249. The Presidency That Wasn’t

Greetings, my fellow Americans. This is the first time in my life that America has gone to the polls with so little to hope for and so much to fear.

On February 29 of this year I wrote a silly story about a child born on Leap Day. I repeated it, in longer form, on July 6. As the Presidential campaign degenerated, the story haunted me with a view of a lighter and better version of things. I had written the end of the story first; now I felt impelled to go back and fill in the beginning and the middle over a number of posts spaced out through the summer and autumn. If you want to see them, check out the tag cloud for Leap.

Today is the big day, the day of Leap’s fate and unwanted triumph. I can’t leave him hanging. I have to tell the ending again, somewhat abbreviated, this time. I owe him that much, after all I’ve put him through in his alternate America.

********

In 1952 a boy was born on Leap Day. His Dad was named Alan Hed, and he wanted to give his son the same name, but his wife had a quirky sense of humor. She named him Leap Alan Hed, and all his childhood acquaintances called him Leap A. Hed.

The teasing drove him to a foolish act. Leap began to count his age by Leap-day-birthdays. When he was sixteen, he started putting his age down as four. He spent a lot of time talking to the principal about that, until the school finally got tired of the whole business.

The draft board wasn’t amused when he turned eighteen and still claimed to be four, but when the 1969 draft lottery gave him draft number 285, they stopped worrying.

Leap never married (he claimed he was too young) and the IRS was indulgent. They figured he would regret his claims when he wasn’t eligible for Social Security until he was 260 years old.

Leap eventually put that nonsense behind him, but not soon enough. Billy Joe Barker, a newspaper columnist, heard about him and touted him as a write-in candidate for President in 2016. It started as a joke, but it caught fire. If you’ve read any recent posts, you know the details.

Donald Trump denounced him. Nothing new there. Donald denounces everybody.

********

Unfortunately, some jokes get out of hand.

When the polls opened, well over a hundred million people wrote in Leap Alan Hed, each thinking he was the only person in America who would do so. It brought a landslide in both the popular vote and the electoral college.

Weren’t the voters surprised? And wasn’t Leap terrified? He headed for Canada – he had camped near the border the night before just in case – and sought asylum. The Canadians didn’t want any part of the controversy. They wouldn’t let him in.

Leap thought about moving to another country, but there wasn’t anywhere else he wanted to live. And there probably wasn’t any country that would take him. Except Russia, and he was no Snowden. Or Manafort.

He decided to just disappear, and he did. I don’t know where he went; he didn’t tell me. Geraldo claimed to know, but that turned out to be a bluff. Somebody said that he crossed the Canadian border and was heading north, following a compass, but everybody knows you can’t walk to the North Pole now that the ice caps have melted. Probably looking for a Fortress of Solitude, and you can’t blame him.

All those people who voted for Leap are now wringing their hands and wondering what is going to happen next. They never thought he would win. They never thought he would run to Canada like a modern day Draft Dodger. Which, essentially, is what he is — drafted to be President, and scared out of his wits.

Hillary has been very quiet about it all. She hopes to win in the House if they can find Leap, and get him to resign. But it’s problematical. Only fourteen Democrats and eleven Republicans were elected to the new Congress. Aside from a few Libs and Greenies, the rest are all newly elected Independents, sent by a disgusted America.

Bernie is smiling.

Donald claims he will still win, and when he does, he plans to invade Canada.

Hillary is biding her time.

********

Okay, folks, it’s been a long time since February, and Leap’s story is now over. But wouldn’t the wait for tonight’s election results be less dreary if you had written him in?

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