Here we are. Week 30 of Odd Prompts is upon us. When I first read the prompt I received from Anne Guglik, I commented that it figured that the now-former (yay!) political science professor would get the one about running for president. Since high school, when I told people I was majoring in political science, the first question out of people’s mouths was usually “Oh, are you going to run for office?” No. And, as a matter of fact, I scrupulously avoid actual politics. And God knows I do not want to be president. The only thing I want to be responsible for is how my own day is scheduled, and how much or whether I write. That’s it. But, I came up with this. It’s more in the what is your reaction to finding out you won a write-in campaign for the highest office in the country, rather than a true answer to “what do you do now?”
My prompt: You posted an Op-Ed about something you were passionate about and it went viral. Then somewhat as an online protest/prank you became a write in candidate for President….and you won. What do you do?
“Holy shit! You won!” Derek was shouting, jumping up and down in front of the television.
“Yeah, right,” I responded reaching for another slice of pizza.
He spun around and moved away from the TV. “I am NOT KIDDING!! You fucking won!”
I gaped at the revealed screen. I had 280 Electoral College votes. Just over the majority. Oh. My. God.
My phone rang. The caller ID was a number in Kansas. I hit the answer icon and put the call on speaker.
“Hello?” I know I sounded hesitant.
“Good evening, Ms. Riley. And, congratulations on your win. I’m conceding to you. I guess that op-ed hit all the right spots for voters. I just hope you truly are up for the job.” The voice on the other end was unmistakable. It was Robert Mallory, the Republican candidate for President of the United States.
“Thank you. I hope I can count on your support going forward,” I surprised myself with my relatively coherent answer.
Mallory seemed surprised as well. “Well, yes. I’m happy to provide advice. Congratulations, again.” He hung up.
As soon as the call ended another one came through. This time from the Democratic candidate.
“Well, Ms. Riley, I hope you’re happy. I’m conceding as it looks like you’ve managed to pull of the impossible and win a US presidential election with a write-in campaign. What a joke.” Sandra Bellamy hung up the phone before I could respond.
Derek laughed. “You won! Holy crap! And, what do you want to bet that Bellamy says she had a great conversation with you and wishes you well? But Mallory sounds okay.”
I was still staring at my phone. What in the hell had just happened??
I looked up at Derek from my attempt to disappear into the couch. “What do I do now? Winning was not the goal of this…this campaign…joke…whatever. What do I do?”
Before he could answer, there was a knock at the apartment door. We looked at each other and Derek moved over to look through the peephole.
“Um…Bethany…um…it’s Secret Service…um…” he stared at me as reality started to sink in for both of us. I walked over to the door and opened it.
“Good evening Ms. Riley, I’m Agent Jeffrey Stanwick, Secret Service,” the tall, blond man held out a badge. I took it gingerly in two fingers and looked at the badge and accompanying identification card. Derek peered over my shoulder. Yep, Jeffrey Stanwick was most certainly a senior agent with the Secret Service. I handed both badge and ID back and then moved my right hand over to my left arm.
“Ow!” the hard pinch startled me and had the intended effect. No, I wasn’t dreaming. I had just been elected President of the United States through a write-in campaign that started as a joke. I guess I better start calling some people. God help us all.
Please join in the fun over at More Odds Than Ends. What few rules there are, are listed on the front page. Prompts and responses can take any form you’d like (although we’re trying to keep ‘nother Mike away from interpretive dance…)