The weather is unforgiving as Serena steps on the curb, dodging the spray of water from oncoming traffic. She opens her cherry flavored lip balm and swipes it across her chapped lips.
An elderly man in a gray corduroy coat steps off the curb to the slick crosswalk. His feet fly out from under him, throwing him into the air with peril and dumping him to the wet asphalt. The grocery bag’s contents scatter across the street as he struggles to his knees.
Dropping her lip balm, Serena makes a mad dash for him, despite the continuous stream of impatient vehicles with blaring horns. Dragging him to safety, she is unable to save his mutilated groceries as they rupture beneath the constant stream of cars.
“You saved me,” the old man says between gasping breaths, “I must do something to repay your kindness. What do you need more than anything?”
The townspeople gather in flocks chanting and cheering with upturned faces toward the flag hanging boldly behind the microphone. The president gives a final savior’s smile before a wave of his hand signals he’s finished. Approaching the front of the stage, he descends the stairs into the crowd of people waiting below. Mothers with babies, the elderly, and reporters alike stretch their hands out for their brush with greatness.
The president reaches his hand out and claps it with an elderly man, his eyes locking with the man in the gray corduroy coat. The thin lips pressing hard below his hook-shaped nose and burrowing black eyes connect with the president. The other arm of the gray corduroy coat extends to the side clutching the hand of a beaten down woman with sad eyes. An electric current welds their four hands together in a single band before the woman shakes her head with surprising vigor.
“Quite the handshake, sir,” she says, removing her hand and wiping it on her pathetic poncho before returning her stare confused. “Wait a second!”
But the president and the man in the gray corduroy coat are nowhere in sight.
The president shakes no more hands as he hurries to the black limousine waiting for him with the door hanging open, his chauffeur at the steed. “Mr. President,” the chauffeur says, addressing him as he closes the door and moves around to get into his own seat. The car speeds away with a frantic woman chasing it in the rearview mirror, her gingham poncho flailing with her arms.
“Everything okay, Mr. President?” the chauffeur asks into the rearview mirror.
“Everything is perfect,” the president says as he slides the divider up between them. His vice president rests his eyes on his comrade’s face with suspicion. The president smiles and pulls cherry flavored lip balm out of his pocket. Licking his lips, he rolls it over before rubbing them together. “I’m ready to finally do some good for this country.”