The television shows a car's flaming wreckage. On screen, the anchorman announces, "This was one of two similar scenes, thirty minutes ago. Both the candidate for president and their running mate were killed by coordinated rocket attacks. The assailants remained unseen. Police are asking anyone..."
You tune out the rest. You know what happened- she did. Your boss took you under her wing seventeen years ago. You know her like you know your own family. Nothing is too low for her. Vipers disown her for being too low a snake. There she comes, into the outer office, her expensive perfume wafting notice before her designer suit and wrinkled, ancient visage appear. You smile, though your heart aches. This is too evil for you to ignore. Ruining people, destroying careers and reputations over the years, was just the price of being in politics. She ignores your pain, like she ignores the pain of everyone else. No one is real, except her.
"When the police get here, come in with them."
"Ma'am." Time to play innocent. "Why are the police coming? Did something go missing?"
"The news is on the screen. They will want to ask if I know anything."
"Yes, ma'am," you say. "Immediate access and follow them in. Anything else."
"That's all." She starts to turn, stops, then says, "Buzz me as soon as you see them. I need to mentally prepare."
You wait, holding yourself together by maintaining the pretense everything is a normal day, with all the minutia of routine tasks. You drift back to the first time you knew she was evil, twelve years ago...
"Come on, just one," Rich said. You didn't want to drink it. Rich always came across as sort of creepy, and even wine hit you hard.
"No thanks. I'm not much of a drinker."
"Celebrate a bit," she says. Back then, she might have passed as a fading cougar. Her power gave her confidence which would have intoxicated certain young men, the sort she preferred. Rich, fifty, balding and tubby, was not her sort. She wasn't his either. You're his type, but you won't touch him with a ten foot pole. She hands you the glass of champagne. "I won. So we all celebrate."
The rest of the night was a blur, but you woke the next morning beside Rich, not your spouse. The obvious happened.
Your reverie ends. A man stands beside your desk, showing an FBI badge. "I need to speak with the congresswoman. If she's available."
"I'll see if she can fit you in." You point to the waiting area chairs. "If you'll take a seat, I'll check if she's busy."
As you step to the door, your memory concludes...
You called her, frantic to report what happened. "Don't tell anyone. I'll cover for you. You spent the night on my couch. You're now my personal secretary. Double your current salary and full medical for you and your family."
"Ma'am, May I interrupt?" You step inside and shut the door. "It's FBI not police. He was on top of me before he pulled a badge. I'll stay until you tell me to go."
"You always take such good care of me." She gives you her best fake smile. "The feeling is reciprocated."
You drift to the good times...
"I'm sorry," the doctor said. "You child didn't make it."
You turned to your spouse and fell into each other's arms, sobbing in pain. Then she was there, a warm hand on your shoulder. "Take off two weeks grief time. I'll make do. You two heal."
"Bring him in."
"Yes, ma'am." The agent rises as soon as you open the door. "The congresswoman will see you now."
He brushes past you, courteous efficiency. She rises from her desk to greet him, but remains behind it, a visible separation from his investigation. "What brings you here agent...?"
"Jones, ma'am." He pulls out his his device, setting it to record. "Have you received any threats lately?"
"No more than typical," she answers. "Is this in response to the horrible attacks our ousted president just launched?"
"Ma'am, I'm asking the questions." He puts the device between them. "I'm recording this for evidence. We currently believe the attacks were politically motivated, but have not ruled out personal enmity and a second strike to create confusion."
"Que bono, who benefits?" she asks. The age old investigative question regarding motive. You can hear her words before she speaks. "The sitting president. He lost the popular vote and now seeks to worm in as the only possible choice remaining."
You're her protege, her successor, and now, her Iago. All the times you shared a laugh or winced as she applied pressure to bend you to her will. All the little intrigues she drew you into. The array of benefits laced into your association. You have so many memories, but this threatens the fabric of society. You refuse to be part of it. And the thing you regret most is the awareness she will know who did it. You can't do it anonymously. You need her to know it is for her own good. For the nation's good. You lost track of the conversation, they're fencing now. You reach into a pocket and draw out the chip. "This is the evidence you want, Agent Jones. It shows all the congresswoman's connections and how she used them to create this-"
"Absurd. I have no motive to attack my own party." She looks at you with pain in her eyes. "Are you working for him? For that fraud of a president? I should have known. I trusted you and you set this up. Kill my party members and frame me. I gave you everything. You would have inherited this position."
Agent Jones draws his gun. He points it at you. "I need you to assume the position."
"Why would I have this evidence if she wasn't to blame? These are her connections."
"Honey, you were always too weak. Jones works for me. This was all a set up to get you as his patsy."
"What do we do now?" Jones asks.
"Just kill her."
You see the spurt of flame when Agent Jones shoots.
Author's note- although this is inspired by current events, it is not about them.