"Life improves slowly and goes wrong fast,and only catastrophe is clearly visible."
- Edward Teller
Finding out which of the many rooms in Texas' large house belonged to America was an easy thing, England had been in it yesterday and Arizona was sitting outside the door.
"Are you waiting for news too?" England asked.
Arizona looked up at the sound of the other nation's voice. "What? Oh, yeah. Clay's with Dad now." He said, then leaned his head back against the wall and resumed waiting.
He didn't have to wait long, as the door opened and closed a moment later, letting out Texas.
"Dad'll be fine," Texas said to Arizona, setting his cowboy hat back on his head as he did. "He says he wants to be left alone for now."
"Okay." Arizona said as he stood back up. "I have my phone, so tell him to text me if he needs me." Then the Grand Canyon State turned and left.
England stepped forward. "I want to talk to America." He announced. Texas held out a hand to stop him.
"You can't. He doesn't want to see you."
"What do you mean he doesn't want to see me?" Arthur demanded.
"Exactly what I said." Clay said. "He doesn't want to see you." then he pushed past the other nation and headed back downstairs.
Doesn't want to see me? After everything I've done for the stupid wanker he doesn't want to see me?!
About an hour later, as he was leaving his room and heading back downstairs, Arthur nearly collided with Alejandro who was running up the stairs.
"Ooh, sorry Mr. England." Arizona said as he picked up the envelope he'd been holding and his cellphone.
"Where are you off to in such a hurry, lad?" Arthur asked.
"I just got a text message from Dad. He wants to see me."
"He does, does he?"
In response, Arizona flipped open his phone and showed the message on the screen to the Nation.
AZ, come c me. bring 1070.
The state flipped his phone shut and continued up the stairs, and England decided to go find Texas. That task was made much easier when he came across Mrs. Baker down on the main floor.
"Excuse me Mrs. Baker, could you tell me where Texas is?" He asked.
"He would be in his study right now Mr. Kirkland." She replied. "If you don't mind my asking, how is Mr. Jones doing?"
"That's what I'm trying to find out." Arthur said as he headed away.
He went to the State's office and knocked on the door.
"If it's Arizona, then go away."
"Oh. Come in."
England entered the room as Texas looked up from his desk. "What do you need, Mr. Kirkland?"
"I need to speak with America."
"My father specified that he did not want to see you."
"He said that earlier, but he may have changed his mind no, and if that's the case, then I'd like to talk to him." England pointed out.
Texas considered it for a moment, then shrugged. "I'll ask him, then." He picked up his phone and typed out a text message, then set the phone back down. He picked a pile of papers that were sitting on the desk, stood up, and walked over to a filing cabinet. He pulled open a drawer, shoved in some papers, and pulled some others out. As he pulled the others out, England noticed that several other sheets fell to the floor. Texas didn't seem to notice as he turned back to his desk and set the other folders down. As he did, his phone buzzed.
He flipped it open and glanced at it, then held the phone out to England, who read the messages.
TX @ AMRCA 10:11 a.m.: Dad, england wants 2 talk 2 u
AMRCA @ TX 10:14 a.m.: Sry, no.
"Well, that settles it." Texas said as he flipped the phone shut.
"That settles it?" Arthur repeated incredulously.
"As far as I'm concerned." Texas, giving the Nation a long look. Before he could say anything else, Mrs Baker nodded on the office door. "Mr. Thompson, your foreman would like to speak to you."
"Coming." Texas said as he stood up from behind the desk and headed for the door.
England would have liked to sit there and stew in his angry thoughts, but there was something he was far more interested in looking at: the two papers that had fallen to the floor when Texas retrieved his files from the cabinet. Hoping he wouldn't get caught snooping, he bent over and picked them up.
The first sheet was in America's handwriting.
Dear Clay, [it ran]
I heard what you boss said the other day, about your ceding from the Union. I know you're upset that the president won, and I know you don't trust him, but please, give him a chance. Don't do this to me or your siblings. Not again. No one needs this, not now.
Feeling cold, England opened the other sheet of paper. It was a response to the first letter. No, he realized as he looked at it, it was a draft of a response.
I know that you and the other states think that POTUS is the greatest president since Reagan, but
The letter broke off suddenly. Feeling colder than before, Arthur set the papers back down where he'd found them, and exited the office.
He was going to talk to Alfred now, whether the States interfered or not.
Alfred had given up drinking tea after the Revolutionary War, but with these Tea Parties everywhere, he had to drink tea again now.
At least, that was what Arthur told himself as he climbed the stairs to Alfred's room, a tea service on a tray held firmly in both hands. when he came to the door to Alfred's room he didn't even knock, he just pushed the door open and went on in.
The room was at the very least large enough to be a master suite, and the wide windows on one wall commanded an impressive view of the sweeping plains that surrounded the house. England entered the room and shut the door behind him. America was lying in the bed against the far wall, and appeared to be sleeping. Quietly, Arthur crossed the room and set the tray down on the desk.
"You know Clay, I think you were right, what you told me about POTUS." America said suddenly, and England jumped. "He doesn't want to bring people together, he only wants to divide."
Suddenly the other nation felt very guilty for listening in a conversation that had nothing to do with him. "I'm not Texas." He said as he turned to face Alfred.
America suddenly looked embarrassed. "I thought I said I didn't want to see you."
"I came anyway. How about some tea, Alfred?"
"Please." The superpower accepted the cup Arthur handed him and watched as the other nation took a cup and perched on the edge of the bed. For a moment no one spoke. Then England asked a question that had been on his lips all day.
"How long have things been this bad?"
For a moment Alfred didn't answer. Then he said, "Since the first stimulus bill, back in 2009. POTUS thought he was helping, but he hasn't, and he can't see it and everything's gotten worse." He paused. "I shouldn't have invited you down here. I didn't want you getting involved with this."
"Alfred, it's too late for that. You're the United States of America, you dumb git. Everything you do has effects on the rest of us, just like ripples in a pond." England said. "Besides, we've always helped each other, remember? The World Wars, the War on Terror. We're friends. And we're Allies."
For a moment Alfred stayed quiet. Then he said, "Thanks. But I don't think you know what you're getting into."
"I think I'm already into it, whatever it is." England replied, then drained his cup and set it back on the tray. "Done?"
"Sure." America said as he handed the half-empty cup back. "If you see Clay around somewhere, tell him I'll be down for dinner tonight, okay?"
"Yes," England replied. as he stood up and picked up the try. He wanted to add something else, something that would reassure the other nation, but there was nothing else he could say.
***After his visit with America, England went back to his own room and was planning on a long phone conversation with his Prime Minister, but as he was dialing the number, there came a banging on his door.
He pulled it open to find Texas standing on the other side. "There's oil spilling from a damaged well in the Gulf of Mexico, and it's started washing up on the coast. Dad is flying back to D.C. right now."
"Right now?" Arthur repeated.
"Right now." Texas confirmed.
"Understood. I'll go back with him-" England turned to head back into the room, but Texas grabbed his arm.
"There's something else you need to know." Texas said. "The well that just blew up, the Deepwater horizon well, it belonged to the British Petroleum company.
And only on thought went through Arthur's head. Oh, crap.
T.A.R.N.S.: I apologize for the long delay here, but hey, now that the election is over, I at least know how to write the ending. School has been keeping me very busy, but I got back!
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill began on April 20, when methane gas from the bottom of the ocean came shooting up, ignited, and exploded. On the 22nd, despite attempts to contain the fire on the rig, it sank. Eventually all that oil started washing up on U.S. shores, but we'll deal with that in future chapters.
Anyway, I'm sorry if things seem rushed, but I've been a little rushed. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.