Monday, April 11, 2011

The Election

The voting committee sits in silence, each counting at their own pace. They were nearly through, and the final recount would be tallied for the seventh time, confirming the results. The outcome had been conclusive all six times previously, but procedure is procedure.

Eyes began focusing from the ballots to those who were still counting, until the last person looked up to see six pairs of eyes staring at her. “This can’t be,” she says.

“I know Megan is your cousin, but you can’t let that affect the outcome,” replies the chairman.

“This isn’t right.” She begins crying. “Everyone knows Patrick is a liar and a cheat. He probably cheated the election.”

“How?” asks another counter.

“I don’t know,” she says, sobbing. “I don’t spend my day thinking of ways to cheat the system like he does. We’ve been trying to get rid of him for a long time, and every public poll shows support for our side… and yet still, it’s the same result every election.”

“Why don’t we convene for lunch before we announce the results, out of respect for Megan,” says the chair. “All in favor?”

The room drones an unenthusiastic “Aye.”

Campaign posters adorn the walls of the cafeteria, each side taking a very different approach. Megan focuses on looking friendly. There are pictures of her smiling with her family and volunteering at the hospital with seniors. Only one poster each mentions her opponent. Below an image of her holding her youngest child in her arms says, “Don’t believe my opponents’ lies.”

Patrick’s campaign took a very different approach. Every image of him is essentially the same: he is looking off into the distance, saluting a flag or with his hand over his heart, or with his arms raised victoriously. However, most don’t focus on him.

His posters make salacious claims regarding the legitimacy of Megan’s children, showing black and white images of their school portraits with big red question marks transposed on top. There’s one with her husband Photoshopped to look like Hitler, next to another doctored photo, this one of her made to look like a she-devil with horns, a pitchfork, pointed tail and red skin. The caption: “Who are you going to believe? The devil you know or the devil you don’t?”

The counting committee eats quietly amid a sea of red, white and blue.


“Any news?”

Her campaign manager looks up from his laptop. “Not yet, Megan. But trust me, we’re taking that fucker down.”

“I hope so, it’s my ass on the line.” Megan lights another cigarette, her 5th that morning. Since the vote was within the margin of error, the hand-recount had been ordered the three nights before, and counters have been working round-the-clock to tabulate the results.

“Mommy, mommy, who won?” Megan quickly stamps out her cigarette and turns to face her daughter.

“We don’t know yet, sweetie.”

The phone rings, and her campaign manager picks it up. Megan picks up her daughter and puts her on her lap.

“Uh huh. Yeah. Well, what are the- no… no, you’re kidding me. What are you talking about? How in the world could this have happened?”

Megan’s eyes go wide and she holds her hand to her gaping mouth.

The daughter looks up and say, “Did you win?”


“Great news, sir. The results are in… and let’s just say we should start working on our next campaign.”

Patrick smiles. “Well, let’s celebrate. The ceremony is tomorrow. Send my condolences to Megan, maybe a fruit basket for her family. I’m thinking that will help rub it in her smug face.”

“Excellent. Consider it done, sir.” His aide walks off. Patrick opens his desk pulls and pulls out an almost comically large cigar. He clips the tip, dips it in brandy, and strikes a match.

“Good news?” says a voice under his desk.

“Yes, dear. Who told you to stop?”


The crowd is enormous for the swearing in ceremony. People hold signs praising Patrick and wishing ill of Megan. The victor steps before the Chief Justice.

“Please place your handle on the Bible and repeat after me. I do solemnly swear…”

“I do solemnly swear…”

“That I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States…”

“That I will faithfully…” she pauses. “Execute the office of President of the United States…”

“And will to the best of my ability…”

“And will to the best of my ability…”

“Preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

“Preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The Chief Justices nods to the booth. The switch is tripped, the trap door opens, and Megan’s body hangs lifeless, swaying slightly before a cheering crowd.


  1. Shirley Jackson knows you stole her idea.

  2. Not sure why I started posting stories... maybe it's just because I wanted to fit in with all the other fiction here on SE.

  3. Bret, since the day you first starting posting here, your talent for fiction has been on display. Glad to see you're finally labeling it as such.


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