Sometimes You Just Have to Know Where to Stand

The man had “Art Critic” written all over his face.

He frowned, took a step to the side and squinted.

Mag had to laugh.  He reminded her of that governor who the ex had entertained a few years ago, the one who most likely never drank anything except for Bud and yet pretended to be a connoisseur of fine Bordeaux.  Where was he from, Alabama?  Texas?  No matter.  His expressions were just priceless as he twirled and sniffed the glass he obviously felt was oversized.  He then held the glass up to the light before he almost choked on the huge gulp he downed.  He pretended to love it, but it was obvious he hated every drop.

The art critic’s expressions were even more obvious.

She sighed.

Well, she’d have to rescue this one since he was most likely going to give her a zero-star review in the Times.

“Excuse me, sir.”

He looked her way.

“I believe that you are supposed to stand here.  You know, right on this star.”

She pointed at the little felt star at her feet.

He shook his head, as if he knew better, but walked over, and made a huge production of standing on the star and then turned towards the work.

Mag laughed as his jaw literally dropped.  Did people really do that?  He took a step back, eyes wide open.  He then walked around the star, staring at the artwork, before stepping back onto the star.

“Even the smallest shift of perspective…”  His words dribbled out.

“Sometimes you just have to know where to stand,” she said.

The man turned to her, as if about to say something, but stopped.  A cynical smile spread across his face.

“Ah, Margret Kendall, or I guess I should call you Mag Fraser now, right?  I should have recognized you from back when I was on the political beat.”

She nodded once in acknowledgement.

“I am not a Progressive in any shape, form or manner, but I do have to say that you picked the perfect time to leave the Governor.  I mean, the Holy Knights of White Freedom… Perfect timing.  Or did he shift that way because you left him?”

“I’m afraid not.  He has always been like that, though his charms blinded me to that side for too many years.  And his strangle hold on anything he… anyway, never mind, water under the bridge.  I think of the man and his dirty politics as little as possible.”

The art critic took two steps to the right and put his hands up, acting the movie director to frame the object of art in front of him.

“I think his distorted worldview was pretty obvious to anyone who really looked,” he said.

“Well, I didn’t see it right away…”

“Sometimes you just have to know where to stand,” he said.

She smiled.

“Touché.  In my defense, I never paid much attention to politics of any sort.  It wasn’t until I found myself in the Governor’s mansion that I actually stopped and looked around.  But that is old news.  We are here for the art.  At least I am…”

“Yes, your artwork.  You have always been an artist, correct?” She nodded.  “Let’s see if I remember, you graduated with a Master of Fine Arts.  Summa cum laude.”  She nodded again.  “Impressive.  And a year or two later, you were behind the cash register of a Burger King…”

“A Wendy’s.  Big difference.”

“Of course.  You were working at a Wendy’s when a newly single older man came in and swept you off your feet.”

“Something like that.  He invited me to a van Gogh exhibition before he even ordered.  I have no idea how he knew…  But enough about that monster.  Have you had a glass of wine?  Looked at any other works?  Some of them are like this, so if you don’t get it at first, remember to look for the star.”

He seemed about to say something, but then nodded and walked off to the wine bar.

Mag smiled at some of the other patrons and pretended to take an interest in what was going on around her, but her mood was shot.

The freaking jerk! 

She did not want to be reminded.  Mag had worked her butt off to get out on her own, despite just about everyone in the country standing in her way.  Since she didn’t get a penny from the divorce, she owed money to everyone she knew.  But she was able to get the show up and running, and there was nothing that Governor Buttface could do about it, though he tried.

Charles, the gallery owner, walked over.  “Oh, there you are, Mag.  I have someone you need to meet.”

She let the old memories slide, put on her best smile and followed Charles.


In two months it went from a visit to the traveling van Gogh show to traveling to Paris to visit the Louvre.  Two months after that and he proposed.

All starry eyed it seemed great, a fairytale.

At least for a time.

It didn’t take long before she realized that she was just a trophy wife, a beautiful bangle that he could flash out to prove his virility and manliness. 

If she didn’t catch it herself, he soon reminded her.  Not that he said it in so many words, just that he went from treating her like a goddess to treating her like a garment to be taken out on special occasions. 

And then it got worse.

She wasn’t allowed to paint or sculpt, because it was too messy.  A small drawing pad?  Well, he’d see what he could do.  Which turned out to be nothing. 

And it didn’t take long for her to realize that she was a prisoner.

Those two bodyguards he assigned for her protection?  Right.  They were for his protection.

The first time she tried to escape by locking herself into the Lady’s Room, they knocked down the door.


Mag woke up, gasping for breath.

She looked around the tiny bedroom.

Tiny, but hers.

She got up and washed her face.  She cursed at herself.

She left him almost two years earlier and yet he still owned her. 

She had thought that the opening would have helped, but the rumors that she had taken him for millions and the entire art thing was just a giant vanity project paid for by his money cast a shadow over the whole thing.  Anyone who took the time to research would know better.  She was sure that the art critic, what’s his name, knew better. 

What was his name?  She had somehow missed it.  She had no idea who he was.  If they took a political guy and put him on the art page, it couldn’t be one of the big papers.

Or could it?

She had seen him a few times, floating around the gallery, walking around each work before going to the special place.  He had chatted with some of the other patrons who were there.  A few times he even made eye contact.

 But they didn’t say a word except the “goodbye” as he left.

What did he think?  What was he going to write?  She would have liked to have talked to him, picked his brain a little.  He wasn’t a bad looker either.

“Stop that!”

She looked at herself in the mirror.  Woken out of a bad dream at 4 AM after staying up well past midnight, she certainly didn’t feel or look like a trophy bride anymore.  And the last thing she needed was some guy in her life.  Even someone who was about her own age and seemed nice.

Governor Buttface had seemed nice at the beginning too, hadn’t he?

“Don’t even think of that monster again!” she yelled at her reflection.

Damn, the apartment had paper thin walls and she was sure all of the neighbors heard.

Five minutes later she was staring at the bedroom ceiling.  She knew she needed to sleep, but the butterflies were worse after the show than they were before.

She felt it was the defining moment.

Was it going to be a successful intro into the art world or will everyone see her as a washed up, ex-trophy wife?

She knew it was worthless to worry, but her brain continued to race.


Call me.  Voice call.

Her sister seemed stuck in text only mode, but Mag needed to hear Brit’s voice.

“Hey girl, you aren’t even going to let me finish my coffee?”

“Thanks for calling, Brit.  It’s been a long night.”

“The opening didn’t go well?  Oh, by the way, sorry again I couldn’t’ get off work to fly in for it.  Damn, I would have done anything. You know…”

“Thanks, Brit.  I know.  The only reason it happened was because of you.”

It was true.  Mag’s entire return to art had been paid for by her family, and Brit had done more than any.

That made bugging her first thing in the morning worse, but she did need the emotional support more than the money.

“Actually, the opening went better than expected, but I have no idea how it will be seen.  Mr. Buttface has been feeding the rumor mill again.  A brainless, talentless bimbo is stealing all of his hard-earned money to self-promote herself and pretend to be an artist.  Bah.”

“Hey, girl, it’s OK.  Hush now.  Don’t think of… do you actually call him that to his face?  I’d love to see his expression if you did.”

“Well, not to his face, not with all of the lawyers and stuff…”

“You should, sometime.”

“I hope I never get the chance.”

“Me too.  I wish you never had the chance to begin with.  I never knew what you ever saw in that misogynistic jerk.  He was twice your age when you met, and four times divorced.”

For a second the distinguish, dapper gentleman that was Richard Kendall back when she met him came up in Mag’s mind’s eye. 

“Yeah, but can we change the subject?”

“Away from Buttface?  Sure.  Hey, as we were talking I searched for your opening.  Looks like some guy at the Times was impressed.  Wow, he actually gave a quick bio and never mentioned your ex.”

“Really?  The Times?  Hold on, I need to put you on speaker.”

Playing with her phone it didn’t take long to find the review written by a Peter Schiffer.  The name was half familiar and Mag wondered if it was same critic she had talked to.  She’d search his name later, see and find out.

“I found it, hang on while I skim it, OK.”

“Fine, it will give me time to sip my coffee in peace.”

It was just as Brit had said, a very positive review with not a word about her marriage to Richard.  There was mention of her graduating with honors, so most likely it was written by her man.

“’My’ man? Right.”


Mag didn’t realize she’d said it out loud.  “Uhm, just wondering if this was a guy I saw last night, and I think it was.”  Well, that isn’t exactly what she had said, but it worked.

“OK.  Are you done yet?”

“Uhm…”  Mag skimmed a little more but decided she would have to read it later.  And, of course, she would have to search if there were other reviews.  “Yeah, I’m done.”

“Good.  See, you didn’t have anything to fret about.  You should have slept like a baby.  Anyway, I need to get ready for my day.  Are you fine?”

“Yeah, I’ll be alright. Thanks Brit.  Love ya.”

“By Sis.  Love you too.”


Mag could hear the noise as she unlocked the apartment door.  Had she left the TV on?  She very rarely watched it, and didn’t remember turning it on, but she must have.

Sure enough, the TV was on.  The volume was low, so perhaps that was why she had forgotten.

Fumbling around to find the misplaced remote she caught the sound from the news program.

“When asked about the controversial new crime bill, the governor’s spokesman told our reporters that the bill was not racist.  He claimed that it was a fact that crime was higher in black neighborhoods and that many of the citizens from those communities had called for the higher police presence.  When asked about funding for military grade arms, the spokesman said…”

Mag finally located the remote and stabbed at the off button.  She leaned back and closed her eyes.

She thought back to when she had first met Susan her freshman year at college.  Sue became one of her best friends and they roomed together their junior and senior years.  But when they first met, there was more than a little friction.

Mag had grown up in an all white town.  She had no idea that the language she used was often peppered with little bits of racism.  She had no idea that some of her ideas were rooted in racism.  She had no idea…  The last think Mag had wanted to be was hateful, and she had discovered that she was unwittingly being just that, hateful.

Sue was very nice about it and very patient.  But she did point out every instance of it until Mag began to catch t herself. 

As those college years went by, Mag had become more and more sensitive to it, often catching undertones that she would never have known existed if she hadn’t been so close to Sue.

But in reality, most of it was “innocent”.  It was that cultural racism that fills American media.  Most of the people using it were just like her.  They didn’t realize that the words they used had a root in racism.  They didn’t know they were being hateful.  Well.  Most of them.  And those that did know it, hid it well.

That changed after living with Richard Kendall for a few months.  He was proud of his racism.  It was a part of his identity.  As he moved ahead in politics, he learned how to talk about it in coded language so he could use seemingly innocent language while making sure his base knew exactly what he meant.

How could people miss it?

Of course they missed it because they have been told that there was no racism in the US.  If someone saw language as racist, it was them being too sensitive, not the person who said it.  OK, maybe some words and phrases were bad, but Richard Kendall never said those words.  How could he be racist?

Mag thought about Sue.  It had been a long time since they had talked.  Richard had all but freaked out when Sue, a black lady, was in the wedding party, and Mag had only dared call her a couple of times after that.

Richard made sure all of her phone transactions were tracked and reported to him.  She was told the constant surveillance was a measure of security so people didn’t take advantage of her, not to infringe on her privacy.

Did she even still have Sue’s number?

It wasn’t on her phone.

Brit would know.

Ten minutes later she was talking to her old best friend.  It was awkward at first, but it only took a moment for them to fall back into BFF mode.

The call lasted two hours, and she cried for 30 minutes after it was completed.  She did not realize how much she’d missed her old friend.


The salad wasn’t bad.  It wasn’t really very good either, but it was fresh.

Mag was at a local café, one just around the corner from her studio.  It had the benefits of being close, being clean, and, most of all, being cheap.

The gallery had called and a few more of her works had sold, which was good.  They were actually going quicker than expected.  Word had gotten around, and all of those nasty rumors had dried up.  In fact, most of the local and regional media had posted stories that contained the truth that she didn’t receive a penny from the divorce.  Of course it didn’t matter that much since the artist Mag Fraser seemed to have nothing to do with the so-called socialite Margret Kendall.

For once her art was being appreciated for its own merit.

She casually read the news on her phone as she ate, being careful to skip all articles about state politics.

“You eat here often?”

The familiar voice took her by surprise.

It was the art critic.

“I guess it depends on what you mean by ‘often’.” She smiled.

“I’m assuming more often than Burger King.  Or was it Wendy’s?”

“Wendy’s, and, yes, much more often.”

“Mind if I join you?”

“Be my guest.”

He sat opposite her.

“By the way, I am not sure if we were properly introduced before.  I’m Peter.”

“How do you do, Mr. Schiffer.  I think you know my name.  And thank you very much for using my maiden name and not the hateful one.”

He laughed.

“I guess I don’t need to ask if you read that review.  You are welcome.  I just told the truth.  Something I tried to do as a political correspondent, but it was harder back then.”

“Ah, politics again.  I try to avoid it at all costs.”

“Why?  Everything we all do relates back to politics.  The way society moves.  Everything.  It all goes back to that core.”

“Do you really believe that?”

He nodded.  She watched him for a while.  She wasn’t sure if she expected him to laugh, saying it was all a joke, or get mad at her.  Or what.

But he didn’t do any of those things.  Instead, he looked through the menu, occasionally glancing at her and smiling.  He asked about a few items then caught the attention of the waitress.

After he had ordered he returned her stare.

“Can you do me a favor,” he asked. She shrugged.  “Knowing who you were married to, that is, ‘He-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless’, I am very curious about your political views and beliefs.  And don’t worry, it is 100% off the record.”

“You don’t want to know.”

“But I do.”  He did seem so sincere.

She played with her salad for a moment then smiled up at him.

“OK, but don’t complain, you asked for it.”


“So, what do you think?” Mag asked.

They were sitting in her studio, sipping green tea.  Their little political discussion began in the café, move out for a long walk in the park and took the last hour or two in her studio.

“Frankly, I think you need to run for governor.”

“Ha, ha.  No seriously.”

“I am serious! I am amazed that you have more knowledge than a lot of the actual candidates.  And then you have inside info into Governor Shall-Remain-Nameless.  You could sink him.  And I tell you what, I have enough dirt on him that it would take a bulldozer a century to remove it all.  I can’t publish it since he and his allies own a majority share in our paper, so…  But I could give it to you with references.  You would just have to swear you’d never say my name.”

She had been shaking her head throughout.

“No, no and no.  No way can I ever run for political office, and surely not something like governor.  I’m too young and too inexperienced.  I don’t have any political allies.  And I do have a huge enemy.”

“Who actually knows diddly about you.”

It did make a twisted kind of sense, but she knew it was all types of wrong.  No way.  She was an artist, not a politician!

“Anyway,” Peter said, “I need to be on my way.  Why don’t you think about it?  Let me know and I’ll make sure you get silent, yet legal, boosts through the entire election cycle.  If you change your mind, just call and say you want to meet for green tea.”

She smiled.  “Thank you, but no.  It has been nice getting to know you a little better.  We need to do this some other time.”

His smile evaporated.  “It sounds nice, but truthfully, I don’t think we should meet unless it is business, like if I show up at another opening.  And, remember, it’s ‘meet for green tea’.  Anyway, it was great.  Talk later.”

He got up and showed himself out.


Mag was surprised at how much she was beginning to like the man.


As Mag unlocked the door she realized that the TV had been left on again.  She had never done it in the past, and yet she had twice in the last three weeks.  It was just so strange.

And as before, the remote was not where she always left it.

As she searched for the remote, she couldn’t help but hear the TV.

“As the primaries rapidly approach the poll numbers have continued to look good for the incumbent in most races, particularly the governor’s race.  He is showing a 58% approval rating, one of his highest since he took office.  In a proposed matchup with the four front-runners, the Governor has won with more than a ten-point lead. Currently there are no strong…”

Mag found the remote and hit the off button.

How in the world were his numbers so high?  It was so obvious what a crooked man he was.  It was impossible not to see.

Or was it?

Her front row seat had given her insight into how he thought and all of the ins and outs of his dealings.  She knew how he sent his bribes and how his lawyers put the pressure on just about anyone.  She heard him talk to leaders of fascist and white supremacist groups, like the Holy Knights of White Freedom.  She knew his stand there.  She saw these things and more.  She heard him tell his deepest secrets, reveal his most intimate hates.

Perhaps nobody else could see because they didn’t have her vantage.

A quick online search brought up a list of his top opponents.  She’d give one a call and offer her services.

After an hour of reading, she gave up.

Perhaps Richard Kendall’s approval rating was 58% because people didn’t know him, but that was not why he was so far ahead in the polls.

Every one of his opponents were deeply flawed.  Not a one was a strong candidate.  She would put any random person she had ever known against any of them.  Sue would be a thousand times better.  Mag knew nothing would ever get her to run, which was too bad.  And her sister, if only she had lived in state.

She leaned back, arms crossed, and fumed.

Why, even she would do better than those incompetents!  Even without her inner knowledge of the workings of his campaign!

With that knowledge….

Mag picked her phone.  She took the card that was hidden in her purse.

“Uhm, hi, Peter.  This is Mag, uhm, Mag Fraser.  I was wondering if you’d like to meet me for some green tea.”


Mag’s name was added to the primary ballet on the last day possible.  She didn’t realize how close she was cutting it.

But then a funny thing happened, she went from unknown to the party’s front runner almost overnight.  She knew it was because she wasn’t the only one to see the flaws of every other candidate.  Strangely enough, she discovered that Richard was helping, most likely thinking she would either sow division in her party or would be the easiest candidate to win against. He had brutalized her before, he must assume he could do it again.

The campaign for the party’s ticket was grueling.  She ran on her ideas and vision for the state, never bad mouthing the other candidates while pointing out their flaws by showing she didn’t have them.  In the background there was also the idea that she had seen what the governor does and so would be able to start off running on day one.

There was also the whispered campaign that once the real campaign began, the one against the incumbent governor, she would have the ammunition to succeed.  She had to be careful not to really show her hand, though.  It was a tightrope.

Besides the secret backing of her ex, she also had the backing of most of the media in the state, at for her party’s ticket if not the actual position.

And then there were all of the party and industry bigwigs fighting for her in the background, the battle she only saw a hint of.  They all thought she had the best chance to beat Richard.

The entire thing was more tiring than she could believe, but she fought on and could feel her resolve grow by the day.  She looked forward to the day after the primaries.  Either she’d be out and give her support to the winner, or she could start the real race.  Wouldn’t it be easier when she could unleash everything on ole Buttface?

And she did win, even if by the slimmest possible margins.

But when the real battle began, she wished she was back in the primaries, when life was easy.


“OK, what was today’s first attack?”

Mag’s assistant, Cheryl rolled her eyes.

“I’d rather not say.  It involves a horse and something about keeping up with Catherine the Great.”

Mag hid a laugh.

“OK, easy enough to deflect.  Make sure we again tell the people where the lie came from, but today release the next three broadsides instead of one.  Make sure they are ironclad and we can prove every word.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Also stress once again that he has spent more on this campaign than has been spent on every campaign this state has seen in the last 30 years, combined.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“And start the new ad that has the leader of the Holy Nights of White Freedom extolling the so-called ‘virtues’ of Buttface, I mean the Governor.”

“Ma’am, you need to be careful, you may say that to the wrong person at the wrong time. As to the ad, you are talking about the one where he has a photo of Hitler in one hand and the governor in the other?”

“That’s the one.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Mag slumped as soon as the door closed behind Cheryl.

Another day, another accusation or two to deflect.  Most were so ludicrous to be simple, but there were still quite a few making the rounds, even though they had all been disproven.  Political belief is much stronger than fact.  There were many people who took Richard Kendall’s word an anything and everything over all other sources.  They treated him as a god.  The core base was only about 25% of the voters, but some of the lies were believed by up to 40% of the people and one or two but up to a half.

She had an unending supply to fire back, but all of hers proved correct.  Peter had really done a great job, though most of them were now coming from other sources.  It seems that Governor Richard Kendall had made many enemies over his life in business and politics.

That same 25% took his word over the proof every time, but it was only about 40% that believed all of the accusations, even though there were reams of proof for each and every one.

The first few days of the real campaign were 100% damage control.  His resources were deeper and broader than anyone could imagine.  But she did fight back and started dumping it on him. 

She later discovered that he thought she would buckle under the pressure of those first few days and was totally taken by surprise that not only did she come back, but she came out swinging.  His campaign was not ready to play defense.  Soon the top news even on national and international channels were discussing all of the bribes he had paid, all of the people he had bullied and all of the crooked deals he had made, using his position illegally to gain power.

The polls had changed in a week from her trailing by 20 points to being down by only 2.

And then the fight got dirty.

She sighed.

Why couldn’t she go back to just telling people what she would do as governor and how her approach was so different from her opponent’s?

There was the upcoming debate.  Her people were talking to the moderators to make sure it was more about substance than anything.  She had said there had to be real time fact checkers on location and every statement by both candidates had to be analyzed.  Of course his people were fighting it tooth and nail.  After some of the negotiations were leaked, his side relented a little bit.  Not enough, but if they stayed on topic and his lies were exposed, she would be set.

She just needed to be sure she was ready, was able to keep up her strength and come out swinging, she’d be fine.  No mistakes.

And no pressure.

She laughed.  Only a week to the debate and the election was a week after that.

They were in the home stretch, neck to neck, but she was confident.

Her stomach flip-flopped.

Well, maybe that was a stretch, but she was sure of herself, if not the outcome, and that was what would be important over the next two weeks.


The lights were dim, but Mag’s eyes were growing accustomed.  The moderator was talking to the audience without a mike, just giving them basic instructions on expected behavior.  Richard’s base could be loud and knew how to cause trouble.  Her side demanded that any trouble they caused would be dealt with.

She was led to a small podium.  Richard was being led to one just across from hers, no more than 10 feet away. 

“Ah, Maggot, always charmed,” he said.

“Hi Buttface.  The pleasure is mine.”

She cringed internally for the mistake, but kept her face calm.

“Right,” he said.  “I hope you brought your burial shroud because you will be dead at the end of the evening.”

“The only sheet I brought was one to cover that obscenity opposite me.”

The moderator walked up to his microphone.

“Hello and welcome everyone.  As you all know, but perhaps the candidates don’t, the microphones are live going out to our worldwide audience.

“Because of the unexpected opening, we will give each of you a one-minute space to tell us why we should vote for you.  Later you will be allowed to give your five-minute presentation, but for now, I want off the cuff remarks to match those we just heard.


“I think my record speaks for itself.  I am tougher on crime than any politician our nation has ever seen with a 10-fold increase in incarceration since I took office while the crime rate has fallen by over 15%.  On the economic front, the wealth of the five richest people in the state has more than doubled, and we all understand that this wealth will come out as new jobs in the future.  My strong leadership has won the respect of people from all over this country and around the world.

“As to my opponent, this obviously obscene person so polluted the governor’s mansion that I had to force her out at enormous cost to myself.  She has no experience, no talent, no intelligence and has only gotten to where she is by sleeping with every person that she could, be it man, woman or child, black, white or purple.  She is wily and fooled me for a few years before I understood and kicked her out.

“If reelected, I will be the strongest leader the world has seen and will continue to be even tougher on crime and criminals. I will make sure the job creators, the Capitalists, continue to thrive. and I will make sure that our state stays the same morally righteous, God-fearing, state that you all know and love, driving out the perversions that my ex-wife represents.”

Half of the auditorium erupted into loud “Hurrahs!” and clapping.  That half stood up and stomped their feet. 

The moderator turned to the audience.

“Thank you for the enthusiasm, but we need to continue, so please take your seats and let’s have a respectable silence.  Remember what I told you at the start.  There will be no exceptions.”

The governor’s half of the crowd carried on for another minute, but then quieted down.

“Thank you.”  The moderator turned towards Mag.  “Your turn, Ms. Fraser.”

A segment of the audience started “Booing” loudly and stomping their feet. 

The moderator started talking, but was drowned out, so he just nodded.

Mag couldn’t count the numbers, but at least 100 uniformed and armed members of the police force went out into the audience.

“I protest,” Richard said.  “My people have the right to protest this perversion of nature.”

“Mr. Governor, I am sorry, but you read the rules.  One more out of place word from you, and you are out.  You have sent hecklers to every event you could, but they will not be tolerated here.”

In a few minutes, the auditorium was quiet.  Even with the bright lights in her eyes, Mag could see that almost a third of the seats were empty.

“OK, Ms. Fraser, go ahead.”

“Thank you.  Although I have rarely had the chance to express my opinions, I have many ideas on how to make this state a better place for every citizen.  I hope that I will be able to talk about some of those ideas tonight without having to continually defend myself from lies and false accusations.

“As I have proven over and over, all of the accusations my opponent has thrown my way have been false, yet he has continued in an effort to drown my voice.  I have, unfortunately, had to fight fire with fire, and all of my own accusations have proven to be true.

“I have shown people this man in a light that they had not seen before.  It isn’t that these facts were hidden, it is just that sometimes you just have to know where to stand.

“And tonight I will tell you were I stand and show you were the man I fought hard to escape stands.  I will show that I speak from the corner of fact and the idea that we must strive for the benefit of all of the people, and fight even harder for the marginalized.

“I will show you that man there from the place where I stand and from the eyes that have seen him, and when you do finally see him as I do, you will understand that the hot-mic statement was not an insult hurled in the heat of the battle, but an accurate description of this man.

“Thank you.”

As the applause rippled over her, Mag, for the first time in the race, felt that they really had a chance.


A few days ago I read a post by Resa. She had photos of street art. One amazing thing is that the mural made the most sense seen from a specific angle. I said “sometimes you just have to know where to stand”. She liked the line, and so I did a short two sentence synopsis of a story based on that line. But it got me to thinking, which is dangerous, and so here it is. It is still a rough draft, but… I hope you enjoyed!

44 thoughts on “Sometimes You Just Have to Know Where to Stand

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  2. prior

    Hi Trent – I was thinking about you this week and then somehow found myself at Rosa’s blog and there you were! a link to this post…
    and I had a few politicians come to mind when I read it. well done

    Liked by 1 person

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      It is funny how that works – there are just so many coincidences. I think there is a certain politician most people think I used as a model, but I was thinking of an ex-governor of our state who was just like this. Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it.


    2. trentpmcd Post author

      Oh, Yvette, I forgot to add – I am surprised at how many people actually read this story given how long it is and how political. Thanks for making it through!


  3. John W. Howell

    I enjoyed the story, Trent. Politics is no longer an honorable profession. I have no idea what happens to people once they go into politics, but the old public service concept is dead. I look at where we are today and wonder if anything will ever get better. Both sides of the aisle have lost their way. Yet, in your story, there is a hint of promise. Maybe we can all write a new future and have it come true. Thanks to Resa for publishing it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks, John. I think a lot of politicians go in for the wrong reason. Some for the power (the governor in this story is based partially on a governor we had in this state that was very power hungry). More often are the ones with an agenda, which usually means they are extremists and think everything needs to be exactly how they see it. But then the good people get in they are either crucified or get lost playing that power game and either have spend their time on the game or drop out. And with how polarized everything is, even a moderate person has to be extreme. I do have hope it will get better, but fear it may have to get a little worse before it does.
      Yes, thanks Resa for reblogging!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Resa

    Reblogged this on Graffiti Lux Art & More and commented:
    In my previous post, I had stated that the half face didn’t make sense. Then I turned the corner, and there was the other half face. If I stood in a certain spot, I could capture the full face.
    In a comment, Trent said, “Sometimes you just have to know where to stand.”
    I thought for sure that was already a saying or song, or book. I couldn’t find exactly that when I searched. Trent has claimed it further with a short story that is relevant today. It’s a great read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks, Rebecca. I usually don’t get too political, so this is a bit of a departure for me. I really wasn’t thinking of anyone in particular with her, but I had at least two people in mind for him…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks, Tessa. I usually don’t go towards the political, so this was different for me. Although I may expand this a a little at some time, I think it is finished where it is, unresolved.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nortina S.

    Great story! So relevant for this politically tense time we’re living in too. I love how you use perspective throughout, between art and politics. It’s funny. It doesn’t seem like the two should connect, but yeah, as you say, it depends on how you look at it. Love that! And I love that you left the ending open. A part of me would like to know how it turned out, but I think the best stories leave it to the reader to decide what happens next

    Liked by 1 person

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks, Nortina! I’m glad that you liked it. It is a long read for a blog post… A lot of artists do have “agendas” or political points of view that drives their art. Of course it is more obvious in music, but it is in the visual art world. But how many artists become politicians? Hmmm, I can’t think of many.
      I know I am too often guilty of feeding the reader too much information, so I am happy with myself that I stopped where I did. I think keeping it unresolved was perfect for this story.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nortina S.

        Silly me, of course there’s political art! lol. But an artist who becomes a politician? Your character might be the first. ;) Long for a blog post, yes, but I definitely didn’t mind the length, and that was the perfect place to stop.

        Liked by 1 person

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  7. Resa

    Excellent write , Trent!
    It is so NOW! It is so needed. Of course to see that, it all depends on where you are standing.
    You ran with this story, like a hurricane.
    Anyway, in a couple, few days, I will reblog on my GLAM blog. I just need to get caught up, which is an activity I seem to do often.
    Way to go!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks, Resa, I’m glad that you liked it! Yep, we see a lot of life the way we do because of where we are standing… Sometimes when I get an idea, I just have to go until it is done – I’m sure you do the same thing in some of your projects.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Resa

        Absolutely! My new Art Gown is for Charlotte Hoather. Although ideas evolve, and there is a ship load of sewing, I’ll stick with it to the end.
        It’s quite exciting, actually!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks, Sadje!
      As to the end… When I was writing, I tried to come up with a good close. Maybe have it an election night party with all of the people involved (Mag, Brit, Sue, Cheryl, Peter) and ending with a victory speech (or concession, I guess…), but as I started to write the debate scene, I realized that I had said what I wanted to say. And then I decided I liked the instability of not knowing. We can guess, but…. I occasionally like stories that don’t neatly tie up all of the loose ends, and some of my favorite movies end right when the big event that all of the action it had been leading up to is just about to happen. Our imagination is then allowed to project.
      Anyway, those are my thoughts for now ;) If I ever decide to put this in a book of short stories or something, I may rethink it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      lol, yep, when I get an idea, I run with it, even if that tiny sprint of an idea turns into a marathon!
      I think politics turns off so many people because so many people in power are rewarded for takign advantage of their positions. I also hate mud-slinging and wished that candidates who make false accusations against opponents could be banned from politics for life… Keep it to the issues and only issues. OK, voting history, but be sure it is real.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks, Janet! It is a long story, particularly for a blog, so it is great when someone actually reads to the end.
      I like the idea of debates, but they are far too often less about the actual content and more about finding ways to go on the attack. I really wish they could be moderated to this level…

      Liked by 1 person


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