SALVATION — flash fiction

Published November 17, 2019 by Nan Mykel

      “Who’s Cremeans?” asked 10-year old Johnny, coming into the kitchen from play.

      Up to her elbows pummeling dough, his mother Elizabeth blew the hair out of her eyes and replied, “I give up. Who is he?”

      “Running for president, the sky says.”

     “Whatever are you talking about?” She noticed his muddy hands and said, “Come to the sink and wash up.”

     Johnny, tall for his age, was wearing a striped tee shirt and jeans. Red-headed like his mother, he did as he was told, then dried his hands and said, “Cremeans. Who is he?”

     “Mr. Cremeans was my high school principal. Why?”

     “He’s running for president, is all. Come look.”

      Elizabeth stepped out the back stoop to humor her son, dough still clinging to her hands. Johnny pointed up to the sky, where a line of disintegrating letters proclaimed, Cremeans for President.

     “Good question, Johnny. Don’t know that one….President of what?” Johnny shrugged his shoulders and watched as the small plane flew out of sight.

     Elizabeth was standing behind Johnny, and also watched as the plane disappeared. “I wonder which party he’s running for…or she.” Elizabeth returned to pummeling the dough while Johnny returned to searching the banks of their backyard creek for anything—mica, arrowheads, quartzite…

     Come suppertime the delicious fragrance of fresh baked bread wafted around the small family. James, husband and father at the head of the table, reported  the day’s news after giving the blessing.

     “They say a well-heeled dark horse has entered the race for President. No one’s heard of him before but he’s kicking up a storm.”

     “What party?” Elizabeth asked.

     “A new Salvation party. Evidently it’s been in the works a long time, undercover. All legal, t’s crossed.”

     “Salvation!” Elizabeth laughed. “We could use it!”

     “Where’s Cremeans from?” Johnny wanted to know.  “He might be Mom’s high school principal.”

     James threw up his hands. “The news people haven’t determined that yet—mystery man, mystery candidate, mystery funding.”

     Elizabeth buttered her toasty slice of bread. “I like the name of the party,” she said. “We registered again after we moved, didn’t we?”

     “You bet.” The conversation then turned to other topics—the Braves, the most recent mass shooting and the new movie playing at the local theater.

     The deadline for filing came and went, and Cremeans  was scheduled to make an appearance along with other front-runners.  The stadium was packed and a hush came over the crowd in anticipation of the first entrant. Applause greeted each one as they took their place on the stage, dressed to the nines, each wearing a silk necktie. There were no duplicate ties, nor near duplicates. Their secretaries must have conspired together.

     Each candidate was introduced to applause as they walked on, but the silence of a staring curiosity greeted Cremeans when, as the last of the candidates, he walked onstage dressed in working man’s clothes.  He was tall, rugged, middle-aged, bearded and sported a navy blue hooded duck quilted jacket, work jeans and journeyman’s boots.  His hair was iron gray and his blue eyes twinkled. Despite his blue eyes, Cremeans projected an Abe Lincoln aura. He did not remain for the show,  but addressed the audience: “Who here have their roots in England? Many hands waved.  Asia?..Ireland? China? Africa? …South or mid America?  He paused before asking…“North America?”  A small scattering of hands raised from the handful who resembled  Native Americans.

     He added, “If you elect me to be your president I swear to serve you with truth, compassion, and justice.”  With those words Cremeans strode off the stage to tumultuous applause, catching  a number of those cheering off guard, surprised by their own response.

     Conspiracy theorists who had been asleep before Cremeans’ appearance awoke with joie de vivre. Everyone, in fact, had a story. He was Lincoln’s reincarnation, maybe the Holy Spirit come to forgive the sinners and set them on the straight path.  That deteriorated into an argument about the definition of  the Holy Ghost, followed by the suggestion that Cremeans was really God incarnate. From whence had he sprung and where did the contents of his heavy coffers come from?  Perhaps them golden streets, it was rumored.

     Some swore they saw an aura/halo around his great head, and let themselves be mesmerized by Cremeans’  penetrating glance.  That he displayed strong compassion was beyond dispute.  But who would he select for a running mate?

     It appears he has a son.

                                                                           THE END

Copyright Nan Mykel 2019

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