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by Sean Lewis


Disgraced Accountant, NY

My name is Martin Candle. I live in Patterson, NY.

Patterson is about 40 minutes from Manhattan and is all poor farmland dotted by million dollar mansions. The latter belong to hedge fund managers and business magnates who never interact with the people in town.

These are the weekend houses. Getaways. Anonymity. Peace. People who buy these homes come to be left alone, not to interact.

And then, the rest of town are trailers and pre-1950 homes that dot roads with names like BULLET HOLE DRIVE and CONFEDERATE WAY. I know. Confederate Way in New York...

Real Estate agents complain that people coming for open houses see the plethora of TRUMP flags in what they thought was the bucolic Hudson Valley- and they turn around and drive home as fast as they came. They don’t even check out the properties.

Bad for real estate agents. Good for locals who don’t want their taxes to rise and property to price them out. Maybe hate is a financial tactic.

And… it’s good for me, I guess. Years ago, I was disgraced.

I was an accountant who dipped into the till and lost everything. And with that my wife and our son moved North. We bought a home for next to nothing. A small former farm house. We are close to town. And town is like a 1950s throwback: there’s a barber shop with the red white and blue spinner, a small coffee shop with no wifi (the owner, Mae pretends to not know what wifi is) and a store on main street where you can get your Maytag washing machine fixed.

We have some neighbors. Trump flags galore with them, too. I do odd jobs here and there. Bookkeeping. Maintenance. Whatever to get by. I have kept a low profile for years. And no one knows my past or cares if they do. I’m just Marty.

We bought this house to escape. We had savings from my CPA days. But I can’t pretend we don’t have our money troubles now. Look… the world has gone crazy:

- inflation

- war

- disease

- Everything politicized

People are angry. People want an enemy. They want control. And that brings out some questionable behavior.

There are a group of men at the local diner. They meet and talk about “oaths.” I steer clear of them as best as I can.

My neighbor Paul finds them intriguing. He comes by whenever I am doing yard work. Takes it as an invitation to chat. So, while I’m cutting hedges he’ll ask if I’ve seen the latest thing President Moran has done to fuck up the world.

“All this woke shit. No one cares,” Paul says.

I don’t think he could define woke. I don’t think I could define woke. But still-

“Well, some people care. It’s just empathy,” I say.

Paul bristles at this.

“Who doesn’t have empathy. We’re all just living our lives, Marty! And now the

fucking PRESIDENT is gonna sign this accord. He’s gonna screw US! It’s fucking


“It’s for the environment,” I say. I hated these conversations.

“Come on Marty. You want to pay 8 dollars a gallon for gas? You want your phone

to cost 2 grand? He’s killing us. Is that what progress is? People like us getting


Yes. Usually. Yes, it is.

The Accord was the International Mining Accord. Multiple nations were signing it to combat drilling throughout the world. It was an attempt to help some climate and environmental considerations. So, there’d be less oil for vehicles. Less tungsten for cell phones. Less coal. Less ore. Less everything. And less meant more money was going to be charged.

“Less,” Paul said. “It’s always Give more and get less with these people. I feel bad

for you!” He says.


“Well, you look like the son of a bitch.”

“Who? Wait, the President? I don’t think so.”

I hadn’t not always looked like this. I have a bandage right now. My nose got busted doing yard work. I came up behind my wife as she was shoveling up dirt to put plants in the ground. And-


She split my nose with the backswing of her shovel. I had to get a surgery and reconstruction. And it was basically like getting a rhinoplasty, a whole new nose and I ask my appearance had changed. I looked like President Moran, I guess.

“Nah, you do,” Paul was adamant. “The first time I saw you at the diner, fucking

bandage and everything. I thought holy shit that’s our asshole president.

President Moran at the Patterson Pie Hole! Except you were wearing jorts.”

“My wife hates those things,” I said.

“The jorts? They’re fine. It’s your legs she don’t like. Nah, you’re a good guy. I’ve

come to understand you’re a good man. But that first day.”

“In the jorts.”

“I thought you were him. President ASSHOLE Moran.”

And he was not the last one to think that.


June 13.

CNN was showing the President leading up to the Mining Accord. He was traveling through West Virginia giving speeches and answering questions. Town Hall bullshit, with some friendly people curated to speak up on the side of Big Coal!

My wife, Chelsea, was in the garden. So. I kept my distance.

I was trying to do some simple bookkeeping for Ralph, the barber in town. This is how I get by. Chelsea, my wife, does real estate (how else did I know about those people driving away from the Trump flags), And our son, Kyle, is noticing girls for the first time… and how lame it is to live in a small town.

I am doing simple numbers and watching the television at the same time. President Moran has just landed.

“Oh my God, DAD, you watch the news?” Kyle is drinking straight from the


“Yes,” I say. “The porn stations are just not exciting enough.”

“Gross,” Kyle replies. “Not shocking, dad. Just gross. Besides… Porn’s on the

internet. Not on TV.”

“It was on TV… When the world was right,” I say.

“When was that? “ Kyle asks. “Like the prehistoric ages? You’d watch when your

parents went to sleep?”

“Good deduction.”

“Porn’s offensive dad.”

“I think that’s their hook, son.”

“Whatever,” Kyle is ready to move on from the sex talk with dad. “So, what’s on

the news?”

“President Moran.”


Kyle drags out the last syllable like he’s unsure he should ask the rest of the sentence that’s popped into his head.

“Were you on it?”

“On what?” I ask. “The TV?”

“Yeah,” Kyle says. “You know… when I was a baby and you got in trouble?”


He’s been asking about this a lot lately. I don’t hide anything. It’s simple. I worked for a big firm and one of my clients paid me to help hide money for him. Off shore accounts. Shell corporations.

I didn’t go to jail. But I did get probation, a record, and would not be able to work for a firm like that again.

It’s funny.

We lived in Long Island and despite everyone in that place being connected to someone who knocked over a fucking liquor store or- like our neighbor Charlie Dellapina- lit a competing furniture place on fire, I was seen as a pariah.

The reason? I got caught. That’s the only crime in America.

I look at Kyle. He’s been more independent the last few weeks. And he’s stopped complaining about our little town being boring. I smell girls. That’s what I smell.

“So…” with a smile, I start. “Who dropped you off?”


“Fess up, Junior.”


“Leslie? She’s new. Doesn’t go to your school?”

“No,” Kyle says.


“She’s visiting her dad. He bailed on her and her mom and she hates him. I think

he doesn’t know how to hang out with her, so she just goes places with me.”

“Uh huh,” Kyle is hating this. Which inevitably drives me to make it worse- “Well,

be safe. You know. With the sex.”


I laugh. But the town is small. Kyle said she’s visiting her dad-

“Who is her dad?”

“Mr. Deacon. Well Colonel. I guess. He makes me call him Colonel.”

I almost fall out of my chair.

“Wait, what??? Colonel Deacon. Brian James Deacon?”

“Uh. I do think his first name is Brian. Why? You know him?”

Brian Deacon is big money. Big power. Big influence. He is… fuck, ok… long story short, he served in the military with the current Presidential Chief of Staff. He made money in fiber optics and computers without ever dropping his military schtick. He’s a king maker.

My New York firm dealt with big money and he was too big for us.

“You’re dating his daughter?”

“I’m not sure I’m ready to define it.”

“I think you might have to.”

And then-



I shouted and covered Kyle. He looked up from underneath my grip and said-

“It was the TV.”

It was so loud I thought it was in the house.

I looked at the screen. CNN. It was pandemonium. And then the announcer said-

“Someone shot the president.”




President Moran in West Virginia?

We had put him out there as PR. We knew there were risks. He is President. There are always risks. We had Secret Service Agents everywhere.

But, Stan Helcote.

Stan Helcote was now our own personal Lee Harvey Oswald. Helcote was a coal worker and foreman. And a Democrat. He was on our side. We vetted him. We knew everything about him. We’d even worked with him on creating the event.

And… He also shot President Moran, point blank in the stomach before being tackled and taking a bullet in his own forehead.

Weird fact: Helcote’s gun? It was printed. From a 3D printer. It’s how he got past metal detectors. Smart. But also, strange. A lifetime coal worker got his hand on this? This guy still had a yahoo email account.

A later search found he bought it online. Amazon Markets. Sent directly to his house. The seller was being tracked down but it looked like an isolated event. A ‘John Hinckley’ as we called it internally. Like Hinckley- who shot Ronald Reagan- this coal worker seemed obsessed with pop stars and his search history and own writing seemed to make this attack be more about gaining attention than stopping the mining accord.

But still…

We were fucked. Because here is the truth: the President was hurt.

Very hurt. He was in and out of surgery. And he was possibly going to die. We had the accord and two years of policy to put in place. World changing policy.

All of that work, all of that power, it was currently connected to a ventilator.

We kept this hush hush. We told no one. Only six people had clearance to where he was even being treated.

I had worked with President Moran from the beginning. I was a college intern who had risen to Chief of Staff. He had helped shape me from a farm girl into a political power house. And I had shaped him into a President in the greatest meaning of the word. People feared him. I did that.

Because whenever someone said no to him, I came right behind them with their life story and every possible way they or people they know would suffer a consequence if they didn’t change their position.

I trust very few people.

But for once, I needed help.

I called, encrypted lines, and spoke plainly…

“Anything. Any solution,” I said. “It’s dire. Right now nothing is too crazy.”



Disgraced Accountant, New York

The next few days were odd. Driving past SCREW MORAN posters in town, while the man was hidden away somewhere. Recuperating. My mom had told me what it felt like the days after JFK was shot. People mourned together. There was a shared sadness.

But this? I felt half the town was ready to throw a block party. How the fuck did we get this way?

The press were being told that the President was stable.

“Thank God.”

But it seemed unlikely. I mean, watching it over and over on TV, you saw how close Helcote was. You saw the President being put on a gurney, unconscious and pooled in blood.

“World’s insane,” Chelsea said. “I’m glad we live far from all of that. Right here.”

Kyle’s friend Leslie was over for dinner. She didn’t eat much. I kept eyeing here, weirdly. It was strange having a 15 year old who could have my body dropped in a pond visiting my son.

“So, what do you think of Patterson,” Chelsea asked.

“Boring.” Kyle responded.

“I asked Leslie. Do you find it boring?”

Leslie was chomping salad as she amusedly answered-

“Honestly, I find it suicidal.”

Chelsea and I looked at each other. My wife has a history with mental illness. A joke like that-

“I mean, that metaphorically. Not like literally,” Leslie added.

“So. We shouldn’t literally kill ourselves living here?” Chelsea asked.

I laughed a little. Cleaning the dishes Chelsea didn’t hold back.

“Not a fan. That girl? Not a fan.”

“She’s harmless,” I said.


“Her dad could buy a nation-state.”

“Kyle can do better.”

Could he? I love my son. But I can’t lie: Leslie was very pretty. Wealthy. Clearly smart, if not necessarily tactful.

“I remember a girl I brought home who wasn’t super tactful,” I said.

“Don’t start,” Chelsea responded.

Outside we heard a honk.

“What’s that?”

“Her dad?” I answered. “Leslie is that your dad?”

Leslie and Kyle were watching the Kardashians.

“No, he’d just call me.”

Another honk.

“Go and see who it is,” Chelsea barked.

I stepped outside and was immediately hit by headlights.

“Hello?” I called.

The driver honked again. I could see in the seat, a man on the phone. I crossed in front of the car and called out once more-

“HEY. This is private property!”

The driver looked up and then the car lurched toward me like it was accelerating and then jerked to a stop.

Out stepped the driver- COLONEL BRIAN JAMES DEACON. He was sweating. He looked confused. He was on the phone and his jaw dropped.

“I’ll call you back.”

He hung up the phone.

“Hey,” I said. “Leslie’s dad. Right? Sorry I yelled. I was just thrown by the


He was still sweating and pale. I asked,

“Are you okay?”

He was staring at me.

“I just thought I had seen a ghost.”




The call came from Colonel Deacon around 10PM EST.

“My daughter’s in the house. I’m sitting in my goddamn car.”

“No one around?” I asked.

Deacon was panting. He had texted and said it was important. Private lines. All encrypted.

“I’m in the woods. So. No. No one around. How is the President?”

“Bad,” I said.

We had him in the White House infirmary. Cast was barred from the entire wing and only his Private doctor and a military nurse were allowed access.

“His vitals have dropped. The machines are breathing for him.”

“The Accord?” Deacon asked.

“The Accord!? He won’t make it a week. He can’t move. He can’t sign. I just told

you- he can’t breathe!”

“We got to get it through.”

“Deacon. I am not doing this with you, there is so much I need to do-“

“I saw something. I mean, I saw a guy,” Deacon said.

Deacon was unflappable. A true soldier. Nothing ever throws him. So, this…. was strange.


“He looks like Moran.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“He looks exactly like Moran. I was picking up my daughter. And he came out-“

“What are you suggesting?” I asked.

“Just look at the pic I am sending. Run his info. Martin Cable. Turkey Hill Rd.

Patterson, NY.”



And he hung up.

We ran the information. Martin Candle. He was an accountant at Anderson and Gwynn. He’d created shell companies and unethically supported the actions of one of his clients. He lost his practice and moved. High IQ. Went to a small college. Grew up in a small town. Moved often. Very few long term connections.

The photo Deacon had taken came in. He had a bandage on his face but holy shit… he looked like President Moran.

“My God.”

And right then President Moran started flatlining.

For at least three minutes, the leader of the free world was dead. He’d be in a coma for the foreseeable future.



Disgraced Accountant, Patterson NY

Chelsea and I were gearing up for our anniversary.

I sent her to the city to do some personal shopping. A little gift to her. She’d get lunch with her sister who doesn’t respect me. Chelsea and her sister grew up in the city, prep schools, suitors- and Chelsea fell for a guy she met at a night club who had money… who then fucked up his life and moved her to the woods.

Well, I hope she has fun.

Kyle was out with Leslie.

And I was cooking.

I love to cook. I watch all the shows. Master Chef. Top Chef. Best Chef. Super Chef. I’m making… Beef Wellington with mashed potatoes and asparagus. You gotta make it medium rare. Pastry has to have every layer baked perfectly. No lumps in the potatoes.

You have to focus.

Attention to detail. Nerves of steel.

I play music when I cook to calm me. Oldies. The Platters. “The Great Pretender.”

Oh-oh, yes, I'm the great pretender

Pretending that I'm doing well

My need is such I pretend too much

I'm lonely, but no one can tell

I had just added milk to the potatoes when I noticed a flashlight beaming through the window into the kitchen. I stepped outside, pan in hand, looking to see what it was, when-


I’m in a chokehold.

Slammed to the ground. I can’t see the person’s face. Just black gloves, black jacket.


And then-











Goes black.


I wake up in a trunk. Bound and gagged. We race on the back roads, pebbles kicking up into the underside of the vehicle, until we come to a fast stop. The trunk pops…

And there is Colonel Deacon.

Next to him a guy in a black coat and black gloves.

“What? What is this?” I ask. “Did Kyle do something?”

The man in the coat stepped forward, I immediately retracted. Fear.

“I’m Agent Stephens. This is for you.”

He handed me an envelope.

“Agent?” I asked.

I opened the envelope. It looked like a legal document.

“It’s a kill notice,” Deacon said. “You’re being conscripted. Agent Stephens is

Secret Service. The things you will hear and see are of national security. And so,

you need to know Agent Stephens is assigned to you. He will follow your motions.

He will protect you like you were a US President. BUT- if anyone finds out. If you

tell people. If you endanger the United States Government-“

“Whoa whoa whoa.”

“He will kill you.”

“WHOA. I said WHOA. Conscripted. Killed. What- I’m an accountant- what do you

want me to do?”

“Immediately? We want you to go to Oslo.”


“To sign the Mining Accord.”

“I don’t understand-“

Agent Stephens stepped in.

“You will go as President Moran. In 36 hours. You are him. Understand?”


I had dinner with Chelsea that night. The idea was to make my family suspect nothing.

I wondered if Agent Stephens were in the bushes. It was the anniversary dinner and it was awful. Assholes grabbed me while it was cooking. Potatoes were a mess. Pastry lopsided.

“I can’t believe you lost track of it. You never forgot things when you cook.”


I apologized. Said I got a call earlier in the day. Old work friend, who had a job lead. I’d need to travel for a few days.

“Do you like the opportunity?” Chelsea asked.

“I don’t know what it entails, really. But I’m guessing I won’t.”

“Then why go?”

“It’s something I have to do.”

“Where is it?”

“Uhm. San Francisco.”

“Oh amazing. My favorite. Can I come?” Chelsea asked.

“Not this time.”

No sex on this anniversary.

We went to bed and I heard Kyle sneak in after hours. I let it be. I couldn’t sleep. I tried to eat some of the potatoes from dinner but they were shit.

So, I went out for a drive. I love driving. I always have. Windows down. Some music. Fresh air whipping through the cabin.

But… the problem is on the backroads up here there are always F150s that come racing onto your back bumper. Hi-beams on. And like clockwork, a few miles in and I have someone on my ass.

I drive slow. It’s a dirt road with no shoulder but these trucks… they honk.

I roll my window down and wave for him to pass. But he doesn’t. It’s like he’s more obsessed with getting me to speed up than getting where he is going.

I am looking up in my rear view mirror. He’s flashing his lights now and I am yelling at him.

“What?! WHAT!!! WHAT DO YOU WANT?!?!?”

He honks. I flip the bird into my rearview mirror and look back at the road… and that’s when I see what he was honking about.

There’s a bear.

Right in the middle of the road.

I cut the wheel and slam into a ditch, slamming my head against the steering wheel. I’m dizzy. I see the truck stop. The bear runs off and a man gets out of the truck and walk toward me.

And that’s when I pass out.


Hours later, I wake up and see I am in some weird wood paneled basement. I’m groggy but I hear voices above me. A woman and a man. The woman is pissed-

“What the fuck is he doing here?”

“He went off the road.”


“He drove right at a fucking bear.”

“Ah shit.”

The driver of the other car, the truck that ran up on me? He’s coming down the stairs. He has a shaved head and a black tank top and he’s on the stairs arguing with a woman. His wife I assume.

“We can’t have the cops here,” she says.

“We aren’t going to.”

“I’m just saying you can’t be attracting them.”

“Just shut up. Let me talk to him,” the man responds.

I look around the room. And it’s not good. Flags with the Nazi War Eagle on them. The lightning SS symbols. Shit. A Manson poster. I dig my phone out of my pocket. I have it and my wallet. But I have no reception.

“You woke up,” the man says.

He’s in front of me.


“How’s your head?”

I touch my forehead and realize that I have a bandage on it.

“Um, ok?”

“That fucking bear. I’ve seen it a few times. Son of a bitch is out here like it owns

the place.”

“Who are you?”

“Darren,” he says.

“I need to get home my wife will be worried.”


And then his wife comes down the steps-

“He a cop? You a fucking cop?”

“No,” I say.

I want to get the fuck out of here. I’m uncomfortable and it’s like she senses it. Because when she asks her husband the next question I can feel venom dripping off each syllable.

“And how does he like the décor?”

“He ain’t said shit about it. Have you?” He says to me.

I shake my head. No.

What the fuck is going on.


On the drive back I am quiet.

The two of them are sitting on each side of me. I’m eyeing the passenger door. They blocked me in on purpose.

“You lived here long?” Darren asks.


“Cool and-“

We turn and my car has already been towed out of the ditch and standing next to it is Agent Stephens.

“Who is that?” Nazi Darren asks.

“A friend,” I say.

“When’d you call them?” The wife asks.

I can hear fear in her voice. Stephens is terrifying.

“I didn’t.”

They know now that I am not what they thought. I’m not prey. They both almost shit themselves.

“Now, stop the car,” I say.

They do. I hop out and walk up to Agent Stephens.

“I go to get intel for an hour and you get in an accident and disappear overnight?

Who are they?” He asks.

“Assholes,” I say and head to the car.

“You know if you tell them anything-“

“They’re Nazi’s who led me into this ditch. I didn’t tell them shit.”

Agent Stephens starts to walk toward the truck, reaching into his chest pocket as he does.

Darren and his wife peel out and take off before he can get close at all. I get in my car. I roll down the window.

“I didn’t tell them anything. Okay?”

Agent Stephens just looks at me. I can’t spend all day dealing with him. I drive off.




I am in the war room. It’s me, Deacon and the other three people who know what is really going on: Press Secretary Libby Reynolds, Secretary of Defense Charles Akingabe and Senator Mike Reynolds. Mike was next to the President when he got shot. He ended up riding with him and seeing him flatline. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have him know shit.

“The President is brain damaged,” I say.

“How badly?” Asks Mike.

“Badly enough they call it brain damage,” I respond.


“You think there is a situation where we go out there and say. Hello everyone

President Moran is brain damaged but it’s okay. It’s the good brain damage,” I

stare at him.

“It was a normal question,” he responds.

“Was it? We have the mining accord. We have two Supreme Court Justices

looking to leave. Both of which will be fights. We have movements along the

Russian border and a Chinese jet we had to escort away from Alaska. The world

is teetering. The President being brain damaged is not a question of sit and see.

We have to make decisions now!“

I am losing my cool. I need to gather myself. Luckily, Deacon steps in.

“We have a stop gap,” Deacon says.

“The accountant?” Akingabe asks. “Stephens says he was hanging out with

purported Nazis.”

I have read Stephens’ report as well.

“It seems they just helped him after a car accident,” I say.

“What does Stephens think otherwise?” Akingabe asks.

“He’s a family man. He has a lot to lose,” Deacon responds.

“Did he tell his wife?” Libby asks.

“No. He said he was going to San Francisco for a job interview.”

“And the Nazi’s?” Libby asks. “If we have to spin it down the road-“

I step in. I am gathered. I am ready.

“Stephens is taking care of it.”


Hours later. Stephens sent me a report.

Stephens found the Nazi’s truck through a government registry. The address was backwoods, making his job easier.

He walked through the brush, got to the house and saw the wife and husband, Darren and Rachele, arguing through the kitchen window. With a silencer, he waited until Darren and Rachele were lined up.

He then fired one bullet that went through both their heads.

He then lit the house on fire.



Disgraced Accountant, New York

I’d been gone all night and was now packing for a sudden ‘job interview’ in San Francisco. Chelsea had questions. She knew me. She’d stood by me. She knew when I was full of shit.

“Did you go to a hospital?” She asked.


“No. And you didn’t call me?” She asked with anger.

“I have to go.”

“To San Francisco.”

“Why are you saying it that way?” I asked.

“Because I think you’re lying.”

Right then, Kyle came in with Leslie.

“What happened to your head?” Kyle asked.

“I had an accident I’ll be back in a few days.”

I bolted. I texted Stephens.

“I need a real cover. My family is onto me.”


Stephens gave me instructions.

It was important no one saw me or identified me. No track record to run things back to if someone got suspicious. So, no planes. You have to give information on those.

Also, no car to pick me up in Patterson. It’s too rural and wide open and I have too many neighbors.


It’s the train.

I wear a hat. And glasses and I take the Metro North to Manhattan. Path into Jersey. Northeast Corridor into Philadelphia. Acela service from Philly to DC.

Once I get to Union Station in DC, I am to go down into the lower areas of the building and find an unmarked door. I enter it and then go into the system of hallways underneath the building.

It’s dark and as I make my way, I hear someone behind me. I try to duck into a nook in the wall.

And I’m right. Another man, also in a hat, passes by.

I let him go for a bit and then move. I turn down another hallway and then another and then-


He grabs me.

“What the fuck are you doing,” he says.

It’s Agent Stephens.

“You don’t hide from me.”

“I didn’t know you were following me.”

“I’m always following you. Same trains. Same everything. Always assume that.”

And with that we head into another doorway. We go up the stairs. It leads to an empty garage. We get in a van with black tinted windows.

And we are off.




He’s dumbfounded. You can tell. As Martin walks around the Oval office, it might be the first time any of this is feeling real for him.

“Here’s your speech,” I say.“How is your public speaking?”

“I… I haven’t done a ton of it,” he responds.

“Well, it’s a foreign country. Most of the politicians talk briefly. Just nod. Say, I

understand. We’ll get that done. And yes as much as possible and little more.

That’ll keep your colleagues happy and –“

“What happened to Morton?”

We all stop. There are only five of us who know what is going on. Deacon steps in.

“Not for you to know. You take the speech this woman is giving you. You

understand she is your boss and your new best friend and you realize you are

doing a great service for the country.”

“And if I don’t?”

“You disappear.”




It’s a blur from there. I take the speech and memorize what I have to.

The speech goes well.

I say hardly anything to anyone. I then am ushered back to NY. They fly me into a military base this time. Middle of the night. Stephens brings me home. I’m reading news on my phone and see a report on the fire of at the house I was at, the one with the Nazi’s.

We get home.

I see my wife asleep in bed. She rests easy. And then I hear a pebble against my window.

I look but see no one out there.

I head out.

It’s my neighbor. Paul.

“Some people disappeared, heard you were the last one with them. What are you

up to Martin?”

“Nothing. I was out of town. Job interview in San Francisco.”

“We’re a small town here. Hard to keep any secrets.”

“Okay. Thanks Paul.”

I go back inside and sleep next to my wife.


The next morning her and Kyle will welcome me home. I’ll see Kyle’s girlfriend, through a window, slipping out the back. Me and Deacon’s kids are getting carnally connected. Wonderful.

And then the news will come down. A message from my new boss.

President? He was now moving to life support.

And then another from my neighbor, Paul.

“Tomorrow night, I have people you need to meet.”

And this was the start.

The Nazi’s in Patterson would try recruiting me and eventually killing me.

My kid would get Deacon’s daughter pregnant.

My wife would discover what I was up to. And decide to help me.

And Stephens would become my own personal hit squad… whether I liked it or not.

And whether I wanted my family in his crosshairs or not.

And me.

I’d be the President.

The most powerful man in the world.

And if I was going to survive I was going to have to make it work for me, I’d have to wield all the power that title brings.


SEAN LEWIS is a record-breaking comic book writer who has written major characters from SPAWN to SUPERMAN. He's an award-winning playwright whose work has played internationally and off broadway and he's a radio commentator who's been heard on THIS AMERICAN LIFE. His next project is the short story collection OPEN ENDED (some things go on forever) which includes the story in your hands and a novel.

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