The iCandidate: 19th Installment
To begin with Installment 1, please click here.
The iCandidate is a guilty pleasure - 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 - and it keeps the authors on their toes!
In the novel, serialized weekly only 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, and really, would it be any crazier than what we've got now?
Change America one iVote at a time - and cheer on your iCandidate! Be sure to cast your in-app iVotes to save your favorite iCandidates!
NoteStreams are readable online but they’re even better in the free App!
The NoteStream™ app is for learning about things that interest you: from music to history, to classic literature or cocktails. NoteStreams are truly easy to read on your smartphone—so you can learn more about the world around you and start a fresh conversation.
For a list of all authors on NoteStream, click here.
Read the NoteStream below, or download the app and read it on the go!
Chapter 52 – First Lady Fan
After launching a new anti-obesity campaign with his wife at a Richmond, Virginia community center, the President opened the press conference up for questions.
“Did you see The iCandidate challenge on TV last night, sir?” he was asked.
“Yes, I did. Great television. I may even try out myself next season,’ he answered with a broad smile.
“But sir,” the questioner pressed on, “Do you realize this means that five contestants from a game show now have more experience with a nuclear threat than their own President. Do you feel that the show has undermined your leadership?”
He ignored the question.
“I am all for a show that gets people talking about the issues that affect their lives. Let’s just hope that none of us have to deal with the kind of real-life nuclear crisis depicted for the television audience last night.”
The President, looking for his next question, picked a reporter from a local news station. “Go ahead.”
“Who do you think is going home tonight on The iCandidate?”
“If anyone has any questions about the anti-obesity campaign, the First Lady or myself would be happy to answer them…”
In the town car taking them back to Air Force One an hour later, the President admitted defeat. “I can’t believe that’s all everyone is talking about. There is more to life than the iCandidate, surely!”
The First Lady smiled.
“Yes, but please tell the driver to hurry, I want to get back in time to see the results.”
Her face was deadpan before she burst out laughing. “I’m just kidding.”
The President grinned.
But his wife hadn’t finished. “I can watch them on my phone. My money is on Grace by the way.”
Chapter 53 – And Then There Were Four…
It was almost time for the results, the theater was filled to capacity, and the applause went on for so long when the five remaining finalists walked out that Kristoff almost missed his cue.
“This is amazing, even Walter Penske seems excited tonight! As you now know, our panel of military experts, led by members of the Senate Armed Services Committee and including former military generals and State Department negotiators, drew up the entire scenario.
They were unanimous in their findings that the North Koreans were bluffing and neither had a nuclear weapon to use nor had any intention of doing anything other than saber rattling.
Right and Wrong
It would seem that Gillian, Cameron, Tom and the studio audience were correct and Todd and Grace were wrong.”
The lights dimmed. “Now for your results. So America, did you vote on what you believe our contestants should have done?
Were Todd and Grace right to press the button even though our experts say the US was never in any real danger? Or could Gillian, Tom and Cameron have left us fatally exposed by their decision to give the enemy the benefit of the doubt?”
The camera closed in slowly for a full close up of Grace, a smile masking her nerves.
Apparently unconcerned, Todd waved to the audience and Gillian appeared distracted, absentmindedly playing with her necklace. Tom looked unusually tense; the stakes were getting higher with every challenge. Even Cameron seemed nervous, pulling at his collar.
Results Are In
Kristoff dragged out the agony through a commercial break, but didn’t have the heart to keep them waiting any longer.
“We received an unprecedented number of emails and messages after the challenge and they were almost all about one thing – the revelation of one of our final three that she did not believe in God.” Kristoff looked across at Gillian, who had her head bowed.
“I’m afraid to say those messages were overwhelmingly negative. And they are reflected in our vote tonight. The person leaving us tonight, ladies and gentlemen is…
Right Is Wrong
It turned out that America didn’t care if Gillian got it right.
She was out.
Todd had the winning tally by a small margin, Grace was second, Tom and Cameron a close run third and fourth and Gillian tailed way behind.
“How can that be right?" Grace asked Kristoff as soon as the cameras were off. “Gillian was on the right lines all along. She was right and we were all wrong and yet she's the one going home? I don’t get it.”
What The Public Wants
“I understand what you are saying, but she lost a huge percentage of the vote the moment she said she didn’t believe in God,” Kristoff explained. “What counts in this show is what the public want.
In that respect, Gillian got it wrong. The people want an uncompromising leader to make a tough decision without any pussyfooting around. They also want a Christian.”
Gillian’s daughter Clara joined her on stage and together, they waved goodbye to America.
And then there were four…
Chapter 54 – The Good Samaritan
Grace left the building long after everyone else, her shoes crunching on the gravel. She noticed there were very few cars left in the parking lot and glanced at her watch. It was late.
As she approached her car, she thought she saw a shadow move. Hesitating, she opened her bag and fished around for her cell phone and keys.
She touched the sensor button, the car unlocked with a loud whoop, and she quickly slid gratefully into the driver’s seat.
But before she could close the door the shadow materialized from the darkness, bursting forward and grabbing her by the arm.
A man, his face covered by a black ski mask, smashed her head against the steering wheel, and she screamed out in pain.
“Shut up you black bitch!” he snarled. He threw her across the passenger seat, hitting her in the face with one hand and tearing at her clothes with the other.
She tried to push him off, but his full weight was on her as he yanked violently at her skirt. His breath smelt of whiskey and cigarettes and he ranted in her ear.
“Black whore, who do you think you are - we don’t need one more jig trying to run this country. I’m gonna teach you a lesson, then you better run back home to the gutter where you belong.”
He had her skirt around her waist and was pulling at her underwear, sweating and grunting. All Grace could think was no way was this going to happen, not here, not now.
He had her arms pinned behind her head and as he released his grip to loosen his pants, she managed to maneuver her knee and with all her strength, she crashed it into his groin. He cried out and curled up in pain.
She pushed to release the glove compartment door and grabbed the flashlight she kept there. He lunged at her and she whacked him hard across the head before reaching back and pulling open the passenger door, falling backwards out of her car.
He launched himself across the seat and she slammed the door, catching his fingers and he yelled in agony.
Grace started to run in her stocking feet, her shoes lost in the fight. He chased after her.
She turned the corner of the parking lot, desperately hoping to see someone, anyone. But there was no one and no escape.
He grabbed her by the hair and dragged her to the ground. “Give in nigger. Face it, it’s just not your day.” His face was inches from hers but all she could see we're his eyes staring hatred back at her.
Again, he ripped at her clothes and body like a maniac. She clawed his eyes; he just laughed, banging her head against the ground. She could taste blood in her mouth as everything started to fade, the faces of her parents on that fateful day flooding her mind.
That’s when the rage filled her very core.
She was not going to let this punk do this to her, and with all her strength she somehow pulled her arm free and punched him hard, watching in fascination as his nose gave way under the mask. He lay sprawled out on the floor.
“Stay the hell away from me you piece of shit,” she screamed, crawling away.
Somehow, he grabbed her ankles and pulled her over, pushing her face down and smothering her body with his. This time she knew it was over.
Suddenly the crushing weight lifted and she heard a crack as a body part was smashed against the gravel.
Opening one eye, she saw someone punching the living daylights out of her attacker. Finally, the man’s masked face met the ground with a dull thud and Todd ran over to Grace, scooping her in his arms. “Grace! Grace! Are you okay?”
“Where did you come from?” she moaned.
“Shh… now, you’re safe.” He carried her back into the building and lay her down on the couch in one of the offices before going off to get a glass of water and some ice.
“I called security, but I think he’s gone. Why were you here so late, Grace?” He held the ice against her cheek.
“Just reading. We’ve got the big money round coming up. I need to be ready. What about you, why were you here?”
“I just came back for my bag. I left it behind.”
“Todd, you saved my life, I don’t even know how to thank you. He just kept coming at me,” she said, trying to hold it together.
“Well, you put up one hell of a fight, Grace. I thought you were a tough candidate, now I know for sure.”
“Not quite tough enough this time, though.” She looked at him, swallowing hard. “Thank you Todd.”
“You’re welcome,” he squeezed her hand and she winced.
Grace decided against filing a police report and refused medical attention. She knew if she went to the hospital the news would get out and she couldn’t face all the fuss.
Nobody was to know, she told Todd. She didn’t want the show to get that kind of attention or herself to receive sympathy votes.
Todd drove her home and as they pulled up at the White House, Grace turned to him. “So it’s our secret, Todd?”
“My lips are sealed. I promise you that. But are you sure you don’t want me to take you to the hospital? You were pretty beat up back there.”
“Yes, quite sure. Thanks again Todd. For everything.”