1: The Mexicans
I remember the day when The Mexicans showed up with the money for the wall.
We were sitting in the Oval Office, Drumpf with his feet up on the Lincoln Desk, me desperately trying not to yawn while he bragged, yet again, about the extent of his wealth. "I'm really rich," he said, with an edge in his voice that made it sound like he was sharing new and exciting information. "You wouldn't believe how rich I am."
He seemed annoyed by the knock on the door but then Drumpf is nearly always annoyed by everything. "What?" he shouted at the door.
Britte Sonegaard, Drumpf's "appointments secretary," opened the door and poked her head in warily. "The Mexicans are here," she announced in her unfailingly breathy voice. "Real ones," she added, in case we were confused. "From Mexico."
"Send them in," Drumpf ordered, dismissing Britte with an imperious backhanded wave at the same time. I think that he smiled at me, although I have to admit that I still have a hard time telling whether he's smiling or grimacing. "The Mexicans love me," he confided.
The Mexicans walked uneasily into the Oval Office. One of them was tall and thin, impeccably dressed in an elegant gray suit. The other was short and round, his jacket a size too small. The one thing they had in common was that they both started to perspire as soon as they walked into the room. Some of that, I'm sure, was that they were intimidated to actually be in the presence of Drumpf. But also, Drumpf had ordered that the Oval Office had to be kept hot and humid at all times, just to make his visitors sweat. The extreme climate conditions didn't affect Drumpf, of course, because of a special ingredient that he had incorporated into Drumpf OrangeFace Spray. "It cost me a lot to do that," he had once confided. "But it doesn't matter, because I'm unbelievably rich."
Drumpf sized up The Mexicans as they approached. "Whaddya think?" he asked me in a low voice as they drew near. "Rapists? Drug dealers?"
"Sir, they can hear you," I said, although I suspected that that had been the point. Drumpf is always looking for an edge, something that will keep his opponents (which, as far as Drumpf is concerned, is everybody) off balance. He is, as he keeps reminding me, a genius.
The tall Mexican in the elegant suit extended his hand, but Drumpf waved for both of The Mexicans to sit in the chairs that faced the Lincoln Desk. He had recently had the chairs reupholstered in a plush purple velour that had most recently seen duty as curtains in the Presidential Suite in the "Drumpf Resort, Spa, and Shooting Range" in Salt Lake City, which had opened the day after Drumpf had signed an executive order legalizing gambling and automatic weapons in all fifty states.
On seeing the chairs for the first time, one of my colleagues had muttered something about them looking like they belonged in a French whorehouse, then he had blanched as he realized that Drumpf could hear him. But Drumpf had just beamed. "Nobody knows French whorehouses like I do," he had said. "I promise you that."
The short round Mexican opened the small briefcase that was chained to his wrist and made an elaborate show of extracting its contents, which turned out to be a single piece of paper, which I assumed was a check. He handed the paper to his companion, who rose and placed it gingerly in a small silver tray that Drumpf keeps perched on the edge of his desk, so it's always available if foreign delegations need a place to put the money they've brought with them to pay for things.
Drumpf swung his feet off the desk and leaned forward to inspect the check. He and the tall Mexican exchanged a few words in hushed, almost reverential, tones. I took advantage of the distraction to see if I could get an answer to something that had been troubling me. "Tell me," I whispered to the short round Mexican. "Why did The Mexicans decide to pay for the wall?"
His face sagged. "Seņor Drumpf, he is just too strong for us," he muttered, shaking his head. "It is not possible for The Mexicans to resist his will."
Suddenly Drumpf was shouting, something that would have surprised me if I weren't so used to it. "Eight billion dollars?" He waved the check in the Mexican's face as he screamed at him. "EIGHT BILLION DOLLARS?" His face turned even more orange, and a vein in his neck started to throb ominously. Or, as we say in the White House, he went "full Drumpf."
"But... but that is what you said," the Mexican stammered. "Eight billion dollars for the wall, and The Mexicans will pay for it." He gestured back and forth between his associate and himself. "We are The Mexicans," he pointed out in what he obviously hoped would come across as a soothing tone.
Bad mistake. Drumpf cannot be placated. He can smell weakness like a dog smells bacon sizzling on a hot stove.
"But what about the big, beautiful door?" Drumpf's eyes were wide in pain and amazement. "What about the extra billion dollars for the big, beautiful door?" He was so overcome with emotion that he was almost sobbing. "How am I going to let the good Mexicans back in after I kick all of The Mexicans out?"
He glanced over at the other Mexican and grew serious for a moment. "Some of you, I assume, are good people," he conceded, with a lightning-fast change of tone that I knew was specifically designed to disorient his opponents.
And then, just like that, the outraged Drumpf was back. "Get out!" he screamed at The Mexicans. "Get out of my office!" He grabbed the check and waved it in their faces, then he methodically ripped it into small pieces, which he threw dramatically into the air. The Mexicans jumped to their feet as bits of the eight-billion-dollar check rained down on them like confetti. I couldn't tell whether The Mexicans were actually trying to catch the pieces of the check as they fluttered to the rug (which had formerly graced the lobby of the "Drumpf Resort, Spa, and Nuclear Waste Facility" in Boston Harbor) or if they were just massively confused.
Drumpf mashed a button on his desk, and Britte Sonegaard poked her head in the door. "Tell Corey to get his ass in here," he snarled. "I need him to round up these Mexicans and haul them back to Mexico."
The Mexicans scurried out of the office as quickly as they could, obviously hoping to make an exit under their own power before Corey showed up with a troop of Orange Shirts and dragged them away. But Corey's pretty fast when it comes to the official duties of the Drumpf Protection Detail, and I could hear sounds of a struggle coming from the outer office. Drumpf could see my concern, but he waved it away. "Nobody removes Mexicans more humanely than I do, I can promise you that," he confided.
"And pick up the pieces of the check, tape them back together," he added, almost as an afterthought. He shrugged. "Hey, it's eight billion dollars, right? I didn't get to be amazingly rich by throwing away eight billion dollars, I can tell you that."
He buzzed for Britte Sonegaard again, and this time he waved her in when she poked her head into the room. "It would be a pretty picture to see you drop to your knees," he told her with a smirk, which was my cue to head out of the Oval Office and find something else to do.
[ Selected Writings ]
©2016 Henry Charles Mishkoff