‘Three, two, one…’ Millie mouthed the countdown to her colleague, Peter. On cue the lights rose and the manufactured and manicured applause rippled around the audience. Eight candidates, all male, all white and with faces primped and plasticised to deny their real ages walked to their allotted lecterns. Their smiles spoke to expensive orthodenistry and their confident gaits and nearly-but-not-quite humble waves revealed an unexpected yet beguiling synchronicity.
The anchor, Maurice, let his mouth settle into the insta-influencer’s half-pout and began to intone the names of each candidate.
‘Tossers.’ Peter hissed.
Millie silenced him with a swift glare. ‘Listen, you might learn something.’
Each candidate had five minutes to explain their platform, were they to become president, and Maurice reminded them he’d not let them overrun.
Peter sniffed. ‘Good luck with that, Mo.’
Millie quieted him again.
Eventually candidate number eight had the floor. ‘As a nation we have fallen out of love with our government and that must change. I promise to improve the quality of our leaders and their discourse at a stroke.’
Peter’s frustrations bubbled over. ‘How?’ he called out.
While Millie shushed him, the candidate bent forward. In one swift movement, he eased up his right trouser leg, extracted a small snub-nosed gun and put a bullet into the forehead of the other candidates before doing the same with his own.
Panic and mayhem ensued as the gun spouted fire and finality. Peter sighed. ‘Shame. I’d have voted for him, but none of them know when to stop.’