Big-top malfeasance


So, I want to write a story about an American politician.

Envision an average, middle-aged, white Christian male from the Bible Belt or the Heartland or the Mid-West. Republican or Democrat, it doesn’t matter all that much which. You just need to know that he’s better than you. He has good kids and a good wife and a good record and a good degree under his belt from a good school. He probably did a tour in the Reserves, you know, just to be a sport. Everybody loves him, no matter what stupid propaganda falls out of his face on primetime TV and during stump speeches, because he’s just so darn likeable. He’s so clean-cut and squeaky-clean it’s disgusting, and he votes with his Bible as well as his gut, and he’s running for governor and he’s eager for your vote. He’ll grease your palms and kiss all your babies just to get you to like him. Because you’ll like him. You have to.

Everybody does in the end. That’s the whole point.

Except that it hasn’t been his Bible that he’s been voting with these last two terms as the Distinguished Gentleman From. It’s actually been a Magic Eight-Ball he’s been keeping in his closet for the last four years. If you ask him about it, he’ll joke with you about that trusty old Eight-Ball, how it got him through a few tough campaigns when his knees were sore from praying and he was in his eleventh hour. Except the eight-ball isn’t so much of a ball as it is a woman he keeps bound and gagged in his office closet, who can see into the future with the empty sockets where her eyes used to be. The seer is the only person who knows his secrets, and how he once strangled a girl in college and likes to take hunting trips alone to shoot deer and sleep in their hollowed-out carcasses. It’s the only way he can feel “normal” under his bleach-white smile and noose of an Oxford tie, when all the lies are closing in with every town-hall meeting and CNN interview. It’s the only thing that keeps his perfectly neat and tidy family safe from the machete he keeps in his work shed with the heavy padlocks, filled with illegal torture porn and weapons. It’s the only thing that keeps the politician’s world in order.

The seer knows all this. She’s been keeping his secrets and steering him in the right direction for two elections, since he found her in a steam-trunk he bought in Thailand and put her to work to sweat the future out of her pores. Just until the night before the big election, when he starts to see things that aren’t there, bleeding from the walls of his office, limping down the hallway where his staffers are rushing around in preparation for his victory. And the woman in the steam-trunk just keeps laughing through her ball-gag.

I wonder what the exit-polls will look like when he’s carving his interns’ faces with his machete and rubbing their blood in his hair. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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