Terminus

By Andy Nalewski

    I slapped the President of the United States in the face.

    I don’t know how much attention it would have gotten if it went public, since Watergate dominated the news during that time. Still, it would have been funny.

    Nixon was, like all the Presidents I’ve worked with, curious. It wasn’t a particularly outstanding quality for a President to have - most people were curious, too. Their curiosity - the curiosity of the Presidents - was always different, a trite… corrupted. Fear, anxiety, aggression, lust; they all came to me with these things when they came to me for questions. Always about my progress.

    The project I was working on wasn’t even remotely related to my official position. It wasn’t remotely related to any official position. Just doing some quick math in my head, now, I’d say that only 0.67% of all higher government officials - including the President - knew what my actual job was.

    An assistant. I was listed as that. The assistant to… Oh, I’ve forgotten them almost entirely; all I remember is that he had red hair and mumbled about his wife under his breath whenever he was set to do a complex task. But never mind that - what I mean to say is that I was only meant to remind him of meetings and get him coffee, and some other duties so trivial that not even the most boredom-stricken child on the planet could appreciate. My real job - and talent - was suggestion. In every sense of the word.

    I was teleprompter and reporter, coach and athlete, adviser and master. I was some of these things to certain people, and when I needed to be, I was all to all of them.

    Manipulating a mind is so very simple, but I can’t explain it to you here or now - maybe never. If all goes well a hundred years from now, you may be able to understand.

    The government asked how I did it, so that they may do it themselves. I explained that there were not enough words in the English language, not enough concepts known to philosophy, to paint them a pretty picture. And never mind the lack of science, oh, dear…

    They were, nonetheless, fascinated by my ability. This lead to obsession, which lead to threats, which ultimately lead to a dazzling display of my power. I made it clear that it would happen on my own terms.

    Enter MK Ultra, their failed imitation of me. I won't recount those events just now - I’ve already made a journal entry on the debacle. After that, they realized they needed me to help them along - my way.

    Dear me, I’ve gone so off topic, and I’m running out of pages in this blasted diary!

    I’ll get down to it then: Nixon was nearing the end of his scandal, and he needed a certain man - Cox, I think, was his name - out of the picture. Not dead, but dismissed of his position. He had asked two of his top men in “my” department to do the deed, but both resigned out of pure contempt for the command.

    Then he came to me.

    We met in the Darkroom, a dry place with only a single light hanging in the middle, which penetrated the darkness in the back of the room; in the back was where I slept and returned from “my job” at the end of the day - it was my home.

    Nixon was unusually fiery that day. At this time in his presidency, it was normal, in the eyes of everyone else. But never had I seen him project in such a manner in my presence.

    He flung his arms up above his head, elbows level with his chin, and detailed the whole situation to me, ending with a particularly brazen “I need you to make him step down.”

    I was not receptive.

    My brain sent the signal to my right arm, sheathed at my side, and commanded it move hard upwards and across, and the hand sent back to the brain a bright, red numbness from the most powerful blow in - or rather, outside - the history of the world.

    His aides and his Secret Service only stood there, motionless, knowing that they could do nothing about it - I’d made my dark side well known before.

     “I’m to advise you until my people arrive, Mr. President, as I have done with your predecessors. I want us to have peaceful relations, and I will exercise my power - and I have done so, in the past, with men much like yourself - to make that happen.” He only stared at me as gravity whisked down a single drop of sweat from his forehead. I could taste the air in the room, then. There was sweat, angst, fear, a host of other unsavory things that lie in mans heart on the worst of days - but the sensation was calming, a vacuum. “You yourself are not my concern, President Nixon. Any man can do your job. I only prefer one who will listen instead of obey.”

    Oh, the silence then was palpable. It was only a about five seconds in reality, but when I looked into his feeble mind I saw time passing so very, very slowly. It would have upset me slightly, if it hadn’t been so satisfying.

    “I believe our business is concluded. Good luck, sir.” I turned and walked back behind the light.

    The image of his face in my mind before I turned away gave me perhaps the most satisfaction since I arrived here. It was nothing more than his typical Nixon look, only this time, his face surely admitted that he was, in fact, a crook.