Afterwards, Part 16: Penultimate Edition

By ANDREW FLYNN, Storyteller


»Previously, on Afterwards.


The Vice President glanced at his watch in surprise. He had a hard time believing it was already eleven in the morning. But considering that he was quite underslept and that he’d just come out from a very intense meeting with Jeff Snares, it was only momentarily shocking. He sat back comfortably in the back of his limousine when his satellite phone rang. Only one person had that number.

“Yes, Mr. President?” the Vice President answered.

“I’d like to get your thoughts on something right now,” said the President of the United States.

Somewhat relieved, the Vice President’s blood pressure dropped a good fifteen percent right away.

“Of course, Sir, how can I be of assistance to you?”

“Oh, not on the phone. Come to the Oval. And be here in fifteen minutes.”

“What’s this about, Mr. President?”

There was a beat of silence between the two men before the President responded.

“I think you have an idea. See you in a bit.”

The line went dead, and the Vice President set his satellite phone down on the plush leather seat next to him. A few hundred thoughts raced through his head. Some of those thoughts included a loaded .357 in the limo’s armory, which was in close proximity to where he was at the moment.

Pondering all of these possibilities for a moment, the Vice President pressed a button on the panel to his right, lowering the separation window between the driver of the limo and him.

“To the White House, pronto,” he directed.


Twenty minutes later, the Vice President stood directly outside one of the many doors that led into the most prestigious room in all of the civilized world. He took a few seconds, straightened the fit on his suit jacket, and fumbled with the lower button. For whatever reason, he made sure it was secure just like the one above. He reached over to the knob of the door and went in.

The President of the United States sat at his desk. He could have appeared to be many things at the precise moment that his number two walked into the Oval Office, but busy was not one of them. Instead, he just leaned forward with his hands folded on top of each other and greeted his subordinate with direct eye contact.

“You know, you’re not supposed to button the lower one too,” the President said.

The Vice President stared at his boss for just a quick second, and then began to fumble about his jacket again, just like before his entrance.

“Yep, yeah, I know, Sir…it’s, ah, well, it’s been a   rough–,” he stammered.

“So let’s just cut the horseshit and get right to it,” interrupted the President.

“Get to what, Mr. President?”

The President unfolded his hands and stood up from behind his massive desk.

“Sit down, and shut your mouth. And you have two seconds to do both.”

The Vice President immediately sat down on one of the two large couches that were laid perpendicular to the President’s desk, awaiting further instruction.

As the President began speaking, he sauntered over to where the Vice President was now stationed.

“We’ve really been through an awful lot the past half-decade. Together. And it’s really meant the world to me that you’ve been my V.P. since we got here back a good thirty-or-so months ago. I won’t go any further right now besides to tell you that I’ve made a crucial decision, and I wanted you to be the first to know, before everything got out of hand.”

“Mr. President, of course I’m a lost cause here, but–,” the Vice President began to say.

The President went on as if his compatriot didn’t open his mouth.

“I’m choosing a different candidate to join me on the ticket for re-election next year,” the President explained.

The Vice President was stunned. This was close to the very last thing that he expected his superior to tell him. And so a good moment of tension-filled nothingness separated this bomb from the next thing either of them said.

“You’re doing what now?” he asked, non-plussed.

“Replacing you. There just isn’t any way to keep you on the ticket and continue this administration for another four years. We have to evolve this thing so that our ideology and our way of doing things remains the standard for practice. So I’ve chosen someone else in my mind already, and I will stand by this hard decision that I’ve made.”

“Mr. President, I will be honest with you,” he said. “I am not at all prepared to let someone else be in my office yet.”

“Of course you’re not prepared. That’s why I’m telling you now, here in the Summer, a whole year before we even go to the national convention. Trying to give you somewhat of a cushion so that you can assist me in preparing whom I’ve chosen.”

“I have to ask, Mr. President, that of all the days to decide this, why would you do it today?”

“Why, because this is the day that we detonate the nuke in Chicago?”

The Vice President was even more thrown back. Still remaining on the couch, he had no words more to converse with. He now became catatonic.

“Oh, you didn’t think I was a part of this at all? Do you really think that after everything that has happened in this country in the past hundred years, and while I’m in the position that I’m now in and have been since my acceptance speech in Grant Park on that night in November three years ago, that I’d really not be a part of this at all?”

Nothing from the V.P. Still speechless.

“Well then, I simply do not know what to tell you. Other than you’re as stupid as you look. Now get out of my office, I’m going to have to go on television in a couple of hours and tell the fucking American public that their world isn’t ending. Go.”

The Vice President stood up without delay and walk towards the door from which he entered. But right before he reached for the handle of the Oval Office door, he turned and mustered up a question for his soon-to-be-former-employer.

“Sir, I have to ask, whom have you chosen to replace me?”

The President had a scholarly pretention about his face, looking somewhat offended that the Vice President even asked it in the first place.

“Jeff Snares, dammit.”


Tomorrow is the final chapter of Afterwards! Be here!!
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