Dean Winters' manic grin sold me an insurance policy, but Kai found a philosophy and a life in it.
Then there's her. Don't get me started on her. She's laying on a sleeping bag on the floor, elbows in the shag carpet, face propped up by her hands. Stupid little Femanon wannabe bitch. Mac Tonight, Kai calls her, and he made her Tendie Czar so she gets to hang with the guys. He even got her a proper Moon Man mask made, wearing the real Ray Bans instead of some goofy knockoff wraparound looking shit. I don't even know her real name, because the morning she showed up on the front porch here in her stupid little Summer-of-Sam-Brexit-Doc Martens... Union Jack-boots. Huh. I never thought of that insult before. That's funny; Union Jackboots. Come to think of it, she might have even been in a union... Kai should have called her that. Maybe I'll start giving nicknames of my own.
Anyway, the morning she showed up, suitcase in hand, glassy eyes moist with her true believer tears, to explain to the chisel jaw Chads that she was here to meet the Divine Ruler, I wasn't here. Kai had me doing penance over at Butchery; that place reduced to a huge deep fryer to feed the never-ending demand for chicken strips back at Basement HQ. I was there getting splatter burns when little Union Jackboots started to pry her way in with my brother. Not that it was that hard, I suppose.
My friends always thought he was gross. Skeevy. Greasy. Wore those weird sweaters that look like they'd been shrunk in the wash. Kind of a dork. Laughed about three and a half seconds too long at everything Tucker Carlson ever said. Went through a chubby, pasty phase. Then he'd got Red Pilled, got biceps, got laid in college. Her name was Milly, and she was some runaway fundamentalist Mormon who wanted nothing to do with any discernible belief system ever again. Kai was getting his major in Theology, for fuck sakes. I don't know how he thought that was going to end. She was out for real, believed in absolutely nothing anymore. But her hardware was all cult; all shame, all fear, all programming. All she could do was change her behavior. She never could change herself.
Kai pulled his finger away from mine every time I asked about Milly. He's full of shit, with his pinkie promise 'secrets are weakness' shit. He only ever told the secrets he wanted to. I see that now. Because something happened with Milly. The night Barack Obama got elected was the very first time Kai ever got laid. I know it was her. I know they didn't last long after that, and he always squirmed and disappeared to take his pills and grind his teeth underground after that any time he heard the phrase "Hope and Change".
He's had plenty of sex since he started his little revolution, of course. It's not for love anymore though, and not even for lust. He's not addicted to it, so it isn't compulsion. It's just a power tool. Like a nail gun. That's a good one too... Nail Gun. That's another good name for little Union Jackboots.
Kai's on this path now, and he's going to be the unstoppable force until he collides with the immovable object. But until then, he finds a way past or over every obstacle. I've finally come to see that the only obstacles in life are people. Kai doesn't seem to have found one that he can't hack, one way or another. Samuels, Meadow, Harrison. I think he was just doing what it took. But then his precious Mac Tonight showed up, and it's different. He likes it. Not just the power, not just that he can use their love or lust for him to get them to serve him. Sex is how he wants Mac Tonight to serve him. He lets her have power just so she'll want to let him have sex, because he knows as well as anyone alive or dead that power is the best aphrodisiac there is. He wants her to like it - feel good about it - because he wants her to keep loving him the way she does. Typical narcissist. So grandiose, terrified of rejection. King Shitposter of the entire world, but you can knock him over with a feather. He feeds on Mac. She's just a Monsterwich. Monster Witch. Lulz. I could keep this up all night.
Whatever. The day little Union Jackboots showed up, she tearfully explained, big bloodshot eyes beseeching, that she needed to see Kai, and he was the only one she'd explain herself to. We've all heard this story now a million times.
Kai came to the door and pushed Pus Bucket away as he was sending the girl packing, back to her old Pontiac Grand Am, through the snow. Kai saw that she wasn't even wearing a coat, just rubbing her thin bare arms. He'd called her back and invited her in.
Kai sat in the kitchen chair at the head of the table, where Dad used to sit. She'd knelt on the floor, taken his hands to thank him for letting her in, only to find them ice cold. Mac reminded him of Snow White. She didn't ask to use his kitchen. She'd jumped up from the floor and made him a mug of hot milk with Fluff. That's become their official drink, by the way. Mac called it a True North. Kai dubbed it a Pure White.
While he drank it, she explained who she was. She was from Canada. She'd come in, over the border, the day Gord Downie died. There had been something very poignant, Jackboots said, listening to The Last Recluse and knowing she had no home to go back to. All her heroes were dead, and all her enemies in power, she'd told Kai. That was until after three aimless weeks driving, eating only to generate styrofoam to litter the ditches, and never sleeping, she'd seen Kai on television in a motel room in Mobile, Alabama. She'd looked in his image's eyes and believed in him. She'd finally had a home again - a home, and heroes, and a reason to live. Can you hear my sarcasm? I mean, she's an illegal alien. Why didn't he throw piss on her? Who knows. Maybe he does. Whatever.
I guess, though, that sums up how we all got here. We looked into the eyes of Kai's image.
And that sums up why I hate Mac so much. It's also why I feel a sick love for her. Kai makes me feel something for her; something that gnaws and burns at me. He's kinetic. He feels it, so she feels it, so I feel it.
It's that - Kai's huge feelz for Mac. And?? And that even before Ivy was gone, I'd gotten tired of her narcissism. The paternal, self important assumption of her own necessity that she'd lorded over Ally had already begun to hang like a spectre over me. Once she started to make me feel stifled and infantalized? I started to notice that her body was boxy and unappealing. One boob was, like, way bigger than the other, and that nipple drooped. She had eyes like a spider, small, and cramped together in the middle of her broad face. I'd already started closing my eyes and picturing somebody else. Someone with better hair, and a well defined waist. Less dyke-ey. Someone whose wish list on Dolls Kill was as long as mine. Ivy was so basic. I'd have settled for someone who knew what Dolls Kill was. Ivy was so old she still thought Gap was cool. If it wasn't for Brexit and colonialism and shit, I'd love those fucking boots Mac wears, and I hate it. She even has the Anna Sui bib dress from last fall. I wanted it, but it sold out too fast. As Kai puts it, Mac is so fucking based it hurts. She's whatever based would be called in my world too, if the left could only meme. I want to pump her perfect cheekbones full of nails. Slap the pout right off her lips. Doll Skill. Shit. I'm good at this. Why doesn't he ever let me name anyone?
Kai's pacing the basement ranting, his eyes all whites. He spits when he talks now. Mac doesn't care. I can see her just eating it up, in rapt attention at his wit and intellect. That's how the two of them see it anyway, I'm sure. He's always looking at her too, like he's forgot the rest of them. Yoko... Yoko Ono... Yoko Onanism, just stroking his ego. Yeah, that's it. It will be the end of him, just not today. Today, the Chads all still like his message too. I'm sitting on the stairs, looking down, watching more than listening.
Kai and Mac Netflix and Chill upstairs most nights now. It's only a matter of time until that gets noticed too. The pigs go upstairs and walk around in clothes on two legs. Kai can't see it's classic amateur Orwellian Animal Farm mistakes. Mac's just too naive. She's in a wasteland, one where she had no future to move toward, and no home to go back to. She can't see a strategy or a plan. She can only see Kai, because he's become her home, her boyfriend, her daddy, her white knight, her savior. I never thought I'd say this about anyone, but she should have had a come-to-Jesus moment, maybe became an Evangelical. Because the messiah she has now will kill her, not save her. She's never leaving this house alive. If she wasn't a size zero penitent neo-con domestic goddess bitch, I'd really feel bad for her.
"This is yet another example of the culture of cuck.", Kai shouts. "Hollywood has peddled this garbage to men, telling us he's an antihero for us; for the alpha American male. I've yet to see the guy do anything but house chores. The actual demographic that even this was aimed at are woke warriors and single moms."
The Chads all look nervously at one another out of the corners of their eyes. Presumably they didn't see it how Kai did.
"This was supposed to be firearm-and-brimstone vengeance porn. The gleeful doling out of unrepentant punishment on those for whom justice is too good. Instead we got some preachy bullshit about gun control, and extending our constitutional rights to people in other countries who reject our nation and the constitution it's founded on. This is a guy who is reluctant to fire a gun despite the fact he gets shot in every scene. Isn't that just adorable. We're all tuned in to Fedora Ferdinand? The gore, the blood, the guns - these are nothing but a trim package meant to trick men into watching what is essentially the longest Wayfair commercial in history. I mean, what part of this is actually aimed at men?", Kai asks them, looking back over at rapt Mac for her approval. Moonstruck Moon Girl. Oh, and did he just say trim package? Trim Package. Another better name for her. Now who says the left can't meme?
"The midday wine drinking and a good cleansing cry? Maybe the seemingly endless ballroom dancing darkroom scene? Dancing is only aimed at men if there is a table or a brass pole involved. The cheesedip 'looovemaking' scene? No takers?", Kai mocks, challenging them. "So men don't tune in for that. Was it to see him reduced to a betabux 80s mentor cuck to some other guy's kids? How about to watch a grown man doing someone else's dishes? He cooks too, men. Not something respectable like a sandwich. No. Vietnamese 'cuisine'. Oh, and wait. He's making it for another man, and when he tries to thank him, his response is the epitome of everything wrong with this clustercuck; 'Don't thank me. Thank the Vietnamese.' Why? Is there a Vietnamese broad hiding behind the counter sucking your dick while you stir the pot of boiling fish heads and cucumber skins for her? No? Well, then there's no excuse for that pathetic pandering."
This gets all the fast 'n' loose-at-the-urinal Chads on board. I feel my eyes roll. But Kai is just getting started.
"Do you think the notion that his only equal on the planet is a Mudslime woman was meant to appeal to a demographic of white males aged 18 to 35? Furthermore, what is his big crisis? That maybe the terrorist he killed wasn't the terrorist they were looking for? Would it be impossible to represent us, the mobilized majority, who believe the world is better off without any terrorist you manage take out? He's an anti-male, not an anti-hero. Men should be pissed off that they're trying to play their identity politics games with us; asking us to accept the lie of white privilege, asking us to disavow our own pair of balls. Women and minorities should be offended by this ham-fisted pandering that assumes they're weak; jealous of white skin, sick with penis envy, easily manipulated with the thot control of sympathy and victimhood. They should be offended that they are seen as incapable of handling anything more controversial than Zulily. This is what our movement is about: a world without labels, where none of us apologize for who we are. None of us can be targeted. None of us can be triggered. We make an opportunity of everything; whether it is privilege, or being underestimated, or that when you are subjugated no one is looking your way. We apologize for nothing. We win either way. That is power."
Mac has her doe eyed gaze fixed on Kai's face. She's nodding yes. The little idiot would like to clap, maybe get out a set of pom poms and downright cheer. She makes me sick. I wish I didn't think she was, like, really pretty. Why does she have to be some kind of bizarro world baby face alternative girl version of Blake Lively in her Gossip Girl days?
Kai's pupils react to her. His jaw tenses. I watch him walk across the basement to her, like some horny maniac preacher.
"Story time is over. Tonight we crash Wikipedia's Punisher page!", he yells at the Chads on his way over to her. "Mobilize 4chan! And get some more of those 'It's Okay to be White' posters printed out again, will you?"
"Not you, Mac.", he says quietly. "But get your phone out."
I know what he's going to do. He's got her Googling something, or he's going to twist the knife in my chest and go sweet-trolling with her on /pol/. Right now it is all just an excuse. She's still laying face down on her sleeping bag, and he's crouching down next to her, his hand on the small of her back, just a little bit too low. He puts his weight into the heel of his hand, rubbing her lower back in circles, casually. Everyone is pretending not to notice, but at least half the room is popping wood if I had to wager a guess. So gross. But Kai doesn't care at all. He knows he's grinding her hips into the floor and making it count.
Everyone can feel the tension. Mac is discreet; I'll give her that. I can see her face, and her cheeks are flushed pink, eyes begging, but she's resisting her urges. She won't tense her long thighs to tilt her pelvis down, won't even breathe heavily, carefully taking slow breaths, pretending to be intently interested in the meme on her phone. But I know what it feels like to grind against a floor. It feels good. Speed Wagon sneaks a look over at her. I see everything. I'd like to watch her do it too.
Instead, she rolls over and sits up, pushing Kai's hair behind his ear and whispering something in it, as her hand lightly comes to rest on his, her pinkie finger grazing his. He's not so discreet. I know Kai better than anyone. He does this thing where he blinks really, really slow, and his eyes are still rolled back in his head when his eyelids open. He takes a deep breath in through his mouth. Now Mac's studying his face. Apparently she knows all his tells too.
He leans towards her, his breath sending a few errant strands of her overgrown blonde bangs on the warm current, as he whispers something in her ear in response. She just shivers, smiles faintly, nods okay, wraps her finger around his a little. He jumps up from the floor, saying nothing, and sprinting up the stairs, two at a time. He doesn't even acknowledge me, just rushes past.
"Kai--", I yell after him. I'm still in the dog house, but how long can it fucking last? He can be such a bitch.
"What do you want, Winter?", he says coldly, looking down on me from the top stair.
"Everyone sees what you're doing with her.", I tell him quietly, "You need to be more careful, Kai. 'All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others'."
His dark brown eyes flash and glower coldly. He doesn't even respond, just turns and storms away, disaffected. I feel the sting of tears in my eyes. I'm mad. I hate the basement. Mostly I just miss him, and my bones ache with the weight of his rejection.