By D W. Steep© 2008
He stood before the full-length mirror in The Oval Office’s bathroom and made several highly animated attempts at concocting a look of sincerity before finally acquiescing to the fact that it was utterly futile. He shuddered with disgust, clinched his fists in anger and gazing to the heavens he bellowed aloud, “Why hast thou forsaken my facial features, oh Lord!”
Laura, with her ever present security entourage buzzing about her heels, hastened down the long hallway leading towards The Oval Office. “Where did the mirror come from?” she barked.
“I have no idea, ma’am,” replied Warren Graham, the newest head of Barbara’s Mirror Removal Security team.
“You’re fired, Graham!” she hissed, causing Graham to stop dead in his tracks while the rest of the group hastened onwards.
“I tried to make a happy face but the Faces software I got from the FBI quantified it as brooding and highly sullen, what’s wrong with me, darlin’?” asked a disheveled and apparently somewhat intoxicated George — in response to his wife’s having burst through the doors with her sans Graham entourage in tow.
“Nothing is wrong with you, honey,” she replied, while taking him quickly into her arms before covertly motioning with her eyes for the mirror’s immediate removal. “Nothing at all, my sweat-pea,” she whispered, before kissing the tears from his cheeks.
“Why did he say that?” asked George.
“Why did who say what, sugar-plum?”
“That Reykjavik reporter,” replied George, “who said that no matter the happenstance, my facial expressions often leave me looking thicker than Icelandic whale dung during mating season?”
There was an audible bang, causing George to jump, as the door slammed shut behind the mirror removal team. “We’ve been through this a thousand times now, George,” she admonished, while straightening his attire. “You have a special kind of face, and you can’t pay attention to what other people have-
“To say about it, I know, I know,” George interjected, before pushing his wife’s meddlesome hands away from his collar. “But I don’t want a special face, Laura, I want a normal face! I want a face that says sad when I’m sad and mad when I’m mad, for example. I don’t want-
“George!” boomed Laura. “Sit down, this instant!”
“No!” bellowed a defiant George. “I won’t sit down and I won’t shut-up about it any longer, Laura. It’s my face, and I want to understand why it doesn’t work properly, why can’t you empathize with me on this?”
“Empathize with you on what, George?” replied Laura, while reaching out to take George in her arms only to be pushed away.
“You know perfectly well what, Laura,” replied George. “Our honeymoon, for example, when you looked up at my face and asked me if I needed to go to the hospital, remember?”
“Well, I thought, you looked,” stuttered Laura.
“I wasn’t in pain, Laura. That was supposed to be a look of joy, not pain, Laura. Do you see what I mean? My face is broken, it’s like that reporter from Dallas called it, a schizophrenic patchwork anomaly.”
“No more, sweetheart,” said Laura, taking the bottle of Gin from her husband’s grasp.
“I see it, Laura, and it drives me crazy. I saw it last night, during that CNN coverage, when I was hovering over New Orleans in a chopper looking like a giddy little kid on Christmas morning. What’s that, Laura, I ask you, what in the hell is that, Laura? I’m hovering over devastation and the look on my face is one of detached bemusement, that’s not normal, Laura, and it wasn’t what my brain told me that my face was doing at the time!”
Laura covertly slipped the bottle of Gin in her bag and then headed for the computer in the hopes of confiscating the FBI Faces software. “You must be famished!” she chirped, in a desperate attempt at changing the subject.
“Does my face say that?” queried George. “Because I’m not hungry; and if my face says otherwise there’s just one more example of what I’m talking about here.”
“I meant with all this Gin, you must be-
“Don’t touch my Faces!” screamed George, causing Laura to shriek before dropping the disc to the floor, whereupon George scooped it up, slipped it back into the system, booted it up and after smiling his happiest smile at the screen, pushed printout. “See there,” he said, handing the evidence to Laura, who then took the sheet and read “Place on twenty-four hour watch, possible suicide.”
“Look,” pressed George, while holding up for his wife a recent front page article in which he’s seen looking animated and jovial during the Rosa Parks funeral.
“She would have wanted it that-
“No, Laura, don’t go there!” wailed George. “The fact is, Laura – I was sad, and was fighting back tears, but my face lied again. It always lies; I have a lying, cheating, and schizophrenic thicker than whale dung face!”
“Are you done now?” asked Laura, before walking George to a nearby chair.
“It hurts, Laura,” he sighed, before plunking down akimbo and kicking off his shoes.
“I know, darling,” said Laura, while softly rubbing his throbbing temples. “Momma knows.”
“I’m sorry about the mirror,” he whispered, while feeling himself growing drowsy. “I was walking past the windows by The Rose Garden and saw my reflection this morning, and I thought I was feeling good up until that point, but my reflection said otherwise, and it started again, that need to know thing, so I ordered a new mirror, you know?”
“Momma knows,” cooed Laura, while rubbing more deeply. “Momma knows. But you promised, remember, no more mirrors?”
“No more,” said George, in a barely audible far off tone. “No more mirrors, mommy.”
“And no more Faces software,” she added.
“And no more Faces software,” echoed George.
“And my face is perfectly normal,” she pressed.
“And my face is perfectly normal,” mimicked George, shortly before falling fast asleep, with his eyes wide open.