Your public execution. After all the work you did to find an answer to this crisis, they still want to kill you. And this comes directly from the President of the United States, well, the acting President of the United States. Your face feels like it is on fire while your hands and feet feel like icebergs. Worst of all, your insides have become melted wax.
“No!” Madge screams at Sneedon. “No way! My brother might be a partying bigoted homophobe, but he’s got a huge heart. He cannot be executed.”
“Madge,” you place your hands on her shoulders. “I don’t think you’re going to stop anything here.” Your life passes before your eyes in a split second—playing house with her when you were kids, Madge playing Daddy and you playing the baby. You sitting on the curb crying while she whips all ten bullies standing in the yard demanding lunch money. The fifteen year fight (she still hasn’t forgiven you) over her g-f, Suzi. Inventing the Environaut and the financial success that followed. Parties with Milo. Then, today’s crap. You realize what an immature jerk you’ve always been, from letting Madge fight your battles to the endless parties with Milo.
Five words float across your brain. Five one-syllable words, but five words that bring a 180 degree turn around to your life. This one little phrase turns you into a hero. Time to be a man.
Madge sees it in your eyes. The look on her face changes from a worried sister to a grieving sister to a proud sister. “You mean . . .”
“Yes, Madge. I’ll let them take me. All my life I’ve done nothing but hide behind you and partay harday. But today, I’m bringing out the tights and cape and becoming a hero.”
She throws her arms around your neck and hugs you tight enough to push all the air from your lungs. You hug her back, then you tap on her back, begging for her to release you so you can breathe long enough to do what must be done.
She drops her arms. “Sorry. I keep forgetting how much stronger I am than you.”
You stand up straighter and your voice drops two octaves. “It’s okay, Madge. I wouldn’t be where I am today if you weren’t stronger.” She grins as she wipes her tears and snotty nose on your shirt.
You turn to face Sneedon. “Okay. I give up. Take me in.”
“You’re full of crap, you know it? Just because China, Russia and the entire Arab nation are calling for your public execution doesn’t mean we’re going to give it to them. They’re not our bosses, afterall.”
At that moment an alarm sounds with a volume so loud you nearly jump out the window. You all look toward the red phone under the glass dome and notice it bouncing up and down. Sneedon removes the dome and picks up the receiver.
“Yes? Yes, sir. I understand.” He replaces the receiver and the glass dome and turns back to the room. You hold your breath while he collects his composure. He looks at you, then down at the floor. He looks at Madge, then you, then down at the floor. Finally he brings his head up and appears to be looking out the window behind you.
“That was President Gantly. Russia, China, and the entire Arab nation have threatened to launch a nuclear missile directly to your hometown if we don’t show your torture and execution in the next 24 hours. He doesn’t really want to kill you, but it appears we have no choice.”
You throw your arms out together, hands knotted into fists, waiting for the handcuffs to snap around them. When the cold steel touches your wrists, you gasp. The metal is so hard and cold. They really intend to go through with it. Forget the noble intention, an entire world is at stake.
Walking silently to the beat of Madge’s sobs, you, Sneedon, Madge, and Ernie march toward the door. The whole party enters the elevator and begin the trip to the ground floor where you all will walk to the front lawn of the White House in front of cameras from all over the world and a firing squad standing ready for the order to fire.
Just as you and the rest of the parade is about to leave the front door, Madge stops and turns you toward her. Her hands reach to pluck at a potted plant on a shelf by the door.
“You know that stuff about not forgiving you over Suzi?” You nod your head, afraid to speak. Tears would spoil the heroic music playing in your head. “I forgive you.”
“Madge . . .” you manage to say.
“Get moving, you two.” Sneedon does not appreciate the tender moment you and Madge are sharing.
As you stand on the green grass, you look at Madge one final time standing far away from the line of soldiers with guns pointed directly at you. You feel your previously melted insides begin to rise as if trying to run away from the guns. The world takes on a brown tinge.
President Arthur Gantly is speaking to the cameras. “Ladies and gentlemen of the world, I bring you this, this miscreant who nearly destroyed our world with pooh. I will give you his head on a platter.”
You watch as Ernie leans down and whispers something in Madge’s ear. He has a leering look on his face. You laugh as she knees him so hard in the crotch he hits the wall.
The President stands facing the line of gun-wielding soldiers with his hand in the air. You hear a scream. It’s not Madge, her voice is much lower than what you heard. You hear the noises of bedlam and look beyond the firing squad. People are running everywhere, trampling each other, climbing over cars and trees to get away from the gruesome scene about to take place. You envision your blood splatter on the ground and look down as if it already has. You do see a drop of something near your feet, but it isn’t red, it’s brown. At that moment, another drop of brown liquid falls from your eyes.
You remember the clod of dirt Madge rubbed in your face during the tender moment in the hallway. You can still taste the mud as she suggested you even swallow some of it. It works. People everywhere are convinced you have contracted the same disease that has been turning the rest of the world into zombies. Not wanting to catch anything from you, the on-lookers, officials, gunsquad, even the news people who would withstand a hurricane or a blasting volcano for a story, drop all their equipment and run full speed away.