The iCandidate: 10th Installment cover

The iCandidate: 10th Installment

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To begin with Installment 1, please click here.
The iCandidate is a unique interactive thriller about a political reality show to choose a potential President of the United States in which the reader has a key say in how the plot unfolds.
In The iCandidate, eight finalists from all walks of life face the kind of challenges they might have to deal with in the Oval Office:
• Will they use the nuclear button?
• What will they do about ISIS?
• How will they cope in a crisis?
At the end of each round the reader gets to cast an iVote to help determine who stays and who goes home. It is democracy in its purest form, free from party loyalties, donor obligations and antiquated electoral practices.
In the novel, serialized weekly on NoteStream, the eventual people’s champion goes on to challenge the political establishment in an iCampaign for the presidency climaxing in an explosive finale in Washington on November 8.
But The iCandidate has even greater aspirations to trigger a revolution in the way America selects the most powerful man or woman on the planet.
Change America one iVote at a time by choosing your iCandidate.
Join the NoteStream Book Club iCandidate: Looking For Heroes – Election 2016 and cast your in-app iVote to save your favorite iCandidates!
Watch out for the release of a second unique contemporary novel - DIVAS by Bill Wagner - this Spring.





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The iCandidate: 10th Installment

Chapter 21: Then There Were Six…

It all happened very quickly.

Kristoff walked briskly onto the stage and after introducing the judges and all the contestants, he asked for the lights to be dimmed. “America, we may be a young country but our history is stamped across our landscape and we are so proud of what we have achieved in our relatively young life.” He’d worked with the writers on this little speech; he was rather proud of it.

“We’ve faced tragedies, and we have mourned. We have celebrated countless triumphs; we are not ashamed to idolize our heroes. And no-one knows how to throw a party quite like America!” The crowd clapped, whooped and cheered their approval.

Serious

Serious

This is why tonight is so interesting.” The lights turned even lower, leaving just one tight light on Kristoff’s face. “We have taken a serious topic - politics - put it in a reality show setting, and asked you, America, to take your job seriously.

How Things Should Be Done

“We are asking you to pioneer a revolution that may stand alongside some of the great leaps that have made this nation what it is today.

Pick your heroes, yes, but do it with careful thought. Be entertained, yes, but listen to your moral conscience. It’s time for us to show those people across the country in DC how things should be done.

“We love our heroes, we cheer them on, and we want them to succeed! We love our traditions, we love entertainment, movies, music, and we love sports. Baseball, hockey and football, of course.. Yes we love our legends...Richard Francombe is one them and we love him.”

Light

There was no sound in the studio as the lights went on again. “Richard, please join me.” Rich stood slowly to his feet from one of the ornate couches in the studio’s Oval Office, set up at the back of the stage. He got to Kristoff in three giant strides, and then the two men shared an embrace.

The quarterback’s face relaxed a little; he allowed himself a smile.

“As you all know,” said Kristoff, “in the last challenge, Donald Trump put our contestants the spot, covering topics like the healthcare system, immigration, and trade with China. Rich and Donald discussed the Miss Universe pageant. It was light, it was entertaining, and it spoke volumes.”

Uneasy

Uneasy

Rich looked uneasy again. His agent had given him hell after the show for talking about hot women, but Rich figured presidents could appreciate beauty, particularly if she were single.

The Vote Is Cast

“America has cast their iVote, Rich, and they love you..”

The sportsman turned to embrace Kristoff again but the presenter was still talking to the camera. “The American people have made it clear they’re taking this competition very seriously,” he continued.

“We love our legends, yes we do! We want a leader who inspires us, yes we do! And we want a leader who is in tune with our beliefs, our dreams. The public’s voice sounded as one when they voted, and it was extremely clear...

Exit Stage Left

Exit Stage Left

“The people love you, Rich, but on the football field, not in the White House.

“Rich, I’m afraid you’re leaving us tonight.”

Chapter 22: Homesick

By the time Emily arrived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she was beginning to relax.

Her trip to the west coast - whistle stop visits to see students in Stanford, Berkeley and UCLA - was over now. The home stretch in sight. Harvard was the second to last stop on her itinerary of schools, where the non-profit Emily worked for placed students on one-year exchange programs.

It hadn’t been as bad as Emily feared being back in the U.S.. The kids were bright, clever, and most seemed to be thriving in their privileged surroundings.

Focus

Emily made sure she focused all her energies on making them feel as comfortable as possible, and suppressed any unhappy memories that stirred inside her.

The small things hurt most; couples holding hands, moms pushing strollers. But that pain was no different than what she felt back home in the Netherlands.

Emily had two students at Harvard, one from Pakistan, the other from Somalia. She would check on them before flying to New York, her last stop, and then home. As much as she was dreading being back there, a part of her hoped it would be cathartic; she would face the memories that still haunted her.

Perhaps she could finally lay them to rest.

Widener Library

Walking towards the Widener Library for her meeting, she took a deep breath, immersing her senses in the history of her surroundings. A student in a Harvard sweatshirt gave her the once over as he walked past.

Unsettled

Emily picked up her credentials at reception and was escorted to a small seminar room on the top floor; the students were waiting to meet her. She settled into a chair by a bay window where two small, sad-looking girls sat silently on a sofa. Unlike the other student’s she’d seen, they didn’t look happy at all.

“I’d love to hear how you are settling into Harvard, and about some of your experiences so far at the school.” Emily smiled at the girls, trying to put them at ease. It was hard work getting them to speak, but one of the girls, Alma, said she was settling in and had begun to make new friends.

New Friends

“It’s just been me and Ayesha up to now,” Alma said in a soft, indiscernible voice. “But now Ayesha wants to go home, so I figure I need to make some new friends.”

Ayesha kept staring out of the window, across to the South Gate. “Is that right, Ayesha? You want to go home.”

“Yes.”

“But you’ve been here less than a month. Wouldn’t you like to give it a little longer?

“No.”

“I have something for you.” Emily rifled through her bag. “I was just at UCLA where your friend Nimrah is studying. She asked me to say hi and give you this.”

From A Friend

From A Friend

Emily handed Ayesha a white button emblazoned with the words “iVoted The iCandidate” and a program of the show. “Nimrah thought you’d like the button. She said you were interested in politics and she took notes about all the contestants in the TV show.”

Going Home

Ayesha said nothing. She didn’t turn from the window. Emily tried again, keeping her voice light and casual. “She’s setting in really well…”

“Thank you,” Ayesha said flatly.

Try as she might, Emily couldn’t get more than one word answers from the sad girl. Her eyes remained locked on the garden below. Emily had dealt with homesickness cases before. Sometimes a student just wasn’t ready to be so far from home.

“I’ll make some enquiries and let you know later today how soon we can fly you home to Karachi. Is that okay?”

Ayesha barely registered what Emily was saying but nodded her assent.

Far Away

Emily’s own flight to New York was in a couple of days. Now it looked like she would have to stay until Ayesha’s arrangements were sorted out. She couldn’t leave her here like this.

“Can we talk some more, Ayesha? I can come by your dorm this afternoon.”

Ayesha’s mind was far away. She was peeling shrimp with her mom and her sisters.

Perhaps that was all she was good for.