Hillary Shrugs

This Hillary Clinton fanfic contains spoilers for season one of The Good Place.

Do you recall the young woman in Los Angeles who had her knitting with her despite the heat? Radha, I believe. We spoke about her knitting and you nudged me to move along the signing line? I am trying to recall the name of the website she told me about. I believe it was a pun but I can’t recall the word.

Yes, Ravelry! And you say the site is secure? I will need a username. Probably not the usual.

Thank you, Huma, my profile is all set up but I can’t figure out how to add a profile picture. I did manage to add my favorite television shows, Madam Secretary and Parks and Recreation. Also The Good Place, have you seen it?

Thank you for your help with my profile picture. Is it vain to use one from ten years ago? I do enjoy the fact that I am wearing a hand knitted sweater in it. Yes, I love The Good Place. I confess, I did see it coming. In the first episode, I turned to Bill and said, “that is the bad place,” and he laughed at me.

You should have seen Bill’s reaction when we watched The Sixth Sense.

I added my first project to Ravelry! I even managed to add a photo from my phone, but it is sideways. Just when I was feeling quite technologically savvy for a woman of my age.

Huma!! I was so touched by your birthday gift. The wool is delightfully soft, and my favorite color (of course you know that). I appreciate, too, the note on using revelry’s advanced search to find a pattern. What a wonderful treat! See you at dinner.

What a splendid birthday dinner. The creme brulee was among the best I’ve tasted. Now to tackle the revelry advanced search!

What is a cowl? Is that like Batman?

Thank you for explaining cowls. I have settled on knitting a shrug. Yes, I know what it means! I looked it up. (I asked Chelsea.)

Thank you for helping me understand PayPal. I have my pattern downloaded and printed. Bill thought I should put it on my iPad but I could not figure out how and did not wish to trouble you or Chelsea again.

The abbreviations in this knitting pattern threw me a bit, so I pulled out my mother’s craft books from the attic. What a treasure trove! Everything is out of fashion but they are an invaluable resource and a lovely connection to my past. I knitted as a girl, of course, but those skills lay dormant for decades as I pursued a career and family. I have now CO (cast on my stitches, that is put them on my knitting needs) and started to k and p (knit and purl) with the occasional yo (yarn over, we used to say yarn forward).

I have learned the terms tink and frog. They sound offensive but I am assured they are not!

Don’t worry, my knitting is back on course! I hope to be shrugging by Christmas.


The Joker

Content warning: self-harm; sexual harassment

It wasn’t anything special, the one that broke her. It was, comparatively speaking, a minor offense. Just a whistle—a compliment, as so many people had assured her—followed with a “Smile, love” when she glanced in the whistler’s direction. But she was tired.

She went home and sat at her dressing table. Vanity. She hated that word, vanity. It wasn’t vain to look at your own face.

“Smile, love.”

She picked up her favorite lipstick, the bright red one, and traced her lips. She kept going around and around, making her mouth redder and wider and she painted on layer after layer of lipstick.

Then, just as suddenly as she’d needed to apply the makeup, she wanted it off, off, OFF. She wiped at it with a tissue, but it barely touched it. She tried a wet wipe and only succeeded in smearing the red stain larger.

She walked to the kitchen and picked up a knife.

She scraped the lipstick off, cutting her lips out of her face until no man would ever again tell her to smile, because now her entire face was a smile, a great grinning maw.

She laughed.

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Sissy's Mother

“Sissy? Ares says you chained up your friend Than. Is that true?”

“Sissy? Can’t you do something useful? Your brother Sally is building a bridge!”

“Sissy! Get away from the river bank! You know that’s dangerous.”

“Sissy, dear! Your lunch is getting cold! Are you still playing with that rock?”

The Investigative Journalist of Steel

Who is Superman?

Lois has trained her entire life for this assignment. She is going to expose Superman’s identity. It will be the story of a lifetime. She is ready. She thinks she’s ready. She hopes she is. It feels as though everything depends upon this.

Her research has been exhaustive. She has an itemized list of everywhere he has appeared, cross-referencing the time of his arrival with the time of the police APB or news item preceding his engagement. She is triangulating all of the possible locations he might be coming from. She has Jimmy’s photos to reference what direction he came from or left to for almost every appearance, as well as to help calculate his flying speed.

She just has to let the answer appear.

With a little help. Her office looks like a crime scene, complete with a full wall “murder board” where she’s got maps, news articles, and photos all connected with string. Yarn, actually. Lois has stress knitted forty seven pairs of socks in the four months that she’s been working on this project. It’s healthier than gin + tonics, probably. (She’s been through a fair few bottles of gin.) It’s helped with all of the birthdays she’s forgotten, too. Everyone likes socks.

Clark is worried about Lois. She knows because he’s told her as much. She ignores him. He’s never around when she needs him.

Some days, Lois wishes she were a computer genius. For one thing, it probably pays better than journalism. But relevant to right this minute, if she were a computer genius she could build a program to run this data and come up with the answer for her.

This idea has merit. Lois calls in a favor. 

“Are you joking?” 

Angie knows Lois isn’t joking, but she wishes she were. Lois got Angie out of a lot of trouble, and Angie would do anything for Lois, but good grief. This is a big favor.

Lois and Angie spend a week of late nights together, drinking coffee and building a computer program to analyze Lois’s data. Angie is impressed with the volume of information Lois has collected. It’s taking a long time to process.

“Do you research everything this thoroughly?”

“I have to. If I miss one detail, I might never find the full truth.”

Angie, thinking about how narrowly she got off, types faster. 

“Can you get me another espresso, Lo?”

“You want bourbon in this one?”

“I wish. Let’s open the rosé after I write this bit of code.”

They take the wine up to the roof and drink straight from the bottle under the stars. Lois comes up here a lot. There’s a wicker furniture set and a little fire pit. Lois produces a blanket for Angie from somewhere. They’re both wearing wool socks; Lois gives Angie a pair that turned out too small because she was so tense while she knitted them. The wine goes fast. They fall asleep leaning on each other and wake up holding hands.

Back to work.

Lois hasn’t worked on another story in four months. She only pauses her research when Superman turns up, and then only to gather the relevant details to add to her data. Some days Lois feels that she will never work on another story; this story is forever.

Angie needs a shower. She’s exhausted and her entire body has been low key vibrating for days from over-caffeination. But her work is almost done. Once she delivers this program to Lois, they’ll be on even footing. Finally.

Lois watches Angie working. Tired of socks, she casts on a shawl. She uses her finest yarn, a cashmere blend that was hand dyed by a woman in the Pacific Northwest. It’s beautiful, like Angie. Lois thinks some rain would be nice. She gets into a rhythm with the knitting; it lets her tune out the world. Usually she uses that quiet to solve a problem, but now Angie is solving her problem. Lois lets her mind be quiet. It’s a strange and lovely feeling.


Lois looks up, confused.


Angie nods. “Done.”

Angie stands up, giving Lois the chair. Lois sits, nerves buzzing.

“What do I do?”

“You just click ‘compile’.”

Lois clicks.

Two words appear on the computer screen in front of her:


Confused, Lois, looks up at Angie, whose face is contorted.

“I don’t understand.”

“I don’t either. Unless you’re Superman.”

“I’m pretty sure I’m not.”

Lois sits, confounded, for another minute. Angie paces. 

Where did I go wrong? both women wonder.

Lois stands up, knocking over her chair. She goes back to the murder wall. Grabs a notebook. Starts taking notes. Angie makes coffee.

There’s still work to be done.

Charlotte Collins, Murderess

Charlotte Lucas was not a cold woman, but she was calculating. She had calculated her chances of love at the advanced age of 27 at zero, and her chances of a second marriage proposal even lower than that, so that when Mr. Collins had made his offer she had not hesitated to accept.

She rather liked the rectory, and she could stand his prattling and didn’t really mind lying with him, but oh, that Lady Catherine de Bourgh — she could not stand listening to Mr. Collins speak of her in that tone of his. Charlotte calculated that she was likely to spend several days, cumulative, of her remaining life in Lady de Bourgh’s presence, which was bearable, and an addition incalculable number of her remaining waking hours listening to Mr. Collins speak of Lady de Bourgh, which was not.

So Charlotte calculated the swiftest path to freedom, which turned out to be Mr. Collins’s death.

Charlotte considered her options and chose poison, having calculated her chances of success the highest through Mr. Collins’s stomach. She served him elaborate desserts, appealing to his weakness, and he was unwell in days and gone within the month. There was no inquest. Everyone knew Charlotte Collins did not care for sweets, so it was not suspicious that she didn’t take dessert, and never widely considered that she could be her husband’s killer.

Charlotte’s old companion, Lizzy Bennett — now Lady Darcy — was the one whom, as always, Charlotte could rely on. Both of them now without the inheritance for which Mr. Bennett had failed to produce an heir, Lizzy (and Mr. Darcy) took Charlotte in, and she lived in great comfort in rooms at Pemberley; free to live as she pleased, she wrote novels about spinsters until the day she died.

She never once regretted killing her husband.

Some Theories About Peter Stormare

Doesn’t everyone write fan fiction about their husbands’ celebrity crushes?

My husband once saw Peter Stormare at our local hardware store. I mention this because my husband saw Peter Stormare again yesterday while he (my husband) was driving a golf cart. It’s not weird — this was on a movie studio lot, where lots of people drive golf carts. My husband said, under his breath, “That’s Peter Stormare.” He wasn’t talking to himself, but to the passenger in his golf cart, though if you ask me he was kind of talking to himself. My husband really likes Peter Stormare. As I said, he said it under his breath, but Peter Stormare looked up like a person who’s just heard his own name and he waved.

There are, as far as I’m concerned, only two possible explanations:

  1. Peter Stormare has an extraordinary memory. He looked up only by coincidence, but as soon as his eyes met my husband’s he remembered passing him at the hardware store, and waved in familiarity.
  2. Peter Stormare has preternaturally good hearing. He heard my husband say his name and waved to acknowledge him. Yes, I am Peter Stormare. Thank you for noticing.

Perhaps both are true, as unlikely as that sounds. Perhaps Peter Stormare has the memory of an elephant and the hearing of, well, an elephant. (As an aside, elephants really are remarkable, don’t you think? Other animals with good memories are chimpanzees and octopodes; animals with good hearing include wax moths and bats. If you prefer, you can substitute any of those for elephants in one of the above, to make it less confusing.)

Peter Stormare knows what my husband was buying at the hardware store, and remembers what he (Peter Stormare) was wearing when he noticed that my daughter’s hair is copper colored on the top layers with ash blond underneath. He wondered briefly if she dyed it, but she was maybe five years old at the time and he thought it was unlikely (he was right). He remembers that his (Peter Stormare’s) total was $42.67 and that the weather was fair, but it rained every day the following week.

Peter Stormare once was driving on the 5 freeway when he happened to overhear a conversation between two women several miles away at the Observatory, one of whom insisted that The Wizard of Oz had won for Best Score at the Academy Awards and the other of whom insisted that it had not. Peter Stormare, who of course remembered that in 1939 there were separate awards for Best Score and Best Original Score, and that The Wizard of Oz had won the latter (as well as Best Song for “Over the Rainbow”; Stagecoach won for Best Score), took a detour through Griffith Park to set the arguers straight on the matter.

Peter Stormare feels a kinship to my husband, but of course he does not realize that my husband has a terrible fannish crush on him. Good hearing and an outstanding memory do not equal mind-reading, alas.