We recently published Patricia Q. Bidar’s dizzying “Before the Election.”
Here, we ask her two questions about her story:
1) I love how seamlessly you blend the story with my favorite Hitchcock movie here! Do you see the main character as a Judy type — more to the point, do you think she sees herself that way?
I absolutely think she sees herself that way. She is older and has a longer history of being used fetishistically by men than poor Judy did. She drives to San Juan Bautista as a kind of pilgrimage. But in a time of pandemic and in year four of a truly horrifying presidential regime that wrung hope from so many, her annual visit to a puppet show at a restaurant she likes and visit to the Mission have been replaced by an empty town.
2) The meeting between these two characters is such a powerful moment — they’re both in this place for such different reasons, but they feel somehow alike. Where do you think they go, after this moment?
I think that for both, a hopeful future has been dashed. The older gentleman has lost everything. He doesn’t even have fingernails! In the main character’s case, a place she knows and which has provided her with comfort has become strange and possibly dangerous. They come together in this location where a tragic scene in a Hitchcock film took place. Looming much larger over Mission San Juan Bautista are the ghosts of the Amah Mutsun people, who were forcibly removed from their villages, separated from their children, and enslaved. I don’t think these two will leave together, although she may very well end up staying.