Walter West popped open a fresh can of Pringles and plopped down into his chair in the oval office. It was nearly 10 o’clock in the morning, and the day had already presented him with a fresh batch of challenges. The reporters who had been so kind to him when he took office two short years ago had turned into barracudas, peppering him with difficult questions. Everyone seemed to want to gain instant fame for making the president fall flat on his face.

West’s proposed budget was dying a slow death in congress. He knew that the American people were in strong support of the budget, but business-as-usual in Washington was resulting in additional appropriations for pet projects. In its current form, the bill had more pork than a slaughterhouse. West sighed at the corruption that oozed out of every congressional orifice.

It was not the reporters nor the congressional weasels that had West at wit’s end this morning. It was, instead, a small issue of foreign policy. Today, he must choose to side with either France or Canada in a testy dispute.

“Charles,” he called out to a passing aide, “come help me with something.” His assistant quickly came over to his desk. When the president laid out the problem, young Charles was sitting on the fence.

“You could make a strong case either way, Mr. President. I really think this is a decision you’re going to have to grapple with on your own.”

“I feared as much. And Charles, you can call me Walter.”

“Yes, Mr. President,” replied the aide as he exited the office and raced off to slay another dragon for the administration.

At noon, the President enjoyed fried chicken with a group of war veterans. He posed his question to a quartet of vets. Two of them sided with France and two of them with Canada.

At two o’clock, West had a conference call with some of the movers and shakers on Capitol Hill. Pass the original version of the budget bill, he urged. They refused to capitulate to his request, insisting that their constituents demanded that they bring home the bacon to their home states. West hung up the phone and cursed the congressional nitwits silently.

In the late afternoon, West signed two bills into law. He smiled as he posed with supporters of the bills – but all the time was still wrestling with the issue of France and Canada. The end of the day had arrived, and the time for a decision was at hand.

West retired to the private residence. By the time Sam and Katie arrived home, the decision had been made.

“Daddy!” exclaimed his daughter. “French toast for supper. Yay!”

West smiled down at his crestfallen son. “Don’t worry, Sam. I’ll make the Canadian bacon pizza tomorrow.”

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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