My Journal by Harriman Nelson - New Beginnings

Author's Note:

This story was begun before The TV series 'The President' premiered, and was completed and was already in its final edit when the film 'Arrived' premiered.
Any similarities are purely coincidental.

Many thanks to J S Robertson for her valuable observations and support toward this project.

Carol aka Catfish

My Journal

By Harriman Nelson



Emmie and I had been enjoying our ‘cottage by the sea’ for almost three weeks now, but had discovered, that aside from uninterrupted connubial bliss, we were, frankly, bored, despite the paradise of Australia’s Lord Howe Island.


Oh, we’d taken full advantage of the amenities. Snorkeling, hiking, sailing, beach combing, etc. And especially eating. I wondered if I’d have to punch a new hole in my belt! Make that two new holes. Emmie was also complaining that she needed to go on a diet, but frankly, her extra pounds went to the right places, like her cleavage.  


The ‘cottage’ had a full kitchen, and the rental agency had stocked it with what it felt Americans our ages would like when not going out to graze. And those early morning and late night munchies were welcome when we weren’t exploring the native cuisine. Which pretty much, wasn’t a single cuisine at all except for a few indigenous foods such as grubs,(actually quite tasty if prepared correctly), Emu, and free roaming Kangaroos (culled from over populating the reserves set aside for them), and Island Crocodile, (doesn’t taste like chicken).


Most Australian fare including Lord Howe Island's, was a combination of imported cuisines from several immigrant cultures, including, of course, British.


 Emmie couldn’t bring herself to try the grubs, and neither of us could stomach the thought of trying the mainland’s ‘Roo’. Mentally hard to consume what reminded both of us of stuffed animals and storybook characters. Emu was another matter. Being a bird, it was easier for us to simply think ‘poultry’. Very very big poultry.


Occasionally we stuffed ourselves with Fish &Chips, Aussie BBQ Brekki’s from McDonald’s (a down under version of an Egg McMuffin boasting two barbequed sausage patties, among other things).


We had Chinese, Thai and Indian, French, Spanish, Greek and even Hungarian and of all things, Tex-Mex!  Indeed both the mainland and the island were melting pots of cultural dishes. Which necessitated that we stock up on the pink stuff. A lot of the pink stuff.


As famous as we were, after the first few expeditions about town, most people, locals and tourists, pretty much left us alone. The odd photo of ‘the honeymooners’ did surface on CNN now and then, but we weren’t really news anymore.


‘Sunspots’ interfering with TV, radio, cell phone, and internet reception, were. And of course, Lee, now as president of the United States, was still newsworthy.


From vetoing or approving congressional bills, welcoming ambassadors, giving a prize turkey the presidential pardon so it wouldn’t end up on someone’s Thanksgiving dinner plate some months down the road, and even personally requesting new trials for convicted criminals due to insufficient evidence at the time, he’d been a busy boy. There was just one problem.


Ronald was in the news as well. As in this morning’s newscast.


“Well,” he was saying from behind the bars in the visitor’s center, “It's still hard to believe that Lee was asked to take the job. I know it was during an emergency, but  all he pretty much does is PR stuff, so I suppose he makes a pretty good First Lady.”


 I choked at the insult, spilling my cup of  coffee on my hand and the kitchen table.

“Easy, dear,” Emmie said. “Ron will say anything to slight him, he’s so jealous.”


“I mean,” Ronald continued, “it’s not that there’s been any earth shaking event or something that a military mind is used for. Why didn’t they just hold the election and swear in the winning candidate early, like the original plan when the president and his underlings went belly up? In a manner of speaking. I hope, along with the rest of us that the former president recovers completely, and the others that would normally take his place.”


“Mr. Nelson,” the anchor said, as the screen returned to fuzzy images of Lee signing documents, and greeting dignitaries to  white tie dinners, “is not alone in his sentiments. Why draft the captain of the Seaview when the only problem was getting someone to fill the temporary vacancy before the election. One of the candidates has actually reneged on his wanting the Nelson-Crane to fill in and has formally requested the election be held early. Congress is on a brief recess, so it won’t be brought up for a vote again until they reconvene. What do you, the public, believe? Let us know.

“In other news, there has been no word on when the atmospheric interference from sunspots will lessen. Nature will simply have to take its course.”


“Turn it off,” I sighed.

“Harry,” Emmie said, “is it my imagination or does Lee look a little sick?”

“He’s probably just tired, dear, but he does look a little haggard.”


Oh gawd, how I wanted to call him, but he didn’t need me to check up on him. He was the president, for God’s sake.


“Let’s go to the Bowling Club,” I changed the subject, "we haven’t tried it and everyone says it has great food, and we could get in a little exercise as well.”

“Bowling? For breakfast?” she asked, incredulous. “We came all the way here to a tropical paradise and you want to go bowling?”

“Have a better idea?”

“Not really. I just hope their café is open this early.”

“Well, if it isn’t, we’ll build up our appetites. I’ll start up the golf cart.”


Yes, we’d rented a golf cart, a preferred mode of transportation for many to avoid traffic jams, and limited parking on the island. And my international driver’s license took care of the legalities for driving 'down under'.


We’d already enjoyed two games when several other visitors lined up at the windows to point out the Flying Sub!


She was circling in her descent for a splash down in the harbor nearby.


Before I could vocalize my questions, the center’s manager approached along with a police officer.

“Excuse me, Admiral,” the officer said, “we’re sorry to interrupt your game, but you’re wanted dockside. Right away. We have a car waiting.”

“Any idea what it’s about?” Emmie asked.

“Wouldn’t know, ma’am.”

“I’ll be back as soon as I can,” I told Emmie.

“I’m going with you.”

“It’s probably just shop talk from Seaview. You know how bad communications have been.”

“I’m still going.”

In minutes we’d divested ourselves of our bowling shoes, put our own back on and were whisked to the dock, where Kowalski was waiting with Riley.

“Kowalski? What’s….”

“Sorry sir. But the president’s ordered you to Washington for a meeting with other brass, er…scientists….”

“Ah, the sunspots.”

Ski hesitated, then said quietly, “There are no sunspots, sir.”

I furrowed my brows in confusion.

“Harry?” Emmie asked.

“He like, wants you right away, sir,” Riley said, “no time to pack.”

“He’s arranged a commercial flight to Santa Barbara for the missus,” Ski added.

“He’s really sorry about busting up your honeymoon, ma’am,” Riley said. “I’m here to like, personally escort you home on a military flight. Everything else is going to be grounded.”

I embraced Emmie, “I’m sorry. Duty, apparently, calls.”

“And I thought you said you were useless.”

We kissed, rather longer than strictly necessary and then in response to a gentle cough from Ski, boarded the flying sub with Ski, while Riley stayed behind with Emmie as we took off.


I could only imagine what CNN was going to make of this.