“Cut to Iowa.”
The screen changes. Dried
corn stalks stand sentry in the fields, brittle skeletons and funeral pyres.
Men and women run through the streets, throwing rocks
through plate glass windows of empty grocery stores.
All along K Street, cars are overturned. A tent city has filled the square. “Used to be there were only a handful of
homeless people there,” Kayla muses. “I used
to talk to them when I was in school.” She
returns to the screen. Babies clad in
saggy diapers tiptoe down sidewalks, fists stuffed in mouths. “This is less than a mile away.”
“You’re looking at
the new normal, Madame President. One
drought away from famine. Switch to the White
Again the view changes.
She studies the people behind the fence. Men and women grasp black bars with both
hands, prisoners of circumstance, their faces dull and expressionless. A tiny
hand reaches between the bars and yanks out a fistful of grass. Suddenly, she remembers reaching her own hand
between the bars of that very same fence.
She remembers pulling out neat blades of grass and taking them back to
the Hilton. She remembers tucking those
blades of grass in a hotel envelope and sealing it shut, promising herself that
one day, she would be president.
One day, she would make a difference.
The envelope of grass was with her when she went to college.
It was with her when she went to law school.
When she ran for governor; when she ran for the Senate; even
when she ran for president, those blades of grass accompanied her.
She watches as a gaunt child stuffs White House grass into
“There is nothing for them to eat, Ma’am.”
She sighs. “Send them
Later that evening, as she draws the blade of the knife
across her steak, she wonders about those blades of grass. Surely by now they’re as dry and lifeless as
the corn guarding the barren fields of Iowa.
Labels: fiction Trifecta Writing Challenge