Author : Hillary Lyon

Casey waited in line for more than two hours when the rain started. A soft, misty rain that chilled him to the bone; he tightly crossed his arms and shivered. Even if he caught a cold, attending this event would still be worth it. Maybe, he wondered, he’d get an autograph, or even better, a photo with Candidate Sterling. Or better yet, shake his hand. Now that would be awesome!

He was glad he had the foresight to arrive early, to get a place at the beginning of the line. Not only did that guarantee he’d get inside the auditorium, but he’d be close to the stage. This rally–no, this entire election–was historic, and Casey wanted to witness it, up close and personal. He rubbed his soft pink hands together for warmth and scampered down to the front row seating. Yes! There was an empty chair right in front of the podium.

After what seemed like ages, the auditorium reached full capacity. The lights dimmed and a spotlight hit the podium. Without introduction, Candidate Sterling jogged on stage, to deafening cheers and applause. Casey stood up, along with everyone else whooping and stamping their feet. The candidate smiled a Hollywood smile and waved for everyone to be seated. The crowd obeyed.

“Thank each and every one of you for coming,” Candidate Sterling began.”For braving this wet weather to support me and the issues I stand for and against. . . ” His speech lasted exactly 22 minutes and 35 seconds; long enough for the audience to become fully engaged, short enough to end before they lost interest. Candidate Sterling was poised and beautiful and entertaining. As he left the stage, one of his handlers took the mic and pointed out where the meet-and-greet would take place. Due to the record number of attendees, only the first 10 rows would have access to the candidate. The handler apologized to those who wouldn’t make the cut, but rules were rules. Casey hardly listened; he’d made the cut. He’d get to meet Candidate Sterling!

In line again, Casey rehearsed what he’d say to the candidate. Did Sterling realize how amazing all this was? Distracted by his thoughts, Casey was surprised when a handler tapped him on the shoulder and nodded for him to move up to greet Candidate Sterling.

“Wow,” Casey whispered, awestruck. “This is such an honor, and I have to tell you–”

Grinning, Candidate Sterling stuck out his hand before Casey finished. He grasped Casey’s hand with such programmed passion, that he crushed 14 of the 27 small bones in Casey’s hand. Sterling’s handlers’ scurried between ushering Casey away to a nurse on staff, and re-calibrating Candidate Sterling’s handshake function. This was a beta-level event, after all; they’d work out all the bugs before the election.

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