Waking up on Wednesday, I felt a strange sense of clarity. I thought I had handled myself pretty well on Tuesday night, all things considered. I saw the results, saw what they entailed, exchanged a few “oy”s and “shit”s with my friends and went to bed. Why the clarity and calm? I felt as if I could see the whole path forward: resistance, struggle, eventual victory. Throughout the day, however, the clarity and calm slowly soured as reality set in. As I read the countless postmortems and hot takes, talked and mourned with my friends and witnessed the fear and disgust so many felt, a weight started growing in the bottom of my stomach. My calm was shattered and the path forward was now obscured by a foul-smelling fog, my clarity was lost, my toolkit was broken.

Still, I had to do something.

Next to my bed was a torn out page of an alternative newspaper I picked up in Harrisonburg, Virginia. It was a full-page reading of his horoscope. I had taped it to my wall, somewhat out of sight. I guess I had found it funny. In June, I had posted a picture on Facebook with a caption reading: “finally, a take on this election that cuts through the bullshit and tells it like it is!” It said that he was proud and boastful, that he was a bit of a liar and that he relied on others’ approval, things that rang true. Now, it seemed wrong to have.

Since the horoscope was, to an extent, a representation of him, I figured it could be used to curse him somehow. I didn’t believe that witchcraft or spells have much efficacy, but if the week’s events had showed anything it was that one need not fully believe in an ideology for it to affect the world. My knowledge of hexes and rites mostly came from X-Files episodes, Dungeons & Dragons and Chick Tracts, but, with an inevitable slide to fascism looming, it was worth a shot.

I drew a crooked pentagram on it with a red marker. Nothing happened. He appeared in the news later that day, with no visible signs of being haunted by a hex.

A week passed. I talked to more friendzs. I went to some meetings, all titled after some variation of the question “Where do we go from here?” I started to feel better, feeling like the path forward was more clear, the winding road still leading to a future Marxist kingdom of heaven on earth. Still, every night the defaced horoscope stared back at me.

More action was required, I decided. Something else needed to be done. I looked around for a tool to use. Next to my bed was a small desk with a lamp, some change in a Nature Valley bar wrapper, three dirty bowls and a lighter. I picked up the lighter, images of wizards throwing fireballs flashing in my head. I flicked it on, then off, thinking that it seemed a bit extreme. I thought of my family’s history of action, starting with my great grandmother in 1918, running from her Budapest apartment to the streets in order to join Bela Kun’s revolution. A single spark can start a prairie fire, I reasoned, and lit the horoscope on fire. The paper quickly burned, starting to fill the room with smoke. Remembering the smoke detector, I blew out the fire. The room smelled like a campfire; half the horoscope had been burned away, leaving a chart defaced by half a pentagram. Looked dramatic, I thought.

I checked my phone repeatedly that day. He had had several meetings. Mouths were shut on topics discussed, but I assumed that if his eyes had spontaneously bled, or if a swarm of flies had flown out of his mouth, it would have been eluded to in some regard. I had failed once again, it seemed.

Well, at least I tried.

Contact Isaac Kirk-Davidoff at isaac.kirk-davidoff@yale.edu .