Thirty Seconds Part 3
Ali Cherry


"Charlie!" I shout at the slightly opened door. I wait a second, something I'm not used to doing since taking the oath of office. "Charlie!" Where is he? Oh, wait. "Nancy!"

"Yes, Sir?" She pops her head into the office and smiles at me.

"Do you know when Charlie will be back?" I ask with ill-disguised impatience.

"He said to tell you, that departure is at one."

"Thank you. Would you tell Mrs. Landingham that I want a different-" I stop as I see Josh leading some guy into Mrs. Landingham's office space, pointing out the various staff members. "Never mind." I tell Nancy and move to walk towards Josh and the new guy.

Man, this guy certainly let himself go. He's all balding, bearded and he could use some time at the gym. Come to think of it, this guy looks a lot like- Naw, Toby wouldn't hire his mirror image, would he? Please God; tell me Toby didn't fall in love with a double of himself. Well I guess the fireworks could be fun, but nothing would ever get done with two of them.

I swing the door open wider. "JOSH! How are you doing? And who's this you 've got there?" I smile wider. The bigger the smile the easier it is to steal their candy. My first Campaign manager told me that. I fired him right after that, but well the saying has stuck.

"Mr. President. Good afternoon." Josh smiles nervously. "This is the new guy, Samuel."

Oh dear, looks like Toby, has Sam's name. Is Toby psychotic? I smile widely and stick out my hand.

"It's good to meet you, Sam. Do you mind if I call you Sam? Where were you before?" I pull him into the Oval Office and shut the door in Josh's face. If I'm going to terrorize this poor soul, Josh can't be here to save him.

"I prefer Samuel, actually, Mr. President." He stands stiffly rocking on his feet. Is it me, or did he just sound like a Political Science Professor with a stick up his butt?

"And where were you before?"

"I taught History and Political Science at University of Las Vegas."

Score one for the Prez. "You must play a mean game of poker. We'll have to have a game soon."

"I don't play poker." He tells me in a bored tone.

"That will be good for me, the better to take your money." I smile again. Doesn't this man ever show any interest?


I fling open the door between Leo and the Oval Office. "LEO!" I shout.

"Yes, Mr. President?" He asks looking up from his conversation with Fitz.

"I just fired the new guy. Find a new one." I turn to Fitz. "Sam resigned."

"I was sorry to hear that Mr. President. He was a fine man."

"Damn good speech writer."

"Yes, sir." Fitz is quick to agree with me.

"Really believed in the issues." What I want to say is, he really believed in me. With thirty seconds, I let him down. Thirty seconds. God, half a minute. I am more than a little disgusted with myself. I'm terribly upset with the rest of the Senior Staff as well.

"Yes, sir." What the heck? Oh he was answering my statement.

"He just upped and quit one day. Damnedest thing, Fitz. Just told Toby no, and then left."

"Yes, sir."

"I wonder what could have made him do that?" I don't look at Leo, but I know him. He's fidgeting right now. As well he should. Not that I think that Sam quit because of Leo, but I think there should be limits as to what a man should sacrifice for his country. Life, certainly. Principles, never. The State should never ask a man to sacrifice his principles for the glory of whatever it is they think deserves glory.

That's just wrong.

Sam, Toby, Josh, hell even Leo, they all joined my campaign because I was willing to tell the truth. Because I didn't want to play the political bullshit game. Why should that change now? Honesty, integrity these are principles we should run our White House and our Re-election campaign by. These are truths that should be acknowledged in this White House. Here and Now.

"Well anyway. Find a new guy, Leo. The other guy had a bigger stick up his butt then me."

Leo glares at me a bit. "Was there anything wrong with him, besides that, Mr. President."

"He favors bans on homosexuals."

"Excuse me?"

"You heard me. He thinks they should be taken out behind the woodshed and shot. I told him to get the hell out of my White House."

Leo purses his lips together and sighs. "Yes, Sir."

I turn to leave, but really I have to give some limits to this new guy search. When I get to the door, I turn back to Leo. He knew this was coming cause he's staring at me expectantly. "For goodness sake, Leo. Next time, don't just hire him because he looks like Toby. Make sure he actually, you know, can write or something." I turn and close the door to Leo's office, happy to see Charlie standing in the oval office, with an envelope in his hand.

"Is it taken care of?" I ask.

He smiles slightly. "Yes, sir. Sam's flight took off forty-five minutes ago. He asked me to give you this." Charlie hands me the envelope. I take it in my hand and look at it cautiously. What if he decided that he didn't want to wait two months? What if he decided that he couldn't come back? That his life was more than being low man in the Senior Staff. What if-

"I believe that it's his contact information, in case you need anything, Mr. President." Charlie tells me. I open it up and look inside. Sure enough, there's an address, a phone number and an e-mail address. I sigh to myself. I could still loose him, but I'm not going to let him go without a fight. I wonder if Charlie will show me how to use the e-mail thingy on his desk; that computer thing. Or better yet, Zoey will help me without Mrs. Landingham knowing.

~~ End Part 3

Thirty Seconds - 4



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