Friday, July 7, 2017

Presidential Prescience

My first (unpublished) novel was (in some ways) about a reality TV star president named Donald, married to a former supermodel, who unfortunately happened to preside at the coming of the apocalypse.  He filled his cabinet with not-so-qualified folks.

I started that novel in 2007 and finished it in 2010.

Who knew, right?

And then in 2012, I figured it was time to get back on my horse and start writing again. And the plot was going to be a billionaire who purposely ran the most confounding, antagonistic campaign ever, and it somehow led to him nearly getting elected.  I worked out a treatment and nailed down the plot points and all that I had to do was actually write the damn thing.

And then life happened. And, honestly, I made the super mistake of talking about the project, which many writers will tell you dooms it because then you get the satisfaction of the project without, you know, actually having to write it.

Anyways, it was to be a satire and farce, of sorts, and I did write the prologue that set the motion in action.  I wrote this back in 2012.

Anyways, here's another who knew:


"Candidate: Prologue

           It all began, as happens more often than not in the world of politics, with a scandal.  Of course, as political scandals occur with such regularity as to be nearly routine, one could be forgiven for being jaded and rather ho-hum ordinarily.  This particular incident constituted no ordinary scandal though.  This was the name changer; such a to-do that all subsequent scandals would be cast against it, just as, up to then, every preceding had been labeled and compared to Watergate. 
            In fact, it was a complex of controversies on top of each other and mashed together in an inextricable national miasma: a debacle, wrapped in a disaster, inside a catastrophe. 
            You see, it would not be out of the ordinary for a politician to be shot.  Someone tries to shoot the Big Guy all the time.  No one's ever tried to shoot a First Lady though.
            Thus it was that the world's attention was transfixed when First Lady Annabelle White survived an assassination attempt, though only in the technical sense of the word "survived." The .50 caliber bullet, fired from over a half-mile away, had been blown off target by a fortuitous (?) gust of wind and so struck her left shoulder instead of her chest, effectively severing her arm from her torso.  A hasty field cauterization had stanched the torrent but she'd still lost entirely too much blood and, by the time she'd been rushed to the hospital and they'd frantically squoze nearly three quarts into her, she was miraculously physically alive and unmiraculously quite brain dead.
            Of course, it was quite expected that a Right to Die discussion would erupt in the media, particularly when the President fired the Head of the Secret Service for not simply failing to protect his wife, but instead for his agents not abiding the First Lady's Do Not Resuscitate.  That sparked its own maelstrom of criticism and calls for the President's removal because it made virtually no sense and so he must have been incapacitated by grief.  That was, until the FBI finally captured the shooter, a former Marine Corps sniper turned CIA assassin, who it turned out had been ordered to kill Mrs. White by the government of the United States. 
            At first, it was thought to be the specific command of the CIA Director, George Herbert, but upon his arrest, the bureaucrat released an audio recording revealing the order had come from the embattled Mr. White himself.
            No sooner had that revelation come to light than the former Secret Service Chief, in a breathtaking violation of his multitudinous oaths of secrecy and confidentiality, revealed that the First Lady had been actively maneuvering to file for divorce.
            Rumors had long abounded of the President's profligacy, but the thought that a First Lady would file for divorce still managed to shock.  Any President's infidelity had long since been assumed as de facto and tacitly understood as part and parcel of any political marriage. 
            The, by then, incarcerated (!) former President refused to explain himself or admit what he'd done that would have driven a woman who, to that point, had been viewed as cold and calculating and as politically driven as Lady Macbeth to nuke the Presidency.  Surely whatever it was had to be beyond the pale, which is an extravagantly distant boundary for the most powerful man in the world.
            It took a bit, but the explosive truth was finally discovered when the FBI and Secret Service jointly, due to fear of a cover-up by either, searched the First Lady's effects and found her diary.  A shrewd, paranoid woman, she'd written in code but the FBI's computers made short work of the decryption.  The newly elevated former Vice President, now President Smythe, had insisted on absolute transparency with the investigation, going so far as to allow embedded reporters with the investigative teams, so as to prevent even the hint that a cover-up could exist.  However, once the diary had been decoded, the first official to read the transcript went wide-eyed and called the acting President.  Within minutes, all reporters were expelled, the diary and all decryptions were declared "Absolutely Secret" by Executive Privilege due to National Security concerns, and the documents were moved to the most secure vault in the world, Fort Knox.
            That set off a firestorm that saw President Smythe impeached, convicted, and removed from office for refusing to turn over the documents to Congress.  The Speaker of the House, being of the opposing party, the Republicans, flatly refused to ascend to the Presidency unless the documents were released before he took the oath of office. 
            All the cabinet members, terrified of what the documents could possibly hold, resigned en masse so as not to have to authorize their release for the Executive Branch.  In fact, each Undersecretary also resigned until Bennie Richards, Undersecretary of Education, mercifully ended that portion of the travesty, assumed the Presidency, ordered the documents released without reading them, immediately resigned, and had the Secret Service drop off the shortest tenured President in American history at the closest bar.
            The Director of the Bullion Depository duly complied with former President Richards' order, walked out of the front door of Fort Knox with the documents in hand, and immediately read the contents to the country (and world) from the podium that had been set upon the steps for that very purpose.
            And so it was that the whole world discovered that the First Lady, well aware of her husband's philandering and concerned about what the old horn-dog might do if unsupervised during the State Visit of the Russian President and, more specifically, his statuesque, former swimsuit model of a First Lady, barged into the Oval Office in the middle of the night when she'd woken and noted his absence from their bed and, sure enough, caught him in flagrante delicto with the Russian.

            But not the female Russian.

            And that was why, after a series of the most spectacular scandals in the history of the world since, at least, the Caesars, that included an assassination attempt, a Right to Live/Die debate, a cover up, the criminal arrest of a sitting President, another cover up, the empeachment/conviction/removal of a President, a series of resignations, and the most public revelation of state secrets of all time, all future political controversies would forever thence be appended with the suffix


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