He smiles at me with his white teeth. Such lovely white teeth. There are no wrinkles in the jacket of his suit, no marks on the collar of his shirt. Lovely white collar. Red, white and blue pin in the lapel. The television displays him nicely, like a frame for a saint. His hands rest on the lectern in front of him, pink fingers settled comfortably on the walnut grain of the wood.
After a while, his eyes still looking into mine, he opens his mouth and says, confidently, 'Jesus.' There is polite applause and he nods to acknowledge it. Then he raises a hand to quieten his invisible audience. 'Jesus.' He repeats, sounding a little more serious now. That brow of his wrinkles a little. His eyes are focused as he scans his audience. A slight smile, the barest touch of levity, only serves to better demonstrate his solemn intent.
'Jesus. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.' He waits for a moment, suspended in the silence. 'And God.' The applause is deafening. He nods and smiles, briefly presses his hand to his heart. This time he doesn't wait for the applause to finish. He steps out from behind the lectern. 'Jesus! Jesus. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. And God.' The applause settles as he gets going. The camera pulls back. He's naked from the waist down. You can't tell exactly, unless you know what you're looking for, and boy am I looking! The camera keeps itself trained pretty well on his torso. But I know. I can almost see it. He's naked and pink and hairy from the waist down.
'Jesus, Jesus. Jesus. Christ and God and Jesus.' A pause. 'Almighty God.' Cheering.
He returns to his lectern. I can just about imagine his genitals swinging between his legs as he moves. The thought makes me want to vote. I really, really need to vote. I consider going to the kitchen and getting my registration documents. Holding them would calm me down.
His hand comes down authoritatively on the lectern. His face is stern and strong. 'Jesus. Jesus America Christ. God Christ Jesus Jesus!' His voice rises in volume but not in pitch. He still sounds like a man should, deep and resonant. I reach for the remote and turn the volume up. 'JESUS!' He booms out of the television, sometimes looking down and around at his awed audience, sometimes looking directly at me. Oh, to vote, to vote. Soon.
'JESUS, JESUS, JESUS.' He demands. He reaches down and pulls a handgun into view. It's a matte-black Glock 17. He holds it out in his palm, so that everybody can see. 'Jesus,' he intones almost quietly, eyes fixed on the gun, 'Jesus. God.' He stands still for a moment and then flips the gun into his hand, the way it's meant to be held. The audience cheers. I can barely contain myself. I'm in terrible need of a polling booth.
'JESUS!' He points the gun past the camera towards his audience. He aims briefly, both hands holding the gun, his posture good and square. He fires. There's no muzzle flash, just a huge bang. Somebody in the audience shrieks. The cheering and clapping is deafening, but you can just about hear screams. He aims again and fires again. No more screams. The excitement nearly sends me over the edge into delirium. I whisper at the television screen: 'Traditional Values.' I imagine he can hear me. I cling to the remote with a sweaty hand. 'Representative Democracy. In God We Trust.'
'JESUS!' He responds. He holds the Glock casually now, striding up and down beside his lectern. 'Christ. Law and order. God, military, our children. Nuclear deterrent.'
His volume has lowered but I can feel the energy build. He pauses to shoot somebody. I can imagine being there, the press of people eager to get to the front, to be one of the lucky ones. Maybe there's little enough chance of actually getting shot, but still, pressed up against that stage I can just imagine the warm spray of blood, the tang of powder and metal in the air...
'Jesus. Cadillac. Respect. Christ, tax reform, security at home and abroad!'
He squats down at the edge of the stage, just inches from reaching hands. It's really possible to see now how naked he is, now, from the waist down. I note the spreading grey that's visible in his pubic hair. He teases his audience with the swaying mouth of the gun, poses a question. I'm on my knees with the volume turned up full, and I read it on his lips as much as I hear it.
'Lawless anarchy agenda?' The response is immediate. A wall of boos and catcalls meets the question. He smiles, pleased with the response. The gun waggles but nobody gets it in the face.
Oh, to get it in the face. What a way to die.
'NO!' He roars in agreement. 'JESUS!' Cheering. Then more questions. 'Unholy lifestyle choices? Godless, gunless sex shows?' The audience and I are one voice, screaming our hatred, desperate to please him. 'Indecent language, media bias? Violence? Baby death?'
I yell my derision and spite as hard as I can, until my lip cracks and my spittle has decorated the television. Weakly, I wipe it off his face with the sleeve of my sweater. He's pleased. Pleased with me, with us, with all of us. He makes a fist with his spare hand and looks straight down the camera. 'No! Jesus!'
'Yes,' I gasp, 'yes, Jesus. And God.'
He's so pleased. He points the gun and kills someone. A fine red mist follows the shrill scream of the chosen one. It settles on his suit, so that he seems to be gleaming wetly under the studio lights. The cheering is as loud as desperation.
It's the final part of the speech. Not long now, and I can vote. I can really feel it, the pressure of the pen against the paper. The little cross in the box. The delight of knowing that in many ways, I am as valuable to the Great Man as any of the people he's shot dead tonight.
'JESUS!' It's call and response time. The people shout back the word instinctively. 'GOD! JESUS! CHRIST! AMERICA! JESUS! JESUS! JESUS!' Yes. Yes! I rock from side to side and hold the sides of the television, as he builds the pace. He strides up and down. The gun waves like a flag.
'JESUS! JESUS! MORAL VALUES! CHRIST! AND GOD ALMIGHTY GOD!' Now he's jumping up and down, and everyone must be with him, I can hear the thumping of feet and the rhythmic roar of the crowds. 'JESUS JESUS CHRIST GOD FAMILY JESUS GOD!' His face is red and taut with passion as he jumps up and down like a man half his age, veins standing out in his forehead, spit flying from between his teeth.
'OH GOD! AND JESUS! AND AMERICA CHRIST! TRADITIONAL GOD VALUES! JESUS! JESUS! JESUS!'
He comes down at last, landing on his knees. It must have hurt, because his face spasms with pain. His dedication is beautiful. In the last throes of his passion, he tears his jacket and shirt off, throws it into the crowd and fires his gun until there are no bullets left in it. The hall, invisible as ever, is a riot of noise; of screams and patriotic shouting. People are crying, with joy or in pain, as it might be. Someone reaches up and pushes their baby onto the stage. Delicately, the Great Man picks it up and holds it cradled. He bends and kisses its chubby face. It's a girl. With extravagant generosity, he holds her up by one leg and throws her back into the audience like a bag of shopping. The applause is endless.
'Thank you.' The naked man nods and bows. The camera pulls back and the voice of a presenter begins to intrude, but there's still time before the programming moves on for me to see him finishing off, waving wearily to his supporters as he urinates off the stage, the empty gun at his feet.