14 February 2017

Enter Supreme Chancellor Donald Trump, chief strategist Stephen Bannon, possibly traitorous national security advisor Michael Flynn, prime minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, and a film director. Trump, Bannon, Flynn, and Abe are all sitting at a long dinner table. They’ve just received intelligence that North Korea had only minutes earlier successfully tested a missile capable of possibly delivering a nuclear warhead to South Korea or Japan. They’re all discussing incredibly sensitive material at a louder-than-normal decibel level, so the guests around them can hear. They’re also going over sensitive documents with the flashlights on their phones, the way elderly people at ambiance-type restaurants sometimes do with their menus. Various aids all shuffle around in the background. Most are incredibly confused and nervous. The director sits in a chair and shouts out people’s motivations, how they should deliver lines, etc. There are lots of high-tech cameras.

Trump: Oh, boy. Look at all this highly sensitive paperwork we’re going over. Does everyone here see what we’re doing?

He sort of looks around, to make sure the guests are all watching his team.

Trump: This is the first national security issue my highly capable administration is facing. Is everyone paying attention?

Director: Mr. Trump? Maybe don’t make it so obvious. We want this to look realistic, you know?

Trump: Sorry, Tim. I just want to make sure the proper amount of attention is being paid to what we’re doing. This is going to make great television, believe me.

Director: Remember how we talked about not looking at the camera all the time? That’s still in play. Keep your attention focused on the sensitive documents.

Trump: Holy cow! This missile could have been carrying a nuclear warhead! I mean, we’re going over some extraordinarily sensitive stuff here. We all might have died! These papers should be locked in a safe somewhere, but here I am, the people’s supreme chancellor, who won last year’s election in what can only be called a massive fucking landslide, going over this stuff in front of the unsuspecting public.

Guests start whispering nervously to each other. Some are hurriedly packing up their purses and belongings and scurrying out of the place. They’re clearly uncomfortable.

Bannon: Looks like the missile was launched in the direction of Japan. Should I start rounding up Asian-looking citizens and questioning them, sir?

Trump: Hmm. That’s not a bad idea. Let’s see if there’s anything addressing that in these very sensitive documents I’m reading in public.

Abe makes nervous sounds.

Trump: On second thought, hold off on profiling Asians for a minute. My pal Shinzo here seems to not totally like the idea.

Abe: [Through an interpreter] Should we be doing all this in plain view of the public? This seems highly irresponsible.

Trump: Shinzo, baby, this is how we do things here. It’s called show business.

Director: Mr. Abe, if you could maybe lean in closer toward Mr. Trump, so it looks like you’re scouring the same document. Try to make it look like you’re interested.

Trump: Maybe not that close, Shinzo. There you go. Um, what’s our motivation?

Director: Uh. North Korea just shot off a missile?

Trump: The good-guy Korea or the bad-guy one?

Director: Bad guys.

Trump pulls at his collar and makes sounds of extreme uneasiness. Faked, of course.

Flynn: Could you maybe slow down with the phones, guys? The images we’re getting are blurry. The lighting is great, though.

Trump: What images?

Flynn: Never mind what I just said. I didn’t say anything about the Russians, here. Nor did I say anything about how they’ve hacked into your phones and are right this minute using your phones’ cameras to record the sensitive stuff you’re scanning right now.

Trump: Good. I’m glad you never said that stuff. I have full confidence in you, Mike.

Bannon: I feel like we should be rounding someone up. It just doesn’t feel right, letting perfectly legal immigrants get away with this.

Trump: Steve, please, you’re making Shinzo nervous. Calm down, Shinzo, it’s O.K.

Bannon makes weird growling noises.

Trump: Mike, stop biting your nails and sweating like that. You’re on camera.

Flynn: Do I look irrationally nervous about all this? I just want you to know I didn’t talk to the Russian ambassador about any of this. Not yet anyway. I mean. Urk. Forget I said that. Urk. Say, is the heat on out here? Can someone maybe turn it down?

Trump: Steve, you can round Mike up, if you’d like. The guy is having a nervous breakdown right here on camera or something.

Flynn: Urk. Urk.

Bannon makes more growling sounds. Exit Flynn and Bannon.

Director: Gentlemen, can we please turn our attention back to the international crisis?

Trump: Oh, right. Come, Shinzo, look at these documents with me.

Abe: [Through an interpreter] Guests are starting to take pictures of us looking over these documents. Perhaps we should move this to a more secure area?

Trump: Nonsense, Shinzo. If we did that, no one would see me being supreme chancellor.

Director: O.K. Mr. Abe. You seem to be having trouble focusing. Remember, North Korea just absolutely despises Japan. I mean, you’re their sworn enemy. And this missile was launched in the direction of your country. And even though this missile couldn’t have reached Japan, another one like it could. And you guys are totally dependent on the U.S., defense-wise. So just sort of imagine: The fate of your country rests in the hands of the man sitting next to you.

Trump beams with self-importance. Abe swoons. His eyes roll to the back of his head. He passes out right there at the table.

Trump: Shinzo. Shinzo, baby, are you O.K.? Huh. I guess he just can’t handle being on camera.

Abe wakes up. He’s delirious. Half of a chicken salad sandwich is stuck to his cheek.

Trump: You know what you need, Shinzo? A little toss-and-catch with a football. Where’s Rick?

Enter Rick, the service member who carries the nuclear launch codes.

Trump: That’s no ordinary briefcase Rick’s carrying. It’s what we call the nuclear football. It’s incredibly light, despite its size. Here, Shinzo, go long.

Abe runs a deep crossing route over the middle. Trump heaves the nuclear football. Abe reaches out for it. Enter Bannon, who was positioned way back in a zone defense. Bannon rams his shoulder into Abe’s chest, and Abe drops the ball. Abe’s leg twitches some.

Trump: Whoa! Nice hit, Steve!

Bannon takes a bow.

Trump: You know, I could have played for the Jets. But I turned down their offer of $40 million a year.

Bannon: A smart move, sir.

Trump: Oh! Look at that, Steve! A wedding party! Let’s go say hi!

Exit Trump and Bannon. The highly sensitive documents are left unguarded on the table.

Director: Guys? The highly sensitive documents? The T.V. show? Guys?


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