Sign In Please

by David Paul

My wife and I are at a party as guests of the President of the United States and The First Lady. They are standing at one end of a massive ballroom, in front of a long table made of solid gold. There is an enormous book on the table and its cover is also made of solid gold. The First Lady opens the book and I can see that each blank line is also of solid gold. In a deep, commanding voice the President announces that everyone is to sign the book.

The mob of guests extends all the way to the back of the ballroom, and my wife and I wait for a very long time. Finally my wife stands before the table, and the First Lady hands her a gold pen. As I look over my wife’s shoulder as she signs the book, I am puzzled to see that all of the names in the book are smeared and blotchy except for one. At the top of the opened pages is my name, in bold typeset letters.

My wife steps aside, and the President demands of me, “And now you must sign the book.”

“My name is already there,” I tell him.

“Sign the book,” he bellows.

Fearful that I will be punished if I do not sign the book, I uncap my pen, and am about to write my name when a man snatches my pen and pushes me aside. He writes my name in the book and then hands the pen to another person. Hundreds of other people surge forward and I am forced to the back of the ballroom, but I can still see all these people writing in the book, and I know that it is my name they are writing.

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