When I was tripping on acid, a bag of magic beans turned into our first chimpanzee president.
“Michael.” My mother called as I raced down the stairs towards the door. I thought about leaving without answering but I knew my mother. Bad things would happen if I didn’t find out what she wanted before I left.
“Yeah?” I asked as I leaned around the edge of the doorway that led to the kitchen.
She stood there, her caramel hair frizzing and her arms covered in flour. She wiped at her forehead and I hoped she would get a streak on her face so I could laugh at her for it, but she managed to keep her face clean while getting her hair out of her eyes. My mother was like that, though. Always so put together.
“I know you think this party at John’s isn’t going to get too wild,” She said. I rolled my eyes. My mother was always doing this. She saw my expression and hers softened. She stepped towards me before she looked down at her hands and decided better of trying to hug me. “Just, you know what happens if things get out of control.”
“I do,” I said. And I did. I knew better than she did what happened when I was angry, or upset. Anytime I lost control, bad things happened. I would have to keep it together and make sure I didn’t take anything that would end with the power of my father bringing the entire world into a post-apocalyptic nightmare.
When it happened that one time before, I’d had a nightmare and woken up in a world where an asteroid had destroyed a third of the earth and gravity only worked about half the time. It had been hard to put everything back together, and even now I’m not sure I got all of it right.
“I’ll be careful,” I promised. I bounced on the balls of my feet and the sound of a horn blared from the driveway. She pinned me with a raised eyebrow and I stared back at her with a passive face. The meditation was working, or at least I thought it was.
Finally, she relented and gave me a nod. I threw my fist in the air and let out a whoop before darting for the door. My coat shot out from the closet and raced into my hands as the door swung open for me.
“Michael!” My mother called out again, exasperated. The door slammed shut behind me. Her concern faded from my mind as I jumped into John’s truck and he tore out of the driveway. I knew what I was doing now, I wasn’t four and terrified of the world ending. A little party was something I could handle without destroying the world in the meantime.
I was so wrong.
It wasn’t my fault, though, when I look back on it. When your friend hands you a bag of jelly beans and dares you to eat it, you can’t be blamed later when it turns out they’d laced the beans with LSD.
And if President Albert Whittman just happens to be a chimpanzee now, rather than a man, well that wasn’t something I was going to admit to my mother.
After all, there wasn’t anyone complaining about having a chimpanzee president as far as I could tell. And hey, he had some pretty good reforms planned too.
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