West Ottawan satire: “I am you”


Ben Sanders

“I won’t be leaving you to go to Washington, I’m taking you with me! I will voice your beliefs and ideas! I am you!” The crowd went wild. Despite running for Congress for the first time, Pierce was already emerging as a new hot candidate. A strong advocate for reform, William Pierce appeared as a shining light in dark, corrupt Washington. His district couldn’t get enough. 

   The large crowd filled the bleachers at Vilonia High School. His speech filled the people with hope.

   Pierce’s speech had drawn to an end. He stepped off his podium and onto the court. Pierce walked over towards the door. The people’s cheers followed. Pierce stopped halfway to the door as he noticed a man in a pale-colored plaid shirt. The man wanted a handshake.

   Pierce shook his hand and the man introduced himself as Richard Lee. Lee was inspired by Pierce’s message and hoped that he could evoke some change in Washington. Pierce said, “When I go to Washington, don’t forget that I am you.” Lee responded saying “I know.” 

   The brief greeting ended, and Pierce was on his way. He exited the stadium and hopped into his private car. Lee went to the bus stop.

   Lee walked along the sidewalk outside the stadium. His hands in his pockets and his eyes peering ahead, he began his trip to the bus stop. Lee soon realized the evening full of responsibilities that lay ahead. 

   Today was a Saturday, which meant he had an overnight shift at the local grocery. At least it wasn’t a weekday, he hated weekdays. The 12-hour day shifts were not only brutal on Lee, but also for his wife and kids. However, Lee knew more than anyone that he had to make ends meet.

   Pierce sat in the backseat of his private limousine. The shiny seats complimented his shiny Ray-Ban Aviator glasses. The crowd emerged from the stadium and waved as his car drove away. Pierce rolled down the window and waved. He cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted out, “I won’t forget about you! Thank you Little Rock, Arkansas!”

   Lee searched through his pockets. Luckily, he was able to gather up a dollar bill and a few quarters, just enough to get to “Edwards Food Giant.” The bus squealed to a stop, and the doors opened with a hiss. Lee stepped inside and gave the driver his money. He sat down on a cracked leather bus seat and looked outside. The sunset began to permeate the cloudy day.

   Pierce loosened his tie and grabbed a flask of Jack Daniels from the side door. Tired after traveling along the campaign trail for days, Pierce was ready to go home. He opened the flask. 

   The limo sharply turned onto a street, jostling the whiskey. Pierce cursed. The whiskey sloshed onto his pants and the floor. Pierce said, “D*mn it! Watch where you’re going, driver! You got a passenger in case you forgot!” The driver murmured his apology and stared down the road. He needed this job.

  The bus slowed to a stop. Lee gathered himself after drifting off to sleep. He stepped off the bus and slowly brought himself back to reality. The reality of working seven days a week. Lee walked down Cantrell Road and soon found himself back at the employee’s entrance of “Edwards Food Giant.” A place all too familiar. He stepped inside. The cold air greeted Lee alongside the smell of cleaning products. 

   Pierce rolled down his window to get some fresh air. The cold breeze filled the car. The stench of garbage soon followed. Overgrown grass, plastic trash, and the occasional child’s toy filled the yards along 63rd Avenue. Pierce couldn’t believe that people didn’t care about their city.

  Lee grabbed his uniform vest and a walkie talkie. He looked at himself in the mirror and mustered up the motivation to work his night shift. He had to remember who drove him, who inspired him. His family was the key. Lee walked up to the front of the store and turned on the aisle light for checkout. The once bright sunset turned to the pitch dark of night.

   Pierce’s limo rolled up to the private estate’s fence. The keypad beeped and the fence slowly withdrew. Pierce’s car drove past the newly trimmed bushes and up to the house. Pierce promptly left the limo and walked up the steps into his home. He unbuttoned his tailored suit and poured another glass of Jack Daniels.

   Lee familiarized himself with his monotonous routine once again. Every couple of minutes, a tired mom looking for diapers or an old man looking for booze walks in and spends a few minutes in the aisles. An occasional shopper or two checks out every hour or so. Lee spends the majority of his time looking at the television screen in the store’s corner. He can’t wait to go home to his family. The light hum from the store lights grew louder as the night progressed. 

   Pierce took off his shoes and went into the living room. The large room greeted Pierce with an arched entrance and a 72-inch flatscreen television. Pierce sat down in his polished leather seat. He turned on the television and scrolled through the channels. Pierce turned on Channel 9 News. 

   The television at “Edwards Food Giant” broadcast Channel 9 News. Lee looked up to see Pierce on his podium, giving his speech. The memory of Pierce’s rally replayed itself on the fuzzy television screen. Lee thought to himself, “He’s just like me.” Pierce saw himself on the podium. The camera spanned the crowd. He saw the man who wanted a handshake, Richard Lee. The man inspired Pierce. Pierce thought to himself, “He’s just like me.”