Flashing red and blue lights and the blare of a siren cut off Barack. “How fast were we going?” someone asked.
The driver looked in his oversized rearview mirror and shrugged. “Not that fast.”
Michelle sat back and crossed her arms. “I think we all know it doesn’t matter how fast we were going . . .”
“Honey, come on,” said Barack. “If we weren’t speeding, maybe the bus has a tail-light out or something.”
The driver pulled the bus off onto the highway shoulder. The cop walked up alongside and knocked on the door, which the driver swung open. “Was I going too fast, officer?” the driver asked.
“Tell Mr. Obama to step out here a second,” said the cop, adjusting the mirrored sunglasses that covered nearly half his face.
Barack left the bus and stood with the cop by the side of the highway. “Whatever the problem is, officer, I’m sure we can work out some sort of—”
“This bus belong to you, boy?” asked the cop.
“I think technically it’s in the name of the campaign, but yes, it’s mine,” said Barack, slipping his hands into his front pockets.
“Take your hands outta your pockets,” commanded the cop flatly. Barack breathed a sigh, and complied. The cop looked behind him and glanced over the bus from front to back. “Awful nice bus, boy. Where’d you get it?”
“Um, I don’t know,” said Barack, looking at the bus and shrugging. “A dealership in Illinois somewhere, I’m not sure which.”
“You still got that receipt?” The cop pulled a pack of cigarettes from his front shirt pocket.
“Of course not. Do you still have the receipt for your squad car?”
The cop looked up as he lit his smoke. “Don’t get an attitude with me, boy.” He pocketed his lighter, picked the cigarette from his lips and exhaled a trail of smoke into Barack’s face. “Lemme see that driver’s license of yours, son.”
“My license?” asked Barack. “I’m not even driving.”
“Cool down, slick, and gimme the license.”
“I’ll trade you for your badge number,” said Barack, folding his arms across his chest.
“My badge number? Yeah, I think I got it written on the end of my night-stick here,” said the cop, fingering his baton as it hung at his side. “You want, I can let you see it right up close.”
Barack rolled his eyes and pulled out his wallet. “Whatever, just take it,” he said, handing the cop his license.
“I’ll be right back. Don’t go nowhere.” The cop walked back to his cruiser. He returned after several minutes with Barack’s license and a sheet of paper. “Your wife in there with you?”
“Yes, but what’s she got to do with any of this?”
The cop held up the sheet of paper. “Says here she claimed your campaign was the first time she’d ever been proud to be an American.”
“Oh, it does not say that!” said Barack, reaching out for the paper.
“Does too,” said the cop, yanking the paper out of Barack’s reach.
“How could you find a quote of something my wife said by running my license through your police computer?”
“Just have your wife come out here, boy,” said the cop. He tucked Barack’s license into the front pocket of his shirt, behind his cigarettes.
“No,” said Barack, planting his hands on his hips. “My wife is staying on the bus, and if you don’t tell me immediately what all this is about, I’m getting back on the bus and getting on my way. I don’t have time to stand here along the highway dicking around with some Rod Steiger wannabe.”
The cop cleared his throat and spat down by Barack’s shoes. “You keep up with that attitude, boy, and you’ll never become America’s second black president.”
“Second black president? What are you—” Barack leaned forward and squinted at the cop’s face. The sunburned nose, the wisps of white hair sticking out from beneath his hat suddenly looked very familiar. “Come over here,” he said, reaching out to take the cop by the arm. “Stand over here in the light so I can get a better look at you.”
The cop pulled away. “Take your hands offa me, boy!”
Barack relaxed for a moment, held up his hands in a gesture of peace. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” The next instant he reached out and plucked the sunglasses from the cop’s face. Barack glared at him, shaking his head. “I should have known,” he said as he folded up the sunglasses. “President Clinton.”
“I shouldn’t have called you the second black president, should I?” Clinton asked, looking at his feet, his shoulders hunched.
“That is what gave it away, yes,” said Barack. “Well, that, and the stain there on your shirt.” Barack pointed to the crusty patch of white just above Clinton’s belt. “Semen, correct?”
Clinton nodded, embarrassed. “This wasn’t my idea, you know. She put me up to it.”
“Whatever,” said Barack. He held out his hand. “My driver’s license.”
“Oh, sure!” said Clinton, pulling the license from his pocket and handing it over. “Hey, you want a cigarette or something? I got plenty.”
“Well, can I just get my sunglasses back, and we’ll forget this ever happened?”
Barack dropped the sunglasses to the ground and crushed them beneath his foot. “You go back to her, Bill,” he said. “You tell her I’m rolling into Denver in August the man. And if she’s counting on a job in the cabinet, she can forget it. But tell her to wait by the phone, ‘cause I’ll be calling every now and then to see how things are going down there in the Senate.” Barack nodded toward the squad car. “Now get lost.”
Clinton turned toward the car, but Barack stopped him before he took a step. Barack reached out and tore the badge from Clinton’s shirt. He held it up and grinned.
“There’s a new sheriff in town.”
Barack boarded his bus and sped off down the highway. Bill Clinton sank into the seat of his borrowed squad car, fingered the torn pocket where his badge had been, and sobbed softly down the front of his shirt. He closed his eyes and pictured himself in his old chair behind the desk in the Oval Office – the smooth firmness of the wood, the softness of the leather. He reclined his seat. “It’s not fair,” he whimpered as he began to masturbate.