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Errant Thoughts

February 11, 2008

It’s been a tense, anxious past few weeks, and with all that seems to be going on at the moment, my editing and revising have not been as productive as I would like. This morning, I decided to take a break and write something a little different.

I hope to God that this never comes to pass, but, our world being what it is, I think we’d be naive to dismiss the possibility.

*   *   *   *   *   *

August 28, 2008

A golden retriever weaved her way through the crowded living room, panting, wagging her tail happily, pausing now and then to glance up at the strange, new people and sniff at the wonderful bouquet of smells they had brought with them. One of the strangers, a woman, knelt down and scratched the dog’s ears.

“Just look at you!” she gushed. “You’re so happy, aren’t you! Yes you are!” The retriever wagged her tail in what may have been assent, then continued on her merry way.

The refrigerator door opened, closed, then opened again, as guests grabbed new beers and refilled their wine glasses. Bottle caps tinkled across the granite countertop. Over by the pantry, two men discussed their favorite microbrews. Their wives, who could care less, exchanged the latest office gossip. Across the house, a woman leaned into her cellphone, checking in with the babysitter.

“Is everything alright?” someone asked her husband.

“She’s just worried,” the husband explained. “It’s the first time we’ve been out since Ryan was born.”

The other man gave him a knowing smile. “My wife was the same way.”

Behind them, two men were watching the television. One of them shook his head. “You know, I’ve been to Super Bowl parties, Oscar parties, I even hosted a Stanley Cup party one time. But I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d ever come to a watching party for a political convention.”

“Me neither,” the other man agreed, “but this is history in the making, my friend.”

Indeed it was. After a tense, heated primary season, their candidate has emerged as the presumptive nominee, and in so doing shattered the decades of cynicism and sarcasm surrounding the political process. He represented a bold new trajectory for the country, a clean break from the politics of fear and triangulation that had set state against state, party against party, and friend against friend. He represented change and, more importantly, he represented hope for the future. Everyone in the house could feel it, could sense that they were a part of something bigger than themselves.

“Hey!” exclaimed a woman sitting on the couch. “Hey, he’s about to speak!”

Everyone in the house converged on the living room. Men and women packed the couch. Others sat on the arms or stood behind it. The golden retriever wandered in among them, curious what was going on.

“Ladies and gentlemen, may I present the next President of the United States!”

The candidate took the stage, and the convention center erupted in applause. The crowd in the living room followed suit. The golden retriever, her tail wagging and her paws prancing with excitement, joined in. She barked once, then twice, before the hostess pulled her close to calm her down.

The candidate gripped the podium, smiling from ear to ear, nodding to the crowd. The chant of “YES WE CAN, YES WE CAN, YES WE CAN” poured out of the television’s speakers and filled the room. One of the couples clasped each other’s hands. Everyone was smiling.

“Thank you!” the candidate said as the chanting subsided, “thank you. Thank you so much. Ladies and gentlemen, friends and esteemed colleagues, I am pleased and honored to accept the Democratic nomina-”

The crowd in the living room heard a dull smack, and then watched in horror as the candidate jerked backwards and crumpled. Blood pooled on the blue carpeting, and then the secret service closed in and the candidate vanished from view.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the announcer said, his voice sounding panicked, “ladies and gentlemen, we don’t know what’s…it appears he’s been shot…”

Someone dropped their beer. One of the women screamed. Another leaned forward, trembling, tears slipping down her cheeks.

“Oh my God…”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 11, 2008 6:26 pm

    What happens next, what happens next!

    As scary as it seems, there are a lot of backwards people out there that will have a problem with an African American President. You have to think that this is in the back of Obama’s mind.

  2. mark permalink
    February 14, 2008 12:43 am

    colin powell’s wife pleased with him ot to run for president for the exact reason you have so eloquently fictionalized here…. security is always tight around a president for obvious reasons, but if obama wins, it may take on unprecedented levels

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