15/02/2016 by paulinebsc
I wrote this for a competition. It asked writers to imagine a president’s first day in office. I expanded it a bit for this post:
The staff lined up as I entered the presidential mansion, each shaking my hand in turn. How on Earth was I going to remember who they all were? The press followed me all the way.
‘That’s all the publicity stuff Madam President. Now I’ll show you where the real work gets done.’
Mr. Kilgan (I think that’s his name) led me into a small room and closed the door behind us.
‘Phone, Fax, Filofax.’ He indicated each in turn before turning off his formal manner. ‘Of course we don’t use any of those anymore, but they are usually left on the desk to look good. He pulled a laptop and a small (but extremely modern) smartphone from the top drawer. ‘This is what we use these days. Would you like to meet your office staff now?’
I nodded and a man and two women were led in. I had ‘power-dressed’ in an attempt to give a good impression of myself. In this office I felt severely over dressed. It was clear that these people preferred to dress for comfort rather than style. Mr. Kilgan introduced each in turn.
Mrs. Jordan (‘Call me Jan, dear’) looked to be in her late fifties. She wore a shin-length skirt over flat sandals. Her cardigan had seen better days, I tried to ignore the holes.
‘Mind like a trap.’ Mr. Kilgan told me. ‘Janice never forgets anything. If you want to know what the GNP of Brazil was last year, ask Jan.’
‘2.956 PPP dollars. I bet you’d love a cup of coffee? Would you rather we call you Madam President, Miss Staski or Penelope?’
‘Uh, my friends call me Penny, and I’d love a cup of coffee, Jan. Black, no sugar please.’ I stammered. All my political training hadn’t prepared me for a woman like Jan.
‘Two minutes and you’ll have it Penny.’
‘This is Diana. She looks after communications.’ Mr. Kilgan continued as if he had not been interrupted.’
Diana was younger, probably in her early twenties with a bobbed haircut. Her summery dress flared from the waist and was a little shorter than it should have been for office work. I forgot all that as I looked at her face. Her smile was dazzling, and clearly genuine.
‘Diana handles all public relations. She has first communication with any other politicians who wish to speak to you, whether here or abroad. She also keeps an eye on the social media for us and posts on them where necessary to protect our image.
I shuddered at the thought. I had learnt a bit about Facebook and Twitter during my campaign but I wasn’t confident.
‘I’m sure you’re doing a grand job, Diana. I wouldn’t want to interfere in your work.’
Diana’s smile didn’t waver. I am certain she saw through my bluff.
‘I’d be glad to Madam President.’
If Jan was going to call me Penny I vowed, everybody else could too.
‘I used to find the best porn sites for Joseph when we were off duty. If you’d like me to do the same for you let me know.’
Mr. Kilgan blushed so I said nothing. Actually I already had some good sites bookmarked, but it sounded as if Penny knew what she was doing. Most men are horrified by the thought of females enjoying themselves like that, so I decided to talk to her about it when we were on our own.
‘Last but not least, your servant, fitness trainer and bodyguard, Gavin.’ Gavin looked at me, worried.
‘Are you okay with having me as your personal servant, madam? I understand if you would prefer a woman.’
I looked over his body, and tried to hide my lust.
‘Let’s give it a try, and see how we get on. Okay?’
‘If we are going to be working that closely you can call me Penny, too.’
‘Yes M’am … Penny.’
Things were looking up.
None of my immediate staff were as formal as I had expected, and I was certainly interested in seeing more of Gavin.
I grinned at Gavin, who got the message, he blushed.
I was less nervous when Mr. Kilgan led me out to meet the civil service big-wigs. Life as president looked like it might not be as eternally formal as I expected. I wondered what sort of fitness training Gavin would introduce.
I never found out who took the picture of me leaving the office that day, but it went viral on the web. My grin made it look as if I was enjoying my new job although actually I was thinking of Gavin. In spite of the press’ criticism of my marriage to Gavin the public loved the romance of it. Apparently it made me seem human although I don’t know what else they thought I was.
I used the picture on my campaign posters when I fought for my third term in office. My agent is sure it was a factor in my emphatic win.