Damnation Days




The reporter stood in front of the camera, preparing for his five minutes of fame. Not that he hasn’t done this before, oh no. He’s told the viewers about bank robberies and terrorist attacks and oil tanker spills, but never anything as exciting as the lighting of the National Christmas Tree.

“Freezin, ain’t it?” the cameraman asked. He was chewing gum again. Always chewing gum. It drove the reporter crazy. The cameraman chewing while he looked straight at him and tried to say his lines flawlessly, no distractions. He found staring into the camera lens helped him avoid the cameraman’s cow-like chewing, but the boss complained that he looked like a zombie.

“The words are just bouncing off of your mouth,” the boss says in his feng shui office with the fat leather chair the reporter loves to sit in. “They’ve got no life, no believability. Inflate them with some emotion, some conviction. You sound like Stephen Wright.”

“Forbid gum chewing,” the reporter suggested once.

The boss chuckled with that goofy look that likens him to an infant amused by a dog sneezing, then said, “It’s bad enough we’re not allowed to smoke in the office.”

“When’s President Douchebag gonna light the friggin tree?” the sound guy whined, sitting on the back of the news van with a cup of Starbucks in his gloved hand.

“He was supposed to at seven,” the cameraman said.

“Well, where is he?”

“Security’s pretty tight right now. That’s probably why he’s late.”

The sound guy sipped his coffee carefully. The reporter had a strong urge to whack the bottom of the cup and spill lava-hot coffee on him, but suppressed it. He and the boss weren’t on very good terms already.

Obligatory applause rippled through the crowd, starting at the front and working its way to the back. The reporter looked and saw the president being led (and followed) up the ramp to the stage by several Secret Service officers. He waved and smiled often, though, to the reporter, he looked more like a man forced to attend his daughter’s dance recital than a man happy to be promoting peace throughout the holiday season.

The cameraman hoisted the camera up on his shoulder and pointed it at the reporter like a bazooka. “On in three…two…one…"

And let my presence known

I will author a new era

The End

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