Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

An Average American This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
   As Rachel Mason stepped through the open door and walked briskly across to the table, her hips swung slightly in a fashionably tight suede skirt and her tapered heels rang out a hollow pattering rhythm on the gym floor. "Excuse me, ma'am," she addressed a matronly woman seated on a rickety wooden chair behind a folding table. "I'd like an Independent ballot," she requested pertly, then added without a hint of embarrassment, "Could you please point the way. I'm new to this town, and I have no idea where to go. After all, you know how it is with the government these days - all sorts of reg-ul-ations and pro-cee-dural as-pects." She laughed invitingly at her own little exaggeration.

The woman who sat behind the table tucked a strand of greying hair behind her ear, and inquired pleasantly, "How long have you been here? This town has a fairly tight community, and I always try to get to know new arrivals."

"Well, we just moved here about two weeks ago. My son, Bill, started school here just a few days ago. The third grade."

"I hope you've settled in all right. You know, I have a son myself, but he's a bit older. I hope yours isn't quite as much trouble, Mrs....?"

"Oh, I'm sorry, I should have introduced myself sooner. I'm Rachel Mason."

"Pleased to meet you. I'm Barbara Thompson."

"You must get awfully tired of handing out ballots and giving directions to people like me. What is it you do for the town government?"

"Oh, my dear, this isn't my usual job! I'm a professor at a nearby college, but I like to volunteer and help out. What do you do?"

"I work with an insurance agency in the city," she stated. "Anyway, I'd better get on with my voting. My husband and I have plans to see a play," she explained. "Glad to meet you."

"If you need help with anything in town, just give me a call. Watch out for my kids though, they're not such great message takers!"

"Don't I know about that!" Rachel grinned.

Barbara returned the smile, and as Rachel walked away toward the voting booths, smiled again to herself. There goes a young woman who knows what she's about. She certainly won't have any trouble voting! Definitely not a woman to be influenced by the glamour or patriotic overplays of the media. Barbara let out a sigh and rested her chin in her hand as she remembered her struggle to decide who the right candidate was. The trouble is, with all the conflicting issues (abortion, discrimination, government spending, international policies, etc.), no candidate ever seemed right.

Rachel slid open the door to the booth and stepped briskly inside. Firmly, she picked up the pen and made a swift, dark check in the appropriate box. She felt a flush of pride along with the little flurry of nervousness that had been waiting in her stomach. "After all," she rationalized, "this is the first time I've actually voted." She felt proud that she had taken all the time to follow the events of the campaigns on T.V. and make a choice. At first it had been hard to decide between the two candidates, Wilmsferd and Monfield. She was impressed with both of them during the debates, enjoying their powerful voices booming from her T.V.'s surround speakers or car radio and entrancing her with earnest and fervent pleas for freedom, justice and democracy. But then tuning in late to the news one night, she had been just in time to hear, "And now we'll go to presidential candidate Monfield's house in West Palm Beach, where he takes a break from visiting the elderly with his 10-year-old nephew." The picture then flashed to Monfield, a tall, dark-haired and clean-cut, middle-aged man, wearing blue jeans and a plain cotton shirt, lifting his nephew into a motorboat and climbing in. Sitting in the driver's seat, he revved the engine and swung the excited boy onto his lap to let him steer. Other images flashed by: the family laughing happily at an outdoor barbecue, Monfield and his nephew playing soccer together. Then the scene changed to show Monfield gently shaking hands with a wrinkled woman of 85, pushing an old man in a wheelchair with a toothless grin....

The pictures went on, but Rachel was sitting motionless. "I know he is the man," she whispered to herself. His nephew is the very picture of Bill in a few years - they have the exact same sort of light, loosely falling hair and wide attentive eyes! And the way he cares for this boy. Almost as if he were his father! Smiling, firmly lifting the boy, keeping a fatherly eye out for danger. Monfield - so caring, so strong, virtually shining in his eyes! He even visited the nursing home to talk with some workers. Oh, and of course, he's knowledgeable about world affairs.

And now, standing in the booth, envisioning Monfield's handsome, fair face and dashing blue eyes, the slightly serious wrinkle of his forehead, she knew he was the man for the United States. He was young enough to be an innovator, yet full of resolve and hope for the country to which he was unflaggingly loyal. Rachel Mason stepped out of the booth, shifted the leather purse on her shoulder and smiled smugly. She was now a voting member of American society.

Several hundred miles away, Jeffrey Monfield sat back in his plush lounge chair and nervously pulled out a cigarette, mentally promising himself that it would be the last. He sat in a private office with his closest advisors, waiting tensely and reflecting how much he hated making promises. As he blissfully inhaled, Monfield thought back to the exhausting weeks of campaigning. Flashes of writing slogans, examining billboards, debating, giving speeches, dressing carefully, shaking countless hands, smiling at endless T.V. cameras and...

"Hey, Charley, I just remembered something. Give Edgar a few extra bucks as a bonus when you get the chance. I hear that T.V. session he did with me and my nephew raised my ratings a few points." He chuckles. "Ain't it amazing what some quality editing can do?" Monfield lit another cigarette, excusing it as a special occasion, and crossed his arms pensively. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback