I wash my face and ask the wall to turn on the morning address. The music starts and he’s there; a whisp of hair signifying his grand entrance.
“Hey everyone, happy Wednesday! Wednesdays were always one of my favorite days — I think because you’re half over with something that might be bad and you still have half of something left that might be good. Think about that today when you’re hard at work or trying to learn. Also I want to remind everyone — remember when you all hated me and I had to pretend that I was racist to get everyone to vote for me and after I won enough votes I completely changed everything about my campaign because I actually wanted to be a good president? Do you remember that? I know I fooled you once but I haven’t fooled you again since that. I’m your friend now. Aren’t we friends?”
I nod, just in case he can see.
“Good. I know you want to trust me, and I think you can trust me. I’m very trustworthy. I want to be able to trust you too. The United States government and — we’re facing a lot of different things from around the world forces and evil. All the time. To keep you safe we have to keep things a little tighter. Things have to be a certain way to maintain your freedom. So if you hear anyone talking about me or plotting against me, that sort of thing, we’re not going to let that sort of thing go on.”
I start putting my folders for work in a shoulder bag. I look around for any kind of energy bar.
“I know some of you are still having some problems with the added terms to the presidency, because it doesn’t look good, it makes it seem like I extended the presidency for myself when of course it was to stabilize America. But let me just explain why I did it and where I’m coming from and why I even got into this in the first place. So as you might know I was a very rich man.”
I sit down. I’m dressed and ready to leave but I can’t until he’s done talking.
“And since gambling was just not very fun I tried to get into politics and donating since you could buy elections back then. At first I was going to do it out of spite because the government is a hard game to win, you know I really wanted Romney in 2012 because Obama I think, Obama had his run. Obama we gave him his term. So at first when I started running for president and it actually was gaining some traction I treated it like it was real when everyone in the media treated it like it was a media stunt or something like that — you guys remember I’m sure. But anyways so I wanted to run for president.”
I have to pee, but I should wait in case he can tell I’m not paying attention. So I sit.
“But then I had this idea of just…just basically putting whoever I wanted into the White House. And it would be this great thing making it so that only one vote mattered and proving that the whole system was broken if someone could hack it so obviously and also you know Mitt Romney would be a damn good president. Well we all know that after I became president I had a change of heart. I decided Mitt Romney was a big loser, especially after he started trying to make me look bad. I know a lot of you liked him, but he’s not around anymore, is he? And of course I had nothing to do with that but people are always saying that about me. Just pick up your phone and dial 911 if you hear anyone saying that about me.”
I nod again.
“Also I thought about what I knew from the Snowden stuff, and all those secrets. I thought, if I just install another politician, what’ll happen? Politics. Politics will happen. And all these secret programs and secret wars and explosions and ISIS and blah blah — only some politician was going to get to know about that stuff. No true American would ever get a look at them. These politicians aren’t American. I’m not even sure they’re human. So instead I decided I’d have to do it myself. And since I knew I couldn’t do it based on the truth, I had to lie.
“I told a little white lie to become president.”
I look at the door. I wait.
“I let people get beat up at my rallies. Sometimes it even looked like I was encouraging it. And that was wrong. And it was wrong of you to think that. But I couldn’t let everything that I’ve built and all of the requests from individuals — I couldn’t let those requests go ignored. And that’s why I began to care so much about the presidency and what it means to the country of America and if we allow the presidency to be impermanent, then we take away from how great America is, where we’d like it to be all the time.
“So when I installed my two Supreme Court justices I made sure they took into account the inflation of time. Because since the founding fathers wrote all of our great America literature, time has gotten a lot more valuable. Or less valuable? Or time passes faster and these days a minute isn’t worth as much of a — anyway I’ll do some research on it. I just hope you have a great Wednesday and be productive and do your part and buy buy buy like those Backstreet kids, they were just terrible, weren’t they? Terrible. Not even a boy band, really.”
His face blurs and he taps the camera. My wall quakes.
“Hey, is this even on?” Music again. Then he’s gone.
I’m late to work and punished for it, but so is everyone else.