Jake's New Medicine
by Michael A. Kechula
"Where have you been for two days?" Ruth hollered. "Everybody's been going crazy looking for you!"
"Don't holler at me," Jake said. "I was doing what you've been nagging me about for the past year."
"Whadda ya mean?"
"I was saving whales like you and your West End Environmental Club are always harping about. Only instead of just talking about it like you do, I actually did something."
"You were saving whales for the past two days?"
"What a liar! Such a shame an eighty-five year old rabbi has to start lying."
"It's the truth. Just hear me out. I have proof. This letter. It's still a bit wet. Let's dry it out, then you'll be able to read better what it says."
"So why do I have to wait until it's dry? Why don't you tell me what it says?"
"OK. It's a letter of commendation. From the whales. For saving them. Even more important, the last paragraph names me their President for life. They had a big meeting last night, and held the first election in their history. I won."
"That's enough, already. I'm calling Dr. Saperstein. That new medicine he gave you is doing funny things to your brain. He said there was a small chance that might happen."
"Listen to me, Ruth, before you start calling doctors. While you were helping your sister with the dishes on Hannukah I told you I was going for a walk. Remember?"
"Yeah. And that's the last I saw you until now."
"Well, I went for a walk along the beach. And then something remarkable happened. I know you're going to find this hard to believe, but a pink whale beached just a hundred feet ahead of me. So, I ran toward it. As I approached, it opened one eye, looked at me, and said, 'Please save us, Mister.'"
"A whale talked to you? Now I know you've been hallucinating."
"I'm telling the truth. This was no hallucination."
"OK, so let's say it asked you for help. What kind of help? To push it back into the ocean?"
"No. When I asked it what kind of help the whales needed, it said, 'We're sick of eating plankton. We want caramel covered popcorn.' So, I went to WalMart, bought a few boxes of caramel covered popcorn, opened the whale's mouth and poured in a whole box. You should have seen how happy he was. Ever hear a whale laugh? It's a marvelous thing to behold."
"That's it! I'm calling Dr. Saperstein right now!"
"If I were you, I wouldn't waste time calling doctors. I'd spend the time thinking about what I was going to wear for the Inaugural Ball. It's tomorrow, after the swearing in ceremony. You don't have much time to get ready. And since you're going to be the First Lady of the first President of the whales, I think it's important you make a good impression. Plus, we got to start calling people. I want everybody we know to be there."
Ruth grabbed her cell phone and called Saperstein. While they were buzzing, Jake jotted ideas down for his inaugural speech.
"The doctor wants to see you right now. Take a quick shower while I move the car from the garage."
The moment she left, Jake used his cell phone. "Hello, Harry?" This is Jake. Yes, your new President-elect. Look, things aren't turning out the way I hoped. My wife doesn't believe me. I'll have to run my administration without her. Meanwhile, have you come up with any ideas for which of your fellow whales might make a good Secretary of Defense? Oh . . . that's great. He sounds perfect."
When Ruth came back into the house to get Jake, he was nowhere to be found.
That night, a CNN newscaster told of a curious sighting off the coast of California. "A man scanning the beach with a metal detector said he saw a senior citizen walking on the sand. Suddenly, a pink whale leaped out of the water and slid up the beach right in front of the senior. It opened its mouth and the old guy walked inside. The whale slid back into the ocean and disappeared. The beachcomber swears the pink whale was wearing a red, white, and blue hat that said, Don't Make a Mistake. Vote Jake."
All the commentators chuckled. One of them made a lighthearted comment about drunks seeing pink whales instead of pink elephants.
Story Copyright © 2007 by Michael A. Kechula. All rights reserved.
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About the author
Michael's flash fiction tales have won first prize in six contests and honorable mention in three others. His stories have appeared in over seventy online and print magazines and anthologies. He's authored two books of flash and micro-fiction: A Deck Full of Zombies—61 Speculative Fiction Tales and Crazy Stories for Crazy People.
He lives in Surprise (yes, really), Arizona.