No Down Time

For Round 9 of our Three-Minute Fiction contest, we asked you to send us original works of fiction that revolve around a U.S. president, who can be real or fictional. Our winner was "The Dauphin."

Peas
iStockphoto.com

The president laughed and stuck the pea in his nose again. The first time he had done it, he had gotten such a big laugh that he simply had to do it again. After all, it was Christmas Eve! No war, no unemployment. Just a little dinnertime fun for the leader of the Free World and his family.

"Do it again, Daddy!" the president's children screamed as soon as they could catch their breaths from laughing. This was what Christmas was about. What America was about. A dad sticking a pea up his nose and blowing it across the table to entertain his kids. It was like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Roasted goose, mashed potatoes and peas. His heart swelled to think of himself doing this for his kids and how they would remember it for the rest of their lives. They would, in turn, do it for their children. His grandchildren. Tonight he wasn't "Mr. President," he was Funny Daddy.

He looked on in pride and mirth as his children tried to stick peas up their noses and blow them out. Their cute little noses were too small for the peas to fit properly — they would have to wait until they were older. There was no choice but to do the trick again. It was important to pick the right pea. Not too big or it wouldn't fly across the table properly, and not too small or it would fall out of your nose before you had a chance to blow. He selected a nice, plump pea with no gravy on it and stuck it carefully in his right nostril.

He plugged his left nostril with a finger. He would do the trick one more time and then retire the act until next Christmas Eve when he was sure the kids would beg him to do it again.

How would this go over at a state dinner? No! What was he thinking? He'd look like an idiot. He was letting all this go to his head.

He looked around the table to make sure the kids were watching. Chrissy was trying to get her stuffed dog back from Michael. "Are you all ready?" he asked to get their attention. The president leaned his head back a little so the pea wouldn't fall out. "Michael, give your sister back her ..." Chrissy grabbed for the doggie just as Michael let it go. Her elbow flew back and knocked over a glass of red wine on the table. The president inhaled sharply and leaped up to avoid the wine spilling onto his trousers.

Two hours later, and the pea was still stuck. The president's nose was swelled around the foreign object. They had tried everything to remove it. They made him breathe in pepper to sneeze it out. They smacked the back of his head to hit it out. The first lady even tried sucking it out of his nostril. When that didn't work, they tried a vacuum cleaner. The pea wouldn't budge. They couldn't smash it because it was beneath the cartilage, and he couldn't suck it up and out because the air couldn't pass through. What a nightmare.

As he waited for the White House Medical Team, the president thought, why me? This is what I get for being silly. What a field day the press will have tomorrow if this gets out. Merry Christmas!

There was no down time for the president of the United States.

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