Viral Politics

Prompt: Following | Word Count: 250 words exactly | Genre: flash fiction

May 23, 2020

“Following yesterday’s downtick in reported cases, I’m optimistic our phased reopening will have the staying power we’re all hoping for. However, everyone must continue to maintain appropriate social distancing, wear masks for protection, and continue to limit gatherings. While the results are positive after our first week of phase two reentry, we must remain vigilant.”

Susan flicked off the television and silenced the Governor’s daily briefing. “More of the same,” she muttered under her breath. Today, at least, he appeared to be staying on message, just as she’d written it.

She surveyed her desk looking for the cyber report, and scanned the graphs and numbers. This would be trickier. Investigators had uncovered a huge unemployment fraud ring in the state that had pilfered a ghastly portion of the state coffers. Clearly, hucksters and criminals were thriving in lockdown and having their heyday. For all it’s convenience, electronic commerce was easy to compromise and difficult to secure.

She wasn’t sure how to put lipstick on this pig. It wasn’t going to look good for the Governor. It wasn’t just their state either. Briefly, she pondered whether there was a conspiracy at work to undermine certain governors, including her boss, for political reasons. Once, she would have scoffed at such wild speculation. But these days one couldn’t be too careful.

Well, she thought, two could play at that game. She borrowed a jacket, caught a bus across town to a pay phone without a video monitor, looked at her notes and dialed.

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