First post

Hurray!  This is my first blog post, before I’ve even customized the look of the page.  This is where I will post upcoming news about my novels and journey into the realm of self-publishing.  I’m an aspiring fantasy and science fiction author.  From time to time I will also post short stories and flash fiction that I have to get out of my head.  Here is the first.  I typed this out after a particularly frustrating day watching the news and traveling some political blogs.  Most of my fiction doesn’t center around political topics, but political science is my hobby, so it pops up from time to time.

Obviously this material is mine, and may not be reprinted without my permission.

JACK BEDFORD

Purple slush dripped from Jack Bedford’s tie.

It had been a bright, beautiful day and he’d been determined to enjoy it. Throwing open the double doors to his office building, Jack had breathed deep of the blue sky for exactly one and a half seconds before a chorus of boos and jeers accompanied a rain of unsolicited food items from local vendors. Jack heard, amid the incoherent noise, charges of fraud and stealthy deals made under some important, polished congressional tables. He cringed. They’d found him out. Easy in the age of gossip and tweeting. All it took was one ill-hired intern “accidentally” interrupting the wrong meeting or handling the wrong file. Spies were everywhere, he reminded himself. Should have been more careful.
Jack resented those red-faced dissidents screaming at his front door. They didn’t know how to play the game. They didn’t know what they’d do in his situation. Of course he hadn’t started out to screw over his constituency. He had principles and beliefs that he wanted to share, and the people around him had encouraged this. Politics used to be a distinguished profession, and most people didn’t yet realize it was a complete, corrupted joke. A human makes a mistake, a politician brews a scandal. Jack was lucky his wife hadn’t left him, when he’d been caught hiring an escort. He reasoned that plenty of the founding fathers had been absolute cads. Plenty more hadn’t, but that wasn’t the point. It took all kinds to develop a government so genius.
Standing there, leaning his back against the door, and listening to the shouts, Jack pondered the Constitution. It was a work of beauty. From one document, filled with the pure spirit of liberty that the U.S. wrestled with during its formation, a nation had sprung, triumphed, failed. He was proud of the protesters, even if he thought they should go home, get a better grasp of reality and then run for office. In a way, Jack wanted them to oust him. If there was a person who could face the temptations he’d faced and come out the better person, he wanted them here, where they could watch over the important power he’d been given. A very human bitterness squashed the pride.
What right did they have to criticize him? He had faced the temptations. The promises of a wealthy future for his family. A place in the sun for his descendants for as long as the accountant was honest. Jack laughed a bit, at his reliance on someone else to be honest. Every time he pushed himself away from that door in the morning, he left with anger. Those assholes didn’t understand.

Blood and phlegm dripped from Jack Bedford‘s tie.
It had been a bright, beautiful day once. He snapped the doors of his office shut, unable to get to the flailing intern. As he barred the door, and took up his customary position leaning against it, he listened to the groans and the screams. When the outbreak occurred in New York and Washington, most people had laughed. Zombies were nonsense after all.
The intern finally died, relieving Jack’s ears of one horrific noise at least. They’d heard on the radio that the small mobs had been mostly eradicated, but not to go out if one could help it. Poor Ben. He just had to get out or he was going to die of boredom.
Jack missed them, those passionate, unholy, aggravating, lovely protesters. He hadn’t left his office in two months. His wife had survived, holed up in their gated estate. She had changed since losing her assistant in the fray. She was harder, and over the phone, Jack fell in love with her again. He had married her for a reason, back before everything else got in the way, and he promised himself, when this was all over, that he was going to make love to her, and keep her always near him as he had vowed when they wed. He was going to be so much better at everything. A better father, husband, a better politician. That title should have some honor in it. Jack would make it honorable again. He’d do what they hired him for.

Butter yellow sunshine dripped from Jack Bedford’s tie.
It was yet another bright and beautiful day. Fearing for his life had been healthy for Jack. There was nothing like imminent and violent death to give a man perspective. He’d been approached with those temptations since the last of the undead had been determined eliminated and the country as a whole celebrated. It was so much easier to resist. And his wife had forgiven him. After Jack had fallen to his knees and begged her to just stay with him long enough to see the changes he’d make, she had accepted, even though her reaction to freedom from martial law had been to hire a divorce attorney. He’d done it. He’d cried with her. And laughed again. How great did it feel to laugh? Better than any payday.
So when those opportunities came knocking, Jack just shook his head and asked those people if they didn’t have something better to do. The stupid, wonderful protesters no longer sat outside his office. Jack cleared a conference room just for people to come, sit and talk with him whenever he had a free minute. His influence spread among his colleagues as they processed their own experiences, if they had survived. Voters are a jealous people, so when other men and women refused to do what Jack had done, they were cast out. Jack kept making mistakes. Jack Bedford was human. But he never again expected to stay in a job that he wasn’t doing to the satisfaction of his employers.

 
 
 
 

~ by Rachel Francis on May 10, 2012.

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