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Old 07-11-2010, 05:22 PM   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Kirkwall/The Free Marches
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Current Game: Dragon Age II
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Chapter 1: July 5th, 12:00 PM

Here I am, glued to my TV screen again. More often than not, this is how I glean information about the world, along with the Internet. Of course, I talk to my family, friends and neighbors--"my fellow Americans", as the (...late!?) Teddy Stendhal had put it. However, they had precious little information about the President's assassination. Naturally, I turned to the news for that. Sure, it may have been biased, but then again, what news isn't, especially if it comes from one of our major media channels? Avoiding bias was about as difficult as avoiding breathing or blinking. You could do it, but not for long.

"As of this morning, a suspect has been apprehended in our nation's capital for the successful attempt on President Theodore Stendhal's life. Mr. Andrew K. Smith, calling himself 'Muhammad al-Jilani", has claimed responsibility for this heinous act. He says that, since converting to the religion of Islam five years ago, he has joined the militant group AFJ, or 'Americans for Jihad'. Smith also states that it was the Vice-President he was attempting to assassinate, and not the President. 'I hit the wrong target', he claims..."

I blinked. This nutjob had been trying to kill VP John Dunn, and not Stendhal? That was a surprise, in a way, and in another way it wasn't. After all, Dunn was the one with the money and the anti-Muslim sentiment. The President had nothing but skill, brashness, and tolerance on his side. People who would attempt to kill the President were--well, people like John Dunn, if they weren't already his political bedfellows. Still, I didn't think this Andrew-Smith-cum-Muhammad-al-Jilani character deserved anything but the needle. The death penalty abhors me, but in this particular case...yeah. I'm all for it.

"Prosecutors are advocating for capital punishment, while Smith's lawyers are reported to opt for the 'not guilty by reason of insanity' defense. They state Smith has been brainwashed by the terrorist group, AFJ, and thus is not competent to receive the death penalty. This is Karollyn Johnson."

Her face faded to black, and then to a Lexus commercial. I stared at the sleek, black car, amazed at how the purveyors of luxury vehicles could continue to demand our attention at a time like this. Didn't the President of the United States deserve more than that--more than to have the dissection of his brutal murder interrupted by the clamor of the Almighty Dollar in its various guises? Then again, if there weren't commercials, there wouldn't be any TV news, would there? We'd all have to go back to reading newspapers--which were, I reflected, chock-full of ads as well...

The phone rang. Scanning my caller ID, I snatched up the receiver:


"Moira! Isn't it terrible! Our President has been shot!"

"I know." I paused for a good, long while. "Do you remember JFK?"

"Of course I do. I was thirteen years old when it happened. I was at school, and suddenly we heard the news..." My mother paused. "Your father says--said-- that as the day wore on at his school, one of his teachers got angry at the kids goofing off. He said, 'Do you know that if the Russians, the communists, wanted to attack us, then this would be the perfect time to do it? That shut them up..." Mom trailed off again, and I gave a wry chuckle.

"I miss Dad."

"Me, too."

"I miss Teddy."

"Me, too..." Mother sniffled, and I found myself trying to hold back tears, too. "It's so awful. The news is even saying that some American did it..."

"Andrew Smith?"

"Yes. That's his name, except that he's converted to some false religion. A faith that advocates killing people in the name of God. Islam supposedly means 'peace', but that ungodly religion has brought us nothing but war."

I fell silent. "Mom," I said after a while, "not all Muslims are terrorists."

"I know, but they still don't believe in Jesus. Not as their Savior and Son of God. They're miserable sinners, and unless they get saved, they're all lost."

I was glad that Mother didn't see me shaking my head on the other end of the line. There was no way I could convince her to change her views, or even to find some 'middle ground' with me. My sister was the same way. It's not that I wanted to force them to believe what I believed, but at the same time, the oppressive weight of their church teachings pressed down on me like a boulder. I would just shut up and talk about Stendhal, our mutual President. He was what we had in common, at least in terms of politics.

"He's dead," I said, my voice curiously flat. "I still can't believe it."

"Me neither. One bullet, and one of the finest men on the face of the Earth expires."

"Do you think he went to Heaven?"

"Yeah! He was a Christian, although one of those liberal ones. I don't know how he went so long without reading the Bible. That's what I've heard."

"Anyway," I said, "is there anything else that you wanted to tell me?"

"Have you found a job yet?"

"No. The temp agency still hasn't called."

"Keep looking." Of course I'd keep looking. What else could I do?

"Well, supper's ready. Goodbye, Moira. Nice talking to you!"

"Nice talking to you, Mom!"

I hung up the phone, suddenly feeling even emptier than before.

Last edited by Tysyacha; 07-12-2010 at 01:09 PM.
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