Dropping the Bomb

Dropping the Bomb follows the progress of a Young Socialist Society forming in Washington DC, during the months before the Cuban Missile Crisis. If that sounds interesting to anyone.

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1. Prologue

 

His face was rounder than she had expected. Not that she had expected to be meeting the President of the United States today; just she never thought he would be quite so circular if she did. But now, here she is: a finely furbished hotel lobby; armies of official men in official suits; the President chatting politely with her Father and his face really does have a, sort of, bloated quality to it. Or maybe it’s just the light.

 

“And this is your daughter, I presume.”

 

The President holds out his hand for her to shake and she accepts it, although noting –to her slight disgust- that his palms were rather uncomfortably sticky, and moist…

 

“I hope you are very proud of your Father, little Missy, he has done a great service to his country, and me.”

 

He speaks with a clear, yet distinctly over-sweet voice, a tone that seemed far too patronizing for the sensible young woman of sixteen that he was addressing, and far more suited to a younger listener, a five year old, for instance.

 

Despite this insult to her intelligence, in a steady dignified voice, she simply answers, “I am sir, very proud,” sounding more stately and elegant than the Queen herself. A little unsettled, the President lets his china-doll grin slip  for a second as she speaks. One small victory at least: “little Missy”- one, the President- nil.

 

Rather hurriedly, with a few more fumbled handshakes and excuses, the President makes his escape. Unable to pull away from their gravitational orbit of the great one, the men in dark suits (apparently all a part of the Presidents impressive entourage) leave too, squadrons of them disappearing into the fleet of black cars awaiting them outside.

 

She watches as they leave, and slowly, hesitantly, almost as though she believes, somehow, they are still watching her, she removes the make-shift folder of papers wedged under her arm. A sad smile flickers across her face as her fingertips trace the lettering on the top page. “I wonder…” she thinks to herself, “I wonder what Mr President would say if he saw this? I wonder what would happen if he read what I have in my hands right now? If he knew… If he knew what I… what we had almost done?”

 

“Sweetie, you said you would wait until later before you read it again.”

 

Her Father: always lovingly gentle and always lovingly concerned. He knows what this means to her, but, no matter how hard she tries, today she cannot listen to his ever-present voice of reason.

 

“I’m sorry Pops,” she uses the nickname she called him as a child, it never fails to make him smile, “but I think I have to read it now, some of it, at least.”

 

Understanding as well as any parent can understand their child; he gives a small bob of the head in a submission of sorts: its okay, I know.

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