The summer sun was shining brightly on the little boy, his blonde hair almost as white as the flitting white butterfly he was chasing. As he ran between the rows of beans, peas, carrots, lettuce and tomatoes, he almost tripped over his father’s legs as he was kneeling on the ground busily weeding the garden. Perhaps realizing that everything wasn’t about playing and having fun, the little boy suddenly stopped chasing the butterfly and asked, “Can I help daddy?”
About to say no but then noticing the sincerity glowing within his son’s eyes he said, “Thanks, I could use some help pulling these pesky weeds.”
As they worked side by side pulling weeds from the warm, damp earth, the father reached over and gently tousled the little boy’s hair saying, “You’re a hard worker son. I’m proud of you. You’ll go far in life.”
Upon hearing his father’s words of praise, he smiled broadly and worked even harder, his little hands becoming dirtier and dirtier with every weed he pulled. However, before too long, he suddenly stopped and after wiping the sweat off his forehead with a dirty hand, leaving a scraggily brown smear across it, he yawned.
Thinking perhaps his son had grown bored pulling weeds, he watched the boy as he stood up, trundled over to the edge of the garden and then curled up on the grass beneath the cool shade of an apple tree. But the little boy was not bored, like many young children that always seem so full of bursting energy; he had simply run out of steam and needed a nap.
As the years passed by, the little boy steadily grew. Working alongside his father on the small farm, he was often up at the break of day helping with the chores before catching the school bus. Not only did he work hard at home, he worked hard at school too – a straight A student. He’d considered joining a school football or baseball team but because of the workload at home and his mom and dad were growing older, he preferred helping them. Some of his fellow students may have thought he was a little nerdy but because of the way his blue jeans hugged his hips and shirts fit tightly across his broad shoulders, they knew his physical strength matched his intelligence.
Besides having straight A’s, an amiable personality, hard-working and always willing to give a helping hand, when graduation arrived, he was chosen high school valedictorian, his words eloquent and encouraging, giving future hope to his fellow students. His mother and father beamed with pride when his name was called to receive his diploma and several scholarships he had won. Before the happy graduates ran off to continue with prom festivities a well-dressed man emerged from the audience and firmly shook the teenager’s hand saying, “Congratulations. One of the scholarships you won was donated by my firm. You’ll go far in life my boy and I expect great things from you.”
Because the university he had chosen was located in a large city, many kilometers away, the budding young man was forced to leave the farm in order to further his education. Although his mother and father worried about their son being tempted and seduced by the city’s glitter they had nothing to fear. However, since money was short for his education and to help with expenses at home, he gladly accepted a part time job from the man who had attended his graduation ceremonies.
Having grown into a ruggedly handsome young man, not only were the girls interested in him but so were the university sports’ coaches. They were constantly trying to entice him to join one of their teams by telling him there would be special advantages to help lighten his studies. However, since he wasn’t overly interested in becoming a professional athlete, he turned their efforts down, that is the coaches – not the girls – one very pretty young lady catching his eye.
When graduation day arrived and the young man took his turn at the podium to accept his diploma, his mother and father upon hearing the wonderful accolades being bestowed upon their son were bursting with pride. At the conclusion of the ceremony, like his high school graduation, the same well-dressed man stepped forward out of the crowd. Shaking the scholar’s hand firmly he said, “You’re living up to my expectations,” and putting an arm around his shoulders continued, “You’re well on your way to a successful life my boy and I’d like very much to continue giving you my support.”
Soon after accepting the man’s offer, an important position within his prestigious corporation, he and his pretty university-miss were hitched, bought a modest but expensive home and began a family. Life was good as he climbed the ladder from one success to another success, his faithful employer forever shaking his hand and congratulating him on his achievements.
Middle age began creeping over the horizon as the years passed by and although his curly blonde hair had a silvery tinge and his paunch had grown slightly larger, he was still a handsome man of distinction. His wife had become a little heavier too but mostly in the right places. Needless to say he was very pleased with his position in life, his attractive wife and their children, a boy and a girl.
One morning, upon arriving at his office, upon opening the door, he discovered his employer sitting behind his desk. Somewhat startled by the observation, his smiling employer suddenly stood up, stepped forward and extended his hand saying, “You have no idea how proud I am of you my boy. You’ve come far and helped my business grow substantially. Although retirement with a comfortable pension is still a fair distance off, a man of your esteem, ethics, honesty, moral standards and hard-working abilities should perhaps think about branching out. You needn’t worry about money; I’ll always stand behind you to help with your endeavours. Have you ever considered politics?”
Since some of his friends and business colleagues had already mentioned that he should consider running for a political position, he put his name forward in the upcoming election. Soon, signs portraying his smiling face were popping up everywhere informing people to vote for him. He was elected by a huge majority and as the years went by, his achievements growing in leaps and bounds, becoming not just a pillar of his community but spreading province wide, he was approached to put his name forward and run for premier.
Climbing higher and higher up the political ladder, each success seeming almost effortless, his perception may have been slightly clouded when his employer, now a friend, approached him and said, “Who’d of thought a mere farm boy from nowhere would be running for premier of this fine province? However, becoming the leader will require a lot more work and to help lighten your load, besides increasing your wages, you’ll also be receiving shares in my firm, something I don’t take lightly. But you’ve earned it my boy, you’ve earned every penny. I'm so proud of you my boy.”
The speeches over, all the candidates having boasted about the things they would accomplish if they were elected, he waited with his family for the polls to end. As the voting results were posted across the province, he thought about all the people who had believed in him and had worked so hard to make his campaign a success. His name was in the front position as soon as the voting stations opened their doors. When it was announced that he’d won by a landslide victory, he stepped up to the podium and looked around at all the cheering supporters. His campaign slogan had been “The Man Who Can Get Things Done for You” and after the cheering had subsided he yelled, “Who’s the man? Who’s the man?” and while motioning his thumbs towards his chest shouted even louder, “Who’s the man?”
All of his followers, men and women of every age that had worked very hard to promote him, lifted their signs and roared in unison, “You’re the man! You’re the man! You’re the man!”
Seated in his office as the new premier of the province, his benefactor and employer on the verge of old age limped into the room with the use of a cane and exclaimed, “Congratulations on becoming the premier of our fair province! Right from the very beginning I knew you had what it took to get this far and perhaps even further,” he winked. “Yes, my boy, rumours are already beginning to circulate about you becoming the next prime minister. And now, now that you are here, sitting in the forefront, a great amount of power at your fingertips, since I have helped you achieve this goal, mainly on a monetary basis and putting you in touch with the right people, I’d like to ask for a favour.”
After the old man had departed, the new premier sat down behind his desk and then spun the well-padded leather chair towards the window. Looking down, he observed someone of importance being interviewed and filmed on the front steps of the parliament building and as his gaze took in the green expanse of the well-manicured lawns and colourful flowerbeds, his eyes caught sight of a tiny white object. Upon closer observation, he realized it was a white butterfly flitting about. The words of the old man still resonating in his ears, he stood up; smiled, loosened his tie and then took it off. While undoing the top three buttons of his shirt he began chuckling and then, as if he didn’t have a care in the world, he suddenly dashed out of the office laughing outrageously and headed down the hall towards the stairway. His laughter echoed in the stairwell as he rushed down the steps and onto the main floor. Many of the people, upon hearing the premier’s loud laughter, gaped with amazement as they watched him run out of the front door. As he hurtled down the stairs past the person being interviewed, about a dozen security personnel, all dressed in dark suits, hot on his heels, the TV reporters and camera crews took up the chase as well.
The premier was still laughing uproariously but panting heavily by the time he reached the little white butterfly but he wasn’t deterred. As he continued chasing the butterfly, zig-zagging across the lawn and traipsing through the flower beds, a horde of security personnel, newsmen, camera crews right behind him every step of the way; he finally stopped and collapsed on the lawn. Lying spread-eagle on his back, looking up at the blue sky, a few white puffy clouds scudding overhead, he continued laughing until tears began flowing down his cheeks. The realization who he had been so many years ago and the man he had now become, like the population of the province he represented, he had been duped, tricked, flimflammed and blind-sided by all the pats on the back and the monetary perks he had received over the years.