Sandoval Signpost


An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988
  My Wife and Times
Daniel Will Harris

The Sandoval Signpost (Web edition) is pleased as punch (diet punch that is) to bring you the humor and insightful human observations of Daniel Will Harris, author of My Wife and Times. —Ed].


Nightmare election

By Daniel Will Harris

The moonbeam slashed through the darkness of the bedroom like a glow-in-the-dark spoon through hot chocolate. The light seemed unnatural, causing microscopic specks of dust dancing in mid-air to glow like the ghosts of atoms gone by.

At first I thought it was a dream—it felt like the inside a Tim Burton movie. There was no color, just black and white. I could *feel* the moonlight creep across my face, as if it was a *thing*. I could look down on myself, and see my eyes highlighted in a band of clear white light, like a close-up in an old Joan Crawford movie.

I could hear myself breathing like a stranger. I could feel the covers pressing me down as if I was a corsage between the pages of War and Peace. The only things I could move were my eyes. They moved back and forth, like a searchlight at a Hollywood premiere—seeing nothing but night.

And then... I could *feel* a sound. Like Ricky Ricardo using my ear drums for Babalu. I could feel the tiny hammers in my head beating out a sound I'd never heard before.

Floup. Ssssp. So loud I wanted to cover my ears, but I couldn't move. Floup. Ssssp. Sharper. Closer. Floup. Ssssp. Time moved glacially. My eyes darted like bats, trying to see where the sound was coming from.

A mouse? No, it sounded more like a miniature kangaroo with a limp. I peered over the edge of the bed. What *was* that thing? My eyes adjusted, nocturnally. It looked like a hand, slapping the ground, then clenching its fingers to move itself. Yeah, right.

It was Halloween eve, so I figured I was dreaming. But if I was dreaming, I'd never think I was dreaming. Would I?

Wait, it wasn't a hand at all... it was a monkey's paw! Then, in a very dream-like way which felt totally real, I was now in a line at the fire station. In line to vote. In my underwear.

I got my ballot and went into the booth. I was ready to mark the ballot when, to my horror, I realized my hand was missing. I couldn't mark my ballot. It had to be a dream, yet it was too real. I could see the linoleum floor, a light gray with black specs. I could hear everyone talking—about the rain, about getting cords of wood for heating. My wet wool sweater smelled slightly sheepish. I could feel myself sweating.

I looked at my ballot, and out of the corner of my right eye, I saw it. The paw was crawling to the ballet, dragging a pencil with it. I was frozen as it climbed onto the ballot. I felt nauseous watching it vote for people I didn't want in office.

Each vote was just one tiny mark, but with each mark I felt my life changing. The world changing. And I was powerless to choose. I realized the paw was brainless. It was just voting for the candidate that the polls had said would win. It didn't care if candidates were qualified, or had a snowball's chance in hell of winning, it just kept ticking them off. Ticking me off, too.

I tried to scream, but no sound came out. I thought about all those people in countries without elections. Those people didn't have a choice—but I did—if only I could do something about this hideous appendage usurping my vote.

I remembered that John F. Kennedy had won over Richard Nixon by *less* than one vote per precinct. What if this paw made that one critical vote? As it crawled out of the booth to place the ballot in the box, I decided I had to do something. I tried to stomp on it, but missed. I tried again, but the paw had dropped a banana peel, and I slipped, hit my head on the linoleum and blacked out.

When I awoke, I had been transmogrified into that most pitiful of all creatures. Yes, I was an "undecided." The future was not mine. I had lost it. Oddly, the election was now a week away, and the TV networks were already predicting the results through their digital crystal balls (after all, why would I want something as mundane as the actual news when I could hear predictions about events that haven't even happened yet from people who had been consistently wrong in the past).

I dreamt I woke in a cold sweat. I couldn't feel my hand. I would have to type the FuseLetter with my nose and settle for people in office who I couldn't even stand to look at on TV. Luckily, it was only a nightmare. But I had a vague sense of unease that it might come true (except probably for the part about the paw).

Don't let this happen to you. Choose or lose. Make up your mind and vote.

It's not hard. Even a monkey's paw can do it.

dwh sig

My Wife and Times Cover


If you would like to read more fabulous stories, you need Daniel Will Harris’s My Wife and Times. The 148 page book contains stories that are conveniently short, perfect for bedtime reading, or between airport friskings. Price: $15 postpaid and is available for purchase online at or on

Top of Page

Ad Rates  Back Issues  Contact Us  Front Page  Up Front  Animal News   Around Town  Sandoval Arts   Business Classifieds  Calendar   Community Bits  Community Center  Eco-Beat  Featured Artist  The Gauntlet Health  Community Links  Night Sky  My Wife and Times  Public Safety  Real  People  Stereogram  Time Off  Youth