Vampires at the White House
Aaron Goldberg is at a Romanian State Dinner. He is on the staff of the President of the United States, John Welch. Aaron is 45 years old. He is 5’4” tall, portly, and has a large bald spot on the crown of his head. He scans the ballroom. At one end of the ballroom he sees the First Lady of the United States, Katherine Welch. She’s Aaron’s height. Her hair is a mixture of dirty blond and gray and looks as if it hasn’t seen a comb in months. Her pale green dress covers her from neck to her flat heel shoes. The dress looks as if it was made out of a horse blanket. It took all of President Welch’s considerable persuasion to convince her to wear a dress instead of a pants suit. An outsider would think it was the argument over the dress that gave her the scowl she wears. The insiders know that is her normal look when there aren’t news cameras around. Aaron is glad it isn’t his turn to watch her. Tonight that unfortunate duty fell to Dwight Johnson, the president’s senior advisor. At the state dinner in Rome earlier this week she managed to insult the Italian Prime Minister, the German and Japanese Ambassadors, and a representative of The Holy See. Fortunately, President Welch has a friendly press so the domestic damage will be limited. The official position is denial, the unofficial spin is, “The President’s first overseas trip as president always has a social faux pas or two.”
Aaron spots President Welch at the other end of the ballroom. President Welch is a tall, handsome man, with just a touch of gray on the sideburns. He dyes his sideburns black when he appears before college audiences but tonight he has that gray exposed. The President is speaking with the Russian Ambassador and his wife when he spots a woman is a red split dress. The woman looks in her late 20s. She is a tall woman and her high heel shoes make her look even taller. She has long black hair. Aaron walks quickly so he will be within hearing range when President Welch meets her. It would be helpful to have her name should damage control be necessary. Her toenails, fingernails, and lipstick are blood red and match her dress perfectly. She has a platinum and ruby necklace and a matching tiara. The woman introduces herself in a very sensual Romanian accent as Contessa Larisa de Siroka. Aaron laughed to himself. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain royalty in The Balkans seem to come out of the woodwork. Aaron discretely puts some distance between himself and President Welch. Before long President Welch slips away with The Countess and two secret service agents. Aaron has no doubt about what will happen next. He was right but won’t find out about the rest of the story until much later.
Aaron is in The White House Oval Office. It’s late in the evening. He is with the President, First Lady, and two Secret Service Agents. The First Lady is wearing a knee length, bright green dress, with a plunging neckline. She has on mules with wooden stiletto heels. Aaron is giving the President and the First Lady a state by state run down on the polling data for the mid-term elections. The President seems satisfied with the prospect of his party losing one Senate seat and six seats in The House. The First Lady is having none of it. She puts her hand on Aaron’s shoulder and purrs, “I think if we push just the right way we could win that Senate seat in Ohio and pick up one or two seats in the house.”
The door to the Rose Garden bursts open. A bat flies to the doorway. Aaron drops to the floor. He looks up in stunned disbelief as the bat morphs into Contessa Larisa de Siroka. She is wearing a black, low cut, mid thigh length, sleeveless dress. She gives a wide smile revealing her teeth, including a pair of fangs. She looks at Aaron and purrs, “I see you have a meal ready for me.” Aaron scrambles towards the Cabinet Room door. The two Secret Service agents grab him by his arms and hold him in place. Aaron looks at the Secret Service agents and sees they have fangs. The President and First Lady also have fangs. Larisa walks slowly as she dictates her instructions. “You will summon all members of your coven to a gathering. There I will reveal my plans for establishing my presence here. Now I intend to take full advantage of your political position here.” As Larisa walks past the First Lady, Katherine Welch casually raises her foot and takes her shoe in her hand. The First Lady spins around and rams her wooden heel into Larisa’s chest.
Larisa stands motionless for a moment with a shocked look on her face. She blurts out, “But I am your queen.” The First Lady gives a sly smile and coos, “In America we don’t recognize royalty.” Larisa groans as she falls to the floor. Larisa’s body turns to dust. The First Lady reaches down at the pile of clothes and dust and picks up her shoe. She shakes off the dust then slips it on her foot. The President waves and the two Secret Service agents release Aaron. President Welch puts on a broad smile as he slowly walks to Aaron. President Welch is noted for his disarming smile however the fangs make his smile menacing. Aaron stands frozen with fear. President Welch puts his hand on Aaron’s shoulder, “Aaron, I don’t want you to be scared. We’re not going to turn you into a vampire. I need you just as you are. I have to limit my time in the daylight and well I can’t limit your activities. We have a mid-term election to deal with.” Aaron quivers as he asks, “What do you want me to do?” The President shakes his head, “Just what you have been doing. What happened here has nothing to do with politics, alright?” Aaron nods his head. “That’s my Aaron. Let’s just call it a night.” The First Lady nods agreement. Aaron steps towards the door. He squeaks, “Mr. President, How do you go out in the sunlight?” President Welch chuckles, “Katherine and I use dark sunglasses and a ton of make-up.” Aaron gives a knowing nod then steps out the door.
Aaron watches as Fran Fredette, an attractive 32 year old woman, approaches his front door. His other guests, Dwight Johnson and Matthew Bigg are waiting inside his living room. When Fran reaches the door Aaron pulls his door open, sticks his head out from behind the door and says, “Come in quickly.” Fran reflexively rushes inside the door. Aaron slams and locks the door behind her. Aaron has on an oversized crucifix pendant. There is a large cross hanging each of the walls of the foyer. Aaron rushes past Fran, “Come with me, Dwight and Matthew are waiting in the living room.” Aaron rushes into the living room and waits for Fran to enter. The living room also has a large cross on each wall. Fran steps inside the living room. She scans the room then looks at Matthew and then Dwight. “Has he undergone some kind of religious conversion or has he just lost it?”
Aaron holds up his hands, “I know this is going to sound weird but POTUS and FLOTUS are vampires.”
Fran sighs, “OK, he’s lost it. Dwight what’s the plan, he resigns to return to private industry or do we quietly get him professional help?”
Aaron protests, “I’m not crazy. You remember Contessa Larisa de Siroka?”
Matthew asks, “Who?”
“That woman POTUS met in Romania.”
“Was she that woman in the red dress?”
“Yes, her, she was a vampire. She came into the Oval Office last night and FLOTUS killed her. She turned to dust right before my eyes.”
Matthew lets out a laugh and points his finger at Aaron. “They pulled a practical joke and you fell for it.”
“We are talking about Katherine Welch.”
Fran shakes her head, “Alright, it isn’t a practical joke so that gets us back to square one, you’re crazy.”
“What you think I would make this stuff up?”
“Occam’s razor says you having bats in your belfry makes more sense than vampires at the White House.”
Matthew interjects, “How did FLOTUS kill her?”
“You know those wooden heeled shoes FLOTUS has been wearing? She rammed one of them into her chest.”
“That makes this Romanian woman a vampire. You said POTUS and FLOTUS were vampires.”
“Yes, she came into the Oval Office through the Rose Garden entrance. Then POTUS, FLOTUS, and the two secret service agents that were in the room sprouted fangs.”
Fran throws up her hands, “Why are we even listening to this insanity.”
Dwight states with authority, “This explains a lot.”
Fran and Matthew turn to Dwight and in one voice ask, “What?”
Dwight in a matter of fact voice answers, “He always has crosses covered when he goes somewhere to speak that has a cross. He had all mirrors in the White House put in storage, security concerns my eye. Whenever he goes out in the daytime he wears those 1990’s vintage, cover the eyes completely, sunglasses. On top of that FLOTUS has a much better disposition since they came back from Rumania.”
Fran and Matthew nod agreement.
Fran shakes her head quickly, “Wait! If POTUS and FLOTUS are vampires why didn’t they drain you dry?”
Aaron takes a deep breath, “He said they need me as I am. They seemed more concerned about the mid-term elections than anything else. The question is what do we do about it?”
Dwight shrugs, “Nothing. Vampire or not John Welch is still the President. He is most concerned about the mid-term elections as should we be. This meeting took place but we only talked about the mid-terms, agreed?”
Fran and Matthew in turn respond, “Agreed.”
Aaron holds his hand up, “All those videos on the internet that suggest he is a vampire are correct.”
Dwight points at Aaron, “Good point. We will point to all those ridiculous claims against the President on the Internet and blame those videos on the other party. This will help negate any criticism of the president and will put everyone on the other party on the defensive.”
The convention is over. President Welch is in Rumania on a European tour. Dwight Johnson had advised President Welch an International tour would be a good opportunity for Welch to show off how Presidential he looks. First Lady Katherine Welch fell in love with the idea. She said it would, “Frame the race as the Statesman vs. the Politician.”
The president is holding a press conference. An advantage of holding a press conference for the foreign press is the American public doesn’t know anything about the reporters asking the questions. Aaron did the research and instructed President Welch on which reporters to choose for questions. As a reporter asks The President a question Aaron chuckles to himself, “Nothing beats a good game of softball.”
A door in the back of the room bursts open. A group of people rush in. Some Secret Service agents draw their guns as others surround the President and First Lady. A female Secret Service agent shoots one of the attackers. The attacker sprouts fangs and bites the Secret Service agent on the neck. The Secret Service agents discard their firearms and take out stakes. The attacking vampires continue their rush to the First Couple. The President takes off his suit jacket and throws it over the head of an attacking vampire. That vampire is promptly staked by a Secret Service Agent. Two Secret Service agents protecting the First Lady struggle with two attacking vampires. The First Lady takes off her shoes and buries the heels in the chests of two attacking vampires. One of her victims tears her dress as he falls. A female vampire jumps onto President Welch. She claws at him, tearing his shirt. The First Lady pulls the female vampire off the President and throws her into a wall. In one motion First Lady Welch scoops up a stake on the floor and rams it into the chest of the female vampire.
Katherine Welch scans the room for other attacking vampires. They have all been vanquished. The fight wasn’t one sided, some of the Secret Service agents are now dust. Some secret service agents who were living are now dead. The female Secret Service agent who was bitten slowly raises her head and body. She gives a broad, fanged, smile as President Welch help her to her feet. They look deeply at each other. Katherine Welch bolts across the room, grabs the female Secret Service agent and flings her away. The First Lady gives her a deep stare and a loud hiss.
Aaron, who is cowering beneath some chairs, survey’s the suddenly quiet room. Some of the reporters fled at the first sign of trouble. Almost all of the reporters are cowering. One intrepid camera operator kept filming the entire time. Aaron knows he and the rest of the staff have their work cut out for them.
President Welch, First Lady Katherine Welch, Aaron, Dwight, Fran, and Matthew are in the President’s office on Air Force One. All are seated except for the First Lady who is pacing up and down the aisle.
“We have until this plane lands at Andrews to figure out what we are going to do.”
Aaron makes a sweeping motion with his right hand. “Complete denial. Most of the press is on our side we’ll say it’s an obvious hoax perpetrated by local hoaxers.”
Fran nods agreement, “We’ll poke fun at any media outlet that doesn’t back our story.”
Matthew shouts, “This was carried live by all the major networks. Even those friendly to us aren’t likely to admit they have been scammed, even if they were scammed, and in this case they weren’t.”
Fran retorts, “They’ll either swallow their pride or lose their access to The White House.”
Dwight makes a sweeping motion with his hands, then smiles. “It’s time for us to move from the full denial mode to the so what mode.”
Aaron gives a puzzled look, “What do you mean?”
“We admit The President is a vampire and say, ‘So what?’ The economy is booming and unemployment is under 4%, if we act as if nobody should care, nobody will care.”
Everyone looks at everyone else then nods approval.
Aaron, Dwight, Fran, and Matthew are in a conference room. They have a multiple television screens each set to a different station. Fran raises the volume on one screen where a news anchor is interviewing Donald Goodall, a pundit friendly to President Welch. Goodall states; “President Welch probably wasn’t the first president who was a vampire. It’s altogether possible Woodrow Wilson was a vampire during the last year of his presidency.” Matthew smiles and nods his approval. Fran mutes that television and raises the volume on an opposition pundit. The opposition pundit tilts his head back, “For years those who have portrayed Welch as evil have been vilified. Now it’s obvious they have been right all along.” Fran shrugs and raises the volume on a station showing a news anchor. The news anchor reports, “The Pope announced ‘Vampirism is incompatible with Christianity’.” Matthew turns to Dwight, “Is this going to cause a problem?” Dwight chuckles, “About as much as The Vatican’s statements on birth control.” Everyone in the room laughs.
The door opens, President Welch and the First Lady walk in. The advisors stand and President Welch waves them down. The First Lady purrs, “I presume the laughter means you have a strategy for dealing with this crisis all figured out.” Dwight lightly points his finger at The First Lady, “Exactly! We were laughing at the clumsy attacks from the opposition which has done most of the work for us.” The First Lady gives a sly smile, “I hope the strategy isn’t to rely on the opposition’s incompetence.” Dwight gives a broad smile, “You know while I greatly appreciate the opposition’s ineptitude I never rely on it. We’ll call the irrational fear of the President being a vampire superstition, prejudice, and demagoguery.” The First Lady nods approval, “What about the Pope’s statement today?” Aaron straightens up in his chair, “We can start a group, ‘Catholics for Welch’. Their opening line could be the Pope’s statement on the matter isn’t infallible.” Fran adds, “We could also start a group, ‘Protestants for Welch’. This would also play on the anti-papacy feelings of Protestants.” Matthew piles on, “No, ‘Christians for Welch’, that plays on the feelings in some Protestant circles that Catholics aren’t real Christians.” The First Lady’s smile broadens. She glances back at her husband. “It seems the situation is well in hand. These guys are the best.”
It is the afternoon of October 31. Aaron wades through the crowd at a campaign rally. POTUS and FLOTUS will make their appearance after sunset. Just outside the security area an elderly woman, an elderly man, and an obese middle-aged man are shouting their disapproval of President Welch. The obese man is holding a sign that reads: “Those who support vampires will burn in hell with them!” Aaron smiles and texts; “Make sure there’s some film of the opposition sign outside the entry point.” Aaron notices a pair of young women with tattoos of a pair of dotted circles on their necks with the words “BITE ME” next to it. That tattoo is very popular among college age women. Aaron knows the tattoo is a big plus for the campaign but Katherine Welch has mixed feelings about it. Sporting false vampire fangs is trendy among college age men.
The local Congressional Representative takes the podium. His purpose is to get the crowd angry at Governor Huckleberry. Aaron listens to the Representative’s words and watches the crowd reaction. The best line would be one that gets a sincere, spontaneous laugh from the audience. Nothing strips away a candidate’s viability more than turning them into a laughing stock. The Representative makes the usual fake flub of calling the Governor “Huckleberry Finn”. Aaron takes out a pad and pen and writes down the lines that get the reaction he wants.
Aaron, Dwight, Fran, and Matthew are in an office at the White House. A jubilant Dwight states; “The poll numbers are excellent. We won’t even need the zombie vote.” Fran gives a puzzled look; “You mean there are also zombies?” Dwight and Aaron laugh. Aaron enlightens Fran; “What else would you call people who are dead but still manage to vote?” Fran and Matthew join in on the laughter.
The First Lady walks into the room. The First Lady purrs; “I hope this laughter isn’t about overconfidence.” Aaron smiles; “While we are pleased with the poll numbers we have a couple of strategies that will put the final nails in Huckleberry’s coffin, no pun intended.” The First Lady beams; “I rather like that pun, continue.” Aaron holds up a campaign slogan: “Welch is a vampire but Huckleberry will suck you dry.” The First Lady points at the slogan: “Shorten it to two words then give it to one of our PACs. That way we’ll get the benefits and can deny involvement.”
Aaron, Dwight, Fran, and Matthew are watching the returns with President Welch and the First Lady. They are in a jubilant mood. The exit polls show President Welch will win re-election by a landslide. The theme of The President’s victory speech is “The dawn of a new age of enlightenment.” Aaron finds the ironic wordplay amusing. The only question is when Huckleberry will make his concession speech. Aaron assumes it will be after the polls closed in Hawaii. This way people who would vote for Huckleberry and everyone else on his ticket won’t decide voting would be a waste of time. Aaron finds the logic silly. The polls show President Welch has very long coat tails and he will have a substantial majority in the House and over 60 seats in the Senate. The only thing that can possibly hurt is if people who would vote for Welch decide it’s a waste of time.
The polls in Hawaii closed. A few minutes later the phone rings and Aaron checks his watch. It is 4 minutes and 27 seconds after the Hawaii polls closed. It’s Huckleberry calling The President to tell him he is conceding.
It’s the Sunday after the election and Aaron has moved his focus to the next item on The President’s agenda. The President’s party will have supermajorities in both Houses. The President’s party now has effective control of 40 state houses. Aaron is in his office monitoring the pundits on the Sunday morning talk shows. One show has Donald Goodall as a guest.
Host - “There has been some talk about repealing the 22nd Amendment, limiting the president to 2 terms, in light of the new normal. What are your thoughts on this?”
Goodall – “Well, as you know the 22nd and 25th Amendments were passed at a time where there was concern about a president having age related illnesses that could impair their ability to govern. Now that we know we can have ageless presidents like President Welch I think it’s time to give serious consideration to repealing or amending these Amendments.”
The First Lady walks into Aaron’s office. Aaron stands. The First Lady paces the floor. Her wooden heels make a large clack with every step. The First Lady commands: “Aaron, begin explorations. I’m going to run for president in the next election.” Aaron hesitantly states; “The President asked me to put the wheels in motion for a constitutional change so he can run for a 3rd term.” The First Lady sits in an upholstered chair, exhales, and crosses her legs. She gives a curt, “I see.” She takes off a shoe and runs her fingers down the wooden heel. She purrs; “Start preparations for my presidential bid. I’ll discuss the matter with my husband.”