Speeches troubled him. For his entire career, he had fought tooth and nail to become the person people were giving presentations to, not the person putting together slides. At work, he was a master of analysis. Thinking was his job; he did it well. When he was thinking, the world would bend to fit his plans. He didn’t speak when he didn’t need to, and when he did speak wise men treated his words like diamonds.
The people he was indebted to were not wise men. They didn’t realize the power of careful thought, the wisdom of doing nothing. These people wanted flash, wanted defrosted rhetoric and hidden subtext. These people wanted prepared remarks, wanted image.
He wasn’t image. He had people for image.
Those people troubled him.
But still, speeches needed to be made. The people must be told about the dark days to come. Without further ado, the President of the United States of America turned towards the cameras and signaled that he was ready to begin.
On televisions across the country, an older gentleman - he looked fifty, but once you accounted for the surgery and camera tricks he was probably closer to eighty - with a stiff grey suit and stiffer grey hair introduced himself to the folks at home. Then, after a deep breath, he continued to the news of the night.
“Ladies, gentlemen, folks of all sorts,” he said. “It is my great displeasure to inform you that, as of today, the United States of America has officially exceeded its internationally agreed upon debt ceiling.
“This has led us to pursue some nontraditional debt erasure methods. As you may be aware, notable funding for the United States over the past few years has come courtesy of loans from Vaudein Incorporated. After talks with the company president, who at this time wishes to remain unnamed, we have arrived at a solution which I think both parties can agree to, and which has already started to be carried out.
“Ladies and gentlemen and the other ten percent, as of this morning the state of Kansas has officially become the property of Vaudein Incorporated.
“Now, I believe that you’ll agree with me that the American public has gotten the better end of this deal. In exchange for the Kansas territory, Vaudein has agreed to forgive America of all debts, allowing our fine nation to continue existing for at least the next three years. In this time, we hope to find a solution to the debt crisis, or otherwise find a way to circumvent the U.N. debt limits placed on our country.
“I thank you for your continued support in this matter.”
The techies faded the stream to black while the President slumped forward on his hands. The hardest part was over. He could go back to his thinking, now.
In a building miles away, a hand tapped a hard plastic switch. Somewhere, a projector flicked off.
In the now dark room, a mouth smiled its best Cheshire cat grin before leaving. It was time for the man who owned the mouth to leave.
He had other interests to pursue.
An America Story