Susan didn’t miss the emphasis or the implication, but she was pleased nevertheless. It was good to know that Robin felt like she deserved one last out, despite the fact that she had already agreed to this more than a dozen times over. “You know you worry too much, right? It’ll be fine.”
“Famous last words,” Robin grumbled as she closed the hatch.
An instant later Susan heard the soft hum of the generator kicking in and that was soon followed by the sharp sting of 12 needle: one in each foot, thigh, butt-cheek, shoulder, hand, and one each at the base of her skull and the middle of her spine. For a moment the pain subsided, but then it came roaring back and flooded her whole body. Mercifully, she passed out seconds later.
Susan opened her eyes and knew it had worked. For one thing all the lights were off, but she could see as clearly as if it was daytime. For another thing, she had a HUD overlaid on her field of vision. With a smile and a thought she opened a video link to Robin.
An instant later Robin’s relieved face came into view. “Oh thank Christ, I was so worried...”
“I know,” Susan said. “I was out for two days longer than we anticipated. Apparently I have also dropped nearly 80 pounds. I’m not gonna lie, that is an unexpected side effect. Still, I’m not going to complain as I now look like a goddamn supermodel. I also know you slept in here watching me.” Tears formed in Susan’s eyes. “Thank you.”
Robin gave a sniff and choked out, “You’re welcome.”
“Quick question, do you know why I lost all the weight?”
“Yeah, I scanned your body the whole time, and our math was off by .659%. That’s well inside our assumed reasonable margin of error; however, it took just a smidgen more energy to make all the bots then we thought; the extra fat supplied that energy.
“Well, who knew trying to get rid of the stupid and cray in politics made you gorgeous? I’m thinking I’m ready for get this show on the road. What do you say?”
“I’d say you’re almost ready.”
In response Susan raised a perfectly sculpted eyebrow, so Robin added, “but first you need to come up here and fuck my brains out. Then tomorrow we need to go and get our hair done.”
“Another update to the plan?”
“Oh yes. And you're gonna love it. Now get that perfectly sculpted ass up here.”
Robin laughed as the feed cut off abruptly. “That’s my girl,” she whispered.
Tim’s feet were sore. It’d been another long day full of clients who wanted him to work miracles with their hair. Normally Tim enjoyed the challenge, but then Mrs. Griffin had come in. She was a nasty bit of work if Tim ever laid eye on one and he knew why: apparently her dad had run a hedge fund that specialized in shorting stocks, and he’d gotten his pants pulled down and bent over the proverbial barrel when some group on the internet had pumped up the stock price of a company that sold actual honest-to-god physical games in order to both get rich and screw all the Wall Street hedge funds that were shorting said stock.
From what Tim had gathered from the other stylists, she went from living in a family that had billions to only having a few million. And while that still didn’t sound too bad to Tim, apparently her wealthy “supposed” friends all turned their back on her as their parents lost money too. The difference was they had been investors that could take the loss. But Mrs. Griffin’s dad had been the manager and owner of the fund.
Apparently it all happened right around the time Mrs. Griffin was discovering just how catty teenage girls could be. The problem was she went from being an alpha pack-leader to wounded prey at the worst time, right at the start of being a teenager. From what Tim could tell, she’d hated people ever since that drop in social standing and suffering the humiliations uppity teens revel in dishing out. Years later, she was still taking her bitterness out on everyone.
On the upside she was such a bitch that she’d cleared out the salon, and Tim’s last appointment of the day had left with an apologetic smile when she’d seen who was overrunning their appointment slot. That meant Tim could reset his station early and leave on time for once. After all, he’d finished cleaning it already. Something for which he was deeply gratefully, as he normally wound up leaving long after closing. Still, he reflexively winced when he heard Mrs. Griffin’s voice yelling, “GET OUT OF MY WAY, FUCKING DYKES!”
Deciding he’d had enough for the day, Tim moved to the door, but just before he got there two women he’d never seen before step in. The first caused his mind to drop to his pants and for him to suck in his paunch. The second was not nearly the showstopper as the other woman, but she was cute. Tim also knew just by the difference in their hair, that it was the second he’d be working on.
“You seem to be free,” the second said. “So, I hope you will accept a walk-in this late in the day.”
“Uh. Yes. Yes. I’m...we...I am free and would be happy to help,” Tim managed.
The cute girl smiled. “Wonderful,” and she walked towards the open chair followed by the showstopper. Tim just turned to the receptionist to verify that his other appointment had rescheduled when he heard, “Hey Susan, that woman that yelled at us looked familiar. You know who she was?”
“I think that was Ella Griffin.”
“I’ll just take this one as Mrs. Cooper has already left,” Tim said to the receptionist then hurried to catch up to the two women. He caught up to them while the cute one was settling into the chair. “What can I do for you Ms...?”
“Oh, goodness. Sorry. I’m Robin and this is Susan. You are?”
“I go by Tim, but my actual name is Timothy Grant.”
“Grant. Like the President?”
“Yes. Although most people say like the general if they know their History,” Tim said with a laugh.
“Yeah, but he was such an awesome president. Did you know he passed a Civil Rights bill in 1875? And he even formed the civil service.”
“No. History was never my thing.”
“Can’t say I’m surprised.” Robin said. “Most people today only remember being told that he was supposed to be a drunk.
“He wasn’t” Tim asked.
“Nope. Just a Republican. But today most people only remember that it morphed into the Patriot Party. But that bunch of racist, idiotic, and downright shameful assemblage of scumbags, isn’t what that Republicanism was originally about.”
“Why don’t you tell him how you really feel?” Susan quipped as her eyebrow rose.
Robin blushed. “Sorry.”
“Nothing to be sorry for.” Tim interjected before things got further off track. “But please I’d advise you to keep that to yourself if you’re in here; mainly because we try and keep politics out of here.”
“That why you had a Fox News anchor in your shop?“ Susan inquired.
“That’s where I knew her from!” Robin said snapping her fingers.
Tim sighed. “Yeah that was her.” But then something unexpected. Susan smiled.
“Say Tim. I’m sure it’s a bother, but you know I recently underwent a medical procedure and I was wondering if you could give my hair a good wash and blow out. I understand if you don’t have time but…”
“I’ll do it!” Tim blurted.
Susan’s smile grew. “Oh, I knew I liked you. And I swear we will make it worth your time.”
Tim missed Robin rolling her eyes at Susan, but an impish smile crossed her lips as well.
As Mrs. Griffin stormed in she snorted, “Glad to see you're finally trying to get into shape. Looks like you’ve lost some weight.”
At her words Tim sighed inwardly. “Thanks. I honestly don’t know why. I’ve been working almost non stop since you last came in.” But as he said those words, Tim thought about how he’d woken up in his own chair nearly six hours after Susan had said he looked tired. By then they’d left, but he had found a note thank him for such a good job (something he knew was a terrible exaggeration) along with a tip that was four times more than their total bill. Still it wasn’t long after that evening that he’d started shedding the pounds. Looking down he saw that indeed his paunch was gone. So with far more cheer than he could normally muster he added, “Your normal?”
“No. The fiftieth anniversary of the Patriots storming the capital building is happening in three day and I’m speaking at the anniversary rally. So just this once, work that magic that cow Kelly Huckabee keeps raving about. I want to debut a new style!”
“Isn’t she one of your party’s leaders?” Tim asked a little shocked.
“Yes but that’s only because her aunt became the governor of Arkansas, like that is some kind of accomplishment. I mean, it’s where the Clintons got their start in politics so you can’t claim that the people in that state have any kind of brains! Thank god Chelsea’s kid…what was his name…oh it’s not important. But thank god that little bastard…”
Tim closed his mouth and although he wanted to wax Mrs. Griffin bald he quickly gave her a style that would work with her long fine-hair: a 70s Shag.
Susan and Robin sat watching the feed on their wall monitor. “I mean, I know watching on TV or the internet would work, but it’s fucking awesome that all the nanobot that are created from your DNA base are quantum-entangled and give us the ability do do this,” Robin said watching the proceedings from inside Griffin’s head.
“I’m just glad all they do is make our targets lighter. Can you imagine if my DNA was somehow modifying these people?”
“I think we’d know it if it was. For one, they’d quit being pasty white people and get a little color.”
“Yeah, well if you’d told me this was where I’d end up after dating a nanocomposite and biomedical engineer, I first off wouldn’t have know what the fuck you were talking about and second off wound’t think they were crazy enough to cook up something like this,” Susan playfully shot back.
Even though the comment was supposed to be funny Robin’s worry line appeared between her eyes. “You know, if this works, a lot of people are going to get killed. We don’t have to go through with this.”
Susan took Robin’s hands and kissed them before saying, “Look I didn’t know anything about Grant before you had me read up on him and I’m really embarrassed about that. But you know he said ‘The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on.’ Well that is what we are doing. We are striking and moving on. This may not fix anything, but we aren’t living in a free country because of these people. Still if you don’t want to watch I can record it and when you’re ready you can see it.”
For a moment Susan thought Robin would stay on the couch. But in the end she simply said, “Turn it off and take me and your fine ass to bed.”
“As you wish.”
“Grandma, were you really alive before the Second Civil War?” Mary asked.
“Honey, grandma is going to sleep.” Grant said.
Robin nodded. “Yes sweetie I was. I’ll tell you about what the world was like then sometime, but your dad is right, I’m tired and need some sleep.”
Mary looked torn, but her mom swooped in and carried the girl off. “She looks like Susan did.” Robin said.
Grant smiled. “Yeah, she does. But you said you had something you wanted to show me?”
Robin nodded. “I’ve never watched this. Your mom and I recorded this the night we started something that in retrospect we should have seen coming.”
“What is it?” Grant ask sitting on the bed.
“The kind of history they don’t teach in school” Robin said then laughed. “And you know what the worst part of what I’m about to show you is?”
Clearly confused Grant said, “Mom, I don’t need to see this if …”
“The worst part” Robin said cutting over Grant “is that those crazy-ass fucktards were right. There was a conspiracy against them. Their paranoid was justified.”
Grant got up and moved towards the door saying “I’m going to go get;” however, whatever he was going say was lost as an arena he’d seen many times in countless video feeds, vlogs, movies, & VR tours appeared, but from an angle he’d never seen before. He was about to speak when a podium came into view. Then he heard her voice. The one that had sent the first domino tumbling.
“Ladies and Gentlemen!” Mrs. Griffin said to thunderous applause, while Grant’s sphincter tightened as he mouthed along with her as she said “or should I say nitwits, halfwits, and fuckwits!?”
Then Grant saw the barrel. It was painted red, white, and blue and he’d seen it from every angle except this one: looking from directly through the gun sights. Ulysses S. Grant, a Republican of all things, predicted that ‘if we are to have another contest in the near future of our national existence…the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon's but between patriotism and intelligence on the one side, and superstition, ambition and ignorance on the other.’ Well let your ambition suck on this!” Then the gun began spraying the crowd.
“Mom?!” Grant said as Robin paused the recording.
“You once asked why we named you Grant. It’s because of this event, which I set in motion with my invention and your mother’s help. It unfortunately didn’t all work out the way we wanted. But at the time politics had become so warped it was almost pure satire of actual governance on its own. So I don’t regret it.”
“Never knew I let cancel culture, history, science, and irony have an orgy conducted by an American Patriot with a gun? Why would you? But I hope you tell Mary when I’m gone”