Monday, November 30, 2054

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Morty Hanson was not a happy camper. He was supposed to have had the day off. He'd planned to sleep in and then finish building the deck in the back yard. His wife was already shopping for patio furniture and planning to have friends over as soon as it was done. They both loved the idea of relaxing summer afternoons on the deck, with visions of blender drinks, barbecues and all the gathered rugrats careening around the back yard.

His plans had gone into the dumper when his phone rang at 4:45 that morning. It was the news manager at WHSE-TV calling to inform him that Harley had called in sick, and Morty was needed to cover for him.

So, now, instead of still being in bed, or maybe having his first cup of coffee at his own kitchen table, he found himself sitting in the back of one of the station's news vans, preparing to tape a speech to a bunch of nobody businessmen by Paul Harknesss. "I mean, shit! If I've got to work on my day off, at least they could send me to cover a fire or a crash or something exciting. I mean, Paul Harkness? He's so over!", Morty thought.

"Give me a white balance", he called to the cameraman over his wireless headset. "O.K., got it." The two of them bitched to each other for a few more minutes, until Morty saw someone getting the crowd organized and quiet. "Rolling tape now", he announced to the cameraman.

The first guy said a few boring things and introduced Harkness. Morty forced himself to focus on what Harkness was saying. In addition to running the equipment, it was his job to note the time-code if Harkness said anything the news director might want to air. "Fat chance of that", he thought.

"Good morning", Harkness was saying, "thank you for inviting me. I know you're all expecting me to speak about my company, or possibly about being awarded the Medal of Freedom. I will not be speaking on either of those subjects today. I hope you won't find my chosen topic too dull."

Harkness took a fairly long pause, then continued, "I'm here, this morning to announce my candidacy for the office of President of the United States of America."

Morty would have fallen off of his chair if it wasn't for the fact that he had a size 60 ass jammed into a size 50 captains chair. He immediately speed-dialed the station while starting to run up the antenna and power up his uplink. "Dan, you're going to want to break in live with what I've got. Harkness is announcing for President" he said as soon as the news director came on the line. "No, not of the fucking Eastern Virginia Businessman's Association, of the United fucking States." He shouted. After a moment of listening, he said, "How should I know if he's out of his mind, but you are if you don't get this on the air. We're the only ones here, so it's exclusive. You'll have the signal in another 20 seconds or so." He hung up and adjusted the mast until he got a signal from the satellite then turned back to listen to the speech.

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