Sunday July 7th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the speech.

So I ran out of time and ideas Friday night and didn't get a post scheduled for today before we left Osoyoos. Thankfully they have WiFi here, so I'm able to make amends for that tonight.

Each graduate at the ceremony this morning gave a speech. I wasn't able to catch most of them, as I was watching Max and trying to keep him entertained and somewhat quiet. But we were, of course, there for Kat's turn.

She was magnificent.


I strode on to the balcony to the roaring approval of thousands, my notes held tightly in my sweaty grasp. The smile plastered to my face held steady as I surveyed the people below. My people, now.

A sea change was at hand for our nation. After too long under the fickle thumb of my violent predecessor, it was time to steer our efforts in a new direction. Preferably one which required less bloodshed and oppression.

They needed my words to send that message clearly, leaving no room for misinterpretations or doubt, both to their waiting ears and to the world leaders watching around the globe. And they would. I had spent many hours with the best speech writers money could buy, lost countless nights of sleep to fretting over various paragraphs, sentences, and, on one occasion, a single word.

The speech would do what was required. All I had to do was give it to them before I fainted.

I took a deep breath, placed one hand on the railing before me for support, and opened my mouth.

And that was when a sudden gust came rushing past and blew my notes out and over the palace walls.


Anonymous said...

Oh wow, making people give speeches as part of graduation! That must be tough on the graduates. Having met Kat though, I can quite see her handling the chore of public speaking with dignity and aplomb; I bet she was magnificent!
Your public speaker, on the other hand... not so much dignity and aplomb there :) I was kind of expecting some kind of disaster with the build-up you created, and you delivered neatly!

The speech
The speaker stuttered, and it made for a long speech. Every third or fourth word would cause him to stumble, and the embarrassment of that only made the stutter worse. When the audience could finally tolerate it no longer, they started chorusing the problematic word for him, and though he blushed more crimson than Santa's best suit, he laboured on through his speech.
Four hours later we were let out into freedom. We blinked in the late afternoon sunlight, slightly bemused because the world no longer seemed to be on echo-reverb.
"He's speaking again next week," said the girl next to me, clutching a small dog to her chest.
"Really?" I asked. "How much more can he say about pathologies of human speech?"

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, it wasn't your typical graduation ceremony. I wish I could have caught more of it, actually.

Love all the little details in your piece. The small dog was a neat touch, I thought.