Ladies and gentlemen, we interrupt our regular writing to bring you the following important announcement:
Poor Full o’ Bull. For days now, he has been glued to the television set watching CNN’s coverage of the US presidential elections. Not me. In fact, if it had been up to me, I would have steered clear of the topic altogether and simply presented you with the next chapter of Lockdown in Amsterdam.
It’s a bit ironic, too. Just after I explained to you in the previous chapter that the lack of time markers in my novel was a deliberate choice to reflect how it feels to be stuck in a pandemic, boom! – here I am, giving away that we’ve made it through November 3, 2020 and the nail-biting days that followed it.
Here’s the thing, though. So many people have been twisting my arm to get me to comment on this historically historic moment in American history, that I can’t get away with remaining silent altogether.
It’s not just my countless fans who are eager to hear from me. My agent tells me that the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic and a whole bunch of others have been beating down his virtual door with requests for an interview. Not wanting to burden you poor people with more weighty blah blah, I’ve turned them all down, though I must say that when I heard CNN had called, I was tempted.
Can you imagine the look of horror on Full o’ Bull’s face, when he sees Wolf Blitzer say: “joining us now from his lockdown address in Amsterdam, here’s bestselling author Toby Quinn!”?
But seriously, folks, the only reason I am speaking up at all is not that I have anything particularly momentous to say on this momentous occasion, but to stop the arm-twisting press people from dislocating my shoulder.
Now let’s all take a deep breath and get this done and over with, so that we can go back to enjoying my novel asap.
As you will remember, I voted for Trump back in 2016 because I thought he’d be fun as a president. Boy, did I get a lot of flack for that. And boy did he deliver on his promise.
And yes, I was looking forward to President Trump, part 2, featuring him and his demolition crew crashing through the shining city on the hill, knocking down one pillar of democracy after another. How long would it be before we saw a golden statue of the Great Leader rising up from the ruins, more than twice as tall (of course!) as Kim Jong-Un’s?
Needless to say, my announcement that I’d be voting for him again did not go over well with some of my readers.
“For crying out loud, Mr. Quinn,” Betty McAllister, a retired English teacher from Oakland, California, wrote to me. “I love your books, but more than 200,000 people have died because of Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic. Hasn’t your ‘joke’ lasted long enough?”
Don’t get me wrong. To all of you out there who voted for Joe Biden: I understand where you’re coming from. Honestly I do.
“Interesting times” are what we wish upon our enemies, not our friends. And good old Joe seems to be just the right helmsman to steer our ship back to calmer seas and hence to boring times, which would be a great relief for all of us peace-loving, law-abiding citizens who simply want to get on with their lives. Speaking of lives: if we’re ever to beat this awful pandemic, whom should we trust, Trump and his outlandish nonsense or Biden and his boring science?
In short, guys: point taken! So is that why I ended up voting for good old Joe? Yes, folks, you heard me. Your pet peeve and all-round asshole Toby Quinn actually voted for Joe Biden. Now will you welcome me back to the fold?
It was a close call, to be sure. Even after I had read through the voting instructions and had laid out the Overseas Absentee Ballot, the Ballot Security Envelope and the Ballot Return Envelope on this very desk here in Full o’ Bull’s study, along with a roll of Scotch tape and some international postage stamps graciously donated to me by Full o’ Bull’s wife, my mind was still set on voting for Trump.
So what magical force directed my pen towards the circle beside Joe Biden’s name instead?
Was it an angel? Was it my conscience?
Actually, it was none other than the Bard himself, William Shakespeare.
Here’s what happened. Seeing Trump’s name on the ballot and considering his re-election suddenly made me think of Henry IV, part 2, one of the so-called historical plays. It has its charms, I mean, hey, it’s Shakespeare, but pales in comparison to his great tragedies Hamlet, Macbeth and King Lear. That’s when I realized that King Trump losing his throne had far more dramatic potential than King Trump holding onto it.
Nor will the aggrieved monarch go down without trying to drag his kingdom down with him, if not the entire world. Remember he is still Commander in Chief and still has his finger on the button. So if I were you, folks, I’d buckle up and hold tight. Interesting times may yet lie ahead of us.
Talk about a win-win situation! With Pennsylvania and hence the presidential race having been called, both Full o’ Bull and I are in high spirits. I know it’s too good to last and that the divisions in this household still run deep, but let us celebrate this rare moment of togetherness as a victory for democracy.
This was Toby Quinn, reporting live from Amsterdam.
Oh, one more thing before I go: it so happens that William Shakespeare wrote King Lear during the plague, as was mentioned just the other day by Washington Post theater critic Peter Marks, who then went on to wonder: “What great work will emerge from this pandemic?”
Well, Peter, we’re working on it. So maybe you can ask your buddies at the Post and all those other media people to stop badgering us writers for an opinion on every single bump in the road and give us a little more time and space to contemplate the bigger picture. Okay? Ha!
Over and out.
– T. Q.
(coming up next – Chapter 7: Psychology 101)