The Vagabond

Sunlight struck Vag full in the face and chased him under a pillow. Groping for air, he edged out from under his feathery bunker only to meet the day again. He spun and twisted his way under the sheets but they rolled with him; the light searched out his eyelids, wrestled with them and forced them open. Vag was awake.

As he reached for his shoes, he remembered this was examination day: Several prolonged yawns proved he had been up late the night before. A minute later Vag realized the exam wasn't coming up after all--it was over and what was more, there was the blue book he had failed to hand in. Squatting right in the middle of his desk it was, marked carefully in black, Absentee Ballot.

Vag tenderly slit the top of the envelope and turned it over. No stamps. Disfranchised for lack of postage, Vag thought, and wondered how many others had been affected the same way. No one had ever warned him about the six cents Poll Tax administered by the Post Office Department.

Here it is the day after election and I've been marked absent, Vag mused. I never got a chance to Discuss the Merits of the Democratic/Republican Administration, pick one, five minutes. I wasn't permitted to argue the Advantages of Changing Horses in Midstream, with Special Reference to Your Reading of the Past Four Years. I wasn't able to answer, in a series of well-executed, concise, X's, the biggest poser of them all: Truman or Dewey?

Strictly speaking (an unusual habit for Vag), he had been an auditor for the past four years. He had taken a few notes, clipped some campaign speeches and studded his lapel with a button or two. But he had written no Congressmen, signed no petitions. For the most part, he had only sat and listened, a government auditor with his ear miles off the ground.


He simply hadn't known how to vote. Pulling his ballot out of its envelope, he noticed it was just as he left it seven days ago. The names were still as empty as the circles beside them were bare. Most of the country had pencilled an X in the circle under President; Vag took out his pen and entered the letters V A G in the ring. He could vote for himself any time and best of all, he didn't need a stamp.