There was no court the next day, so I had to go to school. This week had promised to be a stone-cold bitch. So far, that was an understatement.
School was a real blow-off, since I'd done all of my Spanish IV homework last week and chemistry was cancelled because of a fire in the lab.
I saw Tammy for the first time since the party.
"Tammy," I told her in confidence. "I'm gonna tell you something, and you have to keep it a secret. Don't freak out or anything when I tell you."
"Okay. What is it?"
"Okay, whatever. Now tell it, hirl."
"You know I don't like that world. Okay, here goes. Gina had sex."
"Well, isn't that shocking?"
"You haven't told me anything yet."
"Yes I have. Gina had sex."
"That," she scoffed. "I'm supposed to freak out 'cause Wonder Woman's understudy got laid? How old is she?"
"And this is her first time?"
"Of course. Aren't you shocked?"
"Did she get paid for it? Did your Daddy trade her to a friend for a kilo of dope?"
"No." She could be so dramatic sometimes.
"Then I ain't surprised."
"She's my baby sister."
"That's what sisters do, shug, when they get big. And they always get big. Is she preggers?"
"We don't know yet."
"But you don't have to say it like that. This is tragic."
"No," Tammy corrected me. "President Kennedy's assassination was tragic. This is pathos."
"It's tragic for her."
"She can't see the forest for the trees. Dani, this happens all the time."
"Maybe in your neighborhood."
"Yours too. Pregnancy isn't a poor kid thing, Dani. There are just as many girls from your hood in line over at the Clinic on my side of the river."
"I'm not talking about them, Tammy. I'm talking about my little sister. And for the purpose of this conversation, it is tragic. Do you understand?"
"Yeah, sure. But what am I supposed to do? I didn't knock her up."
"I didn't. So when did this happen?"
"Oh, I see. And you feel responsible for her, 'cause she went off dressed like a patriotic prostitute?"
"That's not fair. I'll grant you patriotic, but she wasn't dressed like a prostitute."
"Yeah she was. You wanna test that? Let's stick her on the corner of Old Miss and Tenth Street, and see who stops."
"Tammy, you're being unfair."
"No I'm not; I just don't share your double standard."
"I don't have a double standard."
"Look, Dani, just 'cause Princess is privileged, don't mean I have to feel bad for her 'cause she made the same mistakes I see little girls make every day. It's not like there are a lot of thirteen-year old virgins around here. You just don't see it."
"You make me sound like a prude."
"You are a prude, hon, but you're getting over it."
"Are you a virgin, Tammy?"
"Yes, but I can run pretty fast."
It was Super Tuesday, and I was excited, but I have to admit to a certain amount of distraction. This had already been the longest week of my life, and there were still four days left.
Most of the mainstream polls were predicting Gerald Ford by a landslide, but the South was voting for George Wallace. I had no illusions that my political manipulation would have no widespread effects, regardless of how effective it might be locally.
The campaign season had been long, it had started last winter, but it was all coming to a head today. Soon we would see the end of the commercials and signs, and the endless bunting and flags.
Well, maybe not the flags. The Bicentennial was great for flags. Congress passed the Flag Act on the Fourth of July; it regulated use of the flag and all flags that used the 48 stars and 13 bars pattern.
Besides the National Flag with its familiar red and white stripes the Act also enshrined into law the Seal flag, so called because it was a white flag with red stripes. It had been used since 1944, when General MacArthur flew it in occupied South Carolina. Since the end of that war, it had been more-or-less a tradition for vanquished rebel states to fly it.
Flags had been integral to this campaign and the big parties had flags for their caucus, and a separate flag for each of their candidates.
Wallace had even incorporated the design into his skywagon. He'd painted the touring-rocket with red and blue stripes along the hull, with a white nose-cap with a ring of blue stars. It was very patriotic.
Modern high-profile candidates wouldn't be caught dead touring on a bus. With the breakneck schedule and endless pressure to appear in public, it made more sense to use a ballistic bus. You could see four or five times the number of people if you went by rocket.
The President didn't campaign that hard, of course, and he took Air Force One everywhere. He seemed pretty confident he'd win tonight.
My candidate, like all the rest, did his touring in a ground-bus. He was mostly restricted to California, as that was where his appeal was. Back before Kennedy, that meant he'd lose for sure, but all Dr. Spock had to do was get his name out, and not piss anyone off.
He might take some of the Western states, but he didn't have to beat the other candidates to win. If enough people would vote against the two primary candidates, then his platform would stand a chance.
His campaign strategy hinged on that fact. He couldn't admit it publicly, of course, but the People's Party had been encouraging its members to convince other voters to vote against their opponent's candidates, instead of for their own. That's where I'd gotten the idea.
I just hoped it worked. Ford was big-business politics as usual, and a President Wallace would probably start a pogrom; God forbid he might be elected.
No other candidate was really running. The People's Party had convinced most of the would-be competitors that success lay behind a unified front and Dr. Spock was running consistently third in the polls behind the Republicrats.
I sat on the couch with my parents and watched the tube. It takes a special kind of mind to find election results exciting, but I could see history made here tonight. President Spock would be good for the kind of world I wanted it to be four years from now.
The evening started with a surprise: Maine, which reported it's votes first split them between Ford and Spock. It was a tie.
The next two were not surprising. Ford took New Hampshire and Vermont, but the numbers were lower than expected. People must be voting against them both. Spock had about 10% in each of those states.
That put Ford way ahead—nine to two in terms of electoral votes, but those wouldn't be cast until later.
Massachusetts was next, and it went to Dr. Spock—he had 22% over Ford's 13%; Wallace had 2% with 50% of precincts reporting. That put our candidate in the lead for the first time.
The Eastern seaboard popular vote tallies came in, but I kept my eyes on the electoral votes. They showed a dramatic fight in New England as the states with smaller populations which could have results the soonest reported in.
Rhode Island and Delaware both went to Spock but Ford carried Connecticut.
The Disctrict of Columbia was too close to call, but would likely split their votes.
Spock held his lead until Maryland, which was sure to cast its eight votes to Ford, who was now the projected winner 25 to 21 and Wallace had yet to take a single state.
About same time Florida reported her first precincts, Spock's New York numbers jumped from 8% to 12%, and kept on rising. By 9:00 PM he was neck-and-neck with Ford at 19%. Then Fords numbers went down.
When New Jersey polls showed 27% Spock, 19% Ford, 8% Wallace with 85% precincts reporting, it became clear Spock was back in the lead.
Then it started happening in New York—Spocks' votes stayed at a steady 21% while Fords share dropped to 12%, then ten, then into the single digits. Wallaces' votes had long since evaported. The Garden State's final tally was 23% Spock, 13% Ford, less than 0% Wallace.
As the evening progressed, so evolved the map. Spock and Ford had split the smaller states in New England, but with New York going to Spock and Pennsylvania to Ford, he was back in the race.
The rest of the Atlantic States reported next and for a long time, only Ford and Wallace got any of their votes. By 10:00 PM, Spock was only leading Ford by three electoral votes.
Wallace took the Deep South, of course, but Ford wound up taking Kentucky, and with it, the lead for the third time this evening.
As the last of the South gave way to the Midwest, however, the pattern changed. Spock was doing well enough in Ohio to call it, and he took a fourteen vote lead. In a short time, he had every Midwestern state on the Missisippi except Iowa, which gave him 130 probable electoral votes, as opposed to Ford's 70-odd and Wallace's 61.
But the next column of states was a different story. Ford dominated there, taking all the votes except three split votes from Nebraska and Oklahoma for Spock and those of Texas—which went to Wallace and put him within eight votes of second place.
Ford kept winning the rest of the night, but it did him no good. After the last two votes, from Oklahoma, Spock was virtually guaranteed 150 electoral votes, out of 392.
Winning in Montana had brought Ford's total to 92, and it continued to rise, but he would have to win nearly every remaining contest.
By midnight it was all but a forgone conclusion that Spock would win. The map was by no means completely green, but he had won some important upsets.
I went to bed confident, and happy with what I saw. The entire west coast had yet to report. Oregon had just voted for Spock, bringing the score to: Spock, 155; Ford, 118; Wallace 81. Ford would have to take California and Washington to win. California was Spock's home state and he was projected to do well there.