Monday, April 11, 2011

Nick - Juxtaposition

I storm into the meeting room furious. I have a prepared speech in my hand, but I'm not going to read from it; I know it by heart. I looked around the room. Senator Kirby is sitting on the left side of the long, oval shaped meeting table. He is my staunch political ally, but he averts his eyes as I walk in. He has already caved in, and he knows I am going to fight.

I nervously open the door handle to David's apartment. I can hear the party going on inside, but I still wish that Ryan would come let me in. He is the only reason I am here; I really don't even know David that well. I had come out here on Ryan's insistence that I should get out and have fun more often, but it was feeling more and more like a bad idea. I opened the door.

I hear the meeting room door slam behind me as I walk around the table, giving Senator Ryan Kirby a stern look of disapproval. There are two men in suits, standing, ready to give a presentation. Supposedly they are "experts," but I know better. They're nothing more than pawns, probably in the employ of Senator Adrianna Christie.

I squeeze into David's apartment, and my ears are assaulted by loud music, and even louder shouting and laughing. The noise is a little overwhelming. I squint around, trying to find Ryan, who had said that he would be here. I had been texting Ryan earlier this night, but he had stopped responding. I struggle through the crowd of people, but I'm having trouble moving around at all, let alone finding Ryan. I see a sliding glass door leading out to the balcony, and decide to see if my friend is outside.

"Nice of you to join us," says Senator Christie, who sits at the head of the table. She sneers in a way that makes me want to drop the act of professionalism and punch her in the face. She seems to revel in her position as the head of the newly-formed Agricultural Subsidies Commission. I keep my cool and say nothing, my countenance remaining stern and immovable.

I sigh in relief as I step out of the hot, crowded air of the party, onto the cool and relaxing balcony. Ryan is out on the balcony talking to a small group of people. I interrupt him and say hello. He shakes my hand, and urges me to wait out here for him while he goes and talks to someone inside. Feeling slightly abandoned, I watch him head back into the apartment, taking much of his social circle with him. I'm left out on the balcony with two men having a smoke, and a very bored looking girl.

"We think the evidence clearly shows," said one of the men in suits, as they finish their presentation, "that the implementation of this subsidy increase for high-yield plantations is absolutely necessary. After all, certainly we can all agree that we want to encourage efficiency?"

Standing on the balcony, feeling the cool breeze, I stand by myself until the girl standing not far from me strikes up conversation. I answer all of the usual questions: how old are you, where are you from, how did you hear about the party? I was twiddling my thumbs shyly, but finally I look up at her and we make eye contact. She's beautiful. We talk for a surprisingly long time.

I slam my hands down on the table in response to such a ludicrous question. "This subsidy is nothing short of highway robbery, and you know it!" I burst out violently, "all of your keywords, your talking points, are just smoke and mirrors. These subsidies are no more than handouts to the richest parts of the agriculture industry, and calling them 'high yield' or 'high efficiency' doesn't change that fact! This is the money of the taxpayers, and it should be going to those who need it, or nowhere at all!"

"I know you said you were here with your friend Ryan," says the beautiful girl, "but I really am not at all good with parties. I'm meeting a few of my friends at a restaurant in a little while. Any chance you'd like to come with?"

My face is red from shouting. I look around the table at everyone else present. No one meets my eye, except for Senator Christie, who looks back mockingly.

"I would love to go with you," I tell her, giving a warm smile, "I'm not very good at parties either. I don't think I'm going to miss this place much."

"There's really no need to get so upset," Senator Christie sneers, "After all, we already have the votes to clear this plan, with or without you."

As I walk out of the party with the beautiful girl, I remember that I don't know her name yet. "I totally forgot to ask your name."

I lean in close to Senator Christie, and my mind fills with hatred as I stare into the soulless void of her eyes. "No matter how many votes you have, I'm going to keep fighting this. I'm not giving up this time."

My smile widens as the beautiful girl laughs, her eyes sparkling, and says, "Sorry, I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Christie."

Sometimes I think that maybe, if we had met under different circumstances, things would be different.

-Nick.

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