The camera comes into focus on a brightly lit room—podium standing majestically at the center with microphones glimmering under harsh lights. Looking conservative and regal dressed in a gray suit and black tie, Our Attorney General paces nervously backstage, flapping his hands at his sides and muttering quietly to himself. In a few moments, he is scheduled to address the nation about the many scandals that have plagued his administration, most recently the extrajudicial murder of two of our citizens. Given his proximity to the Rich Old Farts who control the media, he is confident that the well-orchestrated cover up will have taken effect, and he will not be required to answer too many difficult questions before retreating back to the comfort of his insular home.
“Like swine to the trough,” he assures himself. Nevertheless, he continues pacing, as there have been rumors of far-off tremors preceded by the honest blue ozone smell of lightning in the distance.
Inconspicuously, a young man in a patchwork jacket two sizes too large and a ridiculously outdated fedora with a conspicuous “PRESS” card jammed into the brim leans confidently against the back wall, checking a gold pocket watch and carefully surveying the room. He gives off the appearance as being just another fixture in the back stage area—so seamless that you’d almost never notice he was there, ridiculous as that sounds given his curious mode of appearance. He had been told that the secret to maintaining a low profile in a public space is to see everyone else before they see you, and that was what our young friend had been doing; standing and surveying, taking note of everyone who walked in and out of the area.
Suddenly, as if in response to some unknown signal, our young friend snaps his watch shut and replaces it in his jacket pocket, walking assertively toward Our Attorney General with a congenial smile and an outstretched hand.
“Just wanted to thank you, sir, for your consideration in letting me back here to talk with your handlers—erm—assistants. It was a fantastic opportunity for me, and I’m sure you’ll appreciate the story when it hits the papers tomorrow morning.”
“Yes,” replied the man in the grey suit as he shook the reporter’s hand, “I trust that I will. Now, if you will excuse me, there’s the matter of this press conference. You should have a seat in the audience. I’m sure you’ll want to take good notes for your story.”
“Oh, that won’t be necessary,” replied our young friend. “I have already accomplished everything that I came here to do.”
Perplexed but unfazed, Our Attorney General broke his grip of the reporter’s hand and went back to pacing and muttering. The reporter simply walked away through the door in the back of the room, quickly removing a thin latex, skin-colored, glove from his hand as he went, and deposited it in a trashcan outside. Once outside, he casually lit a cigarette, took two long puffs, and got into the backseat of an idling Lincoln Town Car. In another instant, he and the car had vanished, leaving behind nothing but a faint puff of blue smoke.
Back inside, Our Attorney General enters briskly from stage right and approaches his awaiting public. He steps up to the podium, as he had done countless times in the past, and opens his mouth to speak, but the words do not come. He clears his throat with a loud “harrumph” peculiar to men steeped in power and privilege, and tries again, but to his horror—instead of the carefully practiced speech—a small but utterly recognizable piece of shit comes flopping out of his mouth and lands with a splat on the top of the podium. Silence fills the room. Appalled by this irregularity, but never one to lose face in public, Our Attorney General quickly clenches his teeth and claps a clammy hand over his tight mouth, betraying more than a hint of embarrassment on his sallow face. He coughs twice quietly to keep up appearances, arranges a pile of papers on the podium, and again looks into the uncaring glow of the teleprompter.
Tentatively, he opens his mouth again and begins to speak, but is suddenly stricken with a feeling of dread as the words again catch in his throat. Something is building inside him. Something is not right. Horrified, he draws in a deep breath and attempts to hold it, but the pressure proves too powerful, and as he opens his mouth to begin his speech, a torrent of foul-smelling excrement is propelled from his gaping maw, showering the reporters and onlookers below with flecks of shit.
“SHIT!” he exclaims to himself, white with terror, standing transfixed by the piercing gazes from below. But it was building again, and there was nothing to be done to stop it. Like a volcanic eruption, the shit began to flow freely from Our Attorney General’s helpless orifice, landing in a resentful pile on the papers in front of him, dripping down the microphone wires, and pooling in a fetid puddle at his feet.
It kept coming for what seemed like an eternity, spraying every corner of the room, collecting on the lenses of the television cameras, and defiling the reporters’ notepads. A high-maintenance blonde cast a look of disgust at Our Attorney General as she attempted to clean a persistent glob off of her new Prada pumps. Women screamed, and a few of them fainted. Some of the veterans weathered the storm without a bit of surprise: they had come prepared with umbrellas and plastic ponchos.
As quickly and unexpectedly as the torrent began, it stopped. No longer did Our Attorney General feel the building pressure inside his stomach—gone was the feeling of dread as his throat cleared up as if by some miracle. Astonished, but relieved that the worst was behind him, he opened his mouth to speak to the people below:
“I most sincerely apologize if any of you were offended just now in some way,” he began, “I must confess, I have been feeling under the weather today. My adviser begged me to cancel my engagement. It appears that I should have listened to him. Not to worry, ladies and gentlemen, the Office of the Attorney General will gladly pay for dry cleaning and, um, any other expenses that this unfortunate illness may have caused. “ Looking around the room sheepishly, he paused for a moment and again looked into the teleprompter.
“I resign!” he shouted violently. And again, he covered his mouth with a hand reflexively, his eyes darting furiously back and forth, looking desperately for a way out.
“I RESIGN!” he shouted uncontrollably through his hand and clenched teeth, “I RESIGN, I RESIGN, I RESIGN, I RESIGN, I RESIGN!”
By now, the entire experience was too much for Our Unfortunate Attorney General to bear, and he took off running stage left like a frightened school child. The reporters looked around instinctively at one another, but generally made no new expressions of surprise. A man in the front row looked up from his notebook, of which he had filled a solid four pages with frantic scribbling, and, almost as if annoyed at being short-changed by the whole ordeal, cast a wistful glance at his watch, got up with a prolonged sigh, and made a casual exit toward the door. The others soon followed suit, heading back to their offices and studio apartments to churn out tomorrow’s story over four fingers of whisky.
Meanwhile, at the outskirts of town, the Lincoln pulls up to a small house and stops. Johnsons with gleeful smiles eagerly step off the front porch and open the back door to the Town Car, excited to greet the Director of the Germ Warfare Division as he steps out; looking somehow regal dressed in his patchwork jacket and fedora. He returns their knowing looks, shares their good cheer, and enters the house behind them with a bounce in his step.
“Really, it was nothing. Just a simple truth serum and nothing more….”