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Red White Blue

By Carol Harada

Photo: Michael Marais

I can’t make it stop. Blood is constantly dripping from my tiny hands. Much darker than the scarlet of my China-made tie hanging long over my belly. Still, the color is close enough and the tie is right there, so I wipe my sticky fingers on it when the television cameras are off. When the man woman person is not around.

But every time I look, there’s drip drip drip of the blood. It never ends. Like the fake media saying bad things about me. Never ends.

I step in a muffled way now, dogged by a stream of white stuck to the bottom of my shoe. Two-ply losing its perfume, the squares are big enough to fit four names in thick black Sharpie. This morning the Secret Service agent, Bob or Bill, handed me the loose end of the long trailing banner. The first soft square was occupied by Lydia Reyes Quintana, Jamal Woods Overstreet III, Manny ‘Tejas’ Reinaldo, and Marcelina James. From just the names I could tell these are not your best people, some of them rapists even. Maybe they’ve gone back to where they came from. You see why we still need that wall, don’t you?

Bob or Bill asked me to lift my left foot and then bent down to remove the list, tearing carefully at the perforation. I looked down and his perfect hair was parted in a perfect straight line. When he folded the long stream in more manageable pleats and handed it to me, I didn’t know what to do with it. So I wiped my dripping hands, which turned everything red, like the electoral map should be.

I looked down and now there were streams of white trailing from the soles of both shoes. As we went, Bob and Bill, one on each side, tore off the growing sections of this list and handed them to me. One of them just rolled it up into a giant cottonelle ball, the other continued to do the pleat fold thing. I wiped my dripping hands and dropped the spent squares to the ground. I did notice that the names in Sharpie – now that’s a good product! – remained solid and black and permanent.

The chopper blades were loud, and I was glad for the extra adhesive for my hair. Everything stayed put. I approached Marine One, Bob and Bill still tearing the streams of white with the names of the dead, handing me the last large wad and neatly folded stack right before I boarded.        

My mail-order bride was horrified by the mess of my inescapable condition, the dripping hands and the growing wads and stacks of bloodied toilet paper. She said that when we landed at Bedminster we should have a bonfire and burn it all. What does this have to do with us anyway, she said. We both looked out at the endless blue sky rather than down at all the blue states, especially treacherous Pennsylvania.

At Bedminster my doctor said the condition was not unusual, an occupational hazard. As long as I felt well, I could golf and carry on. He said that at least I was generating enough toilet paper to keep up with the rate of dripping from my hands. He called me remarkable, unique, spectacular even, in producing such an immediate and self-sufficient solution. I asked how long this could go on. He told me not to worry, that one day it would just disappear, perhaps in the warmer weather.

Meanwhile, the days are getting colder, but the sky is still strikingly blue. I wear the red hat, the exact color of my ties, and take my swing. I manage to keep a grip on the club despite the constant dripping of the blood. The caddy tears off more of the names of the dead and hands me a swath before and after every swing. The ball sails white against the blue, blue sky. It is splattered with the blood of innocents and lands with a thud, somewhere in the weeds.

Carol Harada is dedicated to fostering creativity and healing, and the shared territory of spiritual practice. She’s grateful to live in San Francisco and write in the company of Laguna Writers. For more, see and

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