Prompt 19: Publicofficeman – 501 Prompts

501 Prompts is my attempt of tricking my brain into actually finishing something by conquering a comically high number of prompts one story at a time.

Here’s how it works: prepare an idea, write for 20 minutes, edit, upload it and move on to the next. It’s open to all genres, topics and experiments with storytelling.

This week I have even less of a clue what I’m doing.

Illustration by the amazing slightly overwhelmed.

Enjoy this week’s prompt!

The Prompt

His heart was strong, never wavering as he looked out over the new world. What new changes were in store for America under the rule of someone so unique? President Willie Nelson – by D. Bachmann

My Story

The president remained quiet for a while, looking out of the window of his new office. His advisor Tracy stood in front of his desk and went over tomorrow’s speech on her tablet. She skimmed the lines mechanically and made a few corrections, but her own thoughts kept derailing her. She had enjoyed working for his campaign, but now she wasn’t sure if he would stick to his words. Tracy had seen too many politicians fall to the temptations of power.

“Do you know what this country needs?”

She didn’t look up to repond. “Change, Sir?”

A pause stretched between them and. When Tracy looked up to see if the conversation would continue, Willie Nelson had just turned around, a sly smile on his face.

“I’m old, Tracy. I’ve seen enough people using that word that it lost any meaning to me.” He sat down in his chair and weaved his hands together. “If I’m honest, I don’t know where to start. I feel like it’s become too much to handle. So many are suffering, and so few are willing to help. These past years have just deepened the trenches in our society.”

Tracy tried her hardest not to sigh and roll her eyes. She knew these words as a clear sign that the cycle was about to repeat itself again. “You shouldn’t mention that in your inauguration speech tomorrow, Sir,” recommended just Tracy, staying true to her line of work.

“Why is that?”

“Demographics show that people don’t respond well to this kind of weakness in person in leadership positions.”

Willie snorted.

“What’s so funny, Sir?”

“I just thought of something my father told me.”

“What did he tell you, Sir?”

The president leaned back in his chair. He closed his eyes as if to summon a picture before his inner sight.

“I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a hot Sunday in late summer. I was about 12 or 13 at the time. My mother had made fresh lemonade. A glass of it with cold ice cubes was a rare treat back in the day. The more I enjoyed it, sitting on our front porch. My hands were wet from the condensing water on the glass. I enjoyed every single slurp and thought to myself that life couldn’t get better than that.”

Tracy crossed her arms in front of her chest, cradling her tablet close to her. Where was he heading with his story?

“My father came home from work at the factory. He ruffled my hair as he always did to greet me. It was his way of showing his affection, I guess. Out of the blue, he asked me a question. ‘Willie,’ he said, ‘do you know what makes a man strong?’ I didn’t think twice and said that he wasn’t scared of anything. ‘Really, Willie? I’d say that makes him foolish. You’re strong when you’re afraid but do the right thing anyway.’”

The president sighed as he opened his eyes and looked at Tracy. Strong determination had settled in where Tracy had suspected to see capitulation before.

“The world is different today, Tracy.” He hesitated. “Well, maybe not so much. Regardless, I think he’s still right. We’ve been naive, maybe too spoiled, to see and understand the harm we did. The damage has been done over so many generations. No one can make up for that, but we can finally start to take responsibility.”

Tracy smiled and continued to listen because she knew he was about to make his point.

“What if all this country needs is real courage. And heart. To take responsibility for our mistakes. The will to stand up and protect those who really need it. If there is a slight chance to make everyone’s life better, I have to take it.”

“Maybe I should write a song about it…”

Tracy nodded and started to rework his upcoming speech to include the exchange they just had. Those words were the reason why she and the public believed in him.

His heart was strong, and even if Willie wavered, he found a way to regain his footing and overcome the obstacle, opening a way for everyone to follow him.

Read my thoughts on writing this prompt.

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