Monday, November 5, 2012

Great Moments With Mr. Lindel

The following is my short story that I wrote for NPR's "3 Minute Fiction" writing contest. The story had to be related to a real or fictional United States' President. This is what I came up with...and no, I did not win. Bastards!

Great Moments With Mr. Lindel

The crowds of people come and go. Many in the audience have seen the President give his speech many times before. The same speech…sometimes modified, but the same speech. There may be a few people whom have tried laying claim to seeing the President speak more than any other, but these are foolish assumptions that have over looked a one Mr. Lindel: The man behind the curtains…usually.

California was itself on that day in the summer of ‘88. A sweaty Mr. Lindel came to work with the eagerness of any man who gets to work with the President. Meetings between the two had been scheduled every early afternoon, except Thursdays, for the last four years. The President would sit there as Mr. Lindel polished his shoes, straightened his clothes and generally made sure the President looked good and ready for the many eyes that would be upon him that day.

Twenty minutes before the President’s scheduled speech, which had drawn a line of waiting men, women and children, Mr. Lindel noticed there was a problem. The President was having movement issues and was spasming uncontrollably. No matter what old trick Mr. Lindel tried he couldn’t stop the President’s strange movements. To make things even worse, the President was now babbling parts of his speech. The President had no control over his actions.

“Mr. President, what’s wrong?! This has never happened to you before!”

With the speech now 15 minutes away, and the President moving uncontrollably on stage, Mr. Lindel did the one thing he could do…he picked the President up and laid him down in the back, behind the curtains.

“Be still Mr. President. It’s too late to cancel the speech so I am going to have to do something…drastic.”

Mr. Lindel reached around to the back of the President’s neck, gave his neck a sharp squeeze and the President went limp. Staring at the President’s lifeless body, Mr. Lindel hesitated for a moment until he heard the introductory music play for the guests who were about to enter the hall. Mr. Lindel quickly stripped the President of his clothes, put them on as his own and jumped into the chair placed in the darkened center of the stage.

Breathing heavily from his quick movements and anticipation of what was coming next, Mr. Lindel tried to organize the speech he had heard every day, except on Thursdays, for the last 4 years. Could he give the speech as eloquently as it was presented every day? Even in poor lighting, would the audience be able to tell something was off, or would the crowd buy it and accept a truly human moment?

The President’s introduction announcement begins: “We pay tribute here, not to a man who lived a century ago, but to an individual who lives today, in the hearts of all freedom loving people. His prophetic words are as valid for our time as they were for his. And now, the skills of the sculptor and the talents of the artist who let us relive, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.”

As the lights slowly raised, so too did Mr. Lindel. He proceeded to give the performance of a lifetime.
As Mr. Lindel sat in the dark, waiting for the next group of people to enjoy Disneyland’s Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Lindel couldn’t help but think, “Thank God I haven’t shaved this month.”