A massive, toxic algae bloom is spreading throughout Lake Okeechobee. Residents and environmentalists have expressed concerns to Governor Rick Scott, who insisted the algae growth is nothing to worry about and, in fact, reminds him of his own planet’s green lakes.
“The patina the algae create, when it catches your eyes, man, there ain’t nothin’ prettier in the universe,” said Scott while touring an infected literal zone in Central Florida. “I haven’t seen anything like this since I was a hatchling on Cerberus,” the Governor said thoughtfully as a lone tear dropped from his cheek.
“And what would you say to critics who attribute the toxic growth to budget cuts to environmental relief programs pushed through by your administration?” we asked the Governor.
“Governor? Governor?” I pressed, but he said nothing. As the Governor stared off toward the murky lake, he finally turned to me.
“I didn’t think it would be so hard.”
“Being human…People have been so mean to me here. When I was young my Snorglongs and I would go down to Lake Xionic every Normine and skip space stones together,” the Governor told me in his native tongue. “Those were the happiest days of my life.”
“Governor, why did you leave Cerebus?”
“I wanted to explore the universe. I also got into an argument with my Snorgs and…I just needed to get out of there. So after farthobbin, which is what us Cerberiums call “university,” I booked a seat on a higotintraub, which is what we call a “space shuttle,” and went to Earth.”
“How can you say people are mean to you? You’re governor. You’re rich. You have a family that loves you. Jesus, you are probably going to be a Senator and you’re running against an actual astronaut. How can you possibly feel bad for your…”
“Don’t you hear what they say about me?” Governor Scott screamed, cutting me off. “Hell, I’ve seen what you’ve written about me! The comments about how I look like Batboy or Voldemort. How I’m a human-snakebat hybrid. That hurts my uytonics, which is what we call “feelings” back home.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t realize it,” I told the Governor, which was true. It’s easy to forget that the people we write about are people, or Cerebuans, who have families and lives and…feelings. Or uytonics. Maybe making fun of Rick Scott, or any one’s physical appearance is just a lazy way of criticizing a person in a way that doesn’t subject your argument to refutation.
“You deserve better than to be mocked for your looks, Rick. And I’m sorry that people can be cruel. But what people are angry about is a trend throughout your entire career to put the needs of corporate interests in front of the people.”
“That’s true. It’s true. Economic stability is more important than compassion. I’m sorry you disagree with that, but it’s what I believe. And if you don’t like that then organize against me. But I disagree with what you believe, and getting angry and calling me names and making me feel bad about myself and like I’m not welcome in the place where I live is just not nice. It’s not cool anymore.”
Silence surrounded us for several moments. “Do you ever think you’ll go back?” I asked the Governor after the lull.
“I don’t think so. But at least I have this view,” said Governor Scott as he took in the green, algae bloom as it shimmered beneath the setting sun. “This has been off the record, by the way.”