They moved in silence down the dusky and leafy streets; they
moved in silence with no light to guide them save the light of the
fading sun and the rising moon and the lamps that glowed a dull,
dull light behind the drawn shades and curtains.
They were new, new at this game, a game that had yet to be
played but the times necessitated a need for this new game.
And they were paid. These wispy young men who truly believed
were paid, paid with compliments and money.
"You're patriots," they were told by their teacher,
"fighters for your country.
"You're brave, brave men," they were told by their
teacher, who never saw them in person; he gave his lessons via a
web cam in some part of the country they had probably never been
Only Mick had been out of Michigan, and that was a trip to
Georgia with his parents when he was small. Jeff, Smiley, and Blake
had never been south of Detroit or north of the Mackinac Bridge.
And they marched through neighborhoods as the sky darkened
and the images of the candidates danced in the sky.
The candidate from the Right Party occupied the southern
half of the sky, and the image of the Proper Party candidate occupied
the northern half of the sky, both of their middle-aged faces pock
marked with stars and wispy clouds.
Mick, Jeff, Smiley and Blake stopped as the images lit up
the sky. They stared in solemn reverence at the image of the Right
Party candidate. They hung on to each word of his opening discourse.
"We have to protect our borders
"We have to protect the middle class
"We have to have harsher penalties for criminals
"We have to have fair taxation for our businesses and
corporations; when our businesses are fairly taxed, only then will
our economy truly flourish with new jobs and opportunities for the
Mick, Jeff, Smiley and Blake were jobless, save the work
they were now doing for the Right Party.
"Is it dark enough?" Smiley asked, his bare and
tattooed arms shivering in the autumn cold.
"Just a little bit longer," Mick replied. "By
the time we get to the next block, we can probably start. Just be
And the four stuck their hands in their pockets in devoted
"I figure we'll hit three or four real fast and then
we hoof it," Mick continued. He was the de facto leader of
the group, the first to register on the Party's web site and the
first to volunteer.
"We'll hoof it and get something to eat and then go
out again." Mick was the only one of the four not shivering,
as he sported a long and olive green trench coat that he wore over
a black turtle neck and black pants. Jeff, Smiley and Blake were
all in tattered t-shirts and faded dungarees and their greasy hair
was a tangle of spikes and knots.
They walked in silence, save the pounding of their adrenaline
and caffeine spiked hearts.
"We should find a house with one of those yard signs
first, you know, rather than blindly knocking on doors." Mick
lit a crumpled hand-rolled cigarette that he retrieved from the
caverns of his trench coat.
And that was easy enough; the suburban neighborhood through
which they walked was a sea of cardboard and stakes with candidates'
names and causes splashed across every other lawn.
And each party, the Right and the Proper, were equally represented,
as if half the neighborhood was in one camp and philosophically
opposed to the other half.
Mick took a deep breath as they reached the next block. "Let's
do it." And the four wordlessly approached a small brick ranch
with a tidy lawn and empty flowerbeds. Mick knocked on the door
and the other three stood behind him on the small and concrete front
An older lady answered the door, an older lady who looked
like someone's grandmother. She smiled at Mick sweetly.
"Excuse me, ma'am, but we're conducting a survey. Could
we take a few minutes of your time?" Mick asked nervously without
"Sure," the old woman said as a fat and silver
tabby cat purred at her legs.
"How do you plan on voting this coming election?"
"Well, for the Proper Party, of course," the woman
answered. "They're the only party that acknowledges the expense
seniors face in paying for prescriptions
But she couldn't finish. The four young men pushed their
way into her house, their hands brandishing short and crude spikes
that they kept in the pockets of their baggy trousers.