He was mumbling into the rococo-style mirror with its curled, bronze flowers sprouting more curled, bronze flowers all around the gilded frame. It gave the effect that one’s own reflection had caused this designed burst of nature. “I have my own ideas,” he yelled. He grabbed the sides of the clamshell sink below the mirror, as if to yank it off the black and white, checkered tiles on the bathroom floor. “I know you do,” a voice from the mirror said. He inhaled and exhaled some air. A sheen of sweat had developed on his forehead. He noticed it in the reflection. What he didn’t notice was that the man in the mirror was him, but with blue skin. Blue like the painted sky blue of a backyard pool. His hands let go of the sink. “Never mind,” he said. He pulled a sheet of blotting paper from a thin, blue box and gently patted his forehead and nose.

“You deserve the presidency, Kurt,” the voice said. A tight-lipped smile slowly shaped itself on the governor’s thin, handsome face. In the mirror, two horns spiraled up from his crown. He was going to be meeting with the billionaire CEO Wang Ming very soon. The governor’s people and the CEO’s representatives had been in talks for months and they were going to meet face to face in a day or so. He would be formally announcing the terms of their “special partnership” and hammering out the details of the “payments.” However, Kurt was dyslexic. So, he had to have the voice from the mirror go over all the important talking points, negotiation strategies, and specific numbers by spoken word over the course of a few weeks, as if he were a small boy listening to a parable from a children’s book. “Just remember to speak from your heart,” the voice said.


It had been a busy day with all the catastrophic events happening in his state. So, the governor decided to unwind and relax before he left for the secret meeting tomorrow morning in Shanghai, China. He was about to dip his foot into a bathtub. There was something in the water. He saw something move and leapt back. A flash of someone reaching out to grab him. Seconds passed. Water droplets from the faucet dripped into the tub, and yet nothing happened. He edged back towards the bathtub, peeked over the edge, and saw that when the surface of the water had returned to being as smooth as glass, it was a short, Asian man in the reflection.

“Hello, Governor,” the reflection cheerfully said.

“Mr. Ming?”

“I’m looking forward to our dinner.”

“How did you reach me? I was about to take a bath and—”

“I don’t understand.”

“Can you see me?” He waved a hand over the water and the Asian man in the reflection did the same.

“No, this is a phone call, sir.”

“Are you sure you can’t see me?” He waved at the water again.


The governor could not see himself in the oval window of the private jet. No matter which angle he faced, it was just the endless stream of clouds. He became aware he was sweating profusely, as if he were in a long, dark stove with the air nowhere to go. He pushed the button for the air vent above him. But the air didn’t help. The sleep was restless at first, but somehow, he had gone under. When he awoke from a strange dream he could not remember, there was a phone in his hand pressed to his ear. A voice in Chinese was screaming at him, and he could understand the words for some reason, even though he had never spoken Chinese before except in bits and pieces in preparation for this meeting.

“You know what you need to do, Wang Ming,” the other guy on the line said. “See if you can push for a little more.”

“Yes, I understand,” he replied, not knowing why. Things were starting to get mixed up and straightened out at the same time.


They sat down to a huge round table, with Wang Ming seated on the right-hand side of the governor. The table was the kind which went around and around when you spun it so that you didn’t have to ask for the abundance of dishes, which came one after the other, to be passed. The American team chowed down while the Chinese team, only once in a while, served themselves and individual members of the American team. These were the most delicious Chinese cuisines prepared by the top chefs in the country. Dishes from all over China, like Beijing Duck, Sichuan hot pot, and Shanghai soup dumplings, were being served, Wang Ming explained. The governor and his team couldn’t stop eating and eating as if they had not eaten for days.

Outside of the red, steaming soup that bubbled, within the stainless steel of the pot, the governor saw something that caught his eyes. It appeared to be a gigantic, golden beast in the distorted reflection. Gold with rows of curls in its mane with its mouth somewhere between a growl and a ferocious smile. It was sitting on its hind legs, but its forearms and deltoids were muscular as if it was ready to pounce. When the governor turned to look at Wang Ming, he was stunned to see that he was really looking at himself. Not his reflection, but his real self, smiling back at him with that wide, psychopathic grin of his.