It's Almost Over: 2016
Welcome back to the final chapter of the contentious candidate crackfic condunrum! Enjoy! My apologies for the late delay.
(Another change of the channel. TV, the digital frontier, I mused. These are the voyages of the U.S.S. Flatscreen…
Ooops. Sorry. Really shouldn't have watched that Star Trek marathon last night…ah, here we go! MSZBC and an attractive announcer, anyone?)
"…we've just learned of a case of voter intimidation at one of our nation's nuclear plants! The owner, one Charles Montgomery Burns, seen here attending the Kennedy assassination hearings, has allegedly attempted to force his employees to vote for Wolfgang Hochstetter! Our sources have obtained this internal plant video…
(Scene changes to up-close-and-nauseating-image of the person in question)
"Hello, fellow employees!" Burns began jovially. "As you well know the new election season is upon us! We have two candidates running to be President. The first, as you well know, is that paragon of masculine virtue Wolfgang Hochstetter…"
(The picture immediately cuts to Hochstetter, flanked by Roman soldiers, slowly gliding down a street in an expensive open-air car. Crowds on either side cheer him on amid a fanfare of trumpets.)
"…and then we have…HER...," Burns sneered, his voice deepening in disgust.
(A sea of fire and demons suddenly greet the viewer's eyes. It reminds one of being stuck in a long line with kids at an amusement park on the hottest part of the day. Or, similarly, reaching the head of the DMV line only to find out you have the wrong forms…which are available on the other side of town. Take your pick.)
"Now then!" Burns piped in, his voice back to being cheerful. "If you could see your way towards voting Republican I'll give you this shiny new quarter-"
"Um, sir, that's illegal in this state," a off-screen voice prompted. The plant owner frowned in annoyance.
"Fine then," he spat. "We'll buy them off with some peanut brittle. Happy now?"
"Well, technically that's still bribery too, sir! I—"
A long, drawn out scream rang through the room before the trap door slowly retracted back into place. Montgomery Burns sighed.
"It's getting so hard to find a decent lackey nowadays…"
With that, the scene switched back to the newsroom and the seemingly horrified co-hosts.
"Shocking," one of them said, shaking her head. "Has no one investigated—"
(Another change of the channel. Hmmm…there has to be something interesting…)
"…the rebroadcast of the second 2016 Presidental debate!" a voice declared. Seconds later the image of an empty debate stage appeared onscreen. A white haired man turned and faced the audience.
"My name is Cooper Anders, the moderator for tonight's debate, and I'd like to thank everyone for attending the second of three Presidential debates. Our two candidates will appear momentarily to debate on a wide range of topics selected by you, the viewer, before we threw those responses out and replaced them with questions of our own. And now I'd like to introduce the Democratic and Republican candidates…Secretary Gertrude Hogan and Wolfgang Hochstetter!"
(Two figures walk out on stage. After the perfunctory shaking of hands they go to their respective corners…er, podiums)
"Now then," Cooper said, facing the candidates, "as you know you have a two-minute window of opportunity to answer each question posed to you. Your opponent has one minute for rebuttal. However, since it's obvious you won't follow the rules the questioning will be more of a free-for-all. When you hear this sound…
(A chainsaw, its white shell gleaming underneath the stage lights, suddenly appeared in Cooper's hands before making its signature noise known.)
"…you'll know it's time to shut up or else." He let the threat dangle in the air for a moment. "Any questions?"
At the negative shake from both candidates Cooper proceeded onward. "Then good luck. May the best woman win—"
"Aha!" Hochstetter crowed. "This election is obviously rigged! And I have the proof-"
Suddenly he fell quiet as the noisy sound of a chainsaw rippled throughout the arena.
"Of course," he hastily backpedaled. "I could be wrong." Cooper merely smiled and turned to the Democratic candidate.
"Secretary Hogan," he said graciously. "You've faced an uphill challenge to get this far. After your failed 2008 presidential bid you went on to become the Secretary of State under President Klink as well as win the Nobel Peace Prize. However, some critics have said that the email issue as well as the pay-for-play allegations make you unfit to be President. What do you say to that?"
"Well, they're misguided," Gertrude said in a slightly raspy, though strong, voice. "America needs strong and motivated leaders right now. If you wait around for a leader to fix the problems we now face then we're going to be waiting for a very long time. However, I've been fortunate to watch our current President in action close up and I think that, given the chance, I could be effective in leading our country and leaving a prosperous America for our children and grandchildren."
Cooper nodded. "And you, Mr. Hochstetter?"!
"I am qualified," Wolfgang said bluntly, his nasally voice washing over the audience in an unpleasant wave. "I am the most qualified individual in history to be President. I've built businesses and created jobs. Gertrude has had scandal after scandal. We don't need any more of that." He into the audience. "And that man there," he declared, his voice rising in affected anger, "is proof positive that the Republican and Democratic parties are conspiring against me! He's the most dangerous man in America!"
Surprisingly the target of the finger, one Robert E. Hogan, merely responded with a smug grin.
"Leave my husband out of this!" Gertrude snapped, the scorn dripping from her lips. "Have you no shame?"
Her Republican counterpart was unfazed as he shrugged his shoulders. "It's got me this far, hasn't it?" he deadpanned. Cooper quickly interrupted.
"Moving on," he announced. "A question for you, Mr. Hochstetter. What will be your first action if you're elected to be President of the United States?"
Wolfgang paused to take a deep breath before responding. "I. Will build. A ring. Of steel." he announced, emphasizing each word. "It'll be the biggest ring of steel ever devised. We'll get the Mexicans and Canadians to pay for it—
"Oh, here we go again," Gertrude breathed in mock frustration to audience laughter. Hochstetter was undeterred.
"It will keep out the illegal aliens that are flooding into this country. And the real aliens. Our country will be safe once again from the illegal immigrants swarming this country! I will be the Man of Steel, keeping this country safe-"
"I've known the real Man of Steel," Secretary Hogan said coolly as she looked directly at her husband. "He's a true gentleman. And believe me, he doesn't need any blue pills—"
(The channel changed abruptly before the good-looking author blushed.
Sorry folks, this story only has a 'K+' rating. You didn't really need to see what happened after that. Move along, move along…)
(Multiple channels flick through several gyrations of color before the image comes to rest on a room full of thick, grayish steam. A heavy, rhythmic breathing suddenly echoes loudly from the surround sound speakers. At that moment a tall, dark and helmeted figure stepped grandly from the mist before intimidating the camera with his presence).
"You would be unwise not to make your vote heard," the mask intoned mechanically. "Choose your candidate…"
(Vader ignites his lighsaber, illuminating his mask in a unholy reddish glow)
"or…suffer the consequences.."
(Disclaimer: Neither Emperor Palpatine, the employees, hangers-on, sycophants, brown nosers, and other staff of Galactic Empire, Incorporated, endorse any Earth candidate. Lord Vader will not hunt you down like a dog if you refuse to vote but will send one of his lackeys to audit your tax returns in ways that would make a IRS agent squeal in delight. Long live Emperor Palpatine!)
(Another press of the remote button)
-Gertrude will make such a great president-
(Still another channel...)
"Hochstetter's the man!" a middle aged voter declared, gleefully holding up a "Hochstetter for Victory" campaign sign.
(The TV snaps off before the owner, in a fit of frustration, throws the remote at the wall flatscreen. It missed the target entirely before clattering noisily to the floor.)
Later that night...
"...and the final polls have closed in Alaska," Cooper Anders noted professionally before turning to the electoral map listing the called red and blue states. "ZNN can now project, due to the results in Florida, the winner of the 2016 Presidential race! And the winner is…"
A/N: A long time ago there was once a TV series called Benson. The two main characters, running for Governor, waited to find out the election results...and then the series ended without a winner. A good ending, I think...but not one that will apply tonight.
Tomorrow morning (hopefully!) we will find out the name of our President-Elect. We may or may not like the eventual result...but I can only hope that we, as Americans, can act like civilized adults and respect the outcome...at least until the next Presidental election.
God bless America!