The three-thousand-seat arena is standing room only, as it has been every evening over the last four weeks. The television cameras and Internet videocams are manned and ready, the studio audience prepped.

Houselights dim, igniting a fresh buzz of energy.

The candy-apple-red curtains flutter, then part, revealing center stage and a charred, seven-foot-high cross.

Mirroring the symbol, his arms outstretched, is the televangelist.

Peter Mabus is a heavyset Caucasian in his early fifties. His Alabama accent is thick, his thinning black hair slicked back and combed over. His pasty pale complexion matches his suit and tie and shoes.

The flock grows silent as he raises his head to speak.

‘I’m going to tell you a story, ladies and gentlemen, a story about a man whose existence was riddled with disease, a disease that affects the mind and the body and the spirit. A disease that contaminates the soul. A disease that nearly destroyed society. Yes, my friends, I’m talk’n ’bout that disease known as Greed. This man had all the symptoms. Selfishness. Dishonesty. Malice. Jealousy. Envy. He was a liar and a cheat, and he was corrupt as corrupt can be. He was CEO of one of the largest defense contractors in the world, and he was heavily invested in oil. He was a man who treated women as objects, and bathed in the nectar of their sex until their flower withered and died. And then one day, ladies and gentlemen, as this despicable wretch of a human being lay in his mahogany four-poster bed in his fourteen-thousand-square-foot mansion, an Angel appeared before him. And the Angel brought with it a vision. And the man saw this vision, and in it was the Rapture. And he saw devastation and pestilence and death. And he saw the end of humanity, charred and ruined, buried beneath smoldering rubble. And then he saw the Lord.’

Peter Mabus looks up as an overhead light casts its heavenly beam upon his face.

‘And the Lord said to the man, “My son, see what your sinful ways have brought? My children have forsaken me, allowing the serpent to take root in their garden.” And the man became frightened, and he dropped to his knees and repented. And the Lord said, “Because you have asked my forgiveness, I will spare humanity, but only if you rise to lead the flock.” And the man bowed his head, and the Lord touched his heart.

‘Gone were the greed and hatred that had corrupted the man for so long. Gone were the lies and the deceit. And the man rose from his knees and was embraced by the light, and the covenant was made.’

Mabus steps away from the crucifix.

‘I was that man, ladies and gentlemen, and that vision came to me four months ago, ninety days before the winter solstice of 2012. From that day forward, I have served the Lord as his humble servant, carrying His word to the flock. And when the Rapture arrived, and the bombs fell, the Lord kept His word to me, and spared our people.’

A chorus of Amens.

‘And when the serpent showed his face, that wily Devil, the Lord smote him with His light and saved us again.’

‘Amen, amen.’

‘Divine intervention, children, it was divine intervention. And now, as I stand before you, a changed man, a servant of the Lord, I ask for your support. It was our leadership in Washington that brought the Rapture, it was the policies of Clinton and Bush and Maller and Chaney that nearly destroyed us. God has given me a vision, my friends, and the vision is to carry his word to Washington, then to the rest of the world. America’s strength as a Christian nation has been compromised, along with our values as human beings. The Lord Jesus Christ has blessed us with a second chance, one we cannot forsake. Support us now. Rise with me, rise up-’

Small sections of preseated worshipers rise, encouraging others to do the same.

‘-take your neighbor’s hand, children. Go on. Hold your hands high to the heavens and praise God. Will you praise Him with me?’


‘Will you rise above your sins with me?’


‘Will you support my campaign to restore goodness to our nation, so that we may never face our annihilation again?’

‘Yes… praise God.’

‘Because there’s so much work to be done, so much good to be spread around the globe, so that we may finally conquer the diseases that still plague mankind.’

A small army of men in white suits appear in the aisles, their empty buckets aimed at the chanting crowd.

Mabus looks directly into the camera lens. ‘It’s time to go forth and spread the word, ladies and gentlemen. Call tonight and pledge your tax-deductible donation. Call tonight and join God’s party, so that together we can create a groundswell of love that will sweep us into the White House. This is the vision our Lord and Savior gave unto me, it is the covenant He made when He spared us from death. Remember back to that day, then reach deep into your wallets and show the Man upstairs that you deserve this second chance. Stand tall with me, my children, support the Lord so that we can walk together, hand in hand in the spirit of Jesus Christ, our Savior, into the Ever-After.


The makeup artist touches up the last bit of shine beneath Richard K. Phillips’s eyes as the host of the political forum takes his place opposite Peter Mabus.

The television producer pauses as instructions are relayed from his producer over his earpiece. ‘All right, gentlemen, we’re rolling in three… two…’

Richard Phillips looks into camera one. ‘Good evening. Tonight, World News speaks with Peter J. Mabus, former CEO of Mabus Enterprises, and presidential candidate for the 2016 election.’

‘Good evening, Richard, and good evening to all our supporters. God loves you.’

‘Mr. Mabus, let’s get right to it. The next presidential election isn’t for another three years, why begin campaigning so early?’

‘Richard, the message I carry knows no political timetable. Now is the time for sweeping changes, and even though we’re not in office yet, we believe the current administration needs to feel the will of the American people. Ennis Chaney has failed to restore faith in the United States government, and without faith, this administration will collapse, America with it. We simply cannot wait four years to make a difference.’

‘To be fair, President Chaney’s only held office for little over a month.’

‘You either have the faith of the people or you don’t. Chaney doesn’t.’

‘Mr. Mabus, you’ve openly blamed society’s near demise on the previous administration’s policies that led to global isolation. And yet, your own company profited heavily from the new regimes that rose to power in the Middle East, as well as Asia.’

‘And Richard, who better to institute change than one who knows what it’s like to walk down society’s dark path? Having been there, I know what it will take to root out the evil that shadows our society. More than anything, I believe this is why God chose me to lead postapocalyptic America.’

‘Interesting. However, isn’t it also possible, as your critics are quick to point out, that your sudden foray into politics has more to do with simply reading the writing on the wall. Chaney’s already talking about canceling the Space Defense Initiative that’s been blamed for fueling nuclear buildups in Russia and China, and your company was its main supplier.’

‘You mean my former company. I resigned weeks ago.’

‘Still, you walked away with almost $200 million dollars.’

‘Those were stock options I had coming to me. George Bush’s vice president received $20 million from Haliburton when he left, and they lost money under his leadership. The money I received was earned. God has no problem with that, especially when I’m investing it into a campaign that is doing so much good.’

‘Let’s talk about your new political party, People-First.’

‘I think our name pretty much says it all.’

‘Some have labeled it extremism.’

‘Extremism? Richard, if the majority of Americans share our beliefs, then how is that extremism? We believe in the strength of the family unit. We feel the good ol’ Christian values that made this country great have been replaced by promiscuousness and a generation of children who fail to give back to society.’

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