This is not the zombie apocalypse I envisioned. There are no zombies roaming the streets as cars burn out and buildings crumble to the ground. I’m not the unlikely leader of a small band of survivors making our way to safety in the countryside, hoping to start a new life together.

I look out of my window and the city just looks dead. It’s cold and gray and empty.

Though widely rumored, there never was a breach of the fence at the containment site. It’s been two weeks and all of the zombies remain inside. The zombie affliction never spread, yet tens of thousands of people have died and many more are sick, like me.

I’d go to the Doctor but what’s the point? No one knows what we have, and even if I found one, there’s nothing they could do for me. Everyone who’s gotten this thing dies sooner or later. Everyone. All of a sudden, being a zombie doesn’t sound so bad.

You’d think I’d have something profound to say about life while standing at death’s door, but I don’t. I just sit in my apartment and judge.

This is the Mayor’s fault, this is the Government’s fault. This is Marion Barry’s fault. We’re in this mess because of the ZCA. This is my fault.

But I’ve never once blamed the zombies for any of this. Can you?

In all seriousness. Can you blame a zombie for acting like a zombie?

When they were human, they didn’t choose to be infected. Once infected, they did what came naturally to them. And when we had them all in the containment site, they were merely petri dishes for our misguided efforts to cure them.

Was it wrong of them to just be themselves?

It was us that judged them deficient. It was us that judged them wrong and evil. It was us that judged them the cancer that must be removed.

I wonder if they felt that way about us…

I started working for DDUM because I wanted to help. I wanted to be a part of the solution, to protect people, to cure the disease. At least that’s who I thought I was. In the end I created more harm than good. And look where we are now.

It’s a hard reality to escape. The zombies have won. We’ve lost. DC is a ghost town, and those that remain have no real future unless there’s a cure soon. My guess is we’ll be waiting a long time if we think someone else is going to fix things.

Prepare all you like. Stockpile canned foods and shotguns if it makes you feel better. Whatever you do, it won’t matter. There will be no announcement on the nightly news, or in the papers, or on facebook, or on twitter. There will be no announcement because the apocalypse already started without us.

So tell me this: What will you do when you realize it’s already too late?




“Doctor! Thank God you’re here. Please tell me this isn’t my fault…” I walked into the middle of the room to where Dr. Cadore was seated. In his right arm he was holding the infant child born from his zombie-patient, “Emma.” He didn’t look up.

I called out to him again, but he didn’t answer.

There was a carpet of blood surrounding his chair, his left arm dangling at his side – the source. “Oh my god, what have you done?” I demanded. He sat there still. A scalpel and six empty syringes lay by his feet.

The body of the infant was purple and gray. She was panting deeply – she was still alive! I knelt down in the blood and reached out to the baby. “It’s going to be ok,” I whispered.

Her head snapped towards me and I could see her eyes – red and black. I fell backwards and looked up at the two of them in horror.

Cadore was dead. With the scalpel he’d carved X’s into his eye sockets before taking his life. Blood and tears soaked his beard and the front of his lab jacket. And the baby.

She had needle marks all down her arm – all the way to her blood covered hands which she sucked at as she grunted at me from Cadore’s cold dead arm.

I shuffled backwards until I hit the wall with my head, my legs leaving a trail of blood mapping my retreat.

“You…you…coward,” I mumbled at the dead doctor. “How could you fucking turn your back on us?”

The infant – did she even have a name? – rocked back and forth, panting and grunting more heavily…as she stared at me. She couldn’t have been more than a few months old. But it was painfully clear that she was no longer human.

Cadore’s arm gave way and the infant fell to the floor. She slapped her hands down into the thickened blood, as if to play, before focusing back in on me.

Covered in red, this baby crawled towards me. Over the scalpel. Over the syringes she crawled. Towards me.

I stood up fast against the wall and looked toward the door. Why did I look to the door? She snarled at me, reaching out as she came closer. She stopped, then stood up.

I grabbed the nearest thing I could – an Erlenmeyer flask from the lab bench – and threw it at the child. It grazed her head, but missed and it shattered on the blood soaked floor.

“Fuck I hate kids!” I yelled. I turned to run from the zombie infant, but stopped in the doorway. Halfway down the hall there was a fire extinguisher hanging from the wall. I walked towards it, took it down, and turned back to the infant.

She was in the doorway, stumbling slowly towards me. I held the extinguisher from the handle and raised it high.

“I’m sorry,” I said, “I’m sorry that you were born, because now I have to kill you.”

Every ounce of my soul told me not to do it. There has to be another way, right? I turned and looked over my shoulder, hoping that somehow a rescue team had arrived and would take it from here. But I was alone. There’s only one way to do this.

Still, the infant walked towards me, just three feet away. I stood there with the extinguisher raised by my head, paralyzed. She lunged, and I did nothing. She grabbed at my pant legs and tried to bite.

She had no teeth. She was defenseless. I stood there and tears streamed from my eyes.


I made it back to the containment site and the officer came to meet me at the truck. We stood there among the dead bodies. On the other side of the fence stood the living dead.

“What did he say? Is he coming? We need the Dr. now!” the officer interrogated me. As I got out of the truck he took a step back. I stared at him blankly, my hands and legs still covered in red.

“We’re on our own now,” I said to him.

The two officers stood there staring at me, waiting for me to do something. I took out my phone and dialed 9-1-1.

“We’re sorry, all operators are currently busy assisting other callers. Please hold for the next available operator.”

I put my hand over the receiver and whispered to the desperate looking officers, “I’m on hold…” as if that would make anything better. I stood there watching the officers stare at me. Playing in my left ear was some soothing piano music. The second officer was coughing up blood now. I didn’t have time to wait on hold.

“Do you have a police car or truck or something I could drive?” I asked. There was no way I was walking back to the office, I had to get to Dr. Cadore quickly. Whether he’d talk to me at this point was a whole different question.

“It’s around the corner. I’m assuming you can drive stick?” said the first officer as he tossed me the keys.

“I’ll figure it out,” I said, as if our lives depended on it, “our lives depend on it.”

My head was throbbing as I turned the corner of the barricade. I was expecting a standard Crown Vic. Parked conspicuously on the side of the barricade was one of the ZCA armored personnel carriers with it’s steel transport cage on the back. I grabbed the cold metal handles and climbed up into the driver’s seat. There were more controls than I’d ever seen before, but I found the ignition and started the engine.

After three tries, I dropped the clutch and the truck jerked into first gear. The engine roared, and the zombies on the other side of the fence turned towards me. Thank god for fences.

I pulled out onto the street and hit the gas pedal, taking me to a whopping 17 miles per hour. “It’s going to have to do,” I told myself, fearful of what would happen if I tried for second gear.

The front windshield was small, but large enough to see the road ahead. The last time I was in a car there were zombies everywhere (which I promptly ran over). Now the streets were zombie-free and all but deserted. I passed maybe three people on my way back to the office, and they all looked sick like the officers. What the fuck is going on?

I drove the truck right up to the front entrance of my office, popped up on the curb and left it running as I went upstairs to Dr. Cadore’s lab.

OK, Dingle, he’s going to be pissed when he sees you. He told you never to come back, and when you did, he told you to get out of town as quickly as possible, which you didn’t do. So, when he yells at you, you have to be strong and make him realize how dire the situation was. He’s a doctor, he’s sworn to help the sick.

I pushed open the door to the lab. The lights were all on. It was unsettlingly quiet. I called out for Dr. Cadore, but no one answered.

I walked slowly through the lab, my head was spinning. Everything was perfectly neat and in order. Maybe Cadore had left? I needed to sit down for a minute.

I walked to his back office and sat down at his desk. In the middle was one single typed page – a letter addressed to no one, signed by Dr. Cadore. I looked up, half expecting him to be standing in the doorway, ready to chide me.

There was no one there.

So I read.

If you are reading this, you have disregarded all of my requests. You have ignored all logic, reason and science. I told you my research was not complete, but you went ahead with administering the drugs. I told you not to come back, but you did. I told you to leave, but you were stubborn. What good has your ignorance accomplished?

Life is about balance. It is about listening to the world around you. There are always signs. There are no accidents in life. Everything is caused by something else.

I have studied for many years, and have researched for longer than you have lived. I know many things. So here is your final lesson:

When a patient has cancer, the patient’s own cells are the enemy. When a patient has a virus, the virus is the enemy even though it is not alive. When a patient has a bacterial infection, the bacteria are the enemy but they are hiding amongst your friends, while your only weapon is dynamite.

Each disease carries with it challenges, though the idea in treatment is the same – kill the disease without killing the patient.

This principal guided us in our research. But it only took us so far because we do not understand our enemy. The affliction is not a cancer. It is not caused by a virus or bacteria.

We thought that antibiotics were working, but they merely cured infections that were secondary in nature. Antibiotics will never cure the affliction, they will just make for less rotting zombies.

I could not figure out what the affliction was, and that will haunt me forever. I’ve failed.

But I didn’t fail as poorly as you, Robert. I want you to think about something.

You have been administering tons of unnecessary antibiotics in a childish effort to cure the zombies. Sure, they all had serious bacterial infections, but that was not the cause of the affliction, that much we now know. So what happens when you administer broad spectrum antibiotics on such a large scale?


That’s right, Robert, you’ve now played God. How does it feel?

My guess is that you’ve come to see me because people are getting sick. Is that correct?

[“Yes,” I replied.]

Why do you think they are getting sick? Think about where it started. Think about all the people that flocked to the containment site looking for their loved ones. Think about how you brought tens of thousands of people directly to the source of your newly evolved superbugs. How does this make you feel? Poorly, I hope.

Accept this feeling, Robert. This is who you are. But don’t think you’re special. You are only human.

How do you treat the disease if you are the disease?


Dr. Arturo Cadore, M.D.

I stood up, trying hard not to throw up on his desk. Am I really to blame for all this sickness?

“Where are you?!?!? I need your help!” I pleaded.

I left his office and went down the hall determined to find him. I needed his help, and I didn’t have time for all this lecturing.

Every door was locked except the one at the end of the hallway.

I opened the door.

“Doctor! Thank God you’re here. Please tell me this isn’t my fault…”

There is nothing like getting told you look like shit the second you get to work. It really takes the air out of anything you may accomplish that day.

Finish all your TPS reports? Well, you look like you’re coming down with something.

Fix the copier? Looks like someone is having a bad hair day!

Catch up on 3000 emails? Are you feeling alright, you don’t look so good…

You think I don’t know I look like shit? Trust me, I know. I own mirrors. The truth is, I feel like I’ve had a low-level fever for a couple of days now. But just not bad enough to stay home from work. So here I was.

I sat down at my desk and took a deep breath. With half of the office out sick, I could just feel the crap storm coming my way. I opened my email and saw this:

URGENT! FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: There has been no breach of the Zombie Containment Site. There are no zombies on the loose, and there have been no reported attacks. Please disseminate this message immediately and through all available channels.

I clicked “forward” and typed in the District wide email list. SEND.

“Well that was easy. I’ve already gotten stuff done!” I thought, imaginarily patting myself on the back.

My phone rang, it was my name-calling secretary, Betsy.

“What, Betsy,” I answered shortly.

“What’s this email you just send out Robert? Why are you sending out mass emails about something that everyone already knows? We’ve been zombie free for 28 days according to the Mayor’s sign. Quit pussyfooting around and get to work already!”

“I was just doing what the email said to do,” I replied, “Cut me some slack, I feel like garbage.”

“Ok, Capt. Obvious!” She replied, and hung up.

But she had a point. Why would we start yelling from the rooftops that there was no problem if there was no problem? Was this just a political tactic to keep people on edge and then take credit for keeping them safe? Did I just participate in spreading government propaganda? Crapnuts.

When people start yelling “Don’t Panic,” it’s usually time to start panicking.

I picked up the phone and called the Mayor’s office – I was going to get to the bottom of this! The receptionist answered and told me that the Mayor couldn’t take my call right now, but I could leave a message. I called his blackberry, but it went straight to voicemail.

I sat at my desk pondering what to do next, when my phone rang. I snatched it up and was about to start demanding answers, but the other voice spoke first.

“Um, hello, is this DDUM?” It asked.

“Yes, it is.”

“Ok, I heard a rumor that the fences at the zombie containment site had been broken and all of the zombies got out last night. Is that true?”

“No, ma’am, that’s not accurate. There has been no breach. No zombies have escaped, and no one has been attacked. I assure you that everything is under control.” I told her. It’s easy to lie when you don’t know what the answer really is.

“Well, it’s scary. Everyone is getting sick and I think it’s happening all over again.” She said, her voice shaking with concern.

“Ma’am, it’s just a bug that’s been going around. Nothing to worry about. Is there anything else I can do for you today?”

“No thanks, it’s just…it just doesn’t seem safe outside anymore.”

“Calm down, I promise everything is going to be fine. The Government is doing everything it can to keep people safe and to cure the zombies so they can be released. You have nothing to worry about.”

But now I wasn’t so sure of it. I have to see for myself. Was I delusional when I walked by the containment site this morning? Everything looked fine. There were no sirens, no people screaming and running and the fence looked intact. Could I have just walked past disaster and not even know that it happened?

It took me 10 minutes to walk from the office to the containment site. Downtown was eerily quiet. As I turned the corner the expanse of the barricaded site opened up to view. I stopped dead on the sidewalk.

The fencing and barricade stood tall and intact.

The zombie horde was inside the containment site where they belonged.

But the crowd was gone.

At the main gate where the crowd was always largest, there were just a pile of sandbags being dragged by the Police to inside the barricade. I started to run towards the officers to ask what happened, why everyone went home. I lost my breath within a quarter block. My head was swimming. I rested my hand on the barricade to catch my breath.

“DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CROSS THE BARRICADE OR WE WILL BE FORCED TO OPEN FIRE,” declared a loudspeaker coming from one of the towers.

I jumped back and put my hands in the air. I wasn’t going to take any chances. Jesus, what the hell is going on here?

I walked slowly and deliberately towards the gate. “Hello?” I called out.

“Stop and identify yourself,” shouted one of the officers, his right hand down by his waist inches from his handgun.

“My name is Robert Dingle, I’m with DDUM and I work with the Mayor.” I yelled back.

The gate opened and I went inside the barricade. There were only two officers there: the one that just yelled at me and the one who was dragging the sandbags around.

As I looked around, my knees buckled, my throat tightened and my stomach evacuated on the barricade. Those weren’t sandbags, they were the bodies of people from the crowd, dozens of them. On the other side of the fence zombies were reaching out for their lunch, just out of reach.

“Jesus, what the fuck happened here?” I cried.

The officers looked at each other. The first one spoke up.

“We don’t really know man. Everything was fine this morning, but then at about 10am all hell broke loose. People started screaming and running off in every direction. At first we thought that the fence had been breached, but we checked the perimeter and confirmed it was intact. When all was said and done, the crowd was gone and only the bodies were left.

“So you shot people trying to cross the barricade?” I demanded.

“Sir, no shots were fired. We lost men too. During the commotion they collapsed with fever and never got back up – I’m assuming that’s what happened to the others. We’ve just been taking the bodies inside so people don’t start freaking out. Our orders are to protect the barricade…but I don’t know how much longer we can stay here.”

I just stood there, staring at him blankly.

“Well,” he paused, “what is your office’s plan here? How do you want us to proceed?”

“I…I don’t know. I just release a statement that there hadn’t been a breach. I guess that’s still true. I tried getting in touch with the Mayor, but I haven’t gotten through.”

“Isn’t there anyone else we can call?” the second officer asked.

“Well, there is one guy – a Doctor – that I could find, he knows about the zombie affliction. He’s not going to want to see me…”

“You gotta go get him, man, I need a Dr.” said the second officer, clutching his side and grimacing.

He was right: we all needed a Dr. I surely wasn’t going to be able to figure this out without him. I know I’m the last person he wants to see right now, but I have to try…

“Washington, D.C. – Zombie Free for  29  Days.”

The oversized LCD screen stood proud at the entrance to the Wilson Building. In large, bright letters it declared:

“Washington, D.C. – Zombie Free for  26  Days.”

The sun set, the sun rose.

“Washington, D.C. – Zombie Free for  27  Days.”

At first each passing day was a blessing. A reminder that we’d seen the worse and lived to tell about it. Things were bad, and now they were good, and we should be content with that.

But I wasn’t content. I wasn’t feeling better with every passing day. I was feeling worse. My commute to work brought me past the containment site in the morning and in the evening. I passed tens of thousands of faces all filled with hope and promise and purpose. After a few weeks I began to recognize some of these faces. They began to recognize me. And I began to wonder:

What was the difference between these people and the zombies on the other side of the fence? Besides the obvious affliction, I don’t know. Were the zombies previously stupid people who got attacked while doing something, well, stupid? Were the people in the crowd smart because they had done something to avoid the infection? Was this simply natural selection sped up and thrown in our faces, or just random chance.

I had pretty much made my mind up years ago that human evolution had come to a grinding halt after World War, Take Two. [And after working for a few months for the District Department of Undead Management, I was 100% convinced it had.] With the advent of modern medicine and vaccines and air conditioning and industrial agriculture, we ensured that pretty much everyone would live at least as long as it would take to convince someone else to have sex with them. If everyone gets to reproduce, there can be no evolution through natural selection. Is the Zombie affliction just nature correcting us?

Looking out at the crowd and the contained horde I was curious why some came out completely unscathed while others didn’t. And because of the cure, we’d actually get the change to interview all the ex-zombies and find out just how it happened. But without more research on the cause and spread of the affliction, we’d never truly know why it spread. I know he hates me, but I hope that Dr. Cadore will get to the bottom of it…

Day after day I wondered about this as I walked by. But after a while, my thoughts and questions changed. I wanted to ask the crowd where they were and what they were doing when their friends and co-workers and family were infected. What did you do when the plague hit? Did you run off to Virginia and leave everyone else behind? Were you looting a liquor store while your wife was being bitten and turned?

Everyone’s a mourner at the funeral, but where were they when there was still time to make a difference?

That’s what I wanted to know. I didn’t have the balls to ask. So I didn’t.

My questions remained unanswered. Just like in high school calculus class, too many variables in an equation made me nauseous. But it didn’t go away and I couldn’t shake the feeling. I just felt bad all the time, and it showed.

The sun set, the sun rose.

“Washington, D.C. – Zombie Free for  28  Days.”

Walking to work that morning, I noticed that the crowd was lighter than usual, I guess after a month, people start losing hope.

Betsy was at the reception desk taking calls as I walked into the office lobby. She took one look at me and said into the phone, “I’m going to have to call you back, sir,” mouth agape.

“Daggon boy, you look like something the cat puked up.”

“Um, good morning to you too, Betsy. Geeze, if I look as bad as I feel, maybe I should just turn around and go home.” I quipped.

“Oh no you don’t, half the office already called out sick. You’re staying put!”

“Shit, really? I was just kidding anyway, but damn. I guess it’s just going around,” I replied.

“Yeah, well, just don’t go turning into no zombie or nothing on me…”

I let out a big, uncomfortable laugh at that. There’s no way, right?

We should have seen this coming.

We told everyone to come  file with the District if they were missing a loved one. It made sense: Bring a photo and file a report, and we’ll do our best to locate them in the containment site. We figured it would be good for people to have a task to focus on rather than focusing on the unknown. We wanted to bring order to the chaos and to give people hope.

But barely anyone came. Instead, they all went down to the containment site to see for themselves. Thousands crowded downtown night and day, hoping to catch a glimpse of their long lost family member. It was mayhem.

We thought that people would keep their distance until we were able to officially announce that the zombies were all cured. But all anyone heard was “cured,” ignoring the fact that this was a work in progress.

We should have seen this coming. But now it’s too late. The cat was out of the bag.

Thousands of people, running towards zombies. Reaching out for them. Calling out to them. Don’t these people realize that medicated zombies are still zombies?

No one listens. In the first week there were fifteen casualties. Fifteen people were eaten alive in front of thousands, their insides ripped out by the gray hands coming through the fence.

But still they came.

We had no idea if the infection was still strong enough to spread, but we couldn’t take any chances. Mayor Diggs authorized overtime pay for 300 police officers to work around the clock.

They set up barricades around the entire site and reinforced the fencing where it was weak. Four watchtowers were erected, one at each corner, and each manned by two officers with automatic rifles. They were authorized to shoot at anything – or anyone – that crossed the barricade.

In the second week there was only one casualty. A young man pushed past an officer and jumped the barricade, running towards the fence screaming, “Wendy! Wendy I love you! You’re alive!”

When he reached the fence, he was swarmed by zombies and bitten. One shot rang out. The man fell to the ground and blood rushed from his head on to the concrete.

No one else every tried to cross the barricade.

That didn’t change the number of people that swarmed the site. In fact, there were more now than before. But the barricade held.

The people were getting restless. We couldn’t announce how long it would be until everyone was cured because we didn’t know. But they demanded answers. They wanted to know when their loved ones would be allowed out. Some offered to take their relatives home even before they were cured. They couldn’t bear to wait any longer.

The zombies were getting restless too. They ate all the antibiotic-treated blood and meat that was pumped into the containment site, but still they reached out towards the crowd. They clearly showed signs of improvement – their flesh turned from green and black to a lighter gray, they moved less rigidly and with more purpose. They looked and acted more human every day. But they were still zombies.

So the District did the only logical thing: it hired an independent contractor to install eight giant projection screens. Four facing out toward the crowd, four facing inward. One showed news, one showed sports, one showed movies, and one showed sitcoms. Diggs billed it as an effort to make the wait more pleasant for the people, and to help re-humanize the zombies. But it was really just to keep them calm.

And it worked.

Mayor Diggs stood tall in front of the growing crowd at the Wilson Building on this overcast afternoon. There must have been over three hundred people in attendance. All watching with heads up and necks extended trying to get a better view of The Man Who Saved The District. On the façade of the building there hung a large curtain, covering the Mayor’s Grand Finale.

It had only been a week since the news spread that it was safe to return to D.C., and things were essentially back to how they were before the outbreak. It’s amazing how quickly people seem to forget. There are so many distractions around. Who could possibly dwell on the terror of the past few months?

Politicians. That’s who.

Without tragedy and disaster and disease and zombies, people tend to go about their business without much thought to who is running things around here. Mayor Diggs saw his moment. It’s an election year. It was time to frame the situation. It was time to coin terms and take credit for other people’s work. It was time for a speech.

He cleared his throat directly into the microphone:

“Ladies and Gentlemen of the District. Welcome home! I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for being here today. Without you, this City is nothing. You are what make this City great!” [applause]

“But not all of us could come home. These past few months have been hard on all of us. We’ve lost friends and family members and colleagues. We lost Marion Barry to the infection. It’s been hard on everyone, I know, and we are doing our best to save those that we can. But for now, I’d like to take a moment to reflect in silence on those who didn’t make it…”

“But we can’t just dwell on the past. We need to look towards the future! I want you all to know that the Government will never let you down. I want you to know that my Administration has been working tirelessly since day one to get to this point, and I am proud to say that we’ve won the war! [applause, sustained] We never quit on you. We never gave up the fight. And that is why we are all standing here today.”

“It was through a great collaborative effort between my Administration and the Federal Government that I was able to start treating the infected, and we are making fantastic progress. It truly is a marvel of modern science and technology that we were able to triumph over this affliction and bring the living dead back to life! [more applause, Diggs waves them off with a wide, accomplished smile]”

“As you all know, we have been tracking the threat for some time now with the Zombie Threat Advisory Level system. I established the system with input from the Department of Homeland Security with the hope that it will serve you, the citizens of the District, in assessing the danger of a zombie attack. Well, ladies and gents, I’d like to announce that for the first time ever, the Advisory Level has officially been downgraded to Green! [rabid applause] What this means is there is no danger of a zombie attack!”

“We have combed the streets and alleys and every last zombie is now safely being treated at the containment site. There, life-saving medications are being administered and slowly, but surely, they are getting healthy. I urge you to be patient and understanding. We are in uncharted waters, but the path is clear. If you are missing loved ones, please file with the District, and we will help you with your reunification efforts.”

“This is a time to remember, a time to come together! [more applause] With dedication and conviction, we shall move forward and once again make this City great!”

“Now you may have noticed the curtains above. As your Mayor, I want to help you move on and recover from this tragedy. I want you to know that I’ve always got your back. I want you to know that you’re not alone, that we are all in this together.”

“And our future together starts today.”

With that, the Mayor raised his hands to monumental applause from the crowd. The curtain retracted, revealing a large LCD screen. Mayor Diggs held out a large, oversized remote and theatrically pressed the large red button in it’s center, which lit up the screen.

In huge red, white and blue letters, it read:

Washington, D.C. – Zombie free for  1  day.

The crowd loved it, and loved him. As far as they knew and cared, Mayor Diggs was The Man Who Saved The District. He’d be reelected in a landslide next Fall. With Barry gone, he controlled the City Council. He was sitting on top of the world.

But it was all just a show. And the speech was just a bunch of feel-good bullshit. I should know. I wrote it for him.