July 20, 2011

Flash Fiction - Proposition 132

This is a flash fiction piece submitted for Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction Challenge - An Uncharted Apocalypse

Proposition 132

Ted stood in the long line in front of Harry Truman Elementary School waiting for his chance to vote on Proposition 132. He squeezed the nylon rope taped at the ends of the orange cones that formed the queue, wishing he could smoke. Trying to light up an hour ago had brought an angry scowl from a geezer three people behind him. He looked over the crowd once again and realized that there was an incredible amount of ugly people in suburban Kansas City. His patience was wearing thin, and he regretted that he registered to vote at his mother’s home address.

An obese woman in front of him wearing a Dale Jr. shirt, fresh off the rack from Wal-Mart, grabbed her husband’s hand. “I really hope the proposition passes, and then we can be together forever with our baby,” she whispered into his ear.

Sighing to himself, Ted was still a bit shocked at the stupidity of the imbeciles in the Midwest who wanted this proposition to pass. He looked up at the billboard across the street that was perched above the Perkins. It contained a massive portrait of the deceptive con man, Mathias Updike, who held a globe in his hand, urging everyone to vote yes on 132. The grainy picture of the infamous “Outer World Angel” was emblazoned across the right half of the billboard. Ted had not fallen for Updike’s video footage of the afterlife when it first went viral on YouTube six months ago, and he certainly didn’t believe any of it today.

Updike had convinced America that engaging in nation-wide suicide would guarantee every citizen’s place for eternity in the heavenly Outer World. All of Ted’s friends at Kansas City Art Institute had thought the video was hilarious when it started gaining attention on national TV. However, it became less of a joke when the federal government decided to hold a special election for what the wags in the media dubbed “The Armageddon Referendum.” Was this even constitutional?

“This is bullshit,” Ted muttered, drawing attention from a burly man behind him in a Chiefs jersey.

“Oh. So what the fuck, smartass. You’re so cool with your goatee and funny t-shirt. Too cool to care about the will of Lord? Those skinny jeans got your balls in a knot or something?”

Ted looked down and ignored the bigger gentleman. It was wise to avoid conflict, since he was probably the lone no vote in line. He wanted to believe his country would do the right thing under these circumstances, and he hoped that his fellow Americans on the eastern seaboard and in California were of the same mind as him.

An elderly man in a VFW hat stood in front of the double doors to the school, waving both arms. “Sorry, folks. We’ve been ordered to close the polls. I’m afraid not everyone is going to get a chance to vote. You can all go home now. God bless.”

A murmur of grumbles ran through the crowd. The woman in front of him spoke to her husband, “Do you think 132 passed?”

Ted looked up in the sky and saw four ICBMs streaming up into the clouds, all heading in different directions. He lit up a smoke and mumbled, “Goddamn rubes.”

An interesting note: an actual Proposition 132 was on the 1990 ballot in California to ban gill nets for fishing


Anonymous said...

Jeeze, guy gets upset over a little mushroom cloud action? Gets irate at a tiny bit of they-ain't-like-us-so-let's-just-kill'um? Damn, boy. Get in line, put your sneakers at the foot of the bed and pack your overnight kit. The comet bus is a'leavin' just drink your koolaide and get on board.

Paul Salvette said...


I was definitely going for a bit of Jonestown vibe on this one.

BA Boucher said...

I lived in California during the Prop 8 fiasco and felt an amazing sadness finally understanding that I lived in a state/country full of "rubes" as you said.

I liked this a lot.

Paul Salvette said...

BA, thanks for the vote of confidence, and I am glad that you enjoyed.

Lindsay Mawson, Thriller Writer said...

Interesting idea. Sad thing is I'm sure this world has many people willing to line up in support of the dumbest ideas ever presented.

Good job!