- For Teachers
Please, would you take a look at the sixth part of my short story The President and correct my mistakes.
After about an hour or so, the President returns inside. He sneaks through the residence and enters his office. He sits down on his comfortable black leather chair and puts his arms on the large wooden writing desk. His eyes sweep the spacious room, and a sense of uneasiness creeps into his mind. Heavy brown curtains cover large windows keeping the sun at bay. On the walls hang the dark portraits of the former presidents and other important historical figures. They are all deadly serious, as if they had never experienced any joy in their lives. The President wonders if they had had the same kind of feelings like he now has. Did they wake up bathing in sweat? Did they cry when nobody was around? His huge office feels now like a cave without light and exit. He will end his life buried alive, begging in vain for help, covered in his own excrement.
Something is writhing in his stomach, twisting in his guts, and sapping his energy. He wishes he could run away and hide somewhere in the mountains where he will never meet another human being as long as he is alive. His hands begin to shake and he knows that he must react until it is too late. Like a drowning man clutching at straws, he presses the button under the desk.
The door opens slightly, but before his personal secretary has time to say anything, the President shouts in a strangulated voice, “The File!” The door closes silently only to be open again a few seconds later by the same person, this time carrying a thin file in a black folder. The young, impeccably-dressed man is soundless; his well-polished shoes sink into the thick, soft carpet as he approaches the President. He opens the file, puts it down on the desk and takes a step aside. With a shaky hand the President picks up the black fountain pen with a gold nib and signs the document, which will be the most important signature he has ever written in his life. As if by magic, his trembling disappears and a strange feeling of satisfaction, even elation, fills his mind. He dismisses his secretary with a wave of his hand, and when the door closes behind him, the President jumps up and clenches his fist. “Yes! I’ve done it!” I’ve done it!” she shouts, pacing the room with excitement, like a student who has just passed the exam. Bursting with energy, he leaves the office and with long, rapid strides and find himself in the kitchen.
“Could you please bring some snacks in the TV room,” he tells the startled cook, who cannot remember ever seeing the President in such a buoyant mood. “You know what I like: peanuts, pistachios, burnt almonds, pumpkin seeds, crackers...” He hurries down the hall, his heart pounding with excitement, and bursts into the TV room. He switches the large TV on, opens the refrigerator, takes out a beer can and settle himself comfortably on the sofa. He opens the beer can and takes a deep swig of the cold liquid, which has a positive effect on his mind. This is more interesting than the Olympic Games, more exciting than WM in football, he thinks. He will never forget these moments: the build-up, the uncertainty, the wait, and the expectancy. Soon Breaking News caption is going to flash on the screen, and the first rockets and missiles are going to rain over the faraway country causing massive destruction. Deafening explosions, huge fires, destroyed towns and villages, thousands of charred bodies, men, women and children without limbs and without access to a hospital. He has become the greatest director of all time, the master of spectacle and the sovereign over life and death. How long is he going to be so euphoric? How long before he starts to cry?
Thank you again. Without your help I would not know where I had made mistakes. Regarding this short story, I can say that I have not had in mind a dictator. This could be any leader in any country. I am mostly interested in the psychology of power and how it changes a character and behaviour of a person in power.
I don't normally come into this forum, because I do not enjoy proof-reading and editing. However, for some reason today, I read the first part of your story - and went straight to the next. I read all you have written straight through. It has needed some correction on the way, but I must say I was most impressed with it. You carry the events through clearly and naturally, without throwing in anything melodramatic, hold the reader's interest. The President is a very believable figure.
Thank you for a good read. I look forward to reading the rest of the story as it appears.
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With all due respect, I read through the text, and I could not find the word "dictator". I have used the word "director" at the end of the text. "He has become the greatest director of all time, the master of spectacle..." I wanted to say that now when the war has started he had the fate of thousands of people in his hands.