They sat together, discussing the weekly newspaper. It was a brilliant day, just a little too hot, a little too early in the season, which was another record set in decades of records broken for heatwaves and wild weather.. he had never thought he would miss the gentle dank rains of his childhood here.
"It's like what you say those Feminists do."
He wasn't quite sure where that had come from. Sometimes she seemed to be having a conversation with someone else, or picking up from where they had been years ago. She was far more lucid during the day, but even so, he knew she was slipping, and there was less time left than he cared to think about.
He looked over the articles he had been reading out to her. Which had triggered this off? Should he ask? She could get terribly upset if she was reminded of her problem, or suspected him of pussyfooting around her... bit of a catch-22, sometimes.
Oh, right. He had been reading out the story of a meeting by MRAs, which had been attacked by a group of Feminists. Despite being filmed, the police wouldn't intervene, except when the men involved started fighting back.. and even then it was just to arrest the men.
"They really did do this, Mum. See, it's in the paper.."
"Oh, you can't believe everything you read!"
"Mum, it's everywhere. The group says they had to defend themselves against anti-feminist attacks.. they are quite open about what they've done".
"It's that bloody Rupert Murdoch!"
"He's dead, Mum. The Murdochs don't own papers anymore, they're strictly blogotainment... "
She interrupted: "He was always making up those lies!" Her face was flushed and he realised he had better calm her down in a hurry. She could have another stroke, or worse..
"Never mind that, Mum.. what about I get you an iced tea?"
"Bloody lies! About that bomb! I never planted a bomb!"
He walked quickly to the counter, not wanting to hear any more.
"What... what is she talking about?" he thought, horrified. He remembered the cell they had been in as a child, and the looks the women used to give him. They were not friendly looks. They didn't ... like... men.. but he was tolerated as a small child. He didn't look enough like the enemy. Not yet.
He tried to think about a bombing. There had been that attempt on Malcolm Frasier. Wasn't that from Amanda Marga or ... well, some name like that?
They had denied it, but had hung nevertheless. Treason was still a capital offense, back then, although he was pretty sure it was life imprisonment instead now.
Damn, it was a woman at the counter.... don't look longer than 8 seconds, that's looking intently. Three years at Her Majesty's Pleasure, which mostly involved involuntary sodomy. Her Majesty, Queen Dianna. One sadistic bitch.
He looked at the menu, and grabbed his wallet. If he looked at her hands, did that count? Best to put the money on the counter.
The order blurted, change returned (only nearly dropped this time, it's not easy if you can't see it), and little number received... his hand was shaking a little. He would have loved a coffee too, but he was nervous enough as it was.
Could she have done it?
No surely not.. but they could have. Those women with hate in their hearts, the books of gendercide lining their shelves; they dreamt of violent revolution and joked of the screams of men... bathing in male tears, they called it. That was just talk, wasn't it?
Just talk. Just talking about opposing feminism was a hatecrime now.
Suddenly he wished he knew how to build a bomb himself.
He pushed that thought down.
She'd fallen asleep, face slack against the wall. He'd wake her when the tea arrived. He slipped on his reflective sunglasses so no woman could accuse him of male gazing, and stared at the sky. It was blue, empty of the merest hint of cloud, but somehow he knew something dark and ugly was blowing from the south.