"Are You Ready to Save America?" by Daniel Eastman
Are the headlights bothering you? All right. Good. No, I’m not disfigured. Not exactly. It’s just safer to wear the mask. For now. Because if I remove it you’re going to freak. I need you comfortable. That’s why we’re out here. Out here away from it all. Secluded. Methane fumes and crickets in the distance. If you look up, you can actually see the stars. Alright, look. I’ll tell you if you stay put. Promise not to laugh. Okay. You’re not going to believe this but I am one hundred percent identical to [controversial political figure]. I know it sounds ridiculous. No, it’s not like one of those celebrity look-a-like things. It’s true, we all have quote-unquote doppelgangers, but this isn’t that. People tell me all the time. If it weren’t for my [branded corporate uniform] and the fact that I’m working for minimum wage at [corporate franchise] they wouldn’t have second-guessed the notion that I am [controversial political figure]. All the same. Just the other day, some pockmarked kid tried to hold up his phone and take a picture with me in my [branded corporate uniform]. It’s an embarrassment. It’s a burden. There’s always that pregnant pause, too. Where I have to determine their political affiliations on a whim. Are we going to smile and mock [controversial political figure] or are we going to praise them? You have no idea how difficult this makes it for me to lead a normal life. You think I’m kidding. If you could see my face. What if I told you I put our pictures into that app and even the computer couldn’t tell us apart? Okay, what if I told you I don’t just look like this [controversial political figure] but I have all of their exact measurements? It’s getting worse, too. How about this. What if, hypothetically, I went to their office last week when I knew they’d be stepping out and their staffers, people who see them every day, couldn’t recognize me for me? They were surprised, sure. “Oh, we thought you were in a meeting with [political cohort].” “Yes,” I said. “Forgot next week’s proposal.” Went into their office, retrieved several binders, and promptly left. You know what this means? That I not only physically resemble [controversial political figure] but my voice perfectly replicates theirs. Listen: We are living in austere times, folks. Time to button the purse, ladies and gents. Some people, my opponents, don’t like it when I say that. If we want a balanced budget, we need fiscal responsibility from all walks! No more bailouts! Not so funny now, I see. What? How did I know what? I’ve been. Watching them. For a long time now. Their schedule. All of it. I know everything. I know where the money’s at. I know how much there is. Security clearances. What? No, not all just because I’m sick of being mistaken for them. I mean, of course I am but. Listen. Listen. Wouldn’t you use something like this to your advantage? What if I told you we could save the country? That I have a plan. Well, it’s more like part of a plan. But what if I told you that that part of the plan is already done? What if I told you these clothes, this suit that I’m wearing now belonged to [controversial political figure]? What if there’s a reason I drove you out to this lot? Stop crying. Yes, you are, your lip is trembling. Pull yourself up on your bootstraps! I’m going to remove the mask, are you ready? Look. I know. It’s a miracle, isn’t it? I’ve got those proposals in the backseat. I think you can imagine what I’ve got in the trunk. Let me ask you one final question. Are you ready to save America?