Mark My Words

Jacob sat on the priceless antique bench outside of the Oval Office and tried to keep his mind off the hundreds of important arses that had polished the wood over the centuries but it was impossible to sit there and not feel the weight of history looming down on you. Captain’s of industry, Prime Ministers and Kings had all sat here awaiting the pleasure of the leader of the free world and now here he was, Private Jacob Wolff and he had no idea why. Jacob sat there eyes locked on his well-polished boots, running the last few days over and over in his mind trying to figure out why he was here but there was nothing remarkable it was just normal.

“Private Wolff?” Jacob looked up to see a wiry man clutching a clipboard to his chest, looking down on him through round steel framed spectacles. “The President will see you now.”

Jacob took a breath, brushed some imaginary lint from his trousers then stood and followed the man to meet the President.

———————

“Good morning Private.”

“Good morning Mr President,” replied Jacob snapping out a smart salute.

“At ease Private,” said the President returning his salute before taking his seat behind his ornate desk. Jacob recognised it from school, it was the one and only Resolute desk; made from the timbers of HMS Resolute a British arctic exploration ship. It had been a gift from Queen Victoria to the US as a sign of friendship in the late 1800’s and it was truly stunning. Jacob was secretly quite the anglophile, his father was from Germany but his mother had been born and raised in London before emigrating to the US and he’d always been a bit of a mothers boy.

“I’ve been hearing some concerning things about a certain candidate and I’m looking for a good man to get down there and tell me if these troubling rumours are true.”

“Rumours Mr President?”

“You must have heard Private,” replied the President with a dismissive wave. “I shan’t name names but a certain candidate has been rallying some troubling elements and some of my advisors are worried that he might actually get in power. This would be bad for all of us. We cannot legitimise his particular brand of.” The President grimaced like the words left a bad taste in his mouth. “alternative politics. I asked Henry out there to find me someone who could fit in down there find out what the common folks are thinking and well here you are.You came with some excellent recommendations I hope you don’t let us down.”

“I won’t Mr President Sir, if there’s any truth to these rumours I’ll find them.”

———————

Jacob, staggered into the bar on unsteady legs; he rubbed his mouth with the back of his hand then spotting a gap he tottered over and tossed an handful of coins on the rough wooden bar. “Barkeep, beer,” he growled. The rotund barman pulled a glass out from under the bar wiped it on his greasy apron and filled in with the flat straw coloured liquid that passed for beer in this neck of the woods before scooping up half of the coins.

Jacob tilted his head back and slammed the thin, warm liquid in one long drag. “Hit me.” The barman ground his teeth, turning back and snatching his glass off the bar. “Make this one last I’ve got other customers to look after,” he said slamming the now full glass on the bar sending a wave of the rancid beer spilling onto the bar.

“You can’t tell me what to do,” replied Jacob leaning in with a snarl. “You’re not one of us and come election day the likes of you will be first against the wall, am I right?”

“Aye,” said the drunk to Jacobs right. “Now fuck off before we start the party early.” The barman seemed to shrink in on himself and he skittered to the other end of the bar without taking any money for Jacob’s drink.

“We told him eh?” laughed the drunk clapping Jacob on the shoulder. “Mark my words,” slurred the man leaning in close to Jacob and dousing in him a miasma of stale ale and tobacco. “This guy is going to be the best thing that ever ‘appened to this country.”

James leaned back and surreptitiously covered his mouth with a hand to try and block the drunkards stench. “Aye, but the polls.”

“Fuck the polls boy, fuck them. I’m telling you I’ve asked around and I don’t know a single person round here who isn’t going to vote for ‘im.”

“None?”

“Not a one. He’s a tough one he is. Tough on them’s that deserve it, coming over here taking all our money. He’s putting us first as it should be, he’s looking out for the little guy. I’m tellin’ you just ask anyone ‘n they’ll tell you the same he’s the future; he’s going to make us great again.”

There was a madness in the mans eyes but the scary thing was Jacob thought that maybe he was right.

———————

“It’s just some drunk in a bar there’s no way he will ever get in,” said the General with a dismissive wave of his hand.

“It’s just every drunk in every bar I went to,” replied James.

“Yes well all the people I’ve talked to, none of whom have been inebriated I might add, have said quite the opposite.”

“You know what they say, a drunk mans words are a sober mans thoughts,” replied James.

“There’s not enough drunk people in the world that would vote for him,” said the General. “The polls have him well down and I think they are more accurate than the rambling of a few drunks in few dive bars.”

“I’m telling you I don’t care what the polls say this guys is going to win and we’re going to be up shit creek without a paddle. You need to tell the President, we need a plan to stop this , like right now.”

“I’m telling you he will never get in and I’m not going to waste the President’s precious time planning for something that will never happen in a million years. I’m telling you there is no chance in hell of him getting in, I’d stake my life on it.”

———————

30 January 1933 Adolf Hitler was elected as Chancellor of Germany with a wave of optimism on a platform of German reunification, opposing international capitalism and the unjust Treaty of Versailles. He exploited the Great Depression by targeting his political messages specifically at people who had been the most affected such as farmers, war veterans, and the middle class.

On 1 September 1939 Germany invaded Poland starting the bloodiest war in human history that took the lives of over 60 million people or 3% of the world population.

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