On a slightly cloudy day in Murca, The Leader bobbed by his large window in the Oval Office gazing out at his kingdom. He peered out, like he always did around 7:42am, thinking about what his second breakfast would be that day. It had been four hours since his first — a Gordito, they used to be called — now known as a Spoagie thanks to the Englicization. The Leader loved Spoagies, especially because, like all sandwiches, they had zero calories.

Just then, as he rubbed his belly thinking of the oils and sauces drizzling into his mouth, The Leader’s day was ruined. His communication window showed him that Resistance terrorists had once again sent a Media Attack and this time it was bad. Very bad. “The Losercrats are lying again!” The Leader shouted to his father, who watched him in shadow.

Father came into the faint light and like a twisted, lurching tree, looked down disapprovingly. “Pull yourself together you miserable cretin,” he bellowed, “do you want the others to hear you?” The Leader crumpled his seventy-one year old body in preparation for paternal discipline. “You know I cannot help you if the others find out about me.”

“Yes, Father. They call me mad. They call me names, but I hear them.”

“Of course you do. But they are liars. You are destined to rule. It is in your blood. In your genes. My genes. But only when you do as I say do you live up to your inheritance. Otherwise, you might as well rot with the poor and the coloreds.”

“No Father, I don’t want that. I don’t want the scary men. The children of tar will steal me away.” The Leader, fidgeting with his drawer out of fear, caught a glimpse of the photograph of his predecessor, which he kept hidden away. “They are strong, father.”

“United, yes. But keep them subdued-”

“So strong…” The Leader said, mesmerized.

Father peered down at his witless child. “Get those disgusting thoughts out of your head, boy. Go fuck your Slav if you need to, but I cannot have this nonsense coming out. Not now. Not again.”

“Why can’t you be a good boy like Michael?” Father asked. “Good Indiana stock. Farm bred. I sorted him out too because Michael — he listens. He’s a good boy. He sees when you are a bad boy and tells me.”

“But Mike is my friend.”

“No he’s not. You don’t need friends! Love is weakness. You are not weak, are you?”

“No, sir,” The Leader replied as he puffed out his chest.

“This disgusting Resistance is too disjointed to pose a direct threat now, but you know they can bring this house down. They are an infestation. The minute they stop falling over themselves, they will destroy everything I have built.”

“We built,” The Leader interjected softly. Father returned his remark with a sharp glance.

“Forget not, boy, I put you here myself. If it weren’t for those Ruskis you’d still be a Times Square laughing stock.”

The Leader hated when Father would bring up the past. He had only tried to make him proud.

“You have threatened my legacy time and time again,” Father continued, “and I always have to come back and clean up your mess. One more mistake and I will never return. Do you understand me?”

“Yes, sir.” The Leader felt cheated. He felt on edge. He felt his blood begin to boil.

Father prepared to dismiss him. “Tuck that fat back into your collar. You look like a disgusting child. Like a little piggy.” Maximum temperature reached.

The Leader burst with rage. “Don’t talk to me like that! I am the healthiest! I am the smartest! I know a million times more than you! I am the attractive one. I am the rich one. I am so much richer than you ever were. I am a better father than you ever were. I am the best father. I am the best. I am the President!”

Realizing what he’d done, The Leader immediately recoiled. Before he could even begin profuse apologies Father pushed The Leader against his desk. Father’s hand grasped firmly around The Leader’s neck, like it always was when he growing up.

“How many times must we do this?” Father demanded. The Leader writhed and his face went from peach to red. “You are nothing without me. I gave you life! Money. Education. Women. That was me! And all you do is fail me. You are a disgrace to my genes!” As The Leader struggled, he heard a knock at the door.

“You are nothing without me,” Father shouted, “because I own you, and no amount of money will ever buy your freedom. No bride will fill your void. No land, no hotel, no television show, no sycophant, and no child can do what I do for you. You need me!” The Leader just looked up with adoringly fearful eyes. The knocking became pounding.

Father let go. The Leader gasped for air. He wanted to cry, but knew worse punishment would come if he did.

As if nothing had happened, Father calmly adjusted his brood’s collar, neatly tucking in his fatty gizzard. The Leader sat still as his father combed his hair back over and brushed dust off his jacket endearingly. Father then held his boy and The Leader held back even tighter. “I am so sorry father,” The Leader said.

“These liars are traitors to our nation, boy,” Father replied. “Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

“They seek to discredit our name. That is why they say these dirty things. You must make me proud, boy. Otherwise I will have to leave again.”

“No, father, please,” The Leader whelped.

“You will do as I say. No weakness. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good. We’ll continue this chat later. Remember: The people, they will love you, if they fear you. I promise.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Remind them who we are.”

“We are the President, sir.”

“Yes, son,” Father said with a wry smile, “we are.”

The doors burst open. Guards barged in, guns at the ready, but all they found, surrounded by burger wrappers and the hum of an overheated television monitor was their Leader smiling like a happy child.

Writer & artist. New York-raised, Diaspora style. www.guzelac.com

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