© 2012–2014 Death Never Accepts
Richard Smyth disappeared from the public eye shortly after the first debate. He had no running mate, as Kyle Durante did not; and before the second debate it was announced they would settle their differences and run together for office with Durante in the lead.
There wasn’t exactly a void and the disappearance of the older man wasn’t remarked about much in the Republic. Rumors about, if anything, Smyth’s poor health or “low constitution” surfaced. Some said “He had the Big C and went the Little Easy to treat it.” Whatever that meant.
Durante “humbly” accepted the Presidency uncontested. He may of had said the word once in a long drawn out speech of his superiority to other candidates. Despite the discrepancy, he was roundly applauded by all. Even those who in their heart of hearts who wished to oppose him applauded, in fact applauded the loudest. He was just that charismatic. He was bred that way, even.
Sitting in his boardroom for The Rise, which doubled as his office, Durante sipped from glass of saline. He was on a liquid diet. Had been his whole life. Durante didn’t want to complicate his digestion, ruin his teeth with sweets, or put any absolute changes to his perfect physique. Kyle counted the bites individual members of his staff took as they ate their food. The whole affair disgusted him, but it was a necessary evil. You couldn’t expect men or women of the common class to take as good care of themselves as he did. Durante himself was a sole member of an aristocracy. Raised from young adulthood to be in charge. And before that? He could not remember babyhood or a childhood of any kind. They might have skipped that phase in his creation.
Uniquely chiseled as if from a rock, wearing a suit made of a cloth that would have torn at the flesh of lesser mortals like sandpaper, Kyle was lord over the land he surveyed. He decided to get up out of his chair and pace around a bit. Several sallow lackeys turned in their chairs to watch him pass behind them. A few others remained facing their meals, hogging away. One exec was eating fried chicken and began to speak, but he swallowed his last morsel wrong and began to choke on it.
Kyle deftly lifted the man from his chair and applied the Heimlich. He did it with ease despite the fact the man was rather heavy set. “Don’t speak with your mouth full, Porkins. In fact, don’t speak again. You’re fired.”
Still coughing, Porkins tried several times to speak but couldn’t get the air needed to form the words he wanted to. He winced. Finally he said, “I think you busted a rib of mine, Mr. Durante”
“Vamoose,” Kyle said, pushing the man against his further protests towards the door. Pained, Porkins shuffled on his way out the door.
“I don’t trust a man who can’t control his food. More so one who is controlled by it.,” Kyle joked. The others gave a cautious few laughs. Not a one of them dared to ask whether or not the boss ever did eat. It wasn’t the place for such questions. But many of them wondered. “Exit boardroom,” Kyle commanded. The room around him slowly evaporated before his eyes and he was once again seated, for real this time, in the back seat of his PrezCab. He looked around to get his bearings.
They were parked near a diner. Seated in the driver’s seat was his driver whom he called “Victor.” Durante had a great memory for names but hadn’t bothered asking his driver his actual name. Some people were of a low enough status that the President need not be familiar with them in that fashion. Kyle coughed loudly. A moment later the cabbie woke up.
“Saw ree, Mistah Durante,” said the man in a thick Jamaican accent. It amused him to hear the man speak in such away. “I must a haff dozed off.”
“Victor, good thing for you we are not late and I can easily find out where we are should you have gotten lost,” Durate said around a smile. The cabbie didn’t like that smile but didn’t say so.
“A mere five miles from Palookaville,” commented the driver. This time sounding rather as if he were from Brooklyn. Durate forgave the man for sleeping and for having forgotten which accent to speak with. Victor was a good, patient man. Hard to find those in a tough economy.
“Is my extra suit in the trunk as I instructed. You do know remember the trucker’s mistake, do you not?”
Victor paused for a moment, blinking. Durate smiled again, knowing the man was consulting some journal for a moment because he had forgotten. “Ah, 4,733.”
“Yes, a great number. I trust that we found a place for 4,734?” Durate asked.
Victor winced. “Combat duty, sir.”
Durate laughed. “Not for long, Victor. I hear he was KIA very soon after he reached his post.”
Victor was less than amused by the statement. “Shall we go, sir?”
“I broke Porkins’ rib and fired him,” Kyle said.
“What?” Victor shook his head for a moment. “Oh, you mean at the meeting, sir?”
“Damn fool choked on his chicken.” Kyle shook his head gravely.
“How unfortunate for him, sir.” Victor reached over to put the car in gear. Kyle tapped him lightly on the shoulder, stopping him. “You have something else to say, sir?”
“Yes,” Kyle pointed at the diner. “Do you think they have any steaks?”
Victor looked uneasily at the diner. As if he’d parked next to a graveyard where his own grave awaited him. “Why, sir?”
“I think I’ll have one,” Kyle replied. He looked shrewdly at the driver via the rearview mirror. “You aren’t religiously opposed to eating beef, aren’t you, Victor?”
“It’s early enough for steak and eggs, sir,” Victor said. He still looked nervous. “I didn’t think the price was reasonable for the meal so I just had toast and coffee, sir.”
Kyle patted Victor’s shoulder this time. “I have all the money in the world, friend.”
Victor started to take off his seat belt.
Kyle asked him a question that surprised him. The question was “what is an egg?”
Victor smiled this time, suppressing laughter. Kyle clucked his tongue at him, stopping the smile abruptly.
“What’s your name, Victor? Your birth name?”
“Vernon, Sir. Vernon Paul.” Victor had been admonished and it creeped him out more to hear this question. “Why do you ask, Sir?”
“Oh, nothing,” Kyle said. “You still haven’t told me what an egg is.. but I just suddenly wanted to know what name to put on your tombstone should you have a heart attack in that … Greasy Spoon.”
Vernon didn’t laugh. “Sir, an egg… well, the eggs people generally eat come from chickens. It is from what baby chickens are hatched from.”
“Does the baby chicken come out of it onto your plate?”
Vernon suppressed a grimace. “No, sir. It’s a hard white shell with a bit of white stuff and yellow in the middle. The yellow is yolk.”
“Ah, so it is an abortion?”
Vernon wasn’t sure what he meant by that. “Ah, yes, sir. In a manner of speaking.”
Kyle took his turn to blink and consult something. “Oh, should I ask for mine ‘sunny side up’?”
“Oh, that’s good, sir,” Vernon commented. “Ready when you are.”
Kyle took a couple minutes to release himself from a fairly complex array of wires attached to the harness that kept him situated in the car. “It would be nice to eat something as the natives do, Vernon.”
“Quite sure of it, Mr. Durate,” said Vernon. He waited until Kyle got out of the backseat before getting out of the driver’s seat himself.
The two men ambled to the diner. Vernon paused to look both ways before crossing between some rows of cars. Kyle asked him what the heck he was doing and Vernon explained why. “I pity the man or woman who runs over the President of our nation!”
Vernon didn’t laugh. He suddenly wondered why no security ever accompanied him and Durate on these long trips they made. As far as he knew, his was one of the few cars on the road which sitll had wheels and much more importantly was fueled by fossil fuels. He knew it was made a year before because that was when he started working for Mr. Durate. Just then it seemed fairly quaint that everyone else was required to drive electric cars of some kind while the Prez had his own rules he followed.
When they entered the diner, a bell rang over-head. Kyle looked at it suspiciously. Vernon stopped himself from explaining why it was there. He felt shaken by the “heart attack” comment. One didn’t take jokes from Mr. Durate lightly. When the hostess arrived, she looked up at Mr. Durate’s face and she did a double-take. She looked at Vernon quickly. Vernon held out two fingers and said “Two please.”
To her credit, the woman managed to speak. “If I knew you were the President’s friend I would of given you my phone number earlier when you asked!” She looked nervously around the diner. “Follow me, please.”
“Two of what, Vernon?” Kyle wanted to know. “Where is she taking us?”
“I told her how many guests were requesting seating together. And she wants to show us to an available booth, sir.”
Kyle glared around for a minute. “That lazy bastard over there is by himself in a booth!” He pointed. “And he has made a mess of the place!”
Vernon swallowed very hard. He suddenly wasn’t very hungry.
The hostess came back, wondering why they hadn’t followed her. “Something wrong, sir?”
Kyle walked right up to the messy person in question. “You! You took up a booth just to have coffee?”
The hostess gasped. “He’s the owner of the diner, Mr. President.”
“President of What?” the owner wanted to know. He stood up. He was a beefy man, wearing jeans and a flannel shirt which was opened so that it flapped in the breeze of a fan His greasy t-shirt had a name tag saying “Billy Bubba” on it.
“I am the President of SARN,” Kyle yelled. “I demand to sit where you are sitting and for you to leave me to eat.”
Vernon wasn’t liking this one bit. Suddenly the coffee rolled over in his stomach. “Excuse me, sir! I need to go to the bathroom!” To wit, he farted loudly and left a greasy stain in his pants. Vernon ran to the bathroom just as Bily Bubba started to speak again. Several people had gotten up from their seats so he had to elbow his way to the back of the restraunt.
Vernon finally reached the men’s room and managed to drop trou and sit on the throne moments before a smelly mess erupted from his body. he sat there, expelling waste at an alarming rate. He’d been specially treated to limit the number of restroom breaks he needed on the road and it seemed that he just now had gotten so stressed that some of his programming backfired.
Maybe twenty minutes later he cleaned himself off a little. He hadn’t soiled himself much but he waddled out of the restroom. Then he about-faced and went back in to wash his hands. He walked back down to where the altercation had happened.
Kyle was sitting serenly in the now-vacant booth. Vernon slid in across from him. He looked out the window and saw the lights of an ambulance parked in the parking lot. He looked back at Kyle inquiringly, not trusting himself to speak just now.
“I ripped out his liver and strangled him with it,” Kyle said proudly.
“I’ll be having a side of liver with my steak, Vernon,” Kyle smiled.
“That is good, sir.” Vernon was sure this time Kyle wasn’t joking. He didn’t ask for an explanation this time.
After staring at each other for an unknown amount of time, Kyle began banging his fist on the table. “Where is my damn food!??!”
Most of the diners had lost their appetites after seeing what happened to Billy Bubba and the place had been closed to new arrivals since then as well. Two male waiters came out carrying a large mound of meat. It was followed by two plates of sunny side up eggs, some home fried potatoes, and several other dishes. The final course was one human liver with onions.
Vernon stared at the feast. “Sir,” he managed to say. “Steaks are normally served a few ounces at a time.” He pointed at the mound. “You don’t eat half the cow yourself.”
Kyle looked crestfallen at first. Then he nodded. “I’m sorry, Vernon. I haven’t eaten for my whole life and all this food looked too good on the menu.”
Vernon nodded, grateful he hadn’t said anything to offend Mr. Durante. At least not immediately offend him. “So what shall we eat first?”
Kyle looked at his silverware, still wrapped in a handkerchief. “I wasn’t given very good table manners, Vernon.”
Vernon smiled. “Very well, sir. I will demonstrate.” In earnest he instructed a slab of meat cut from the mound into the proper size. He smelled the meat. It seemed to be just shy of medium-cooked. Vernon then demonstrated how to cut his meat. He also named which piece of dining ware was what and explained what each was used for. It almost felt like a meal with his own family back home… people he hadn’t seen for an entire year.
The two men chowed down. Kyle ate the liver by himself. Vernon obliged by not vomiting out any of his meal.