Three Rivers, 8.1

Eighth Sim of Thirty Sims at Three Rivers

Author’s Note: Alec Dolan is the first Sim featured in Three Rivers who is game-generated. This Townie, who’s already appeared in a few chapters, moved into an island house, thanks to MC Command Center. As I began to consider a Sim for the eighth prompt, Alec seemed to express this quality better than any Sim I could dream up in CAS.

8. He wanted to buy the other car

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The Greens needed a candidate, and Alec Dolan needed a party. That’s how he came to be running for the Three Rivers Council as the Greens’ choice for representative.

Given his family affiliation and culture, he felt the Conservatives would fit better, but his friend Huntington, with a dream of filling his father’s shoes, was their candidate.

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Alec didn’t mind pretending. He was used to saying things he didn’t mean.

He’d been using pick-up lines as his beard for so long now that repartee had become second nature. Lead with “jerk” and they’ll lose interest real fast, and no one will be any the wiser.

Sometimes, a woman would surprise him, though, and see through the facade to find a whisper of friendship beneath. Serena, his new campaign manager, had become one such truth-whispering friend.

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She inspired him to dig deep to find a cause he actually believed in–or at least one he could talk about with enthusiasm. He loved trees, oaks, especially. Preserving the ancient oaks lining the meadows was a noble cause.

“They’re grand trees, aren’t they?” he said to Serena. “You’d probably never guess, ma chère, but I spent half my childhood up the limbs of a giant oak. We’ll rescue them for the boys–and girls–of the future!”

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Without anyone’s promptings, he stumbled onto Free Internet Access and Bridging the Digital Divide as another cause he believed in, or almost believed in. He could talk about it with passion, at least.

six08

“But I haven’t got a house,” protested one of the constituents.

Ce n’est pas grave,” Alec replied. “The hand-held device, non?”

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“Health care is more relevant,” said the blonde woman who’d been listening attentively, “and more strategic for effecting real social change.”

The next day, on his morning walk, he ran into that same blonde, who introduced herself as Janet Fuchs. She’d been talking with a few other residents of Three Rivers.

“What a coincidence!” she said. “I was just telling Esmeralda and Dominic about those good ideas you were putting forth yesterday. They like your idea for free region-wide Wi-Fi.”

“And also free, region-wide health care,” said Esmeralda.

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“Health care was her idea,” Alec began to say, but Esmeralda and Dominic had already turned to leave.

Alec realized that he could use someone like Janet on his campaign. Quel passion!

“You have a way with you, madame,” he said. “And the people, they follow. You are a Green, non?”

She was a Green, yes, and also a CPA, and so, that very morning, she also became Alec’s campaign finance manager.

“When you ask,” Alec said, “the money, it will flow in! You have the golden tongue!”

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Alec felt charmed whenever he met someone who genuinely believed in the causes he espoused. Innocence is irresistible, and true innocence, disarming.

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The owner of the new café where all of Alec’s friends visited built his business on the party ideals: sustainability, profit-sharing, eco-friendly. All the buzz was not buzz but substance to Emiliano Zorelo. Alec found sincerity to be très sexy.

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Inspired by the others’ enthusiasm and passion, Alec held his first campaign meeting at his house.

“Converse avec tous les autres on the ferry,” he told Serena on the phone, “that way, you can discover the agenda, and when we meet, we have more time for visiting.”

“Or planning,” Serena replied.

The group arrived together.

“You’ve brought them here like a true leader,” Alec told Serena. Compliments, he believed, served as the best motivator.

eight06

“Where are your pup-dogs?” Serena asked. She half expected to be overrun by the two Schnauzers that Alec had told her about when he first met her.

“Mitzi and Matilde are upstairs, happily watching the TV.”

“The cat show?”

“Ah, no! The Great British Baking Show. BAKE! They adore the co-host. And the patisserie!”

In addition to Janet, Serena, and Emiliano, two more party members attended, Savannah and Sierra Trejo. Alec never did quite catch how exactly they were related, but he gathered that they lived together. Mother, daughter? Sisters? They looked nothing alike: but they shared a passion for the issues.

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Serena’s grass-roots organizing experience put them at ease.

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While the women researched historic green space and common land laws, Alec contemplated his new position in this party he hardly knew a thing about.

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J’aime les arbres, he thought. Could he build his political career on his affection for oaks? Wild lands were worth saving. Wild blackberries, les mûres sauvages, those were indeed a resource to protect.

And when he felt the earnestness of the women around him, he thought he could fabricate interest in any cause that he would need to espouse.

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“Listen to this!” said Sierra, looking up from her book. “It’s about Eugene Henard, who created the greenbelt in Paris. ‘The city, as any living organism, needed oxygen, and parklands provided the necessary breathing room.'”

C’est profound. Who wrote that?”

“Albert Vaiciulenas.”

“Never heard of him.”

eight13

He followed Sierra into the kitchen. She was talking about the wide spaces of meadow and forest surrounding the city.

“And it’s not enough for us to keep the greenbelts we have,” she said. “We need to go further! Foxes, for example, need at least a few dozen hectares for their home ranges, and 20 to 30 kilometers is even better!”

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Alec laughed. It was fun to see her become excited about an issue.

“Could we make a difference, do you really think?” he asked Sierra.

“I do! Why not? Look at those history books. Policies were made by people just like us. We’re no different. We can make a change, for sure!”

When he and Sierra brought coffee into the front room, they found Janet looking thoughtful.

“What about LGBTQIA issues?” she asked.

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“QIA?” asked Alec. “What a mouthful. Can we not simply say ‘human’?”

“It’s critical,” said Savannah. “We can’t call ourselves progressive without addressing these rights. Besides, it’s not even progressive anymore. It’s just the way it is.”

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“True,” said Serena. “It’s part of the platform of any forward-looking campaign. And it’s not only good policy, it’s good politics. There’s a wide base of support.”

“How about you?” Alec asked Emiliano. “Where do you stand on LBGT-Q-I-A rights?”

“Right smack en el medio!” laughed Emiliano, with a wink. “Well,” he counted on his fingers, “third from the left.”

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Alec laughed. He liked Emiliano’s style.

They heard the ferry horn sound as it entered the bay.

“Oh, I must get home!” said Janet. “It’s a day tomorrow!”

The others hurried to wash up dishes and put away books.

“No problem,” said Emiliano. “You ladies head to the ferry. I will stay to help our candidate with the dirty work of the cleaning up! Go! Go!”

eight10

After the front door closed behind them, Alec and Emiliano sat at the dining table and felt the quickening silence that descends when guests have left.

“You don’t mind, I hope,” Emiliano asked, “that I stayed behind?”

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Alec didn’t mind one bit. In fact, it was what he’d been hoping for since the moment he found out that Emiliano would be coming to the meeting.

“I am glad you’re a Green,” said Emiliano, when Alec wrapped him in his arms.

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“Green is good,” said Alec, laughing. And he thought that maybe he even meant it.

The next morning, while Emiliano lay snuggled in Alec’s bed with Mitzi and Matilde curled up around his feet, Alec rose to clean the dishes they’d left the night before. He kept one mask off that morning, and he wasn’t sure he’d be putting it back on. Oh, he’d wear other masks, perhaps, just not that particular one ever again.

Maybe it wasn’t so bad after all, he thought, being a candidate for the Greens. If it allowed him to discover and then to be his true self, maybe it wasn’t so bad, after all.

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