Stevenson thinks it’s pretty funny when he rigs the machines.
“There’s no paper trail, ” he says, “so I can give the election to whomever I want. And I want the Shark King. I want Ata-Anru the Third. He loves the environment because he eats the environment. He’s not one of those Washington insiders. He’s the teeth from beneath. He’s not one of those namby-pamby liberals. He’s a power devourer. He’ll put the unions into line. The terrorists too. He’s Ata-Anru.”
Stevenson enters one billion votes. “He’s the Shark King.”
At random times, in random jurisdictions, the votes come up. And Ata-Anru wins.
There’s a media fuss about it, of course. People complain that the ballots were confusing. They didn’t really mean to vote for the Shark King. Congress expresses consternation. “Is there really such a person?” says one Representative. “And if so, is he really a citizen in good standing of the United States?”
But there is. Even Stevenson didn’t know it. You wouldn’t think it. But he’s very real. He’s Ata-Anru the Third. He’s the Shark King. When he swims up the steps to the West Front of the Capitol, you could swear he’s swaggering.
“Mr. President-Elect!” cries a reporter. “Mr. President-Elect! Some people allege that you’re not even a citizen of the United States of America!”
“It is true,” whispers Ata-Anru, “that I come from an immigrant family. The line of Shark Kings is not native to these shores. But I was born in United States waters. And I can prove it!”
He displays his proof. The reporters are shocked.
“That’s extremely compelling, Mr. President-Elect.”
“Thank you,” says Ata-Anru. He wiggles a fin.
“Still, what do you plan to say to the people who will allege that you stole this election? ‘Re-Elect Bush in 2008!’ That’s what their bumper stickers will say.”
Ata-Anru smiles toothily.
“No worries,” he says.
The sharks move into America in force. They’re everywhere these days. They’re swimming down the streets in their velvet and their leather. There’s always a deep bass beat that plays, and sometimes a voice will say, “Oh, yeah.” They’re not just cool because the American President is also their King. There’s more to it than that. On some deep and fundamental level, the sharks got game.
They don’t eat people any more. Eating people isn’t cool.
They just swim on by, showin’ off their bling-bling.
And, oh, yes.
They’re excessively smug.