The door closed on Senator Morgan’s final meeting of the day. He sat back in his chair, loosened his tie and sighed as he pressed the intercom.
“Margaret, can you come in here for a moment, please?”
He was always polite to his mousey, prim little personal assistant. She was a good organiser with an OCD for desk tidying and made excellent coffee, black with two sugars, just the way he liked it. Margaret entered the room, notepad ready in hand.
“Take the rest of the day off, honey,” he said, “go home and enjoy yourself.” She smiled at him, welcoming the slight flirtation, but her eyes didn’t portray any relief.
“But Senator Morgan, your conference, do you not want to go through your speech one last time?”
“No. I know it inside out. Just need to get myself to the airport now. I’ll see you next week.”
She nodded, “Good evening then, Senator Morgan.”
She walked back out of the door, stopping only to delicately place her notepad back on her desk at the correct 45 degree angle and to pick up her bag before she left.
Morgan rose from his chair and walked to the window to watch her exit the building. He sighed again.
It was going to be a long night. He removed his tie completely, tucked it into his shirt pocket and picked up his two suitcases. Then he put them back down as he caught a brief glimpse of the gloves laid neatly on the side table. A treasured present from his ex-wife on completion of drama college, dark red leather gloves, worn with use over a great many number of years. He slipped them on before leaving.
The car journey to the airport was slow and frustrating. It seemed to Morgan that every stop sign was against him. Eventually, way after dark, he reached the place that would be his shelter for the night. A space to prepare himself before a plane journey to perhaps the biggest speech of his career. He parked up, grabbed his bags and checked in to the motel. If the security guard recognised him he was too tired or too bored to mention it. Morgan found his room just as a young couple found theirs. They waved a bottle of whiskey and giggled as they fumbled with their lock. He smiled back and raised a gloved hand in greeting.
The accommodation was basic but fine for the one night. He put his luggage down and jumped with surprise as he saw his reflection in the table mirror over the other side of the room. He wished he too had a whiskey but he needed a clear head tonight. A plane flew overhead which made Morgan look up to the cracked, white ceiling. It didn’t matter, he wouldn’t sleep much tonight anyway.
After removing his gloves and putting them safely on the table, he picked up the larger of the two suitcases and changed into some dark jeans and a shirt, neatly folding away his suit. He didn’t bother to empty any other items of clothing. Then he turned to the smaller suitcase. He laid this on the bed and tapped in the code for the combination lock. Beneath a folder containing the speech he had prepared for the conference, was a dark grey cape and black hat. He removed both items of clothing to reveal a red box. Morgan took out the box and placed it on the table. He sat on the stool next to the dressing table, looked in the mirror again, then opened the box. Inside were two layers of stage make up, a false beard and a wig. He wished that the lighting were better but, even so, his training as an actor meant he knew exactly how to change his face so that no one would recognise him unless they were up close and personal. He wasn’t intending to get close enough for any living soul to recognise him that evening. He finished by placing the hat on his head and tying the cape round his neck. He slipped his gloves back on and headed out into the early hours of the morning. As hoped, there was no one else around.
What followed was another frustrating journey which took longer than necessary. Morgan slipped on mud, tripped over stones and branches and almost had to crawl up the bank to his intended destination. Finally, he reached the top of the hill and the wooded area which would hide him from sight. He dropped down to the ground, sat and watched as another plane flew overhead. He gathered his breath then removed the cape and took the cord out from inside the top. He pulled it tight with his gloved hands and felt it flex between his fingers. Slowly, he moved to the edge of the copse.
What he saw was a green sports car. The occupants were a woman and man, illuminated by the in-car lights. He kept his distance and listened to the laughter and noises which finally turned into relaxed conversation. Eventually, the man left Morgan’s ex-wife in the car and headed towards the trees for relief. Morgan was counting on this…
Bad news travels quickly. The newspapers printed pictures of a body covered by a cape. The strangled man was not only Senator Morgan’s rival in love but also in career. Twice the betrayal. Double the feelings of hate. Now that there was no other major candidate, Morgan was first to perform his career boosting speech.
“Good luck, Senator Morgan. Knock ’em dead. As they say.”
“Thank you Margaret.” Morgan winked at her as he strode onto the stage. He entered the crowded room to a huge round of applause. His face was blemish-less under the lighting. He put down his notes on the podium and adjusted his dark red gloves. Then he looked up, smiled to the crowd and began the act of a lifetime.
Created for THIS.