Thursday, 19 July 2012

ELECTION SEASON By Benjamin Sobieck

Election Season

I match the stars in the patriot's eyes with 50 lashes from My belt. The bite of each strike cuts stripes into its bare body. Makes a red, white and blue collage. Cute. It's a workout, but that's OK. Keeps Me fit, looking good. That's important. Image is everything during election season.

I motion for My bodyguard to check its restraints and quiet it down. Each of its four limbs keep flexing against the knots. I can't have it breaking free. Or making too much noise. Control is important during election season.

My bodyguard understands this control well. He uses both hands so the patriot can't speak or move. Good.

I trade the belt for a steel baton. It's made special for Me, with a two-handed grip and spear point. I burrow the point into the patriot's torso like a wiggling parasite. The baton shovels My stress deep inside its creamed insides. A clear mind is essential in election season.

I get bored with the baton. My bodyguard hands Me a trench knife. My favorite. Good thing I'm not dressed yet.

The patriot does not do well with the trench knife. Not at all. Neither does the wall, the floor and the hotel room beneath me. Even the bodyguard looked away. Doesn't matter. I rented the entire hotel. No one's going to say anything. If they do, I'll tell them I was attacked. Good campaign material for election season.

My bodyguard taps his watch and reminds Me of My schedule. I can't play much longer.

I lean down next to the patriot's ear and say, "Your country thanks you for your service."

I nod to the bodyguard. He nods back. He knows the drill.

I soap up in the shower. Knead a few piles of bullshit in my head for the speech. Freedom this. Liberty that. Election season, it's just a formality. The win, that's what I want. They'll hand me hundreds of millions of patriots, not just one.

Between "rinse" and "repeat," I hear the crack of a handgun. A good man, that bodyguard. Too good. And just like anything else in politics, you need to trim the tree after you take the fruit. He'll be next. Maybe after the speech.

"Ready to go, Mr. President?" it says after I'm dressed. I like when it assumes I’ve got the election in the bag already.

I toss a tissue into the trash and avoid eye contact with the dead thing on the bed. Turning to the bodyguard, I say to it, "Ready. Let's get to that speech."

Benjamin Sobieck is the author of the "Cleansing Eden" crime novel, the Maynard Soloman crime humor series and many short works. His website is


  1. First chapter of George W's memoirs I presume.

  2. The point I'm trying to make here is you have no idea who you actually elect. What you see is a carefully molded persona. The original George Bush or Barack Obama is a far cry from who we see on TV.

    So who knows? Maybe this could really happen. Maybe not. All I know is it's based on a true story.

    Because there is such a thing as rinsing and repeating.

  3. I've always agreed with your point, Ben. Not just here either. Idi Amin is a great example of just how bad elections can go wrong. There's an old sf/horror story by one of the "Golden Age" writers in which a newly elected president of the US is told he has the option -- one time only -- to have a particularly objectionable or dangerous person "removed" from existence. The Prez takes the option: his last girlfriend. I've thought over the years that we should never elect anyone President who wants the job as badly as most successful candidates. Maybe we should just go and get the right person for the office and actually sentence them to the job. With, of course, the proviso of "Time off for for good job performance." I think you stated your case plain and simple in this piece.
    By the way, are you gonna give us a hint of the true story you mentioned?
    I liked the concept of the BTK serial killer becoming president. Sounds a bit like his style.
    Good, grisley, morality play, Ben. Cool.

  4. My sense of humor must not be as overt today. I meant that it's true that there are steps in shampooing such as "rinsing" and "repeating." Sorry, bad joke.

    That's a jab at the political memes thrown up on Facebook. It's unfortunate that for many people, their vote will be decided on questionable data on snappy digital placards. Statistics are already fishy enough. Throw them into the Wild West of Facebook, and you may as well vote for BTK.

  5. Preaching to the choir, Ben. I'd toss every radio talk show host into the mix also. I have a friend who sends those multiple forwarded emails so dear to the right wing christian multitudes. I just delete without reading. Occasionally I'll take the trouble to vet the "facts" through and send her the results, but, of course she never reads them.

  6. Hi Benjamin, I just now note that I hadn't sent forward congratulations that your story was up at TKnC (heavy last few days for me) but glad you caught it. Matt.

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  8. Enjoyed this Ben. While I understood your shampoo joke I actually think there is more realism to this story than rinsing and repeating. The only thing wrong in politics is politicians.

    I truly wonder when the last Western leader ran for office with the purest intentions of changing the country for the better. Not to raise his own ego and gain so much power. This is a cruel and horrific story that is a metaphor for real politics. I like the satire of it and think some of the images were brilliantly realised.

  9. Thanks, Matt. It was plenty congratulations enough to see it up here. Am honored.

    I have no idea who the last "real" president was, Anthony. It's tempting to say FDR, but there's a tendency to look at WWII with rose-tinted glasses. If I had to pick, I'd say the other Roosevelt, Theodore, had it going for the glory of the country as a whole.

    The story is a metaphor for politics in general. Here's what I wrote on my blog about the meaning behind it:


    It takes a certain amount of ego to think you can become president of this or any country. First, you have to believe you're better than anyone else for the job. This requires an egotism impossible to comprehend.

    Second, you need to feel comfortable knowing you'll make life-or-death decisions, and you can't always choose life. People are going to die because of things you say and do.

    Third, you have to want the job more than anything else in your life. This means putting your goals before anyone else, including family and friends. They don't matter. Only you matter.

    But this toxic cocktail isn't what the public sees during election season. A carefully molded pantomime of the candidate is presented instead. Campaigns spends countless hours and dollars sculpting their candidate for maximum appeal.

    The egomaniac underneath that polish is the same person, though. They might do things behind the scenes regular folks would be shocked to know about.

    That's the theme behind Election Season, a piece of flash fiction up at Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers. The political junkie in me wrote it, not the one you see in public.

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  11. (No promo blasts please, Manna! Did you like Ben's story?)

    I did. A lot. Satirical and unique take on egotism and smoke screens.

    Good job, feller.