Chapter Two

Within the White House of the United States is an obscure room that, for years at a time, would remain untouched except for occasional visits of the cleaning crew to dust the furniture and freshen the air. Most presidents never gave it a thought, their minds being occupied by weightier matters than the use of a mere room.

The ambiguity of the room made it the perfect place for the current president to use as his private domain, having no intention of ever leaving this residence – until recently, that is, when his interest turned toward larger possibilities. His first act upon deciding to occupy the room for special use was to change the furniture, replacing the various chairs, sofas and tables with objects of equivalent function but more suited to his taste in comfort. Beyond that, he directed the search and acquisition of objects that expressed the uniqueness of his being. Somewhere along the way he had been enlightened with regard to his roots, and those elements of his forbears that expressed the nobility of his family he had collected and kept. Now he had the ideal venue by which he could display these objects for his personal pleasure and gratification.

At the present time the president sat in his favorite overstuffed chair next to an elegant sixteenth century end table on which were placed an ornate golden lamp and a very large crystal-cut glass of Johnny Walker Blue King George V Scotch Whisky, provided from the deep and generous pockets of the American taxpayer.

The glass of whisky had been full when the president had first arrived in the room. He picked it up again and knocked back a good mouthful of the spirits, bringing the level down below half-full. He did have some leaning toward the Muslim faith – as much as a person possessed by the enormous quantity of self-interest that he did could care about any religion of which he wasn’t its grand master – but that inclination wasn’t sufficient to compel him to observe its moral edicts. He smacked his lips and waited until the rich glow suffused his body, and then looked about him, at the red velvet of the walls, the opulent silk curtains, the fireplace in which a cheerful log fire burned brightly, endowing the room with warmth and the faint smell of maple. His eyes drifted to a corner where a pool table and a poker table stood, both richly covered in green velvet.

The sight filled him with another glow that augmented the first and then supplanted it: pride of the most magnificent kind. He had reached the pinnacle of power, verified by the furnishings of this grand room and the comfort in which he sat. He lacked one comfort, correcting that oversight by extracting a large Cuban cigar from a pocket of his silk nightjacket. Reaching deeper, he lifted out a solid gold lighter. Then, having taken care of the pleasant chore of lighting the cigar, he leaned back in his chair and pulled rich tobacco smoke into his lungs, reveling in the instant high.

I’m living as a king, he told himself. Indeed, I am a king. Royalty. But the thought didn’t satisfy him as it had in the past. Instead, it led to a new and troubling thought: his kingship wasn’t unique. He was but one of many kings of the world. Moreover, the United States was rapidly losing its status as the world’s greatest nation. Another thought, quite ugly, intruded into his pleasure: part of this loss was his own fault. But the two problems were intricately connected and thus were amenable to a common solution.

Continue to bring the United States into conformity with the European nations. Once that is accomplished, become the head of it all.

His self-satisfaction changed course, to be replaced by thoughts of necessary actions. His mental musings returned to a frequently-visited topic, that of developing the plans by which he might bring this vision into reality. He refocused on his awareness that he had one very powerful tool at his disposal: he had just won reelection. It was no longer necessary to please his party, his base, or, as a matter of fact, anyone. Given that reality, the world was at his disposal with implications of power beyond anything available to a ruler since the beginning of civilization.

The knock on his door, timidly discreet as it was, interrupted his pleasant reverie. “What do you want?” he spat out meanly. He’d made it clear to his staff that under no circumstances was he to be disturbed while in this room.

The door parted fractionally, just enough to frame a peeping eye. “Get in here, you insignificant little jerk,” he commanded his chief of staff. “You’ve already interrupted me, so what good is it going to be for you to go all tippy-toes on me?” The president hated this miserable little cretin, but he’d personally selected him for his naïve, dweebish appearance, knowing that his innocent look would help mask the obvious nature of the egregious lies he would spew out to the White House press corps. Beyond that, despite the fact that his pronouncements were laughably false to all but the lowest percentile of Washington’s rodent population, which equated to the highest percentile of the press corps, the little wimp never dared to question the veracity of the fictions he was told to perpetrate.

The red-faced kid stood before him, nervous eyes darting from side to side, partially-developed little Adam’s apple bobbing up and down. He began to open his mouth to speak, but the president cut him off.

“Out with it!” he commanded in a near shout. “I don’t have all day.” He looked down to the kid’s crotch to see if he was wetting his pants.

“I – I thought you’d want to know that – -“

“Sir! You address me as sir when you speak. How many times do I have to tell you – -“

“Yessir!” the boy screamed. It sounded like a woman in distress. “What I wanted to say is that, is that, uh, sir, the reporter from Fox News is doing it to me again. He’s giving me a hard time, sir, like he doesn’t believe me. Sir.”

“So? If your testicles ever descend to where they belong, you’ll manage to put him in his place. Do I need to tell you again how stupid those press people are? They’re no better than the general population, so you shouldn’t have trouble telling them off.” Lately the president had begun to wonder whether he didn’t go overboard on the appearance of honest innocence by picking this guy for the job. Maybe he’d have to replace him with someone more assertive. The notion set him to daydreaming of the underling’s removal. Perhaps get him into a situation, maybe a bar, a conservative one frequented by lots of meaty blue-collar types where he’d naturally piss off the regulars, get himself into a world of hurt. The president pictured the ensuing slaughter, grinning with delight. It would be better than a football game. He narrowed his eyes, boring them into the kid’s face. “Borrow yourself a decent set of balls tonight,” he said. “Go out there tomorrow and use them. If you can’t do that, I don’t need you. Understand?”

Defeated, the little chief of staff began to salute, but then turned and removed himself from the room, his shoulders registering his utter humiliation. The president grinned more broadly, thinking that perhaps he’d detected a spot of moisture in the kit’s pants. Now, where was I – – –


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