At the Voting Booth

On Election Day, Tony stood in line at his local community center. He sipped at a hot coffee from the diner down the street and pulled up the hood on his sweatshirt to keep warm in the chilly morning. If he had been fully awake, he would have noticed something a bit odd about the people standing in line with him and even about the community center.

Tony had never actually been to the community center before. It was located just where he had always thought the Super Clean car wash was. Now, he looked up and down the street and scratched his head. Maybe the car wash was on the next parallel street? It was too early to think. He took a big gulp of coffee and nearly choked on it when he thought he saw a thick blue tail sticking out underneath the trench coat of the man in front of him. The man turned around.

“You ok, buddy?”

Tony blinked. The man was just an ordinary man, no tail, to blue skin of any kind. “Yeah, the coffee just went down the wrong way.” He shook his head. It was too early to be up. He must still be half in dreamland, for the community center seemed to be shimmering in front of his eyes, and just behind the shimmer sat the car wash.

It took about a twenty-minute wait in line before Tony entered the building. He had brought his driver’s license and voter’s card as required. The large woman at the registration desk took a long time finding his name.

“Not one of our usuals,” She said, nodded at his ID and voter’s card. Her hair was so curly and shiny that it looked very much like copper wire––it was copper wire! Again, Tony blinked and saw that she really had soft blond curls. “You’re not on the list, but here’s your ballot. Vote wisely.” She cheerfully handed him a long roll of paper and nodded towards the curtained booths behind her.

“Um…” Tony knew something wasn’t right. “I’m not the list?”

“It’s okay, honey, we can’t keep track of everyone because everyone doesn’t want to be tracked. You see?”

“Not really.” Tony threw his empty coffee cup into a trash can and headed for a booth with his roll of paper. He didn’t remember voting ballots ever being this long. A tall man in a three-piece suit dramatically flung one of the velvet curtains aside. Tony entered the booth and the man flung the curtain back into place. The booth was rather spacious and even had a roof, an actual desk, lamp and velvet-cushioned chair. He sat down and gingerly picked up the fine gold pen that sat on one side of the cherry wood desk. “Here goes.”

He unrolled the long ballot and found it to be made of an odd shiny substance. Tony uncapped the pen and read the first amendment: Amd. 354, 452: The planet NeBon-Bon should be reserved for those with sweet teeth only.

“Huh?” He moved on to the second one: Amd. 789,437: Super power wars shall only be allowed on the third day of the second month of the lunar year on the eighth ring of Saturn. “But Saturn only has seven rings…” The next twelve amendments listed were much in the same vein and total incomprehensible to him. The listing of candidates wasn’t much better. There was a zombie running against a pit bull, a clown running against a ghost and someone named Zooko, a fairy pitted against a warlock, and an alien running for mayor against an android. Tony suddenly had the feeling that he had stepped into a different universe just to vote for his district representative. He was sadly unable to leave the booth until he filled out the entire ballot, which was over six feet long.

Copyright Pixie Beldona, 2010

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