“It puts the ballot in the box or else it gets the hose again,” Ted said.
Ted’s basement was cold, dark, and wet. The windows were blacked out and barred and the only light in the room came from a single flickering lightbulb the swayed in its center. Beneath the lightbulb was a neat circular hole about 10 feet across. Ted sat on the edge of the pit, his feet dangling playfully off the side. He grabbed a handful of campaign pamphlets and mailers from the stack that sat next to him and tossed them in.
“Please… please, just let me out,” a woman cried from the bottom of the pit. She grappled at the smoothed stone that made up the walls of the pit, but she couldn’t find her footing.
Ted rattled the rope, knocking the half-empty ballot box on its end against the pit’s walls.
“It puts the ballot in the box or else it gets the hose again,” Ted said, tensing his tone.
“I’m… I’m voting for John Kasi-”
“It puts the ballot in the box or else it gets the hose again!” Ted shouted. He shoved the rest of the fliers into the pit. “Why?! Why won’t you just read my literature?! It’s the only way you will see the light!”
“I’ve read what you’ve written, Senator Cruz, but I’m still not voting for you.”
“No! No… you’ve read it, but… but have you REALLY read it? Not just with your eyes, my child. No. You have to feel it. Press the ink against your cheek. Smell the paper. Taste the fingerprints of those who held it before. The mailman. The printer. Feel the journey the words have made, from my mind to the end of my fingers to the page that you see before you and then you will know… know what it truly means.”
“Insane? No. No, I’m not insane. Insane is voting for a candidate with no mathematical possibility of winning! Insane is electing some liberal clown posing as a conservative! You call me insane, but I am the only sane one in this election.”
“Just… just give me a pen so I can write your name. I’ll vote for you if you let me free,” the woman said.
“Yes, you will know true freedom, young one,” Ted said.
Ted pulled a Sharpie from the breast pocket of his shirt and tossed it down the hole. The woman scrawled something on one of the pamphlets, folded it over, and stuffed it in the ballot box. Ted hoisted up the rope and unlocked the small door on the back of the box. He dumped the ballots out across the floor. Most of them were torn pieces of paper with Ted Cruz written in neat block capitals, but one of them was the folded over, American flag emblazoned pamphlet. Ted grabbed the glossy paper and unfolded it. Ted shuddered.
“You harlot! Charlatan!” Ted shouted at the woman below.
The name Hillary Clinton was scrawled across the length of the paper. Ted tore the pamphlet to pieces and tossed it into the pit.
“You will vote for me or my blade will taste your flesh! You will die by my… you…” Ted calmed himself. “No. You will learn. Eventually you will understand. I am here to save America, to save you. I will deliver you people from evil, and then you will see.”
The door to the basement opened up.
“Teddy, are you almost finished in there?” Heidi asked.
“One moment, darling. I’ll be there in a second,” Ted said.
“Well, come upstairs and eat some dinner, you can break this one later.”
“Oh, alright. I can’t say no to you and your lasagna,” Ted said.
Heidi closed the door. Ted walked away from the pit and towards the stairs. “You have until I return from eating lasagna with my loving family to read my manifesto. I pray by then that I have your vote.”