In a world where four-year-olds are allowed to run for President of the United States, two of the most notorious brats of children's television have just begun a battle for the presidency.
Dora Winifred Read, better known as "D.W." was one of the candidates. She was the younger sister of Arthur Read, who was the star of the one of the longest-running children's shows ever. But the popularity of "Arthur" had started to weaken as the animation went downhill, character's personalities changed, and Arthur's voice became so freakishly high that it sounded like he was moving through puberty backwards. D.W. was so eager to make "her" show popular again, that she decided to become president. Then the show's ratings would sky-rocket! She was even considering banning her big brother from the show entirely, or at least demoting him to an extra (which by coincidence, wouldn't be a big change from what he had been doing for the last several seasons anyway).
The other candidate was Caillou, a spoiled, ungrateful, undisciplined little twat. He decided to become president because it sounded like a lot of fun. Mommy and Daddy were fine with that, because making Caillou happy was the most important thing in world. Hands down!
The day finally came when the candidates had to give their first public speech. They were both very excited to talk in front of millions of people! They practiced their speeches for a whole hour before their parents told them it was past their bedtime.
Caillou woke up bright and cheerful the next morning. He jumped out of bed and darted around his room, in a hurry to get ready. He had to make a great first impression on the citizens of the United States.
"Gilbert, I can't play now," he told the gray cat. "I have to get dressed for my speech."
Caillou took out his best suit and fumbled around as he tried to put it on. First, he started with the pants.
"I'm going to get dressed allllllll by myself! The country will be soooooooo happy!"
Next, Caillou put on his good white shirt. He noticed a big, brown stain on it from where he spilled his chocolate pudding during his last fancy dinner.
"Uh-oh," he said. "I can't stand up in front of all those people with a yucky stain on my shirt." He took the shirt off and looked through his closet and drawers until he found an acceptable shirt. Then he pulled on his jacket and tie, then slipped on his socks and shoes. He brushed his teeth and polished his head. He tried to look handsome (it didn't work). When he was satisfied with his less-than-pleasing physical appearance, Caillou went downstairs to join Mommy, Daddy, and Rosie for breakfast.
Meanwhile, in a place called Elwood City...
"D.W, hurry up! You're going to be late!"
"Ughh...I don't feel well enough to go to school today," groaned D.W.
"Don't you remember what day it is?" Jane called.
D.W. threw off her blanket and rushed to the closet. She suddenly remembered what an important day this was. Her first public speech! She would use this opportunity to speak her mind and prove what a great leader she would be.
A few minutes later, D.W. came downstairs wearing a conservative suit and tie. "Good morning, family. Your future leader wishes to dine."
Arthur was horrified by this whole situation.
"Mom, Dad, I can't believe you're letting D.W. run for office! Do you have any idea what the country will be like if she wins?!"
"Now, Arthur, don't be such a drama queen," David said, feeding Baby Kate a bite of oatmeal. "D.W. is just a little girl. How much damage can she do?"
Arthur groaned, rolling his eyes in exasperation. "Do you really need me to answer that for you?"
"You're just jealous because I'm going to be the boss of the whole world and you're NOT!" D.W. said, shooting a piece of butter at his glasses with her spoon.
"If you win the election, I'll have no more faith in mankind," Arthur muttered, as he wiped off his glasses.
"Arthur, I want you to be very supportive of your sister today," Jane said, "This is a very important moment in any child's life and you're sister has a very good chance of becoming the first child president."
"I'll have a chance to vote, right?" asked Arthur.
Mrs. Read looked shocked. "Of course not, Arthur! You're only eight years old. Who ever heard of an eight-year- old voting?"
Arthur crossed his arms. "I'm telling you, she'll be a terrible president. I bet even that bald kid, what's-his-name, would make a better president than her!" (He doesn't know Caillou very well, does he?)
"That will be enough," Mr. Read scolded. "Now go get ready, Arthur. We're leaving for D.C. in a few minutes."
At the Capital Building, citizens from all over the nation came to witness a powerful lecture from the young candidates. The families and relatives gathered in the ginormous room and shed a few tears of joy as they watched D.W. and Caillou take their places behind the pulpits. The thunderous applause was enough to make the kids cover their ears.
When the congregation hushed, the child candidates were ready to begin their speeches.
D.W. cleared her throat and started to speak:
"I am D.W. Read and I want to be president. I'm the perfect choice for the president because I've been in Washington D.C. before. I got lost in the White House and met Bill Clinton and he showed me some pretty horse pictures. Arthur bragged to all his friends about meeting the president, but Arthur never would have met him if it wasn't for me. That day, I decided that I was going to be president. Today is the beginning of my dream. If I am elected President of the United States, my first act will be to paint the White House. Why has it stayed white for so many years? I think it would look much prettier in pink, don't you? Maybe some yellow and purple too. Then I'll make a law that all older brothers have to play with their sisters every day. It will be illegal for him to ever say 'no' to her."
Arthur tugged frantically at his parents' sleeves. "Mom, Dad, you have to stop her! She's going to ruin the country! Take her out of here before it's too late!"
"Be quiet, Arthur. You're sister is talking."
Arthur groaned in despair. "Don't say I didn't warn you."
D.W. spotted Arthur in the crowd and glared at him, knowing exactly what he was thinking. She used her dislike of Arthur to fuel her speech of how evil big brothers are.
"And furthermore, I will declare that every older brother in the world has to buy his sister a hundred Crazy Bus C.D.s! And he can't complain no matter how many times she plays it! Also, I think we need a new American flag. I'm tired of seeing stars and strips. I want a flag with hearts, butterflies, oh, and unicorns! Everybody loves unicorns!"
Some people in the audience groaned. Arthur felt like puking.
"Now let's discuss the school lunch program," D.W. continued.
"Oh no, not this again," Mr. Read moaned.
"I am officially outlawing spinach. No school will ever be allowed to serve spinach! Never again. In fact, nobody in the world will ever have to eat spinach again. It will be illegal to grow spinach, illegal to sell spinach, illegal to buy spinach, and illegal to make kids eat spinach. I never want to see that nasty, green, disgusting thing in my country EVER AGAIN! I...hate...spinach. NO MORE SPINACH!"
The congregation stared at her in stunned silence.
"Finally, I would like you all to meet my vice president. Everybody, this is Nadine." D.W. reached out and put her arm around the shoulder of an invisible being.
Mutters of confusion dabbled through the room. They couldn't see Nadine since she was D.W.'s imaginary friend, soon to be imaginary vice president.
"Who is she talking about?"
"There's nobody there."
"Great, D.W.'s pretend friend is going to help rule the country," said Francine Frensky, who was among the crowd. "This is all Arthur's fault."
"And to conclude this passionate speech, I would like to add that I will make this country great again. And, I would to like to say thanks to all of you...because if you people hadn't ruined this country in the first place, I wouldn't have anything to fix. Thank you, citizens."
Nobody applauded. A few mutters and whispers among the crowd were her only responses. D.W. figured they were too taken with her greatness to react in any other way.
Except for Arthur, who had passed out from the ludicrous speech. His parents were trying to revive him.
"Oh, and one more thing...ARTHUR STOLE MY SNOWBALL OUT OF THE FREEZER!"
With that, she stepped down and went to her chair.
Now it was Caillou's turn to make a speech. Everybody clapped loudly as the bald-headed boy was announced. Surely, whatever he had to say must be better than D.W.
"Hi, everyone. I'm Caillou...and I, uh...I don't know what my last name is. But, I have some really good stuff to tell you. First, I have a really sad story...I woke up one morning and I was soooo excited because Daddy was supposed to take me to the circus. I got dressed allllll by myself! Then I brushed my teeth and everything! But then, Daddy walked in and said...he said...," Caillou paused a moment because he was emotional from this painful memory. "He told me that...that the circus was NOT TODAY! The circus was TOMORROW! I was never so disappointed in my life!"
Caillou needed a moment to regain his composure before continuing. He took out a tissue and blew his little nose. "I'm sorry," he sniffled, expecting the congregation to be equally saddened by his devastating story.
"I got all dressed...for nothing. The circus wasn't coming. Not until TOMORROW! I had to wait another WHOLE DAY! Waaaah!" Caillou began to bawl. The memory of that terrible morning.
"And then," continued the squirt, once he composed himself. "My stupid toy car broke and the wheel fell off. Daddy wanted to cut the toast into duckies. I don't like duckies! They're for BABIES!"
"What does this have to with being elected for President, ya little turd?" asked an old man from the audience.
Caillou didn't hear that remark and continued his nonsense.
"So, Daddy and me cut toast into circus animals! Lions, elephants, bears, all kinds of neat things! But no duckies...BLAH!"
Arthur's parents finally managed to revive him, but when Arthur heard that last part of Caillou's speech, he fainted again.
"When I become president, the circus won't come around once a year anymore. The circus will be EVERY DAY! No kids will ever be sad about not going to the circus ever again!"
A few children clapped their hands and cheered until their dumbfounded parents shut them up.
"Mommy told me that all presidents need a vice president which I have to chose myself. Well, I can't chose just one vice president because there are sooooo many people I love! For my vice presidents, I want Mommy, Daddy, Rosie, Grandma, Grandpa, Mr. Hinkle from next-door, my friends Leo, Clementine, Sarah, Gilbert my cat..."
"BOO!" yelled somebody.
Caillou was confused by this. "Why did you say 'boo'? It's not Halloween and you don't even have a costume. So stop trying to scare people."
The audience exploded with laughter at that, except for Caillou's parents who just stared at each other in confusion. The ditzy parents of the bald-headed wonder were genuinely puzzled as to why everybody found that hilarious.
"Now, there's something I have to say to...Andre." Caillou said, looking right at the television cameras. "Andre, if you're watching this right now, listen to me real good."
Then Caillou glanced back at the congregation and frowned. He cleared his scrawny throat and continued to speak:
"For those of you who don't know Andre, he is a really big boy. He's actually six years old! One day, he came over to my house to play. Something really bad happened. He...he broke my chair! He broke my SPECIAL CHAIR! He tried to sit on it but his butt was too big and fat. I told Andre I forgave him but I never forgot what he did. HE'S GOING TO PAY FOR THAT! He owes me 7,936,859,427 dollars! And my law says everyone can go into Andre's house and break HIS CHAIR! Let's see how HE likes it!"
The silence in the crowd lasted an awkwardly long time.
"Uh, I'm done now," Caillou said, expecting a joyous reaction from the citizens.
Turning slightly red, the bald abomination stepped away from the pulpit.
The audience began talking and whispering amongst themselves. The response was negative, to say the least.
"He dare call that load of B.S. a speech?!"
"Did you see how small his hands were? You can't trust a president with tiny hands."
"I don't like his bald head either. That thing nearly blinded me."
"Yeah, he's like a bowling ball with beady eyes and a whiny voice."
"Nah, bowling balls have more brains."
"And how about that Read girl? What was that crap about a snowball?"
"It's probably a term for drugs."
"Drugs? Well, she definitely has no business running for office."
"You'd be surprised what politicians can get away with these days. Especially when they're under ten."
"She's totally banning spinach. The little crackpot is a vegetable bigot!"
"And the skin-head is a duckie bigot!"
"Who the hell hates cute little ducks?"
"Just a kid who's four!"
"Both of them hardly seem like human beings."
"What do you expect? They're just children."
"Which one are you voting for?"
"I just decided."
Caillou and D.W. waited anxiously for any sign that the citizens were pleased with them. None came. In fact, the people started running around and tearing down the campaign posters. The enlarged portraits of Caillou and D.W. were tossed to the ground and trappled on like garbage. The booing and jeering was positively deafening.
The two four-year-olds were completely unprepared for this response. The citizens didn't seem to like them very much at all. It frightened them quite a bit. They both began crying for their mommies, as they collapsed on the floor and threw a tantrum.
Caillou's parents raced to the platform and picked up their squirming son. Daddy grabbed his wrists, Mommy grabbed his ankles, and they carried away the wailing Caillou.
David and Jane came for D.W; they carried her away by holding her arms and legs.
The child candidates wanted to throw in the towel, but with lots of encouragment and pep talks from their loving families, D.W. and Caillou got their confidence back. Who could blame them for screwing up their first public speech to the nation? It was their first time. Surely, every great ruler has made a fool of himself the first time he tried to impress people with his greatness and charisma (which these two half-pints lacked bigtime).
In the following months, D.W. and Caillou only expressed their thoughts through recorded interviews in the safety of their own homes. Their parents would sit next to them to help if their child was asked questions that they didn't understand. The videos found their way to YouTube and while the comments varied, most were still negative responses. Luckily, D.W. and Caillou couldn't read.
Online trolls mocked the child candidates mercilessly. They drew ugly cartoon caricatures of them and posted them all over the internet. They made dirty jokes to mock them on Twitter and Facebook and even made death threats. D.W.'s and Caillou's parents had to take down their social media. The kids had to attend preschool surrounded by a team of bodyguards.
The Tibble Twins fired a spit-ball at D.W. during class, and the bodyguards tackled her to the ground and flung themselves over her, protecting her from the puny weapon.
The campaign posters flooded the country, stickers popped up on the rear of cars, magazine articles were printed, and a documentary about the country's first child candidates was in process.
November 8th was election day. The moment of true. Arthur sat with his head between his legs while waiting those grueling hours for the voting to wrap up. The parents of the candidates kept their fingers crossed. It was late at night, Caillou and D.W. were waiting anxiously in a hallway. It was way past their night-night times, but who could sleep at a time like this?
Mr. Sucmawee, the head chairman, emerged from a room looking stunned. He dabbed his sweaty brow with a napkin. His ulcer of many years could almost be seen through the expensive fabric of his suit.
"In all my long years of working here. I never expected this. In all my bing-bong days, I never seen anything like this..."
"What happened?" D.W. asked, jumping off the chair.
"Who won the election?" Caillou asked.
Mr. Sucmawee looked at the children. "The truth of the cock-a-noodle matter is..."
"TELL US WHO WON!" shouted the kids in unison.
"Neither of you," came the reply.
The jaws of D.W. and Caillou fell to the ground so hard it almost cracked the floor.
"It was a tie," said Mr. Sucmawee.
"You're...not...serious," D.W. said, after five minutes of silence to cope with the utter shock.
"It was a tie," Sucmawee repeated, clutching his chest as a wave of heartburn seized him. "You both...got the exact same number of votes. ZERO!"
Caillou exploded in a fit of screams and tears and threw himself on the ground, throwing the trantrum of a lifetime. D.W. followed suit, throwing the loudest tantrum she knew how.
"WHHHHYYYY??!! WHY WAAAAAAH DID WE WAAAAAAAH GET NOOO VOOOOOTES??!!"
Sucmawee glared at them, covering his ears to drown out their howls of mental agony.
"Because you're CHILDREN! YOU'RE FREAKIN CHILDREN! What did you brats expect? NOBODY is going to vote for a four-year-old child!"
Shocked and shattered, the two kids became silent. They felt wronged...oh, so wronged. Nothing was wronger in the world than the way Caillou and D.W. felt at that moment.
Sucmawee spoke harshly to them:
"Take your parents and get out of Washington D.C. The both of you have ruined this election. You took this election and ripped it apart like a piece of cheese. You're selfishness and stupidity has been infuriating this country ever since the beginning of this disastrous catastrophe. You two bucket-heads take your duty as nothing but a great, big, fat JOKE! All you care about is yourselves. You're children. Four-year-old BABIES! Did you really expect the citizens to find importance in ANYTHING that comes out of your trap doors? Go back to preschool, kids. Then move on to Kindergarten. Maybe you can even get into 1st grade someday! Your brains have not even begun to develope. To be a good president, you need intelligence, charisma, sensitivity, big hands, and experience. The bologna in my sandwich is superior to both of you!"
"Whoa, nice speech," Arthur told Sucmawee. The aardvark boy had been standing behind him the whole time. "You must be a great man. It takes a load of talent to berate four-year-old children who can't defend themselves."
Sucmawee turned around to snarl at Arthur.
"Leave my sister alone," Arthur demanded.
D.W. and Caillou ran to Arthur and hid behind him.
"Disgraceful, just disgraceful..." Sucmawee muttered, as he stormed away.
"So are you!" Arthur called.
"Arthur, take us home," D.W. begged, clinging to his yellow shirt.
So, Arthur took them both by the hand and led them away. It was time for the kids to be in bed. D.W. and Caillou could now go back to the way they were, and be normal brats again. What Sucmawee had said was true though...it was idiotic for D.W. and Caillou to run for office. Nobody wants a four-year-old to be President of the United States.
Maybe next year they could try again. After all, everybody respects five-year-olds.