Last week’s anniversary post made it pretty obvious that An Absolute Mind has been on my mind as of late following the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris into office. However, another story of mine that has been prominently thought about recently is my 2017 short story, “46.”
For those who don’t know, “46” is a spin-off to my debut novel, A Moment’s Worth. It follows two of my characters, Yvonne and Justin, as they experience the effects of being part of the resistance a few months into Trump’s presidency. What was born out of a promise to myself to set a story at the then newly opened Warm Springs BART station eventually became a sort of response to what would eventually become an extremely hellish four years.
Many thoughts come to mind when I look at this short story now. For one thing, it’s the title; a head nod to both the BART station the story is set at and what we were all already aching: the 46th president of the United States. While none of us obviously didn’t know who that person would be at the time, one thing is for certain is that they had to be better than what we were given. The fact that we can now put a name and a face when we speak of 46 is truly joyful.
Another thing that catches my attention when looking at “46” is how even more timely it became since its publication; particularly in part to how Yvonne and Justin were treated by the white supremacist. One of the first things that Trump did was launch a Muslim ban, and I wanted to call reference to that in the flyers the two find in the BART station parking lot. Unfortunately, the Muslim ban wound up being one of many inhumane actions Trump would do during his presidency. We obviously didn’t know we would eventually wind up in a global pandemic and that the Asian American community would be blamed and face xenophobic attacks due to COVID originating from China. It makes me wonder how Yvonne and Justin would have been actually treated in the unprecedented time we are in now… and whether anyone would have stood up for them.
One final thing I will note when looking at “46” is how dated it has become too; not so much contextually but setting-wise. Since the release of this short story, that BART station is no longer the new kid on the block. Four more stations have actually opened since then; two of them just five months ago. Those two branch off from the one featured in the story, as they continue the BART system’s long overdue extension into the South Bay. As unbearably slow as progress can be sometimes – it took 25 years for the Warm Springs station to open, for crying out loud – it is possible when the effort is made. For obvious reasons, I haven’t been to these new BART stations yet, but won’t it be quite something when the day comes where I finally can?
“46” is a short story born out of a very specific time with a very heavily emphasized specific place. To look back on it two weeks after Biden and Harris have been declared the next leaders of our country both further cements its place in all we’ve been through the past few years, as well as provide light for all that is ahead.
“46” is available for download from Amazon, Smashwords, and other venues and outlets.