Monday, 3 November 2008
Anyway, The Guardian ran these 5 short stories in their review section, where writers imagine what the world will be like after the election. As I am studying The Sleeper Awakes at the moment, the combination of fiction and politics quite appealled to me! My favourite story was this one by Danit Brown-
The day after the election, I saw Barack Obama standing in the produce aisle of my local grocery store, wearing an "I voted" sticker and holding a cantaloupe. Outside, his wife waited in a station-wagon pointed north. "What's he doing in Michigan?" my husband wanted to know. "Where are his bodyguards?" Already, someone had driven through our town and taken down all the signs promising change, requisitioning them for fuel for a bonfire so large that the planes taking off and landing at the airport two towns over were going to be able see it. Even now, we could catch faint whiffs of burning posterboard whenever the A/C kicked on. "Change, my ass," said the cashier who rang up our bottled water, first-aid kit and the masking tape we were going to use to keep our windows from shattering. "I hear they're closing the border to Canada." In the produce aisle, Obama set down the cantaloupe and picked up a tomato. We all pretended not to see. I imagined walking up to him, taking his hand, saying, "Come to my house. Stay with me. We have cable and a foldout sofa, and a gun for protection." I imagined his fingers, warm and dry, in mine. I liked him. He was handsome: tall, thin, a father of girls. In the voting booth, the day before, I'd pictured White House interns flashing their thongs, the leaders of nations peeling grapes and swooning, the Oval Office a den of love. How could they help it? I was miles and miles away from Washington, my finger poised over the lever, and on the other side of the privacy curtain, my husband - short and white and blotchy - was coughing politely: I'd already taken too long. Behind us, the line of voters stretched out the door, across the parking lot. I thought I was the only one, but later, on the news, they'd reported I wasn't, that thousands of us had turned in blank ballots, unable, finally, to cast a vote for a world whose rules we didn't know. "Who does that?" my husband had muttered, his nostrils flaring the way they do when he lies. "Beats me," I said. "Beats me."