Posted November 14, 2012

Legacy

A Naptown Tales Sequel by Altimexis

Chapter 50 - Saying Goodbye - David Reynolds

Monday, October 5, 2043
Six Months after the Assassination

The tremor in my right hand was only getting worse. It had started nearly a year ago when I started noticing difficulty walking through doorways. It seemed like such a silly thing then. I would be walking along and the moment I came to a doorway, my body would literally freeze and I would have to concentrate on moving forward. It was as if there were an invisible barrier that kept me from going through.

When I started having the blackout spells, I knew something was really wrong. It’s normal to feel a bit light-headed when first getting up in the morning, but it was anything but normal to lose consciousness and fall to the floor. At Jer’s insistence I went to our doctor, who checked me over and referred me to a neurologist. Much was made of it in the press when I checked into my room at the Bethesda Naval Hospital. In the end we told the press I’d been given a clean bill of health. I even told Jeremy that, but it was far from the truth. It was strictly a matter between my doctor and myself, and I was determined to keep it that way.

The bottom line was that I had a disease I’d never heard of before, called Shy Drager Syndrome, a variant of Multiple System Atrophy, or MSA. It was like Parkinson’s Disease on steroids and my life expectancy was only three years. The medications they gave me certainly helped. I no longer had trouble going through doors and I no longer passed out. More importantly, the mental decline that would have rapidly become apparent, had been postponed. Still, there was no way I could have continued as President, let alone run for re-election. I would stick it out as long as I could, and then I would resign. The Vice-President was a good woman. Remembering Paul’s premonition about dying in office, I’d hand picked someone I knew could do the job and continue my programs after I was gone.

In a way knowing how I would die in office was comforting and I had prepared myself for the inevitable, but then an opportunity presented itself. It was not long after I’d accepted an invitation from Billy Mathews to attend a fundraiser in Saint Louis that my Secret Service agent approached me with a warning. The FBI had been monitoring increased chatter on terrorist networks they monitored in the Midwest and the Secret Service had deemed it an unacceptable risk to go to Saint Louis. I might have been dying but I was not suicidal and so I decided it would be best to cancel the trip. Not only was there a risk to me but there was always the risk of collateral damage and of others dying by my side. The last thing I wanted was for friends, loved ones or even innocent bystanders to be killed so that I could die a martyr. All that was left was to find a face-saving excuse that would allow us to cancel the trip without drawing suspicion.

That night I had a horrible nightmare. I dreamt of seeing mushroom clouds rising up across the land. New York, Washington, Denver, Los Angeles and just about every city in America was vaporized in less than an hour, with nuclear fallout spread far and wide, and it was not only America that was affected. London, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Beijing and every other crown jewel of civilization suffered a similar fate. The Middle East was hit the hardest of all as Israel and Palestine were wiped off the face of the map. Armageddon had come and with it the end of the human species.

I awoke with a start, only to find that I was not in my own bed, but rather in my childhood bed in the house where I grew up. My bedroom looked just as I remembered it from all those years ago, from just before I left for college. It was then that I realized I was not alone. Sitting naked in my desk chair was my old friend and brother-in-law, Cliff Kimball, just as I remembered him in the days before he became ill.

“It’s been a long time, my friend,” he said to me, and then he got a serious look on his face and continued, “but I’ve always been with you, David. I think you know that.” Indeed, many times in my life I’d felt his presence and so I merely nodded my head, and he went on. “I know you think this disease you have is how you will die in office, but that is not the way it is supposed to be. This disease you have . . . it is meant only to take away your fear.

“David, it is critical that you die by assassination,” he continued. “The future of the world depends on it. The vision you just had . . . it is a vision of the possible future of the world if you do not fall victim to an assassin’s bullet. Hopefully it is a version of history that will never be.

“You must go to Saint Louis, David,” he stated with somber emphasis. “Saint Louis is where you will meet your destiny.”

This time when I woke up, I found myself in my bed in the White House with Jeremy by my side. I got out of bed, being careful not to wake my beloved. I got dressed and headed to the Oval Office, where I contemplated what must be done.

Saint Louis was supposed to be a family trip with Jeremy and the kids traveling with me. Clearly I couldn’t let that happen now, and so I hatched a plan to make sure an important farm bill would keep Jeremy bogged down in Washington. Sandy and Josh would undoubtedly still want to go, so I would have to be certain they were busy with assignments at school. Such things were easy to arrange.

That only left Billy himself to worry about. As the one who’d arranged the trip, Billy would undoubtedly want to ride in the Presidential Limo along with me. I knew I couldn’t let that happen, but how could I talk him into riding separately or, better still, staying home, without tipping him off that something was amiss? I just couldn’t think of a way to do that and, as the time for the fated trip to Saint Louis approached, I was nearly in a panic as to what might happen to my nearly lifelong friend.

Then something terrible happened. Cam Dunnington’s mother passed away. As close as Billy and Rick were to Lyle Herndon and Cam Dunnington, there was no way they could or would miss Ms. Dunnington’s funeral. Billy felt terrible about missing the trip when he called to inform me of the situation, but I was secretly relieved that everything had worked out so well . . . until I learned the truth - that Ms. Dunnington had been murdered.

Because of the potential link to my assassination there was an intensive investigation into the matter of her death but, in the end, all that could be determined with certainty was that Billy had not been responsible. It appeared that the CIA had somehow been responsible but how or why remained a mystery. Although she had been over ninety and infirm, that she died because of me would haunt me for the remainder of my days, limited though they might be.

Nothing, however, would haunt me more than the events of that fateful day in Saint Louis itself. It was as I prepared to get into the Presidential limo that my Secret Service agent suddenly pulled me aside and shoved me into another vehicle further back in the motorcade. Although I strongly objected, he wasn’t about to take a chance on my life. Little did he know that my life would be over in a few years anyway. As I was shoved aside, my double took my place in the Presidential limo. This was standard procedure in such cases, so that the public would not know that a risk had been identified. Unfortunately, the Vice-President and her husband ended up riding in the Presidential limo, which was a serious breach of protocol. Only later would we learn that another agent had been bribed to make the change, ensuring that the Speaker of the House ascended to the presidency.

I will never forget the moment the rocket struck. Being further back in the motorcade, I did not see it personally but, when the grenade exploded, the whole ground shook under us. In that moment I knew - my double was dead, as was the driver, the Vice-President and her husband, and a few Secret Service agents. When I made my plans, never did I expect that the assassins would be so bold as to use a rocket propelled grenade. I had been expecting a bullet from a sniper, with little risk to those around me. My ignorance had resulted in multiple deaths on my behalf. Worst of all was that I was still alive when I shouldn’t have been.

Much as it pained me to see Marvin Schroeder in the White House, with Cliff’s vision in mind I knew that it was essential that I remain dead. The world must never know that I had survived the assassination attempt but, already, a number of people knew of my survival including the head of the Secret Service and my attorney general, Deb McLaughlin. It was only by invoking the ‘national security’ trump card that I was able to convince them of the need for my survival to be kept a strict secret and, even then, I had to tell Deb everything before she was willing to help me disappear.

Six months have passed since my so-called assassination. The initial flack over Jeremy’s vicious attack on the religious right during his eulogy has mostly blown over. I would have advised him against such an attack but perhaps he was right. Maybe it was time for someone to stand up to those unwilling to listen to reason. In any case, Kurt did a masterful job of damage control. As an ordained Evangelical minister himself, he was able to reassure the true believers that they could still believe in the teachings of Christ, even as they embraced modern science.

Soon, the Pope himself chimed in that the Vatican had embraced scientific enquiry for five hundred years, and he indicated that he would be reviewing the Church’s position on homosexuality over the course of the next year. The Islamic world had a more difficult time dealing with Jeremy’s eulogy, however, and many extremists cried jihad as they claimed yet another attempt by the West to destroy Islam.

Surprisingly, it was Iran’s Supreme Leader who put an end to that kind of talk. Harkening back to a time when Persian ships ruled the seas, he proclaimed, “Allah would not want us to ignore the facts, just because we don’t like them.” Although he made it clear that scientific evidence would have to be reviewed by an Islamic court before it could be accepted, it would no longer be ignored. True to his word, proclamation after proclamation had come out of Teheran since then, accepting as fact such radical notions as the Universe being billions of years old and that evolution played a role in humankind’s development. He even promised a review of homosexuality, although we were not so deluded as to expect it to be embraced by Shiite Islam.

The so-called secular world was even more emphatic at embracing Jeremy’s concepts. China claimed that they had always viewed science and reason as the basis of modern civilization, although their actions spoke otherwise. Indians claimed that the Hindu faith was fully compatible with scientific discovery. Back in the U.S., public sentiment was overwhelmingly with Jeremy, even as the fundamentalists continued to rail against moral degradation. The bottom line was that their members were voting with their feet and ministries that failed to accept scientific knowledge or that continued to preach hatred were finding their coffers empty.

Lost in my reverie, I was startled by the sound of someone knocking on my door.

“Dr. Austin’s here to see you,” the Secret Service agent announced.

“Which one?” I asked although I knew the answer. Sammy Austin didn't know I’d survived the assassination attempt, nor would he ever know if I had anything to do with it. I couldn’t help but remember the words I heard from Cliff the one time Jeremy nearly cheated on me with Sammy. At the time I only heard the word, ‘Stop!’ but I later realized he’d also said, ‘Now is not the time.’ I knew that Sammy and Jeremy truly loved each other and that their love could easily become romantic. They’d spent a lot of time together since the assassination and I felt that, not only did they need each other, but that they would make a wonderful couple. Knowing I was still alive would stop any thoughts of a relationship between them dead in their tracks. Besides which, much as it pained me, I knew I could never be together with Jeremy again without compromising his ability to be President. I was still dying and Jeremy needed to move on.

“It’s Trevor Austin,” the agent confirmed.

“Show him in,” I answered.

The first words out of my friend’s mouth were, “It's fucking freezing out there!”

“Winter comes early in the Rockies,” I replied as I approached Trevor and enveloped him in a warm embrace. I now lived in a heavily fortified mountain retreat in a remote part of Idaho, just west of Glacier National Park. There was little chance of being found here and it allowed me the privacy to work on writing my memoirs while continuing the treatment, such as it was, for my disease.

“So what brings the National Security Advisor all the way out west to my chateau?” I asked.

“I’ve been giving this a lot of thought, David,” he answered, “and I really think you should give Jeremy a chance to say goodbye to you…”

I started to interrupt, but Trevor held up his hand and said, “Let me finish.

“First of all, the two of you spent a lifetime together and that alone gives him the right to know. More importantly, he’s the President for cripes sake. When national emergencies comes up, presidents often consult with experts including past presidents. It would be criminal to deny Jeremy the invaluable resource of your expertise should he ever need it.”

“But I’ll be gone in only two years, Trev,” I pointed out.

“Even after you’re gone,” he responded, “there could be invaluable information in your memoirs that could be of use to him.”

“But Jeremy was there, Trevor,” I reminded my friend.

“As was I, David, even though I wasn’t sharing your bed,” Trevor replied. “I’ve been reading your memoirs as I’ve been encrypting them. There are a lot of things in there that you never told anyone. Jeremy has a right to have access, should he ever need it.”

“I thought you were encrypting my memoirs so that they can’t be accessed for a hundred years,” I asked as much as stated. Trevor and I both agreed that it would take several generations before the world would be ready to accept knowledge of my survival after the assassination attempt. We assumed that it could take as long as a hundred years for people to accept what I’d done rather than reject it, and to be ready to learn from my experiences. Trevor therefore was encrypting my memoirs and embedding them in the data archives that would eventually be housed in my library, once it was built. The encrypted memoirs were designed to announce themselves on the one hundred year anniversary of my supposed death.

“I can add an access key,” Trevor explained, “an access key that only the President could use.”

“If Jer might need to access my memoirs, what about future presidents?” I asked. “Wouldn’t they need to be told as well?”

“I anticipate that word of your survival and information about your memoirs would be passed down privately from president to president until the day the information becomes public.”

“But my brother could well be the next president after Jeremy,” I reminded Trevor. “He would never forgive me.”

“By which time you’ll have long been dead, David,” Trevor replied, “but if I were you, I’d give serious consideration to meeting with Brad too. Brad has a right to say goodbye to his own brother… a brother who happens to be his best friend.”

“Next thing you’ll be suggesting I meet and say goodbye to Kurt,” I suggested.

“It wouldn’t hurt, David,” Trevor replied. “Not only is he my husband, but he’s as close to you as a brother. However, I’ll certainly understand if you don’t want to tell him.”

“You know, I didn’t even want you to know,” I countered.

“But you needed me to help you disappear, David,” Trevor replied. “Few had the expertise to alter computer records and eliminate any evidence you were still alive. Few could have created an intact scenario for your placement here and for ongoing Secret Service protection without others having to be informed.

“I understand how you feel, David. You really weren’t expecting to survive the assassination attempt and you’re scared you’ll mess up the future. The fewer people who know, the safer you feel. Still, I really think you should tell Jeremy… and Brad.”

After a long period of silence as I thought about what Trevor had said, I replied, “I still don’t think it wise, but I’ll give it some thought. Jeremy and Sammy are getting close…”

“My brother’s in love, and I think it’s mutual,” Trevor interrupted, “but I think they both feel guilty about it.”

“Which is what I’m afraid of,” I replied. “I already miss Jeremy terribly, but we cannot be together. More than anything I want Jeremy to be happy. Sammy can do that for him and it’s high time for Sammy to have someone to love again.”

“I figured you’d see it that way,” Trevor responded.

“But if they know I’m alive, their guilt will be even greater. Jeremy will insist on waiting until I’m finally gone, by which time their relationship may have been damaged beyond repair.”

“I know my brother, and I know Jeremy,” Trevor answered. “I’m sure their relationship will survive if they choose to wait, but I’m not sure they can get past the guilt on their own. That guilt will always be hanging above their heads, and it could poison anything that might get started in the bedroom. By saying goodbye to them now, you could go a long way toward helping them get past your death, even though you’re technically not dead yet.”

“You want me to tell Sammy too?” I asked incredulously.

“I don’t want you to do anything, David,” Trevor replied. “This has to come from what you want to do. I just wanted to remind you of the timing.

“As you know, today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Jeremy is spending the day in prayer. Today is also the start of the Ten Days of Awe, a period of self-reflection during which he is supposed to reflect on his deeds of the past year, to seek forgiveness for his sins against his fellow man, and to prepare to seek forgiveness from God. It is also a period to remember those who are no longer with us. There is a memorial service on Yom Kipur…”

“Yizkur,” I noted.

“Yes, Yizkur,” Trevor replied, “during which you know Jeremy will be mourning you. Now would be a good time to tell him, David, during a time when Jer is already reflecting on the events of the last year and on losing you. He’s going to be more likely to accept it if you tell him now. And again, it would be a great way for you to give your blessing to his union with Sammy.”

After another period of silence, Trevor continued, “You know, there really was a reason for you to survive. The nation needed you at the time. We found out too late that we had a rogue CIA agent in the Middle East, and that it was he who invoked an old Bush-era protocol for abducting Altaf. When we realized that with Altaf, he had the means to co-opt a nuclear weapon and that he intended to do just that, nuking Tel Aviv, we really had no choice but to act decisively. None of us wanted to have to kill Altaf, Paul and the Palestinian Prime Minister in the process if we could avoid it. To avoid collateral damage, Jeremy kept the whole thing close to his chest, although he did discuss it with me.

“We had a weapon, the EMP device, that could solve our problem, but Jeremy was not officially the President and he couldn’t be authorized to detonate it unless he was, and Schroeder had been locked out from using his nuclear codes, and he lacked the code for the EMP device in the first place. I tried hacking into the firing mechanism to get around the need for a code, but they used a protocol I’d developed myself and it was foolproof. As you were presumed dead, there was no need to inactivate your code for the device so, thanks to you, we were able to cut the rogue agent off at the balls.”

“Yes, and that has made my survival with this dreadful disease worthwhile,” I acknowledged.

“Think about it, Dave,” Trevor reiterated. “Think about telling them. Jeremy has a right to have access to your experience as president. As importantly, you alone can give him and Sammy the freedom they so richly deserve.”

“I don’t know, but I’ll think about it, Trev,” I agreed.

“That’s all I’m asking, David,” Trevor replied.

We chatted a bit longer and we had lunch together, and then Trevor left to return to Washington, his home.

 

I was nervous beyond belief as I waited for Jeremy and Sammy to arrive. They had been had been told only that there were new developments in the case of my assassination and that critical information would only be revealed in a personal meeting with a man whose identification needed to be kept secret. Trevor himself had arranged this meeting and, hence, Jeremy didn’t even question its legitimacy. Would my husband even accept me? Could he ever forgive me? Could I convince him and Sammy to move on?

“Dr. Landry,” the Secret Service agent announced, “Your guests have arrived.”

“Thank you,” I replied, “please show them in, then leave us alone.”

The shock on Jeremy and Sammy’s faces when they entered the great room of my mountain retreat was evident. I could tell that they were sorting through their thoughts, not quite believing what they were seeing. But then the disease was increasingly taking its toll on me and I knew that my face no longer looked quite the same. I had a ‘masked face’, the doctors called it.

“Dr. Landry, I presume,” Jeremy stated as he extended his hand toward me, reason evidently winning out in the battle in his brain as to my true identity.

The effects of the disease were evident as I walked toward my husband with a shuffling gait, my right hand with a prominent tremor that disappeared the moment I extended it to shake Jeremy’s hand.

As I shook Sammy’s hand, he said, “I suppose you hear this all the time, but you bear an uncanny resemblance to President Reynolds.”

“Sammy,” I replied with a slight quiver in my voice, part of it from the disease and part of it from my anxiety, “that’s because I am President Reynolds.”

With that, Sammy’s eyes opened wide and Jeremy practically shouted, “But David was killed in an RPG attack on his limo. The limo was engulfed in flames. No one could have survived. And we buried him in Arlington Cemetery. I saw his casket lowered into the ground. I shoveled dirt on top of it.”

“I know what you saw, Jer,” I replied. “I was there. I knew there were reports of increased terrorism activity in Saint Louis when I left. I expected there to be an assassination attempt. I was fully prepared to die that day. It was only because of a well-meaning Secret Service agent that I was shoved into another car while my double took my place in the Presidential Limo.

“As you can see, I’m not well,” I continued. “I have something called Shy Drager Syndrome and I won’t live more than another two years, if that long. It’s a neurodegenerative disorder. The medicines have helped me keep my faculties but, soon, my mind will start to go and I will be little more than a vegetable. I only hope and pray there will be sufficient time to finish my memoirs.”

“Why?” Jeremy asked. “Why didn’t you reassert yourself as president? You could have saved us the embarrassment of the Schroeder presidency. Why didn’t you tell me you were alive?”

“I never anticipated an RPG attack,” I explained. “I expected to die from a sniper’s bullet with minimal or no collateral damage. The Vice-President wasn’t supposed to ride in the Presidential limo in the first place. I fully expected her to survive the attack and to take my place as president.

“But if I did reassert myself as president after Schroeder had been sworn in, what purpose would it have served? My disease would have still progressed and soon I would have been forced to resign. Schroeder might even have become president anyway and the Democrats would have lost valuable time in choosing someone to run in my place.

“This way you’re the president, Jeremy, and you’ll run for reelection next year, and you’ll win. I can’t think of a better person to carry forth my legacy.

“And I am telling you about me, Jer. I’m doing it right now, although it did take some time for Trevor to convince me that you had a right to say goodbye, and that you need to know that you could reach me in a time of crisis, and how to access my memoirs once I’m gone.”

“But why am I here, David,” Sammy asked.

Before I could even answer, Jeremy turned to Sammy and reached out to hold both his hands as he answered, “It’s because he wants to be sure I don’t wait for him to die before I remarry.” Then turning back to look at me, he asked, “Isn’t that right, David?”

Rather than say anything, I merely nodded. As always, Jeremy knew me so well.

Turning back to Sammy, Jeremy continued, “Remember the time we almost cheated on David, but then we both heard Cliff tell us to stop?”

“Yes, I remember it well,” Sammy replied, “I heard my dead friend shout ‘Stop!’ into my ear, but that’s not all he said. I refused to hear anything more at the time, but he did say more, didn’t he?”

“Yes,” Jeremy said, “He said, ‘Now is not the time.’ Like you, I didn’t allow myself to listen back when I heard it. I didn’t want to face the implications, but I remember hearing it clearly.”

“I remember it too,” I said, apparently surprising both my husband and my long-time friend.

“But I can’t remarry while you’re still alive, David,” Jeremy noted as he turned toward me.

“Why not?” I asked. “As far as the world is concerned, I’m already dead and they won’t know any differently until one hundred years from now, when my memoirs make themselves known to the world.”

“That sounds like Trevor’s doing,” Sammy interjected with a smile.

“Who else would have the expertise?” I replied.

“It wouldn’t feel right, David,” Jeremy went on. “I would always feel like I’m cheating on you.”

“Jer, I’m dying,” I reiterated, “and besides which, there is no way for you to be together with me anymore. I don’t exist and there’s no way for the President to become involved with me without my cover being blown. The world cannot know the truth of what happened until generations from now. That’s why the delay in releasing my memoirs is so necessary.

“But even if I had died six months ago, would you remarry?” I asked.

Sighing, Jeremy answered, “I don’t know. I would have realized you would have wanted me to, but I do not know if I could have. The guilt would have always been there…”

“As it would have been for me,” Sammy added.

“I think in a way you need my permission and my blessing to move on,” I continued. “You two need each other, you love each other and you’re perfect for one another.”

“But after what happened with Sally,” Sam interrupted, “I don’t know if I can ever be someone’s lover. How can a marriage survive without the physical aspects of a relationship? I don’t think that one can. I would be afraid to make love again… afraid that I would hurt you.”

Squaring off to face Sammy directly, Jeremy countered, “I want you to hit me, Sammy. Go ahead. Give it your best shot. You can punch me anywhere. Go ahead. You won’t hurt me.”

“I couldn’t do that, Jer,” Sammy replied. “I could never deliberately hit you. It’s just that I’m not sure I could stop myself during the passion of making love.”

“Dammit, Sammy, I want you to hit me!”

“No! I won’t”

“Do it, Sammy. Do it now!”

"No!”

“Fuck you, Sammy. Fuck you to Hell. Hit me, God damn it!”

Before any of us knew what was happening, much less Sammy, he was throwing a punch straight for Jeremy’s left eye. He was lightning fast and at first it appeared he’d even taken Jeremy by surprise.

But then Jeremy’s head was inside the radius of Sammy’s punch and he was pulling Sammy into a tight embrace as he pressed their lips together. Pulling away from the gentle, closed-mouth kiss, Jeremy said, “You see, Sammy, you can’t hurt me. I’m as fast as you are, and a lot stronger. I still swim fifty laps a day. I still lift weights. I can bench press more than twice my weight.

“I’m an athlete, Sammy,” he continued, “a world-class athlete, the winner of five Olympic medals. Even if you did land a lucky punch, you wouldn’t do serious damage. I’m all muscle. I can take it. Show me your worst and I’ll dish it right back, but I’ll never hurt you, Sammy. For you there will only be love.”

Then turning his head to look at me, Jeremy added, “Sorry about that, Dave. I needed to show Sammy that he had nothing to worry about, but I’m still not sure I can forget you.”

“Jeremy, I wouldn’t expect you to try,” I answered. “I hope you’ll always remember me and love me.

“You remember that Altaf had a boyfriend he left behind in Pakistan… a boyfriend who was stoned to death. Even today Altaf speaks of how much he loves and misses Fareed, even as he professes his love to Randy.”

“Yes, I remember that,” Jeremy responded.

“I’m not saying you should marry Sam because I say you should, even though I think the two of you are right for each other,” I continued, “But I do want you to feel free to remarry, and to know that you have my permission and my blessing. Promise me this, my love. Promise me you won’t wait until after I die. Promise me you’ll remarry when you feel the time is right and not a moment later. I’m not sure I can even promise to let you know that I have died. My existence must remain an absolute secret.

“What I can promise you is that my remains will ultimately be interred in my memorial at Arlington Cemetery, and that you’ll be notified so you can be present when that happens. I just don’t know that it will happen right after my death. There are too many things that could happen between now and then. That’s one of the main reasons I need your assurance that you won’t wait.”

Our discussion of the matter went on for hours. We had dinner together and then I suggested we all sleep on it. Jeremy wanted to spend the night with me in bed one last time, but I told him that wouldn’t be a good idea. Sleeping with me would only enhance the guilt on both our parts. Instead I suggested he spend the night with Sammy. I did so knowing they might do more than sleep, but doubting anything would happen.

Come Sunday morning, we had a leisurely brunch together as my two very sleepy-eyed guests explained that they had spent most of the night talking in bed and nothing more than that, not that it mattered to me one way or the other.

In the end Jeremy and Sammy admitted that there were strong feelings between them and they agreed to let time sort them out unimpeded by the knowledge that I might still be alive. In the meantime Jeremy agreed that knowledge of my survival and the access codes to my memoirs would be passed down privately to the next president, but not until I made a promise to tell Brad myself.

It was a tearful goodbye as I bid my husband and my friend farewell. I knew that this would be the last time I would ever see them.

The author gratefully acknowledges the invaluable assistance of David of Hope in editing, Low Flyer in proofreading and Ed in beta reading my stories, as well as Gay Authors, Awesome Dude and Nifty for hosting them.

DISCLAIMER: This is a fictional account of the assassination of the first openly gay president of the United States. Except as noted, all characters are fictitious and the reader is cautioned against attributing anything from the story to real individuals. There are occasional descriptions of consensual sex between underage boys and it is the reader’s responsibility to ensure the legality of reading this material. The author retains full copyright.