President's Day 2021 - Precedents Day by Mikey Hope (rated PG-13)

He ran through the streets and parks of the District; the unusually warm February air still brisk on his sweaty, naked form even with Old Glory wrapped cape-like around his shoulders. As he looked at the blood drying on his hands, the phrase “Tree of Liberty” came unbidden to his mind. He realized now how out of control things had gotten.

His feet slapped the rough pavement and the cold sod as he darted from one terrain to the next, always avoiding the clopping of the black shoes, the squawk of walkie-talkies, and the grasping arms of the men in the dark suits. He knew they were supposed to protect him but he knew they were also his keepers. Or they would be if they could catch him but he’d tricked them, slipped away, shucked off his clothes, jumped over his desk screaming and stabbed one with the finial of the staff of the flag he was now wearing. He bowled through another two then bolted out the front door before they’d gathered their wits. Now here he was, his old football knee injury adding itself to tomorrow’s regrets as wounds tended to do.

He could still run even at his age, though he’d never tried to run during the Reverie before. He’d been in good shape until the responsibilities of the last few years made it harder to find time for exercise, which wasn’t counting the almost obligatory golf he rarely played. So now his heart raced, and he huffed like a steam train. He had to get out of the open, and soon, to catch his breath and put a plan together.

He darted deftly between the cars in the street, their occupants already deep in the throes of the Reverie. For an instant he looked into the face of a woman sitting in the passenger seat of a silver electric car, her eyes rolled back in her head. He couldn’t decide if he envied her or not. This was the only moment of the year she would have to bear this burden. For him, it was the only day of the year he didn’t –at least for now he was free.

He slowed tentatively to a jog, breathing heavily as he approached Thomas Circle. He thought to head northwest to Dupont, when he spotted SS agents approaching on foot, suddenly running and shouting into their walkie-talkies.

He panicked, veering off the circle onto 14th Street going south. He had no idea where he was going or what he was going to do but something inside told him to keep running. He took an alley to his left hoping they’d lose sight of him for a minute. He looked about for somewhere else to duck. He glimpsed someone waving from a doorway just ahead, ushering him in. He stopped for the first time since he’d taken off from the White House. He was breathing so hard he feared he’d pass out. How could anyone be moving during the Reverie except himself and the “SS”?

He thought he heard shouting back in the direction of the street, unsure if he was imagining the clopping of shiny black shoes on the asphalt. He rolled the dice and rushed into the doorway of what was apparently a bar – The Green Lantern. Eyes wide as dinner plates, he recognized the waving man’s face –William Jefferson Clinton slammed the door shut behind him.

“You!” Was all he managed to get out before pitching forward to hold his knees, puffing and wheezing.

“Now, now there, catch your breath, man. You’ll be okay, now, you’re among friends.”

“Clinton!” He puffed out.

“Hey, call me Bill. Here, uh, let’s get you some more clothes.” Clinton reached for a jacket hanging from one of the chairs, it’s occupant staring at the overhead, eyes rolled back, deep in the Reverie. He snagged the man’s ball cap holding both out.

“Thank you…Bill...I’m-”

“I know who you are, we all do. We’ve met, remember?” Said Clinton.

“Oh yes, at my inaug-”

Just then another familiar face appeared on a slim frame in a fitted suit, speaking with a calm, deliberate voice. “Bill, we’d better get him to the Enclave, there’s no time.”

“Thanks, Obama.” Clinton winked.

Catching his breath, he tied the flag around his waist, slipped into the jacket, and pulled on the cap.

“Wait, isn’t this a gay bar?” He asked, not with contempt but confusion.

“Yes, so?” They said in unison. Obama continued. “They won’t think to look for you here right away.”

Clinton added “Yeah, you’re not the Veep.”

They ushered him away from the bar, past the tables, heading down the hall to the restrooms and coat check.

“I don’t understand. There’s a basement?”