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The President: “The Right to Burn the Flag”

Artwork © Paul Hair, 2019
New flash fiction tale set in the universe of The President published today at Virtual Pulp.

It’s somewhat of a test for an idea I have on how to write a different kind of weekly, current events column.

In short, instead of the normal ranting type of column that everyone else does, I’d write a humorous, flash fiction tale (600-800 words) featuring a contemporary issue.

I’ve no plans to implement this idea since I’d have to be paid to do it, but I think it would work.

So you can read “The Right to Burn the Flag” as just a fun, quick story. But you can also read it as an alternative type of column that addresses the latest talk about protesting the national anthem and burning of the flag.

Here’s an excerpt of the tale.


“There is nothing wrong with kneeling and refusing to honor the national anthem!” the prominent conservative leader said. “Because being an American is about individualism, and standing up for what you believe! In fact, Cathy is the epitome of what it means to be an American!”

Big Cathy stood on the turf beside the conservative leader. She smiled and waved at the crowd. The dozens of fans in the seats cheered her.

Half of them had come specifically for this pre-game event. The other half also wanted to see the forthcoming exhibition soccer game between Big Cathy and the women’s all-star team, and the local 14 and under boys’ team.

“And now here’s what everyone’s already talking about—Cathy’s latest advertisement!” the conservative leader said.

Everyone focused on the jumbo screen at the end of the stadium.

I’ve had to endure living as a lesbian in a country that hates me because of who I am, Big Cathy said in the voiceover. The video showed her kicking a soccer ball on a field, eluding a defender.

I live in a nation that despises women. Two more shots showed her kicking and running, sweat flying off her.

A nation full of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacism, and all-out hatred. You think my refusing to stand for the national anthem is going too far? It’s not going far enough.

Big Cathy scored a goal on the screen. The commercial switched to her holding an American flag and lighting it on fire. The fire consumed it. The screen faded to black. White letters appeared. . . .

Read the entire flash fiction tale at Virtual Pulp!