December 2010 - Comments Off on Exception


Killian Walsh '14

He approached the podium with sullen eyes and sober gait, an expression of rueful guilt tacked on his pale, aged face. The walk was long--perhaps by design--in an effort to add insult to injury; to intensify the shame of his crimes. Eyes of others, cries of reporters, and the click of countless costly cameras followed him the whole way up, falling silent only when he began to speak.

“I would first like to apologize,” he began, “to my wife, Helen.” The woman behind him pursed her lips, pressing down the wrinkles of her pantsuit’s jacket. “She has shown remarkable courage for the position I have put her in, and I am infinitely grateful for both her forgiveness and her continued support during this time.” She nodded in the manner of a vindicated parent. None of the cameras captured this.

“Furthermore, I would like to apologize to the people of the Great State of Minnesota. I have brought shame to this office, and to this state, with my actions, and while there is no way to undo what I have done, I would like to extend my formal apology on the matter, and request forgiveness from my constituents, if they see fit to forgive me.”

A stir of murmurs made its way through the crowd with words like, ‘believe,’ and, ‘nerve,’ and ‘bastard,’ and ‘aquarium,’ extending themselves audibly from the din. The Senator took this opportunity to clear his throat and drum up some emotion for the final drive of his speech.

“These last few weeks have had a toll on me as well and, while I am fully deserving of whatever emotional stress I may be under…I must say that it is extremely difficult to live like this.” He wiped his eyes. A man booed him from the back.

“That’s why, at this time,” he said holding back tears, “I would like to announce my resignation from the office of Senator effective next month. Thank you.”

The response was a medley of cheers and jeers, unified not in message, but in volume and passion. He removed himself from the podium, walking toward the stately limousine parked at the Dunkin Donuts across from the State Capitol building. Reporters wasted no time surrounding him, asking questions like, “Senator McCallum, any comment on the status of the choir boys?” or “Have you considered what PETA’s response to this will be?” or “Can you explain your relationship with Shahkam Farah? Are you lovers?” The abrupt silence that followed the closing of the limousine door disarmed him for a moment.

“Dave, I gotta say, you did a damn good job up there.” Senator McCallum’s advisor Rob Sanchez was a greasy little fellow with a mustache, and that was all that could ever really be said about him. “The language, the waterworks, the…uh, dignity. Top notch stuff. Top notch.”

“Thanks.” He got himself a glass from the minibar and filled it with Coke.

Sanchez leaned over and topped it off with some brandy. “I mean, we can forget about the presidency. That’s a given. You’ve lost that. But I think you can get a decent city council position in a few months--granted you’re still moving to Kentucky. You are still moving to Kentucky, right?”

The limo turned onto Keynes as a beer bottle was thrown at it from across the street.

“Jesus!” Sanchez fidgeted to get a look out of the tinted windows. “These yahoos got no dignity. No sense of civility. None what-so-ever.”

“Rob?” McCallum had been looking into his glass as if it might reveal something to him. “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure, Dave, sure. What’s the matter?”

“If…if you were in charge…”

“Yes?” Sanchez poured himself another drink.

Dave looked up. “…what would you do to a man like me?”

Sanchez was momentarily taken aback by the intensity of the eye contact and candor present in Senator McCallum. “Yeesh…Dave. I know I’m…a lawyer, but my background does not cover the finer points of animal husbandry.” He laughed, but, seeing that it had no effect, cut it short. Then, after a few moments of silence, he tossed back his glass and wiped his mouth with his sleeve when he was finished. “Look: we all make mistakes, Dave, but not all of us get off scot-freet understand? Show some fucking appreciation for your situation and put a smile on your face. Christ.” He turned to the window as the limo hit the highway.

About the Author: Killian Walsh lives on the left side of campus.

Published by: in Prose, Volume 67: Issue 1

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