Bernie Burnout

Ok. It was cute at first. Perhaps too cute, no matter which side of the political spectrum you land on (and in our country at the moment, it feels like there are spectrums on top of spectrums on top of, well, you get it).

Bernie in Mittens.

All over social media.

All up and down and through my Facebook feed.

After a bit, the memes saturated all the feeds and I began seeing the same ones over and over. Bernie in outer space. Bernie on the Friends couch. Bernie with the Beverly Hillbillies. Bernie on the bench with Forrest Gump.

And my favorite—if I were forced to pick one—Bernie with Julie Andrews, uh, excuse me, not-quite-a-nun-yet Maria, and all the Von Trapp children high up in the mountains singing “Raindrops on roses and Bernie in mittens.” I had to wonder for a moment which of those children lugged his folding chair up the foothills—or did they take turns? I’d have made him sit in the grass with the children.


Young Tara grew up in the prison of her mother’s mental illness, the bars of her cell reinforced with delusions and secrets too thick to bend. Will the understanding of the depths of her mother’s dysfunction motivate her to break free before it’s too late—or is Tara destined to fulfill the role cast for her in this twisted parody?

My mother believes herself to be Scarlett O’Hara. And Father plays along.

I slip the white chiffon’s spaghetti straps off the plush satin hanger and hold at arm’s length this dress chosen to contrast against my tanned skin and dark hair—and against the ebony black piano. In a few moments, Miriam will help me tie a red satin ribbon in an ostentatious bow around my waist. Another ribbon, thinner and dotted with dainty white pearls braided into my locks, will complete the ensemble.

I’m surprised Mother doesn’t make me wear a corset.

I smooth the dress flat on my four-poster bed and lie back to stare at the canopy one last time. Everything about our home is ostentatious. Draperies. Ruffles. Antebellum South artifacts fit more for a museum than a home. Heavy furniture in velvets and velours. Some original. Some replicas.

All Gone-With-The-Freakin’-Wind style. Right down to my name.


I’m anything but antebellum. And we don’t live in the south. Not one hint of a southern drawl. I can’t even fake a drawl.

Thank you for hanging out for a bit. Check back on the first Monday of every

month for a free fictional short, and be sure to visit my Amazon page.

Copyright © 2020 by B.A. Paul.

All work is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed herein are fictional, and any resemblance to

real people or incidents is purely coincidental. All work published on this site, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

Beth's passion for writing started in grade school with an epic outer space adventure scribbled on 158 sheets of wide-ruled notebook paper with not-sharp-enough pencils. That manuscript was lost in a basement flood.

Thirty years, marriage, two kids and several dogs later, she's garnered enough story fodder to resurrect her passion—and this time she backs up her work!

She currently resides in Indiana with her family and a couple of meowing fur babies who enjoy walking across her keyboard.