The next day at the office, Calvin was almost in a daze, having slept very little and trying to decide what was the best choice to make concerning his personal and professional life. He even thought about taking Xavier into confidence, but realized that would be an enormous mistake on his part. Xavier was an inveterate gossip and anything he said would immediately be divulged to his officemates. Toward lunchtime, Hunter dropped by and made small talk while probing for Calvin’s reply. When Calvin didn’t give him any assurance, he left with a disappointed look on his face. It was obvious that Calvin had to speak with Tracy to discuss the situation.
At the nearby restaurant where he normally lunched, Calvin dialed Tracy’s number, just to hear her voice. Once again, he got the daughter who was non-committal and even a little annoyed he had called. She knew who Calvin was and she was most likely blaming him for all the problems that had arisen. Back at the office, he found it very difficult to concentrate on company matters. Even Xavier, sensing Calvin was in a foul mood, left him alone.
Around eight o’clock in his apartment, the phone rang. Tracy was on the line, answering, as she said, his call of this morning. Calvin was clearly delighted to speak with her and it showed in the tone of his voice. He was very careful not to flood her with questions about her personal life; he said that he was still interested in trying to maintain a relationship, even if it meant having to travel to see each other.
For a few seconds Tracy said nothing. Then, she affirmed that she would be willing to travel to see him as long as he would come to see her. Calvin spirits were lifted right away; he reassured her they could work out a schedule for mutual visits. Things were beginning to fall into focus. He mentioned the fact that Kaitlin seemed to be upset about his call this afternoon and he didn’t want to get involved in her custody dispute with Charles, her ex-husband. Tracy indicated that she would take care of that; it wouldn’t be a problem.
After chatting for a few minutes, she came up with a proposal that surprised Calvin. The right-wing association she was a member of, Freedom for the Right, was holding their annual meeting in her university town this weekend and she wanted to know if Calvin were interested in going with her. She could introduce him to some of the leaders of the organization. She assured him they were not neo-nazis, only advocates for safe-guarding the integrity of a white America. Many of the speakers were academics whereas other members came from all walks of life. There would be a lot of presentations from highly knowledgeable experts, many of whom had published books on the subject of white advocacy. She would really like him to meet some of the group.
Calvin, once again, had a moment of hesitation. These meetings were normally covered by the press; he couldn’t risk having his face appear on the nightly news or be recognized by a colleague. If he told Tracy he feared exposure, she would probably picture him as a hypocrite or someone who didn’t have the courage of his beliefs. It was obvious that if he truly wanted to maintain Tracy’s respect, he had no choice but to attend the convention. When he said yes, in spite of his reservations, she was pleased. She told him to check his e-mail for details about getting together, the location of the meetings, and other details. He suddenly realized that she was a very domineering type of woman who could easily manipulate him; nonetheless, he longed to be with her as much as possible. He was entering a new and possibly dangerous phase of his life.
When he saw his boss, Hunter, the following day, he said he would be glad to accept the position in statistical analysis at the out-of-state affiliate. He would like, however, a short while to get everything in order. Hunter patted him on the back and invited him to lunch to talk about his new responsibilities. Things were beginning to move very quickly.
Calvin packed his finest clothes (there would be a banquet and coat and tie were the required dress at all events), and set out Friday morning to meet Tracy in the hotel lobby as indicated. He had asked for a day off and Hunter had willingly granted his request.
Clarksville was a typical university town with a downtown area that catered more to students than local customers. The university buildings could be seen from the main street; there were a large number of students milling about at the cafes, restaurants, bars, and clothing boutiques. After parking in the lot across the street, Calvin walked over and entered the hotel. The lobby was really an atrium with live plants and small trees surrounding an indoor restaurant. It was full of light and buzzed with activity.
Tracy waved to him from a sofa in the lounge area. He felt a rush of elation at the sight of her–bathed in sunlight from the skylight. She was wearing a stylish yellow dress and designer shoes. Her legs were long and tanned; at some time, she had been athletic, possibly a basketball player or tennis buff. She accompanied him to his room but, after a quick embrace—not the lingering kiss he had anticipated—she told him that they could do more later. Right now, she had to meet with her lawyer about custody rights.
They had lunch at the hotel café and discussed the convention and her personal issues. Calvin tried to be as consoling as possible since he realized she needed emotional support; he was willing to offer advice but this wasn’t the time to interfere in her personal life. He had the impression he was falling into her web, yet he experienced an almost sensual pleasure at being in her presence no matter the consequences.
Tracy would meet him in the hotel lobby at seven p.m. and she would take him to one of meeting rooms set aside for registration. The speeches would start promptly at eight-thirty after a buffet-style dinner. Out of curiosity he spent the afternoon strolling around the university campus and admiring the uniform architectural style of the buildings. He understood why she valued her teaching position at this institution. It brought back memories of his undergraduate days.
The majority of the students, he noted, were white but there were clusters of minorities in the university student center. Certain areas were allocated as ethnic “spaces,” set aside for blacks and Hispanics only. He received some discouraging looks when he approached a non-white zone. The students were talking in animated tones, crouched on the floor or draped over chairs.
As the afternoon waned, Calvin found himself in a group of militant students walking toward the hotel and brandishing a variety of signs castigating “Freedom for the Right” conventioneers. The activists were chanting slogans that decried racism and authoritarianism. Some of them seemed much too old to be students; a few were crowd leaders with megaphones who were directing the demonstrators toward pre-arranged stations.
When he got close to the hotel, he could see the television trucks parked nearby. The police had formed a protective cordon about fifty yards from the front entrance. He quickened his pace, afraid that he might be photographed by the TV reporters. He ducked his head as he entered the lobby where a large number of conventioneers with their name tags were milling about. He dressed quickly in his room and waited there until a few minutes before seven.
In the lobby, Tracy managed to find him among the conference members and guests who were talking loudly and renewing acquaintances. To Calvin she was almost a new person in her dark blue party dress and pearl necklace. He was struck by her transformation; he felt very lucky that she was interested in him. She introduced him to several people on the way to the registration desk. There were signs reminding attendees of the dress code for evening events. To Calvin this was the opposite of political gatherings he was familiar with where young activists were dressed in t-shirts and blue jeans.
They went through the buffet line after registration with Calvin displaying his brightly-colored name tag as they returned to the lobby. He could hear distant cries and megaphone-enhanced denunciations of Freedom for the Right coming from the street. “Fascists,” “Racists,” accusations rang through the hotel lobby. Calvin seemed so tense that Tracy patted his arm and assured him there was nothing to worry about.
They moved into a large conference room, with a podium and displays that featured books on the subject of white identity. Tracy made her way through the crowd, shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries. Once they were seated, Tracy mentioned that she had to introduce one of the speakers so she would be on the podium for a while. She gave Calvin a gentle peck on the cheek and excused herself. She was the only woman among four males who were middle-aged academic types chatting among themselves.
After the president welcomed the audience to their 23rd annual convention (there was an extended applause from the group), Tracy came to the podium to introduce the first speaker, a very impressive professor emeritus who was scheduled to discuss Guillaume Faye’s archeofuturism thesis and the rise of “identitarism” in Europe. His English was heavily accented since he was a Belgian native who had taught at the University of Louvain.
Calvin scanned the program and was surprised to see that most of the presenters had academic backgrounds. Several were from foreign countries, even South Africa. He also noted that Tracy’s surname was Henninger, possibly her married name. On-line correspondents only used a pseudonym or a phony first name for security reasons. Tracy was one of a very few to use her actual first name.
After the third presentation, Tracy returned to sit next to him in the audience. Her voice sounded a little apologetic but he reassured her that he had learned a good bit from the talks.
During the Q & A session after the last speaker, Tracy whispered to Calvin that they should go out to the lobby as discreetly as possible. In the lobby Calvin could see several men talking to a police officer who was making gestures toward the street. Tracy went over and talked briefly with one of the officials. She told Calvin that the demonstrators had amassed across the street. The hotel personnel were warning the guests to be very careful as they left the hotel although the police had set up a protective barrier along the sidewalk. She then made a call to Kaitlin and said she would be late because of the disturbance. The members were now slowly exiting the meeting room and heading toward the bar to continue their discussions.
Calvin looked at Tracy to determine what to do next. She smiled and led him toward the elevators. Her eyes locked onto his and he could feel his entire body respond to her gaze. In his room, they roughly embraced and began to undress. He noted that she was wearing black lace undergarments that made him want her even more. He felt her body wrapping around his as they fell on the bed. He knew that he had fallen in love and would do anything she wanted. She had taken control of his life for better or worse. This time, instead of a restrained silence afterwards, they both talked at length about themselves for a long while. After she left (Kaitlin was expecting her before midnight), he showered and fell asleep quickly.
The next day, a long uninterrupted series of talks and discussion groups were planned. Tracy called his room and said she needed to take care of a few things first; she would meet him for lunch at the hotel. Calvin was a little disappointed but agreed to her proposal. He had breakfast downstairs at the buffet and, not wanting to attend these somewhat dull and esoteric presentations, he wandered out on the street. He was shocked to find some of the protestors still lingering about, their signs very prominent. The street was littered with paper, mostly political tracts, and crumpled food and drink packets. The police were vigilant in front of the hotel. The yellow barricades were in place as they were the night before. He was relieved to discover that the TV trucks had left and no reporters were in sight. He felt a sense of unease because the demonstrators would most likely return in force later in the day.
His thoughts were filled with the feel and smell of Tracy’s body from last night. He guessed she was dealing with custody problems and legal matters. He in turn needed more than ever her support and instruction in conversing with the white advocacy militants. They were very aggressive about “finding their true homeland” and carving out an area where they could settle and be with their own. Although no one said as much, Calvin intuited that the members of Freedom for the Right were seeking to restructure the government and place sympathetic politicians in power to achieve their ends. This made him feel very uncomfortable. Basically, he considered himself a patriot but receptive to any successful and legitimate way to protect his white heritage and his personal dignity as an Anglo-Saxon in today’s America. These Alt-Right conventions and protests were signs of resistance from the disenfranchised millions that had no voice in political choices that affected every aspect of their lives. Although he was not an unconditional Trump supporter, he did believe, from all he had heard and read, that the 2020 presidential election had been rigged in some manner. As a statistician, he knew that certain results were mathematically impossible without interference. Any attempt to discuss this subject in public would be impossible among the people he dealt with. It would be lethal at the insurance company.
In the hotel lobby around noon, he saw Tracy conversing with a tall, balding individual who was speaking emphatically, his hand on her shoulder. Tracy seemed relieved to see Calvin. She introduced him to Stephen (she didn’t mention his last name) who was very irritated at having his conversation interrupted. She then turned toward Calvin and said she needed to meet with members of the electoral committee to discuss officers for the coming year and she would be back in a short while. He should go ahead and get lunch. Calvin was taken aback, but then Tracy was a well-organized and dynamic person and she had her own schedule.
Stephen stared at Calvin for a few seconds. “You’re the new guy, huh?” Calvin could feel Stephen’s hostility but he only nodded and said nothing. “If I were you,” he continued, “I’d be careful. She and I were an item for a couple of years. She keeps you around and then, when she gets bored, you’ll be toast.” Calvin couldn’t find a satisfactory reply to this tirade. “Good luck,” Stephen cried out as he turned and walked away. Suddenly, raw anger infused Calvin’s mood, but it was too late to get into an argument. He wasn’t very good at public scenes so silence was the best way to handle this sort of encounter.
He was finishing his lunch when Tracy returned with her tray of food. She apologized and said things were hectic at these conventions and it was hard to make plans. Calvin hesitated and then brought up the subject of Stephen’s remarks. Tracy frowned and remained silent for a while. “What did he say?” she inquired. Calvin explained in detail what had occurred. Tracy shook her head and muttered something that Calvin didn’t at first understand. “He’s just angry about our breakup. It doesn’t have anything to do with you…or with me for that matter.” She went on to tell Calvin how she felt about their relationship and he shouldn’t put any stock in Stephen’s unjust accusations. She really wanted to be with him as much as possible.
They went into the meeting room and sat down for the afternoon sessions, but Calvin’s mind wasn’t tuned into the program. One of the talks dealt with the natural inferiority of blacks: “The IQ gap and what can be done”; there were extensive charts to support this assertion. Most of the audience listened in rapt fascination. Other talks addressed the massive Hispanic invasion and its long-term effects on social and economic stability. Afterwards, there was a flood of questions that the speaker answered with certainty and critical aplomb. He was supposedly an expert on demographic trends in America. Another speaker, young and dramatic in his gestures with an Irish accent, discussed the youth movement in Britain and Europe to promote a white-based society that could counter the waves of North African migrants that were inundating their countries and “polluting” native cultures. He emphasized the fear that young women had of Muslim males and the rising crime statistics as a result of uncontrolled immigration from commonwealth countries.
At the end of the talks (Calvin was almost ready to walk out from boredom), the president informed the audience about the evening banquet and reminded everyone it was formal dress only. (Luckily Calvin had packed his tuxedo.) Then, he announced the results of the electoral committee’s choice of officers for the coming year. Tracy’s name was put forward for vice-president (meaning she would become president the following year); she stood up and waved to the audience that applauded. All candidates were then approved by acclamation. At the end of the session, people crowded around to congratulate her, pushing Calvin aside. No matter, Calvin couldn’t help but remember the warning that Stephen had hurled at him: “Good luck!” Tracy was far beyond his intellectual and social class. What did she see in him? He would certainly wind up following in her tracks in this anti-government, anti-democratic movement. He was both elated and frightened by her charismatic presence.
At the banquet that was held in the hotel ballroom, Calvin was astonished, once again, to see Tracy’s metamorphosis into a society matron with a flowing designer gown, this time in a light blue pastel and complemented by a display of expensive jewelry. She had dashed home to get ready for the evening. She was attracting a lot of attention from everyone around.
Tracy adjusted Calvin’s bow tie and told him how nice he looked. The demonstrators had gathered outside the hotel entrance and were harassing the members as they came in. “Pigs!” they screamed at the police. “Dirty racists!” “Go back to Germany, fascists!” “America is diverse, not white!” were scanned by the crowd without stop. The hotel management had assembled in the lobby to make sure the guests were assisted or protected if necessary.
Tracy told Calvin that these protests happened every year. Mostly they were college kids who had been brainwashed by a very liberal faculty in the social sciences. Just ignore them, you’ll be okay, she told him. They sat at a large table for eight people with name cards. An orchestra played softly throughout the meal and some couples got up to dance. There was an unreal aura of normality and pleasurable entertainment when outside protestors were hurling bitter epithets at the conference members and police.
Calvin, however, was hard-pressed to answer some of the questions that his fellow diners were asking him about white advocacy issues. Tracy graciously filled in the blanks and explained that this was his first conference. He was treated much more gingerly after her intervention; he was grateful for her protective nature. He and Tracy danced for a while, although he was seriously out of practice. She glided across the floor with an almost professional ease.
In the hotel lobby, she kissed him discreetly and explained that she needed to go home and check on Kaitlin who was out on a date. They would meet tomorrow morning for a late breakfast and possibly attend a discussion group that would try to sum up the tactics members could use to recruit more white advocates. Calvin held her in his arms and didn’t want to let go. He warned her about the protestors and she answered that the police were escorting them to their cars.
He returned to his room full of energy. He found it hard to sleep so he turned on the television. The local nightly news was featuring the protests at the downtown hotel and reporters were sympathizing with the organizers who were incensed that this fascist organization was meeting in their town. Several of the protestors were interviewed and they made it very clear that a radical fascist movement should not be permitted to hold their convention in a “liberal” university environment.
Suddenly pictures were shown of the meeting room talks. Calvin gasped when he recognized the back of his head as Tracy rose to acknowledge her nomination during the afternoon session. Someone had secretly recorded the talks and leaked them to the television reporters. Luckily, there were no images of his face or his body when erect. He prayed for anonymity. Tracy, however, was in full view. She had explained previously to Calvin that her department chairman was more tolerant than most at the university level. As long as she didn’t embarrass the institution or draw an excessive amount of attention to her political beliefs, he would not penalize her for having alternative ideas that didn’t correspond to the “narrative.” He was fond of saying there were several Muslims in his department who had to work side-by-side with orthodox Jews. He saw little difference.
Calvin, however, knew that Edward Hunter would not be so forgiving. He went to bed with a sense of uneasiness. Had he done the right thing?
In the morning Tracy met him at the buffet. She didn’t hesitate to give him a kiss on the lips as they hugged. A tall, blond-haired young man was standing behind her. She turned and said, “Calvin, I would like you to meet my son, Scott.” They shook hands and Calvin was surprised to be meeting a member of her family. Tracy explained that Scott was going to church nearby and he had brought her down in his car. They went through the line and sat down at a flower-decorated table for breakfast. Several members dropped by and congratulated her on being elected vice-president. Scott was silent through everything although he didn’t seem hostile. Calvin probed carefully for information about his studies and activities. Tracy interrupted frequently and was obviously very proud of his achievements as a student and athlete. Scott seemed pleased but talked hesitantly with Calvin. It was an awkward time for both. Scott turned to his mother and mentioned he needed to leave for church. He would be back to pick her up around twelve-thirty. She gave him a kiss on the cheek and he walked away with a strong and powerful stride.
Calvin and Tracy walked over to a smaller meeting room near the lobby for the discussion group on recruiting white advocates. She gave her opinions freely. She was very precise about ways to bring in new members. She introduced Calvin as a good example—someone who needed encouragement and support to adhere to their cause. Calvin had nothing to say other than a few platitudes. He was welcomed by the members with handshakes and smiles; he felt strangely at home although he knew very little about the association. Tracy was obviously the leader of the militant wing of Freedom for the Right. She paraphrased some of the reasons Calvin had given her before joining and he nodded positively to give her support. As the hour came to a close, the group director summed up the reasons and techniques that had been suggested before dismissing the meeting. He wished everyone a safe trip home.
Tracy went back to the refreshment counter in dining area and got them a cup of coffee each; they sat down in a corner of the lobby near the tropical plants. Calvin experienced a strong, sensual urge to take her in his arms but that was, of course, impossible. They chatted about the convention and Calvin said he had truly been enlightened about the many possibilities for action in the national struggle for recognition and respect of their movement.
Suddenly Calvin caught sight of Scott at the entrance motioning to his mother. Tracy waved to him and stood up while holding Calvin’s hand. They shared a lingering kiss and Tracy said she would keep in touch about the future. She had explained that Sunday dinner at home was her responsibility and she needed to leave early to care take of all the preparations. She was also apologetic as she asked Calvin to understand why she couldn’t invite him at this time. Calvin had a hard time taking his eyes off her retreating figure, stylishly dressed in a tight-fitting ensemble that must have been very expensive. She waved good bye but Scott turned his back as they left the hotel without saying anything. Calvin stared at the doorway for a long while before returning to his room to pack.
It was a three-hour drive on the interstate to get back to his apartment. During the trip, he reviewed everything that had happened in Clarksville. He vividly pictured Tracy lying next to him in bed, their legs intertwined, with her hand caressing his face and shoulders. He had impulsively drawn her closer and whispered that he loved her. Her expression changed and she put a finger on his lips saying they needed a little more time before committing to one another in that way. Calvin tried to interpret what she meant: it was obvious that she wasn’t ready herself to reciprocate emotionally. She liked him very much but she had segregated sensuality from long-term togetherness. Calvin also remembered Stephen’s comments about how she had “gotten rid of him out of boredom.” He was elated but then again suspicious about what could happen. She had offered him the promise of a new life or at least the hope for something exciting that would give him a valid reason for going on. He only knew that he wanted to be with her.