Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Vote

I entered the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge in January, and I will find when I'm moving on to the second round on March 10. 

The challenge for my group was to write a 2500 words or less story with the following criteria:

Genre: Polical satire
Subject: Child custody
Character: A speech writer

The Vote

“The sub-committee will now vote on whether or not the ship is sinking.”

“Wait! We can’t have a vote without hearing both sides.”

“Do you think there’s time to hear arguments?”

“Should we form a committee to see if there’s enough time to hear arguments?”

“Don’t be a fool, we’ve already formed a sub-committee apart from the committee to prove that we’re on a ship.”

“Well, I think we’re sinking.”

“Well, I think we’re actually starting to float, and we should drop the anchor.”

“I have to admit the floor seems to be rising on my side.”

“Wait, we haven’t even decided that we’re on a ship and you want to convince me to vote that we’re sinking?”

“I promise to vote that we’re sinking if you promise to vote that we’re on an airplane.”

“That’s absurd I get airsick on airplanes, and I’m seasick right now so we must be on a ship.”

“Hold on, we haven’t voted on that yet.”

“I thought we were going to hear arguments for and against the possibility of all of us being on a ship.”

“Is there someone keeping notes, I don’t think I’m hearing every side of the issue. I must be informed before I cast my vote. I have my constituents to think of.”

“Yeah they still haven’t forgiven you for your vote on the banana or butter scandal.”

“Who knew that toppings for toast would be such a touchy subject?”


“Did someone say mustard? Are we finally getting lunch?”

“My feet are starting to get wet, can we adjourn for an hour and vote after lunch?”

“Move to strike that last comment, it will unduly persuade the committee that we are indeed on a ship and sinking.”

“The comment has been stricken from the record. There is nothing more fair and balanced than a committee committed to concrete evidence.”

“Who had the idea to bring concrete on to a sinking ship?”

“Move to strike there’s been no vote on what kind of vessel we’re in.”

“So stricken.”

“Who votes first, the committee or the sub-committee?”

“Let’s have a vote. I say the sub-committee should go first. If we can determine if we are rising or sinking, then we should be able to determine what our vessel is without a vote from the committee.”

“Absurd, airplanes go up and down on air currents just like a ship on water currents. The committee must vote on the vessel that we’re in. If we are in an airplane and sinking we may be coming in for a landing, if we are rising, then we might be taking off.”

“Wait, if we’re in a ship and sinking we might die, unless we’re in a submarine.”

“I’m sorry it’s too late to add another vessel to the ballot. We are either on a ship or an airplane.”

“Motion sustained. Next order of business, should the committee vote first or the sub-committee?”

“I move that we transfer the committee to a drier place.”

“We agreed to meet on neutral ground.”

“I didn’t know that neutral ground shifted around so much.”

“If you held on to your principles you would find the ground wouldn’t shift so much.”

“I can’t seem to hold on to anything. Everything has become very buoyant.”

“Move to strike buoyant, its prejudicial, slander, and an unfair characterization of our current situation.”

“What would you call our situation?”

“Hopelessly grid locked."

“I thought we were on neutral ground.”

“I don’t think we’re on any kind of ground.”

“That isn’t a very good argument both ships and airplanes go where there isn’t any ground.”

“You have a point there. I've seen airplanes that go on the water.”

“Would you consider yourself an aviation expert?”

“Well, no.”

“Then kindly keep to the facts and leave expert testimony to the experts.”

“I beg the pardon of the committee.”

“So granted.”

“I move for a recount.”

“We haven’t taken a vote yet.”

“I just wanted to make sure everyone knows that I object to the outcome. If an outcome happens and then you object to it, you look like you’re following the crowd.”

“I second the motion for a recount.”

“Then I recant my objection.”

“So do I, I recant.”

“Please reinstate my objection, I don’t want to seem like fish flip-flopping on the issue.”

“Fish can only flip-flop on the ground, and we clearly are no longer on any ground.”

“I can feel the ceiling.”

“Is it the glass ceiling?”

“I don’t think so, I can’t see through it.”

“That argument is invalid ships and airplanes both have ceilings.”

“I keep moving up and the ceiling keeps moving down.”

“Everyone’s career tops out sooner or later.”

“I move we take a poll.”

“How’s that different from a vote?”

“Fool, a poll is an opinion, and a vote is a decision.”

“In my opinion, this is the best committee and sub-committee I’ve ever been a part of.”

“I second the motion.”

“It wasn’t a motion it was an opinion.”

“What opinions aren’t filled with emotions?”

“That’s why we form committees to make decisions.”

“Uh, Daddy that doesn’t sound like any speech I’ve ever heard. You’re supposed to be helping me write a speech for class president.”

“That’s what speeches sound like to me, especially from lawyers. Maybe you should have your mother help you.”

“Mom told me if you said that to remind you that we have a limited amount of time, so you should try to be helpful.”

“Just like your mother to remind me that she has full custody.”

“It shouldn’t be so hard dad, you write speeches for a living. What would you do for one of your clients?”

“Honey, writing speeches is all about putting the right words in the wrong mouth.”

“So you’re telling me all I need to do is lie, and I will get elected?”

“There’s a little more to it than that. It has to be the right lie. You have to finesse the crowd. It's like painting a picture, you have to use the right colors in the right places for the picture to come out right. You begin by scaring the audience with a litany of problems.”

“Like how awful school lunches are, now that they are supposed to be healthy?”

“That might work for someone who wants to throw the race.”


“Honey, you have to think a little bigger. What do teenagers want?”

“I want to be taken seriously, and I want more freedom.”

“Okay, then all you need to do is paint the picture.”

“How do I do that?”

“This is what I would do, I would start by saying that adults think that they have all the answers and by making more rules and taking away our freedom, school is a better place.”

“I think rules are helpful though.”

“That’s okay you don’t have to believe what you say, just convince the students you believe it.”

“I thought that people get elected by having good ideas and solid principles.”

“Sorry sweetie, the people who get elected have the best propaganda.”

“That seems a bit jaded.”

“Talk to me in twenty years after your first divorce.”

“Okay, so after I scare everyone, what do I do?”

“Well you have a couple of options, you can tell them how your opponents are contributing to the problems, or you can show how you are the only solution to the problems. In other words, you give them hope.”

“Let me get this straight, I scare everyone with lies, and then I tell them if they vote for me all their problems will disappear?”

“That’s it in a nutshell.”

“And that really works?”

“I wouldn’t be able to afford your mother’s alimony check if I wasn’t good at my job.”

“Mom says that’s the reason she left you, because you lie.”

“Yes I am a liar, but so is everyone. A liar is just someone who believes something that you don’t believe.”

“That is very confusing.”

“It’s meant to be. We think we live in a world of absolutes when we really live in a world of variables.”

“Uh, variables you sound like my math teacher.”

“That’s another way to sway the crowd in your favor, by telling them it’s too hard to figure out problems on their own, they will trust you to do the thinking, and solve the problem for them.”

“So, my agenda shouldn’t be to make the school a better place for students, but to make it a better place for me through manipulation?”

“As I see it, you either manipulate or get manipulated.”

“You are so jaded dad. I can’t help thinking that if I do it my way with enough passion, I can still win.”

“I know, it took me a long time to start seeing the world as it really is.”

“So what should I do?”

“Decide if you want to win or lose.”

“I wouldn’t be running if I wanted to lose.”

“Okay tell me why you’re running for class president.”

“I want to make my school a better place.”

“That sounds plausible, and really nice. Now tell me the real reason.”

“That is the real reason.”

“That reason sounds good, but I know human nature too well to believe that reason.”

“Fine dad you don’t have to help me, let’s just go get ice cream or something.”

“Hit a nerve didn’t I?”

“You can be a complete jerk sometimes.”

“True enough, but be honest with me now, why are you running for class president?”

“Fine you win, because it will look good on my college applications, are you satisfied?”

“That’s my girl, now we can make a real plan of attack.”

“You actually mean to make it easier for me to lie, right?”

“You’ve been lying all along, now we can use it to our advantage.”

“It doesn’t feel right.”

“Then think about how it will feel like when you win the election, and you get into a good college.”

“Mr. Dudley I’m afraid that your time is up.”

“Can’t I stay a little longer, we haven’t written my speech yet.”

“I’m sorry Simone, the rules for supervised visits are very strict. Rules are there for a reason.”

“It’s fine honey, I think you have all the tools you need to write a wonderful speech.”

“Okay dad, I’ll call you if I win.”

“When you win.”

Wish me luck along with the rest of the contestants!