I fell asleep as soon as I hit the bed in the guest room. There were two in there, all tucked in and pristine in their sky-blue sheets that matched the sky-blue walls and the dark blue window curtains. Jim was rescued by Mr. Grangerford, and as far as I know, the man was perfectly fine helping a black kid. I guess Jim must have said he didn’t like Trump, either.
Jim wasn’t in the guest room when I woke up the next morning. I went downstairs to ask about him.
Junior, Sophia and a woman I hadn’t seen last night were already there. I guessed she was Mrs. Grangerford. She smiled warmly when she saw me. “Morning,” she said.
“Hi,” I said back.
She motioned to the glass bowl she was mixing some sort of batter in. “Do you like waffles? I’m making some for breakfast.”
“Sure, thanks.” I looked around. Jim wasn’t in the kitchen, or the hardwood-floored living room on one of their leather couches. “Where’s…” I bit my lip in frustration. I had given Jim a fake name, too. What was it? “Where’s my friend?”
“The one who hit the possum?” said Sophia. “Dad invited him to spend the night while your car’s being repaired, but he said he’d rather stay with it in the shop. Dad said that he said he didn’t want to impose.”
“Oh.” That sounded like Jim. He never liked to feel like he was burdening anyone.
Mrs. Grangerford patted the stool at the island. “Come and sit. I’ll have those waffles ready in no time.”
They were, and they were delicious. I learned the Grangerfords had three dogs, all named after presidents. They each came into the kitchen and were fed. Thomas and Charlotte came downstairs while the waffles were cooking, the latter still with her nose in her phone. Sophia went up to wake Brian, knowing he’d be bummed if he missed out on a hot breakfast.
They all chatted it up like they had the night before, about things I assumed a normal family talked about – baseball scores, local gossip and news, what Charlotte should choose for her college major (she was about to be a junior in the fall and she still had no idea). And politics.
I figured usually, when people get into such heated passion when talking about their favorite political party, they must be arguing with others, defending their cause. Not the Grangerfords. They were all hardcore democrats and seemed very involved with the political world. They turned on the news during breakfast and catcalled loudly whenever something relating to another Trump executive order came up, and got into yelling matches with the reporters on screen. The dogs would sometimes get rowdy, too, with all the excitement, and someone would have to settle them down.
They seemed very sore that Hillary Clinton didn’t win the election and kept making comments like, “If only she were in office,” and “Hillary wouldn’t have done that,” and “That (insert rude name here) is gonna get us in a war.” Junior got a little heat from his brothers for promoting Bernie Sanders and socialism at one point, but for the most part, they were all allied against the republican party.
“And to think,” cried Mrs. Grangerford, “every last one of those Shepherdsons voted that beast into office. Every last one. How could they be so blind?”
“Because every last one is a republican,” said Thomas. “And an idiot.”
“Charlotte, how’s social media?” asked Junior.
The older girl glanced up from intently staring at her phone. She had a little gleam in her eye. “The Shepherdson twins just picked a fight with Aunt Rachel in the comments section of their insta post. It’s not very serious right now, but I’ll tell you if it gets real hot.”
“How’s Aunt Rachel holding up?”
There was a ping as a new comment came up. Charlotte flicked her eyes across it and snorted out loud. “She is such a savage. I love her,” she grinned.
I had no stance in their argument. I didn’t say a word, grew bored with listening, and took to looking around their house.
The news was playing on a huge flatscreen TV in the living room. They had a bunch of paintings all over the walls that looked real, but had a copyright watermark at the bottoms. There was potpourri placed tastefully on bookshelves and the fireplace mantel and side tables. Everything was blue-themed, without even a spot of red. Now, the color scheme made sense. Nothing related to republicans was tolerated.
“Hey, Dylan,” called Brian from the kitchen, “when are you leaving?”
“Whenever the car’s fixed,” I said back.
I shrugged. “I dunno.”
“Well, I’m going out to shoot some hoops. Wanna come with, in case your friend comes to pick you up?” He slid down from his stool and backed towards the front hall.
I had nothing else to do, and I sort of wanted out of the GOP hate party, so I nodded and followed him out. Their oldest dog, Kennie, tagged at our heels.