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Mr President

posted Feb 25, 2016, 4:39 AM by Noa Shmueli   [ updated Feb 26, 2016, 3:53 AM ]

Angus Hied felt his way into the plush chair gingerly, slipping into the dent where equally-uncomfortable guests had applied their considerable weight. “The next president, sir, you really must make a decision concerning the lawsuit! The press is all over the issue - everyone’s demanding a reaction, a decision of some sort.” Flustered, he glanced at the president’s chubby face, reflected unflatteringly in the polished depths of the lacquered coffee table. Hied leaned on his elbows. “..Mr President?”

The president’s voice rose irritably, his expression unchanged. “Let life run its course, Angus! It’s got me here so far, it’ll keep going even if I don’t make a goddamn decision!” He slammed his hand onto the corner of the table and winced in pain. Hied gritted his teeth. “Mr President, sir, I don’t want to tell you your jo--”

“Well then, don’t, goddamn it!”

“Just a friendly suggestion, sir. I’m sure I don’t know your job as much as you do.” The president seemed not to catch the satirical tone. Hied rose from his chair wearily. “Very good, sir. I will inform the press.”

The door slammed behind him, and the president flinched. “Hied!” he reprimanded weakly, but sank further into his chair when the footsteps receded into uncomfortable silence.

The president cleared his throat. His eyes fell upon the telephone and he dialled quickly.

“Howdy, Nick old boy! How’re ya goin’ on?” Without a pause: “Yup, the press is blabbering on, old chap. What? No, you’re not backing them, that’s a good fella. What? You are?” A sigh. “All right, Nick. Nice talking to ya.” The president dropped the receiver. So much pressure to make a decision concerning that goddamn fellow Bridgestone. Goddamn lawyers. Goddamn press!

A game of tennis did nothing to improve the macabre mood that had settled over him. Well, it had until Marco (his personal bodyguard) informed him that due to ‘safety and security guidelines’ he was not allowed to leave the compound anymore. And what about those crocheting lessons he had been taking? Ah, not those either. Right.

It was a sleepless night for the president. His hand groped below the second pillow, searching for Martha as he had for two months now since that goddamn divorce. Still… she had never loved him. His money, that’s all. Not that there was a lot left of it. He had loved her! Truly. Not the love in the movies, where you buy roses and disappear in late nights because “forbidden love is the truest” or any baloney like that. Nothing like that… not even that butterfly feeling when he lay beside her, intoxicated by her scent. Was it love? Maybe. Affection, perhaps. The president pulled up his hairy legs and slammed his palm against the pillow. It split open, the flimsy thing, and feathers began raining upon him. He stretched back down and flopped the pillow on his head. “Goddamn it,” his muffled voice came out from underneath the feathers. No friends, no family, no Martha. Just… just goddamn it.

His nephew was plain bossy. “Sit down, Uncle.”

“It’s my office, Arnold.”

“Sit down.”

“Very well.” He sank into the swivel chair. “Next time, schedule an appointment.”

Arnold let out a sarcastic chuckle. “As if you’d ever approve it.”

“Get to the point, nephew.”

“Frankly, you’re not going to be elected for president next month. In fact, you're not even going to run for the post.”

The president narrowed his eyes. “Are you threatening me?”

“Oh, no.” Arnold forced a smile. “Simply stating a fact. A friend of mine - Bart J Gold; I see you know his name - is far more qualified, able, and..” His lips turned up. “..young.”

The president’s eyes flashed.

“Your record isn’t clear, Uncle. It’s full of dark secrets you really wouldn’t want the public to know.” He got up. “Think carefully before you proceed.”

“Blackmail!” the president muttered. “Goddamn blackmail!” He turned to Marco. “And what are you going to do about this?” Marco turned innocently. “About what, sir? I heard nothing.” As he turned back, the president heard the distinct ruffling of bills and a glimpse of green sticking out of the tailored suit pocket.

The apartment was just as big as his old refrigerator, the ex-president noted as he slipped the keys into his pocket, with a sense of satisfaction; and just as cold as the refrigerator as well. A draft blew through the window hatch just then, and the ex-president shivered in pleasure. The fresh air was so refreshing, so clean. Pity he couldn’t show his face again. Not after his pathetic rebellion against his nephew; running for president again didn’t seem like the best choice, now that he looked back on it. But oh well, life’s life, and it had got him so far - it’ll keep going even when he will never see the outside again.