“Vote For Arnie” – Fiction by Leland Cheuk

A politician makes some extraordinary promises in “Vote For Arnie,” one of three sharply satirical flash fictions by Leland Cheuk in our Summer 2017 issue.

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HI, I’M ARNIE CHANK, FOUR-TERM SENATOR of our great state of M—. This presidential primary season has been marred by the usual cynicism and incessant criticism of our federal government and its waning ability to solve the problems of the American people. There’s gridlock in Washington. Partisan rancor is at levels we’ve never seen. I get it. You get it. Hell, the UFOs get it. And I admit that, on many of the average of ninety-four days per year I’ve actually shown up to work to represent the great people of The Urchin State, I’ve been part of the problem, not the solution.

But today, I’d like to send a message to the American voter. Hear me now for words will neither be minced nor julienned.

I have come to help you take our country back…in time.

Yes, you heard correctly.

Recently, I was bored at The Capitol Building during yet another filibuster—this one for the Stop Child Abuse While Ensuring Potable Water Act—and I began looking up the oldest laws in our nation’s existence.  I came upon an obscure piece of Congressional legislation from the summer of 1789 which stated that every citizen of our great nation is entitled to one chrononautical vacation per year facilitated by a practicing Time-Traveling Witch, Wizard, or Magus so long as the aforementioned trip is utilized for the sole purpose of reversing a regrettable action by said citizen.

Imagine the possibilities. We can go back and reverse our many mistakes as a people. Yes, we can.

Yes, we can, for example, go back to the 1970s and warn President Nixon against meeting with the Business Roundtable, a group of leading CEOs who, for decades lobbied with great effectiveness for the systematic dissolution of labor unions, corporate taxes, antitrust legislation, and countless other business regulations that have now resulted in a mutated version of capitalism that has few rules and leaves hundreds of millions of Americans behind.

Yes, we can, absolutely cast a spell on Former President George W. Bush and send him back to 2001 with the knowledge that his decisions following the 9/11 terror attack will lead to disastrous multi-decade war in the Middle East with no end in sight.

Yes, we can, I am told, utilize a sorcerer’s dark magic upon Big Bank CEOs and send them back with the knowledge of the dangers of credit default swaps.

If I am elected, I will assemble a highly qualified team of the top Witches, Wizards, and Magi in our great nation as well as a trained force of chrononauts to execute special missions that will return America to its greatestness.

Twenty-five of the top occultists of our nation have already endorsed me, Arnie Chank, for my party’s nomination for President.

Now, I know there are those who doubt me. They say, “Arnie Chank is insane!” They say, “Remember that time Arnie tried to bring that bill to the floor mandating that taxpayers fund attempts to resurrect, with pagan spells, Elvis and Marilyn Monroe at the peak of their hotness?” They say, “Arnie Chank is a drunk who purchases girlfriend experience on the taxpayer’s dime.” They ask, “Why is he spending his own money on building this spinning steel cylinder that circulates laser beams in his backyard instead of paying his alimony?”

Well, I’ll be honest, my fellow Americans: I cannot deny these statements by my opponents. But our great nation has made a great many big mistakes in the past few decades—with consequences that have been greatly negative and are at the root of your ills. And none of my opponents are offering you a chance to correct these mistakes. Because they cannot.

Without time travel.

If you send me back in time, I can. We can. Together.

So for today and tomorrow, and most importantly, yesterday, I announce that, with God’s help and the help of chrononautics, I am putting myself forward as a candidate for President of the United States of America.

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LELAND CHEUK is the author of the story collection LETTERS FROM DINOSAURS (Thought Catalog Books, 2016) and the novel THE MISADVENTURES OF SULLIVER PONG (CCLaP Publishing, 2015). He has been awarded fellowships at The MacDowell Colony, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, I-Park Foundation, and Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming in Salon, Catapult, Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner. You can follow him on Twitter @lcheukand at lelandcheuk.com.

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