#thesideshow May 29th 2015 Climbing by Michael Woods
May 29, 2015
#thesideshow June 1st 2015 Darkness Drafting by Steven Minchin
June 1, 2015

#thesideshow May 30th 2015 Coming to Terms by Ilana Masad

When the rumors that the President is pregnant begin to spread, she laughs them off. Years of political life have given her thick elephantine skin to match her artfully dyed gray hair, and this is the first surprise she has had in a long time.

The second surprise is that the President’s opponents are half-right. Rather than a new life brewing inside her too-old body, a cluster of cells have grown together, like a commune of independent and like-minded people. They have formed a large colony and set up shop. They are not illegal aliens; this term has always rubbed the President the wrong way, and her speechwriters know it well by now. No, the cells, like the people who sneak into the President’s country, are parts of herself. They want a comfortable place to live and the opportunity to work well and industriously.

Opinions are divided on whether or not they harm the economy. Still, so many are quick to say out, out, out. Now. The President patiently explains to her doctor, to the First Gentleman, to her daughter, that despite the findings in her womb, she feels well, just fine. In fact, she tries to explain to her husband drowsily one night, she feels that the newborn cells are performing a necessary duty in her body, eating a part of her that she can’t and doesn’t wish to use anymore. He turns away from her in disgust, pops a sleeping pill, and asks her if a side effect of being a President in her condition is going crazy.

The President holds a private meeting for the few people who’ve been told. The schedule says that she is Getting a Haircut. At the meeting, she avoids touching her hair entirely, since it was actually done the day before, when the schedule said she was having a Confidential Meeting. Go figure. Surgery is out of the question, the President explains. It will interfere with her work, with the nation, with the United States of America. It is a grandiose claim, but a true one, as they all acknowledge. A President taking time off for medical reasons? Nobody wants that.

So they agree. The President nods and raises the subject of immigration policy. Her aides stare at her, glassy-eyed for only a moment before jumping in with the facts and figures she knows already, having gone over them on her own the night before. She asks the aides to draft a newer, more radical bill – just to see what it looks like on paper, she tells them, soothingly.

The First Daughter seeks the President out more often during the next few weeks. She never has anything important to convey, but she shares more information about her life than she has since puberty. Once she addresses the President by a title shed long ago – Mommy.

In the shower, Secret Service outside the door, the President puts her hands on her lower belly. How insulting, she thinks with a jolt, to compare cancer to migrant workers. No President is perfect, though. As she shampoos her hair, the President decides that reform is badly needed, and immigration policy is crucial – but maybe, for the sake of her other title, she won’t run for a second term.