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The snowflake’s chance in Hell

    Tuesday, October 9, 2018 -- (Long Beach, CA) -- What does an obscure novelist do after editing the absurd opening chapters of the fourth novel? Shell out a few bucks to play the lottery.

    The day on which President Dick Bomber’s “White Again House” is painted as Hell itself, winning half a billion is a snowflake’s chance to tour the Center Hall of America’s most important building.

    Dick who?

    Dick Bomber -- a violent sexist predator who appears in three novels -- ain’t just fiction.

    It starts in a novel where Congressman Dick Bomber repeatedly and violently attempts to rape a female soldier during his “fact finding tour” of Afghanistan. In his second appearance, the Hater-in-Chief rises to become a Senator, and uses a confirmation hearing as a tool to spew slurs in his race for president.

    If those novels simply slapped the current resident of the White House in raw fury, the snowflake would be immediately flamed to evaporation, but America’s current Hater-in-Chief had nothing to do with the creation of Dick Bomber.

    The appearance of a violent sexual predator using power and violence to subject Staff Sergeant Lori L Lewis to an invisible war is not a new story, though the characters hold their own. That book -- “ America’s Invisible Wars ” -- took a year to write, first appearing in early 2014.

    Because characters don’t type, it falls to the writer to transcribe stories, for otherwise, upon death, they die too. With some books, when finished, it is like a party that has ended, and the characters can sleep undisturbed.

    Dick Bomber refused to sleep, and the opening chapter of “ Angel Baby” came in a single day, while the author rode the train to work. Joe Biden gets drunk, as Senators instantly experience Dick Bomber’s violence with hateful attacks made during what should have been the routine confirmation of U.S. Army General named to lead the country’s Central Command.

    By the end of 2014, the novel appeared, with the last words posted on New Year’s Day of 2015. Dick Bomber used hatred and division as his tools to wage open war against Republican opponents seeking the presidency. Since the current occupant of the White House was viewed as absurd fiction himself on New Year’s Day of 2015, it would be utter arrogance for the President to argue that his good name is slurred to be Dick Bomber.

    Thus, as the second novel lay in absolute obscurity, fiction was outpaced by reality, as hatred took hold of the nation’s ugliest presidential campaign. Think what one will of any former president, but prior to the last election, never did open, seething, raw hatred win the White House. Bigotry and closemindedness certainly did, as Andrew Jackson can easily display. But even Richard Nixon had a soul.

    As the campaign unfolded, the obscure novelist hunted for another day job, and while searching, his own life got reinvented, through a massive stroke and emergency brain surgery. Like fiction, stories emerge to grip the reader, or, in this case, the writer. With 2016 being the hardest year of his life, he counts himself as the luckiest soul in America, for while others had to endure the most miserable election in the nation’s history, he simply had to learn to speak and read and walk again.

    During much of 2016, a fourth novel seemed impossible. As a mere writing exercise, he began what would be a novel, except “ Lambchop Battles the Sexist Pigs” was just a test, to find whether the author could create something in long-form writing. The novel asks, “What happens if hate wins the White House? What is it like to live or work or visit there?” On January 19th of 2017, the author posted four chapters, and left them at that, simply to bookmark the last day before a new presidency.

    The author sent the current President personal letter, using a manual typewriter, though he expected to not do so, despite having written to every president since Gerald Ford. In a first letter, the writer wished the President “good luck, because you’re going to need it.” Several more followed. It matters not that no replies with rubber stamps came. Writing such things is catharsis itself, like this note about playing the lottery.

    Why mention a ticket?

    On this day, the opening two chapters of the “ Lambchop” novel finished an aggressive editing. About 10,000 words got gutted, and while each scene remains where the map first painted them, far more harsh has become the evolution of the painting. Always did Dick Bomber use the new phrase, the “White Again House.” Always did Ronald McCain offer decency. Always was a married pair of women condemned to march across Hell itself. And always was an Angel present as the protector of Heaven.

    Today’s final edits complete the first two chapters, which begin in the East Wing of the White House, marching through the Main Lobby, and into the Garden Room, before crossing the East Colonnade, to reach the Visitors Foyer. Because the author used fiction as a test to assess ability, a map as obvious as the White House gave an easy method to move the story, which, in chapter one, defined love and courage.

    Chapter two is short, and with today’s completion of a sweeping revision, paints the Center Hall of the main Residence Building as an entry into Hell itself. The character of Dante S. Inferno began as a neutral figure, simply the Chief of Big Ideas who walked the story through to the Oval Office. In the revision, Dante is himself the Devil with the details.

    And so on the day in which the Devil dances through Hell, and whips by Klams force dragons to blow fire, the absurdity of fiction is complete. But as the Italian named Dante would attest, the Devil exists in far more than a novel.

    Shell out a few dollars on the lottery? Why not. 6 and 66? Fitting and appropriate. 45 and 19? Thefts of the most important building in America. Other numbers simply were random. And like a snowflake’s chance in Hell, winning the lottery is less likely than taking the Nobel for literature.

    What does an obscure novelist do if half-a-billion falls his way? He obeys Larry van der Bix, the dork who won the lottery in his first novel, donating money and struggling to not be changed by fundamental alterations of life itself. Perhaps, like Larry, he gets dragged into an absurd campaign for office, or, upon victory, must learn from Nixon's Ghost how to be great in office.

    While Groucho, Harpo and Chico may not be the Jewish Angel Brothers, and Nixon’s Ghost might not talk about greatness, this obscure novelist -- if the winner of either the lottery or the Nobel -- would do what Larry did in “ Angel Baby,” which is to ride a horse across America, to tell ordinary people that hatred is ripping this great nation apart.

    With a Hater-in-Chief in office, indeed, riding a horse to greatness would be as likely as a snowflake freezing the burning fires of Hell.

    If you don’t play the game of life, you can never win.


S   A   V   I   N   G       A   M   E   R   I   C   A

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Billy Orton is a novelist and historian living in Long Beach, California.