Tribute, by Michael Peck

Everything seemed to slow down, movement became almost imperceptible, the clocks hands seemed frozen in place – no one was speaking, a pregnant pause filled the room, they were waiting for the speaker to arrive – waiting to hear what they expected to hear – the curtain opened slowly to a bare stage – a small man walked to the microphone flattening out a small piece of paper – studying it closely as if the writing was illegible – he started slowly reading word by word ” I’m sorry but the president won’t be speaking tonight he’s been shot and is currently in the ICU at the hospital” – moans and frightened voices filled the audience – we ask you all to go home now, so  the theater can close early – no one moved, a few people shouted questions – the small man left the stage as the murmuring voices gained in volume – large ushers started moving row by row making sure the people left – they were bouncers from bars, large and unsmiling – the room emptied out and then the ushers gathered in the front of the stage filling their glasses with whiskey – laughing, toasting, here’s to our fearless leader found drunk and naked by his mistress’ husband who shot him in the ass with a pellet gun

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