Five Sentence Fiction ~ Candidate

Lillie McFerrin

Citizen Jamie

A polling place at a recreation center in New ...

A polling place at a recreation center in New Jersey’s 2008 general election (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I’m really, really nervous about this, Daddy,” 18-year old Jamie Gerwick said to her father as they walked down the dark tiled hall of P.S. 12 toward the polling place in the gymnasium.

“Oh my, don’t be, honey,” Leonard Gerwick said, placing his arm around his daughter.

“Today is the first time you’ve ever exercised that most important privilege of citizenship,” he said, “something generations of Americans – including your late great-uncle Bennie — have fought and died to maintain and protect.”

As they were about to turn the corner into the gym, Leonard stopped, his welling eyes looking into Jamie’s, and put his hands on her shoulders, saying, “You just go in there and sign your name in the book, confidently enter the sanctity of the voting booth and vote for whichever candidate you believe best represents your dreams and aspirations for yours and this country’s future.”

Jamie sheepishly glanced over her shoulder, pulled on her sunglasses and hissed, “No, Daddy, I’m nervous that Bobby Bannister will be in there with his mom and think I’m some sort of geek because you dragged me over here before I could fix my hair and get out of these sweats and flip-flops…gahhh!”

Here is my latest Five Sentence Fiction offering, based on a prompt from Lillie McFerrin. This week: Candidate.

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You Never Know

He said, she said.

He said, she said. (Photo credit: Henry McLin)

She would always say, “You never know,”
to his come-ons, which is girl code for
“Not in this lifetime, pal, but thanks for playing.
Feel free to use your handy home version of our game.”
It’s a nice bit of camouflage and easily swallowed
obfuscation. Guys do it, too, when we answer
their questions about tomorrows and nows with
“Of course” and “Why would even have to ask?”

Philosophers, psychologists and talk show hosts
have parsed the source of such gauzy observations.
She needs to be tapped into her own and everybody’s
feelings, feelings of need and being needed
by everyone and a Right One. He competes
for whichever That One is there, keeping an eye
on the scoreboards, just to maintain
his guyness ranking among rivals of flesh and straw.

Someday, some reach an age where we realize
feelings can sometimes hide ugliness,
like newly fallen snow on a junk pile,
and rankings are stews of data du jour.
We junkyard philosophers poll ourselves and decide
to leave all that hazy rhetoric to foggy poets like me
and to those who insist on hiding lonely truth
from themselves. All by themselves.