Lift and Deposit. Thank you.

I have come of age but the sky looks no different. My body feels the same. It doesn’t feel like I’ve crossed this phantom threshold that everyone tells me is so important.

Today I cast my vote for the first time in my life.

There are always two candidates. My vote should be based on who my parents are, who my parents hate, what district I live in.

There is apparently an art to discerning the difference between “blah, blah, blah” and “blah, blah, blah”. If one candidate says “blah” before the other does, then the first candidate should receive 10 percent more consideration … unless he only said “blah” because the other candidate refuses to say “blah” then the refusing candidate should receive more consideration.

God forbid anyone take any account of what said candidates party has done for the past four years … let alone the past hundred years. Parties change and grow and are later revealed to have never changed at all. Our parties have been streamlined to make things easier.

We have a Purple party and we have an Orange Party.

My parents voted Purple last year. Since I have received high scores in Biology, Electrical Engineering, and have visited both the Botanical Gardens and the Subway twice in one year I am allowed to consider voting Orange. This is further complicated by my current salary which dictates that I should vote Orange so that my salary increases … my salary increased last year as well, and if it increases this year I will be automatically required to vote Purple.

I use only recycled goods, which gives me a double-vote if I vote Orange, but since I use a mode of transportation that more than 30 percent of the population cannot afford that extra vote is negated.

If any member of my family votes one color after voting the other color the previous year, he/she receives a commendation and a “get-out-of-church-free” card entitling them to one year of non-attendance of church services, followed by a homecoming and a “rebirth” into both the religion of my family’s choice and the social clique which governs it.

So many things to consider …

I wait patiently in line to cast my vote. In my left peripheral vision I see Orange and hear “blah” and in my right peripheral vision I see Purple and hear “blah”.

There is something extra that a new voter receives when he votes for the first time. There is a sacred rite that is the heart of the election process passed down century after century from the beginnings of our species on some remote planet in some other solar system. It is a secret rite that no non-voter will ever see.

This is why I am most anxious about today. We’re voting for the candidate we wish to perform this sacred, secret rite. It will be their only purpose – their only requirement.

It seems a lifetime passes before the man ahead of me emerges from the booth … and now it is my turn.

I enter and pull the curtain behind me. Here I am … me and two buttons.

One is Orange.

One is Purple.

I reach for the Purple button … but I’m suddenly distracted.

There … nearly imperceptible in the strange colored light created by the mix of orange and purple is something scratched into the wall.

It reads:

“The man in white is telling the truth”

I don’t know what this means … but still I hesitate as some strange sense of deja vu overwhelms me. Before it can deter me any further I quickly punch the Purple button and dash out of the booth … and I wonder if anyone else noticed the message.

They usher the voters into what appears to be a large arena with thousands and thousands of seats. This same scenario is being repeated in every district on the planet and likewise on every colony in the solar system. There are thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of voters, all witnessing the same sacred rite, the same race, the same colors, but different candidates.

After an hour or so, the lights dim and the crowd in my district’s arena becomes silent.

Then appear the two candidates, one in Purple robes and the other in Orange.

Boos and hisses and cheers and applause erupt accordingly as the candidates make their way to the center of the arena and shake hands. The noise is deafening.

Then, chained and bloody, a third man, a man dressed in white, is brought forth. The guards that carry him throw him down between the two candidates.

This is it. This is the sacred rite that only a voter is allowed to see.

The man in white says this: “You know what is right. You know what is wrong. You know the truth. You know that this is not the way.”

There is silence … and then the arena suddenly glows orange as a large orb hanging from the ceiling of the arena signals the results of the vote .

The Orange candidate has won. I am disappointed. I feel empty and defeated. The Purple candidate is led off center-stage to a seat that has been prepared for him. The Orange candidate raises his hands in thanks to the multitude and there are both cheers and boos for him.

The guards hand the Orange candidate a large wooden stick.

The Orange candidate begins to beat the man in White to death.

There are cheers all over the arena, no longer a single “boo” or “hiss”.

I am shocked. Shock turns to laughter as I mimic what my people are doing … new and old voter alike. We all begin to laugh as the Candidate beats the man to death in front of our eyes.

I laugh until tears roll down my face.

I laugh.

And I don’t know why.

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