The happy couples with their freshly cut lilies from the flower district; the pickup soccer players who never pass the ball; the weekend barbecue enthusiasts with their George Foreman barbecue products, their squeezable ketchup bottles, their chef's hats; the park bench romancers, mashing their chapped lips together; the carp feeders in the botanical gardens, mallards clustering before them awaiting the stale white bread, Vanessa has contempt for them all. The life-loving weenie-roasting citizens of Saturdays. Likewise, all persons who would relentlessly display their knowledge of the chad. The plural of the word chad is actually chad. Must the chad be punched out in at least two corners? Two corners or three corners or four corners? Or perhaps one single corner alone? Must you be able to see light around a chad in order for that chad to indicate intention? This is Saturday, and somewhere in a county down near the Gulf of Mexico in humid weather, members of the county board of elections are toiling, as they have been toiling since Tuesday. There are three members of the board of elections in a school gymnasium, sports mascots painted on the walls, and they are observed in their efforts by a scoundrel from each of the political parties, likewise by scoundrels of the press. The party operatives are objecting yet again. Can light be seen around the chad? Is this chad a pregnant chad? Or is this a dimpled chad? Either way, the chad is not a legitimate chad, as a pregnant or dimpled chad does not indicate a legitimate vote. This is a nonvote or this is an undervote, depending on the point of view of the party operative making the argument. This is the news on Saturday. The light of the coastal resorts is visible around the indeterminate and partially punched-out chad, pastels of Floridian light, bleached and salt scoured. Yes, the chad exhibits intention, is perhaps pregnant with intention, and so the members of the board of elections in this county near to the Gulf of Mexico, in the tail end of hurricane season, are working furiously, their eyes itchy and red. Vanessa is not going to the farmers' market to banter with the cheese ladies who hawk their excrescences, nor is she going to the dry cleaner's to speak with the beautiful Korean girl who has changed the color of her hair for the fourth time in three weeks.
Vanessa means to work.
First, the cat must be fed. The cat comes howling to the bed where Vanessa is still lying, where she is plotting. At first she ignores the cat. She's making plans, and she's listening to news reports, and she is considering options relating specifically to the miniseries entitled The Diviners. Who knows if this mythology of diviners is legitimate? thinks Vanessa, lying in bed while Dade County performs its convulsions. The cat howls.