[A short story for you. The corruption of the 2020 presidential balloting has had me thinking about what the Right might do to counter further attempts in that direction. Perhaps the idea encapsulated in this story would suffice, though I’m sure there would be the most vigorous of protests from the Left. – FWP]
“What time you got?” the driver muttered.
Simon glanced at his cellphone. “One ten. Plenty of time left. Anyway, they’ve already got all the windows boarded up and posted guards at the entrances, so we’ll be okay even if we arrive a little after three.”
“Good,” the driver said. “Then I’m not gonna push this rig any harder.” He grinned. “She’s got a few years on her. Like me.”
Simon grunted but made no other reply.
Be a lot easier to relax about this if we didn’t need to have this crap trucked in from out of state. But there’d be too many ways to trace a load printed in Minnesota.
The enormous surge of support for the Trump / Gaetz ticket had almost caught the Democrats unaware. There would be little chance of saving Minnesota’s electoral college votes for the Harris / Cortez ticket without deploying every known stratagem. Simon was just thankful that those methods had proved effective four years previously.
Fortunes of war, I guess. You do what you have to do to win, and make adjustments later.
He sat back, let his eyes rest on the passing woods, and tried to relax.
Less than two miles from the Minnesota state line, a seeming explosion erupted from the front of the truck’s cab. The vehicle listed and slewed wildly to the left. The driver wrestled with the steering wheel as the truck slid several hundred feet forward before he could safely bring it to a stop. They debarked, hustled around to the front of the cab, and found that both the truck’s front left tires had been blown out.
“God damn!” the driver snarled.
“Can you fix it?” Simon said.
The driver shook his head. “I only got the one spare. Can’t run the cab on just one. Not enough traction. So what now?”
“Hang on.” Simon pulled out his cellphone. He looked up the number for Minnesota Democratic headquarters and started to dial.
“Drop it! Hands in the air!”
Simon’s head jerked around toward the unfamiliar voice. He saw six men in camo and balaclavas, each toting a rifle, approaching from the right. Six more, similarly garbed and equipped, were converging on the truck from the left. He raised his hands.
The first of the intruders swung the butt of his rifle at the cellphone in Simon’s right hand. It flew thirty feet and landed on the macadam with a distinct sound of shattering plastic and glass. Simon gasped and cradled his bruised hand.
“That was a fifteen hundred dollar iPhone 14,” he ground out.
“So sorry,” his assailant said. “I did tell you to drop it.”
“What the hell is this?” the driver shouted.
“We just want to perform a quick inventory of your load, my friend,” Simon’s assailant said. “We have to satisfy ourselves that you’re not carrying contraband.”
“You won’t find anything valuable,” Simon said.
“Value is relative,” Simon’s assailant said. He gestured his companions forward and around to the back of the truck. It seemed he was the leader of the force that had waylaid them. “It depends on context. And today’s context is the kind that discards diamonds and sneers at gold, but puts great value on slips of paper.” He waved at the driver with the muzzle of his rifle. “Open up.”
Muttering, Simon and the driver trudged around to the back of the truck. The driver looked meaningfully at Simon, who nodded. The driver unlocked the tailgate and stepped back.
The leader nodded at the hundreds of cardboard boxes. “As we suspected. Pull ‘em out, boys.” The others converged on the load, toted boxes out, stacked them in the street a decent distance from the truck, and ripped them open. The leader crouched and riffled through the contents of several boxes, grunting as he went. Finally he rose with a fistful of papers: the ballots Simon had had printed in New York. Each bore a vote for the Harris / Cortez presidential ticket.
The leader turned to Simon. “We’ll be confiscating these.”
“But—” Simon immediately forced himself back to silence. The leader nodded.
“It’s not going to be like last time, my friend. The votes of Minnesotans will be tallied up without any…help from your sort. This will be as honest an election as we can make it.”
Simon sneered. “Are you a Minnesotan?”
The leader pulled off his balaclava and smiled. “As it happens, I am,” he said. “As are most of the others here. But it wouldn’t have mattered if I weren’t. What you were about to do constitutes a federal felony. Interstate election fraud, and in a presidential election at that. I don’t know how many years you would get for it, but I think they figure them per ballot.” He waved at the boxes. “You’ve got thousands of ballots here. You wouldn’t be getting out of prison except in a pine box.”
The leader quickly surveyed the inside of the truck to ensure that his team had missed nothing, turned to another of his companions, and beckoned him forward. As the man approached the load, it became apparent that he was toting a flamethrower and wore a cylinder of compressed gas as a backpack. At a nod from the leader, he lit the device, adjusted its throw, and played bright blue flames over the boxes of ballots.. When the leader was satisfied that all the boxes had been reduced to uselessness, he turned to the driver and smiled.
“If you don’t have a cellphone,” he said, “I’d be happy to call a truck repair service to deal with those tires for you.”
“I’ve got one,” the driver muttered.
“Then I suppose our business is concluded.” The leader gestured his team back into the woods that flanked the highway.
“This won’t change anything,” Simon said. “You think stopping us will sweep back the tide? There are a whole lot of others out tonight working to make sure President Harris gets a second term.”
“Oh, we know it well,” the leader said. “We have a whole lot of teams out tonight too. Some of them are monitoring the roads into Minnesota, like my team. Some of them have cordoned off the ballot counting centers, to make sure that anyone who gets past us with a load of fraudulent ballots won’t get in. And some of them are in those centers, armed just as we are, standing watch over the ballot counters to make sure there’s no hanky-panky with the legitimately cast votes. You see,” he said, “you threw away the rules. You decided that the only thing that matters is winning—retaining power. But if there are no rules for you, there are no rules for us, either. The difference between you and us is that we trust the voters to make the right choice.”
He glanced over his shoulder at his team as it vanished into the forest, faced Simon, and nodded once more.
“You have a nice day, now. Minnesota nice!”
Copyright © 2021 by Francis W. Porretto. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.