Every now and then, I slam out something unsolicited with a particular publication in mind. More often than not, they don’t want it, so it goes here. In this case, it was NPR’s Three-Minute Fiction competition, Round 9: “Pick a President.”


Image courtesy of nixxphotography /

“My fellow Americans: good evening.

“I thank you for tuning in tonight as I address you, as it must be, for the final time. I cherish the three years I have spent as your president. But that time has sadly, though necessarily and without regret, come to an end.

“The sun has always been a symbol of constancy. Day after day, it has risen to provide heat, light, life to our blessed planet. And day after day, it has set, to remind us that there can be no life without its eventual opposite; no heat without cold, no light without darkness.

“Now, the shining beacon at the center of our solar system has succumbed to change. By what mechanism, we cannot explain. For what reason, we shudder to even ask.

“For the past several decades, temperatures on Earth have been inexorably rising. Glaciers and icebergs have melted. The seas have risen. Mild winters have seemed a blessing to those in higher latitudes, just as unbearable and deadly summers have cursed most of us. Tropical storms have grown so intense that one cannot run its course before another barrels hastily ashore.

“The situation first came to our attention in the 1970s, and was quickly labeled, simply, Global Warming. Later, as its effect became more unpredictable, we termed the phenomenon Climate Change. We knew not, at first, its cause, but evidence pointed to a buildup of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere – carbon dioxide that we human beings, and especially we Americans, had ourselves released.

“This evidence was misleading. But it gave us a sense of purpose, because if humanity had begun this terrible process, then surely it could end it. We could choose to survive.

“As political debates raged over lowering our carbon emissions, the real culprit was identified: the sun, growing hotter and without reversal. The fault was not in ourselves, but indeed in our star.

“This information was, I must now confess to you, kept from the general public to maintain order and, crucially, hope. In mere months, the planet will be too damaged for humanity to survive. Our civilization does not possess the technology to understand, much less reverse, the rising temperature of our sun.

“What we do possess are nuclear warheads atop intercontinental ballistic missiles. Despite decades of disarmament, the United States, Russia, and other countries still control enough weaponry to incinerate the surface of our planet many times over.

“And that is what we shall do.

“Prior to my term of office, discussions were already under way with all the nuclear powers of the world regarding the planned destruction of the human race. I continued these discussions, which were brought to a close just a few hours ago. Implementation will not be delayed. We can go on suffering, or we can enable an orderly, dignified, swift end.

“All missile strikes have been coordinated to ensure that no corner of the Earth survives. Together we have endured for thousands of years; and together, now, we bring the human story to a close.

“We can say, now for another seven minutes, that our lives were not ended without our consent – that we merely waited while cruel fate had its way with us. We can declare, proudly, that we were masters of our own destiny.

“Good night, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.”

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