On the one-hundredth day after the election, the country was still without a new Prime Minister and more holes had appeared in the streets of the capital. Behind the parliament building, the pavement yawned open, its tarry, muddy mouth tipping back as if in a dentist’s chair, taking the entire front end of a city bus into its gullet while passengers squealed and banged on the windows.
It hadn’t helped, she wrote, that water sources below the surface had been drawn on for decades without a long-term plan. It hadn’t helped, she added, that contracts were consistently given to pals instead of being awarded to the best proposals. It hadn’t helped that few people, anymore, considered government a form of public service and not some kind of bank machine.
On the two-hundredth day after the election, the Natural History Museum shrieked and tilted towards its parking lot. On the same day, she received formal notice of her divorce and quit her job. For the first time in six months, she walked back into the house which she had shared with her husband, peeked into the dresser drawers of what used to be her bedroom, sniffed at a nightgown which didn’t used to be hers, and took some of the bribe money which was filed away in a hole under the living room rug.
On the two-hundred-and-thirtieth day, she left the country for good but, first, she issued a statement to the 24-hour news. Personal differences aside, she wished her ex the very best. Everything which he had done until then, she added, had fully prepared him for this moment, for his new role as the nation’s Prime Minister. As her flight took off, the airport’s longest runway split apart with a growl and gulped down a slurry of tarmac. New infrastructure! her husband (ex-) said the next day, nodding to hoots and applause. Then he waved at the cameras and went inside to meet with a few of his pals.
Charmaine Wilkerson was born in New York, has lived in several cities, and is currently based in Italy. Her stories have won the Bath Novella-in-Flash Award 2017, the Fiction Southeast Ernest Hemingway Flash Fiction Prize and the Reflex Fiction Winter ’17 competition. Her writing has also appeared in (b)OINK, 100 Word Story, Spelk, the Bath Flash Fiction Anthology and elsewhere.