Tuesday, September 25, 2012
The Should-Have-Been-Contest-Entry: May 27, 2045
I was going to enter NPR's 3 minute short story contest, but I got mixed up on the deadline--I was supposed to submit the story by 11:59 September 23, not the 24th. The story had to have a protagonist who is an American president, either a fictional one of a real one. Of course, I chose a fictional one. I think there's been enough fiction written about many of the former (and present) presidents. I wrote a 600 word version that I wanted to enter in the contest, and an over 1,200 word version that I will save for future contest entries. I haven't written anything here on Blogger for such a long time that I decided to post the short version of the story here. A note to Baha'is: Does anything seem vaguely familiar in this story? It might not be so obvious in the short version, but it's definitely there in the longer one. And the name of both stories is May 27, 2045.
The walk from the Oval Office to the North Lawn was faster than Candace would have liked. She was surrounded by the Secret Service, who also brought her husband Edward to her side. He looked grim, but managed to smile when she took his arm. A few seconds later, another swarm of people dressed in dark suits and white shirts produced Vice President Nathaniel Stevenson, and his wife Audrey. She barely managed to clear her throat before approaching the podium to address the nation.
“To the Almighty God, to Whom all nations are endeavoring to serve regardless of religious beliefs, we give thanks. To my husband, Edward Benoit the III, my children Noble and Reyna, I love you. To Vice President Stevenson, Speaker of the House Lewis, members of Congress, the Armed Forces and the American people: I am sure you are aware of the failed attempts on the lives England’s Prime Minister Aadishree Nair and Canada’s Prime Minister Brianna Montgomery. I am relieved that they are both unharmed. However, our Intelligence community has refrained from issuing further information at this time, and I do not know if these acts of terrorism are related to the decision I’ve made this morning.”
“As you know, Congress has been tried and convicted Senator Justin Dayne of conspiracy and treason against the United States for his role in trading arms with Iran during the Iraqi War of 2003, and for his continued participation selling weapons and classified information to several Middle Eastern states. These actions have undermined national and international security, which, in turn, has caused the deaths of countless people all over the world. He continued to sell weapons and information until he was arrested five years ago. In spite of his numerous supporters and testimonies of his decades of service to the American people, the Congress found the evidence against Senator Dayne was undeniably clear.
“Members of Congress, I applaud your efforts in this most difficult matter. I am certain that it has been excruciatingly painful decision for you to bring an esteemed colleague to trial, and convict him on all counts. Due to the seriousness and far-reaching consequences of Senator Dayne’s actions, you recommended the death penalty two years ago. The Supreme Court upheld the decision last month, and as President of the United States, I’ve had to weigh all the facts and consider the effects these actions have had on our world before deciding to commute Senator Dayne’s conviction or not.”
“This country has been in armed conflict with one or more Middle Eastern States for the past four decades. In fact, I can’t remember a time when this country hasn’t been at war. We have been fighting the same battles over and over again, with no positive outcome in the least. Senator Dayne has played a major role in these continued hostilities. He was not alone, of course. All of the other participants are now dead, and Congress is now faced with the decision to try them in absentia. My hope and prayer is that we will face this dark period courageously, and America will restore its good name amongst the nations of the world as symbol of justice.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, I have decided to uphold the sentence of Senator Justin Dayne. May God have mercy on his soul. My press secretary, Sienna Diaz, will respond to questions from the media.”
With the last syllable she uttered, Candace was safely removed away from the podium by the ocean of Secret Service personnel; the assassin’s bullet missing her by ten seconds, but striking her husband’s left shoulder.