Inauguration day was really exciting for Bernie, Jane and the gaggle of children and grandchildren. The day was brisk, chilly but not unbearably so. Jane made a batch of pot brownies, just to take the edge off. She and Bernie partook in the staging area, washing the confections down with chamomile tea. Jane had an especially hard time choosing an outfit.
She settled on a multi-colored caftan from the local Good Will. It seemed to flatter her frame; best of all, she didn’t have to wear a bra or panty hose, and her Birkenstocks were so comfy with her handmade nubby wool socks. Anyway, the crowds might be distracted by her backpack. She was still working on their 2016 taxes and thought she might have time to get back to it after the ceremony. She glanced at the outgoing First Lady. Michelle wore a chic little sleeveless number. Jane sighed, wishing she could vanquish her own upper arms.
Bernie wore his Nehru jacket, tie dyed shirt and bell bottoms. The shirt had special meaning. It was the first, handmade gift from Jane before they were married. An “Ankh” on a bulky, gold neck chain completed the look.
The ceremony went off without a hitch until the Justice asked Bernie to place his hand on the bible and swear allegiance to the United States of America. Bernie hesitated for just a moment. “Let me be perfectly clear,” he pronounced, after clearing his throat. “I am the President of ALL the people. The King James Bible represents the one percent! King James? Fooey! This is the PEOPLE’S revolution! Where’s the Koran? Where’s the Bhagavad Gita? Why isn’t there a menorah? Not that I’m a practicing Jew…even the Pope knows that!”
A murmur rose up from the crowd, and then a chorus of, “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” The Justice sighed. He replaced the bible with the final issue of the Whole Earth Catalog. Bernie beamed. The crowd shrieked with joy.
Hillary, standing nearby, couldn’t help snickering. She shot Bernie a penetrating look. It struck its target; Bernie flinched, feeling a jolt of laser-like heat on the nape of his neck. Jane was fully prepared for such an assault and whipped a smudge stick, deftly lit it and waved it toward her beloved. The effect was instant. Bernie was enveloped in an impenetrable shield of auric protection.
Hilary was undeterred. “Revolution, indeed!” she thought. “Let him try to get anything passed!” She thought about Putin, the Middle East, all Bernie’s grand plans. She thought about Congress, and the Senate. And then she thought about Bernie’s choice for V.P. She couldn’t entirely disagree with it, but she wasn’t confident that Bill Maher had the experience to take over in the event of Bernie’s demise. She knew Bernie didn’t waste his time on trivia, like pop culture magazines and newspapers, but shouldn’t he have known? She snickered. Bill Cosby was a terrible choice for Secretary of Education.
During the debates, Hillary secretly thought Bernie might stroke out. With his red face and blueish lips, he seemed close to blowing a gasket. Anyway, it didn’t really matter. She and Bill were busy planning their new life in the Cayman Islands, where they could protect their fortunes.
The parties began shortly after the swearing in ceremony. Bernie and Jane seldom went out dancing, but they still remembered how to do the Twist and loved the song, “The Mashed Potato.” Before the parties, Jane spent some time conversing with the White House chefs. They weren’t familiar with tofu or alfalfa sprouts, and they were amazed when they learned the many uses for nutritional yeast. Initially resisting, they finally agreed to take on Jane’s recipe for chocolate chip loaded cookies after Bernie agreed to give them immunity from prosecution.
Invigorated by the celebrations, the couple awoke to their first day in office. The bed was comfortable enough, but they preferred sleeping on the floor in their L.L. Bean sleeping bags. And they really weren’t used to lights at night. They always cut their power off at 9 p.m., to save money. Just before “lights out,” Bernie serenaded Jane with his guitar rendition of “Where have all the Flowers Gone.”
Barbara Pokras is a Saugerties resident.