Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Sunshine City Chronicles, The Freshmen- Part 12: The Media Firestorm


June 14, 2018,
19:19 local time,
The Oval Office, The White House,
Buffalo, Roman New York

Over in Sunshine City, Neena Thurman examined Martin Coleman's phone and, while finding he labelled “The Beaver” in his phone as “Tom Kirkman”- whom he had messaged without success before Kirkman got elected- Thurman couldn't find anything of substance that could help identify The Beaver. Bullock's check of his personnel's phones also revealed that no one contacted Kirkman or his staff in any way.

So the Sunshine City Police were hoping that April O'Neil, who was broadcasting her interview with Raven in prime time on June 12, could help further the case along. Raven recounted her story almost word for word that she did for Bullock and his crew, which predictably launched a firestorm that North American President Kirkman couldn't help but get caught up in, watching video clips of the interview and its reaction in the following days.

“The President has a lovechild,” said world renowned gladiator The Miz on his pop culture recap show, MizTV. “Colour me shocked...shocked I tell you. I know myself and our fellow gladiators...we're colourful people and we've had our fair share of drama...but, let me tell you...this is crazy stuff even by our standards...and the fact that the President may have murdered someone to cover this whole thing up...I'm telling you...you just can't make this stuff up. President Kirkman, you've got some explaining to do.”

“The President hasn't just backed himself into a corner,” said Canadian Broadcasting Corporation political pundit Rex Murphy, “he's awkwardly contorted himself into one while wearing a straitjacket. Make no mistake...there's no way out of this one. We were all there when he revealed the manner of death of Martin Coleman, a small fact that no one, not April O'Neil nor the Sunshine City Police Department, had ever shared before, making it extremely odd the President knew about it. I don't care that the President explained the faux pas- I'm not buying it, because the President has shown time and again that he always has a 'convenient' answer for his troubles and that's just too convenient for me.”

“The President killing someone,” said EA News anchor Kent Brockman in an opinion piece. “I know there is a lot of evidence...and a lot of things that just don't add up...and, frankly, a lot of things the President needs to give answers to...but this whole thing is just too absurd to be believable. There must be a more reasonable, mundane explanation for Martin Coleman's murder- is there?”

“Tom Kirkman,” said renowned pro-Federalist pundit Stephen Colbert on his podcast, The Colbert Report, “isn't just a killer by my count, he's a rapist. I really don't know how much more I can condemn him than I already have. I know we haven't seen eye-to-eye many times, but...really, no matter where you are on the political aisle, I just don't know how you can defend this guy anymore.”

“In a year where we've had 'MeToo' and 'Time's Up',” said newscaster and pundit J.B. Dickson, doing his trademark rant on the 2K Network's renowned news show, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, “it's obvious that Tom Kirkman's time is up. Folks, there's just no other way of putting it- Kirkman's string of lies, twisted facts and yet even more lies shows us that he's no longer capable of leading this continent. How many more times do we have to go through with his half-baked non-explanations and forced pleadings before we wise up and say, 'enough's enough'? Hey, Tom- maybe a 'non-answer' answer works when you're trying to wiggle your way out of having to explain how devastating your tax cuts are going to be or how you really couldn't provide an adequate argument for running a pipeline through sacred Native land- but it sure it won't work when you've got a rape and a murder to explain. The time for a recall election is now.”

Kirkman let out a heavy sigh before angrily pounding his fist on his desk.

“How could things possibly end up this way?” said Kirkman, trying his best to hold back his tears. “I'm a good man...I've done good things...I'm the highest rated President in history...where did I go wrong? Where did I go wrong?”

He angrily slammed his laptop shut and collapsed over it with his arms and his head, crying audibly. His friends had told him not to enter politics because it would ruin him...he didn't want to believe them, but they were all right now.

Alexandra still hadn't bothered to come back to him, and now his political career lay in ruins.

Still, Kirkman vowed to fight on, knowing that everything that aired was still all just talk. No one had any real evidence other than some tabloid piece and some flub he made at a ceremony.

You can't convict someone on that, thought Kirkman, can you?

He then had some choice words for his next guest.

“Madam Speaker,” said Kirkman sternly. “Have a seat.”

Kimble Hookstraten did so, but didn't lose her composure or her glare into Kirkman's eyes.

“I don't know what game you're trying to play-” started Kirkman before he was interrupted.
“I'm not here to play any games, Tom,” said Hookstraten with a smirk. “It's you that's playing all the games with your tortured explanations and your non-answers. In fact, the only reason I'm here is so that you can verbally bully me into backing down from whatever campaign I'm going on.”

Hookstraten then chuckled before continuing.

“What's your angle going to be today, Tom?” she said with a snarl. “Is it going to be 'do it for the better of the country'? Or are you going to offer to help me on some legislation in exchange for dropping my investigation into you?”

Hookstraten then knowingly wagged her finger.

“Oh I know what it will be,” said Hookstraten. “It will be blackmail...yes, blackmail. It's always about stabbing people in the back with you, Tom- because you think if you can kill everyone, there will be no one left to take care of you.”

Kirkman then angrily slammed his fists on his desk, which startled but didn't faze Hookstraten.

ENOUGH!” he shouted at the top of his voice, his eyes wide with rage. “If you think you can go after me, let me tell you- you have no bite in your bark.”

Hookstraten could only shake her head.

“Barking, huh?” she said. “Are you implying that I'm a dog...a female dog? How typical of you...I'd say you show a distinct lack of respect for women but you really don't respect anyone at all- just those who are willing to go along with your game.”

Hookstraten then got up and started to leave.

“You know,” she said, “I'm done with this meeting. I should have known better than to come here at this hour...it's not like I'd get anything fruitful from you.”

She started to walk away before Kirkman grabbed her on the arm and forcefully turned her towards him, causing her to yelp in shock.

You're not done here,” snarled Kirkman, holding on to Hookstraten with all his strength. “You have some explaining to do.”
“If you don't think this isn't going before the House Ethics-” started Hookstraten.
SILENCE!” said Kirkman, tugging at Hookstraten's arm and squeezing it, which would form a bruise later. “What made you start your investigation?” Kirkman then tugged at Hookstraten again before continuing. “Answer me!

Hookstraten did all she could by now to ignore the excruciating pain that Kirkman was applying to her arm, taking several deep breaths before she answered.

“I took it upon myself!” she said, angrily. “When you had that flub in Montreal I had to look into it.”

Kirkman angrily let go of her arm, tossing it aside as if it was garbage.

“You're lying,” said Kirkman.
“Believe me,” said Hookstraten, “or don't believe me...I don't care. I just know that if you get a victory on this it'll be nothing but Pyhrric. You have much bigger questions to answer to...and believe me, I'm going to make sure you answer them.”

Hookstraten then walked out purposefully, making sure her high-heeled shoes made as much noise as they could as she did so.