We’re pleased to announce our first finalist for our President’s/Valentine’s Day contest, in which Jacob Shelton envisions what would happen if James Garfield and Chester A. Arthur hit it off.

Our contest’s winner will be announced next Friday.


The ghosts of Chester A. Arthur and James A. Garfield were insatiable. If you can believe it, the first time that Arthur and Garfield met was at a fundraiser in President Heaven to raise money for a second monthly cleaning of the clouds in Regular Heaven. There was always the usual monthly cleaning, but if you spilled a glass of wine while you were enjoying your evening sabbatical overlooking Saturn on the day after the first Wednesday of the month then you either had to wait three more weeks for the angels that cleaned the clouds to show up or figure out how to get red wine out of cumulus. The jerks over in Sultan Heaven had dropped like a billion rupees to get their servants’ clouds cleaned weekly. It was outrageous. I don’t know what the exchange rate in Heaven is but the situation seemed unfair. Arthur and Garfield had been eyeing each other across ballrooms and galas for some 200 years yet they had never spoken a word to one another, but when James A. Garfield finally worked up the nerve to ask Chester A. Arthur out for a drink the sparks were visible to everyone in a three mile radius. The two Presidents had so much in common; they were both Republican, both had A’s for a middle initial and Chester A. Arthur was actually James A. Garfield’s Vice President. That’s how they knew each other! The flood of memories came rushing back, the touching of fingers as a quill was passed to sign post office reform, late night talks by the fire on the campaign trail, and inside jokes about James R. Lowell’s beard. Cupid’s arrow struck with kismet on the evening of the cloud cleaning fundraiser held just two days before Valentine’s Day. The two Presidents decided to make it a long holiday and stay indoors reliving those late night fireside communions, but instead of barbs directed towards heavily bearded romantic poet and diplomat James R. Lowell they were directing their tongues at each other in a romantic way by rubbing their lips and tongues against each other in what would later be known as “kissing.” They weren’t being rude creeps that just stuck their tongues out at each other by a fire. That would be neither sexy nor mature.


Jacob Shelton is a writer, producer, musician, engineer, and production artist whose work has appeared in numerous independent features and online shorts. Jacob has toured as a keyboard player and drummer with a couple of indie rock bands and he regularly writes and produces the podcast It’s Made of People. Most recently he scored the online short Love Is Love, which was featured on the Huffington Post Blog and Moveon.org; he also wrote some funny things that were featured in various literary journals, and is traveling to the middle of nowhere working on a new docu-reality show for MTV. For a full list of credits check out this page. If you’d like to record some music, film something, criticize his flash fiction or talk about wrestling, email him at jacobsmellton@gmail.com