Wednesday, October 22, 2008


By Krisserin Canary

Sarah Palin checked and re-checked her poof in the mirror. The hairstylist had only left five minutes ago, but she felt compelled to make sure that every hair was in its place, her bangs perfectly spaced on her forehead. Everything was amplified to appear perfect on the television screens across America.

She had her points down, but went over them again in her head. Looking at herself in the mirror, she recited the lines one by one—trying to remember which words her speech coach had told her to say louder, the way she was supposed to move her lips with the vowels and where her tongue should start and stop on the consonants. She was ready.

"You are ready," her reflection confirmed.

She had been picking at her cuticles, and her left thumb was bleeding. Running over to her purse she delicately sifted through her tools till she found a Kleenex and blotted away the evidence.

She returned to the mirror to practice her smile. 'This is what America is going to see.' She had to be okay with it. Not just okay, confident. She was a pit bull, a maverick, despite the thudding in her chest that gave away her anxiety. She'd be nervous, but nervous with a smile. Hopefully no one would notice.

She looked at her wrist to check the time but there was no watch. She had taken it off when her stylist had come to dress her.

"You don't want to be checking the time while Biden is speaking, it'll look like you're bored."

She placed her right hand on her wrist and felt the absence. She reached for her phone, it was 5:55 p.m., five minutes to go. She checked to see if there were messages of encouragement from her family. Just one from her handler, "Smile, tilt, wink. You got it!"

She was all alone. She walked over to the couch and faced the door, her feet separated from the cold linoleum of the classroom by the thin netting of her stockings.

The door flew open to break the silence, "Governor Palin, we're ready for you." The girl with the mic attached to her ear didn't look up at her, eyes fixated on the clipboard in her hands.

She followed the girl to the edge of the stage, and in the darkness tried different variations of her first line, smiling to herself.

"Can I call you JOE?"
"Can I call you Joe?"

She heard a few chuckles come from behind her and her heart sped up. She took the last few seconds in the darkness to try to get her heart to slow down. Her eyelids lay soft on her face – a bit heavy from the mask her make-up artist had applied. She pressed her hands flat on her hips, moving them up and down to wipe off the sweat. The light from the stage and voices of the crowd faded away as she focused on that one line.

This story originated from a writing exercise in my introduction to fiction class. We were supposed to choose one character (from the many options including Chewbacca and Richard Simmons) and write a story about them. Of course I chose Sarah Palin, and I thought I would share it with you. Enjoy!

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