16 February 2017
Scene: The Oval Office. The curtains are pulled way back, so the occasional passerby can see that the supreme chancellor is doing important supreme chancellor things. One of the windows is covered with a transparent plastic tarpaulin, from a recent F.B.I. raid everyone’s sworn never to talk about. Enter Supreme Chancellor Donald Trump and Vice Chancellor Mike Pence. Trump sits at his Resolute desk. He keeps wiping sweat off his face and cheeks and the back of his neck with an old handkerchief. The handkerchief is stained a dull orange. Pence sits in a chair at the head of the desk. He leans forward and turns a pin that reads “Best Vice President Chancellor Husband Ever!” over in his fingers. He looks anxious and worried.
Trump: So, there’s nothing more we can do about this?
Pence: Doesn’t look like it.
Trump: They’re just going to go through with it? It’s just. Gonna happen?
Pence: Mr. Supreme Chancellor, we did what we could.
Trump: Did we, Mike?
Pence: There are limits to your power, sir. Even if you are supreme chancellor.
Trump removes a pair of glasses that don’t have lenses in them and rubs the bridge of his nose.
Trump: Limits to my power. Explain that, Mike. Didn’t we send that creepy balding racist guy out to all the Sunday shows and have him say my power won’t be questioned? You’re telling me that had no effect?
Pence: The press didn’t take too kindly to him. They said he sounds like a huge twat.
Pence: Apparently also you don’t acquire supreme executive power by just telling people you have it. That’s not how it works, we’re finding out.
Trump: Wait, you lost me. Say that word again.
Trump: No, the one in the middle. The one with the “X” in it.
Trump: That’s the one. What is it?
Pence: It’s the branch of government we’re in. Didn’t you and your staff read that “Civics for Young Readers” book I handed out?
Trump: Not a page.
Pence: [Putting head in hands] Ughh.
Trump: So what’s the play?
Pence: [Looking up] There is no play. It’s over. They’re going through with it. We can’t do a single thing to stop it.
Trump: [Stuttering, really grasping at straws here] Not one thing? I’ll go to the voting chambers myself. I’ll write an executive order demanding they stop the vote. I’ll call Vlad. He knows how to get rid of political dissidents. I’m sure he can help.
Pence: Don’t call Vlad.
Pence: The intelligence agencies are all over our Russian connections right now. With the whole Flynn thing still in the papers, plus now the press knows a lot of our aids were palling around with the Russians leading up to the election. It’s maybe best we don’t drink out of that well for a while, if you get my meaning.
Trump: I don’t get your meaning. Is this run-down house finally running out of water?
Pence: What? No. Man, you’re just all over the place. I meant that we maybe shouldn’t talk too much to our Russian counterparts, for the time being.
Trump: Um. O.K. Wow. [Holds the edge of his desk, as if for balance] Let me just process this for a minute.
Pence: Sir, I’m not saying cut them off permanently. Just for a little while. Maybe you can even write Vlad some letters or something, in the meantime. It’s just, this is sort of like touching a glowing red-hot stove, right now, if you get my meaning.
Trump: I don’t. Are we cooking something delicious for lunchtime?
Pence: Jesus. No. You really didn’t follow that? How the shit did you win an election against such a highly qualified candidate?
Pence: Let’s just let the whole Russian thing cool off for the time being.
Trump makes a face like he’s finally put two and two together.
Trump: You think they’re on to us??
Pence: That’s what I’ve been saying. It’s all over the news.
Trump: Do you think if it stays in the news long enough, Congress will start some sort of an investigation?
Pence: Not likely. Congress is in our pocket. They’ve already shut down a Democrat-led bill requiring you to release your tax returns. A feeble attempt to disclose whether you’ve got any financial dealings with the Russian government, it looks like.
Trump: THEY DID??
Pence: You didn’t know?
Trump shakes head like a child denying he’d eaten all the cookies from the jar.
Pence: What’s infinitely more likely is that the various press outlets will conduct their own investigations into this administration, thereby uncovering some seriously explosive stuff regarding our Russian ties.
Trump: So what do we do? We need a distraction, but I’ve run completely out of ideas, scandals-wise.
Pence: We’ll think of something.
Trump: We’ve just needed so many distractions already this first month. The list I came up with was supposed to last the first 100 days.
Pence accidentally stabs his finger with his pin. A line of blood runs down his hand. He holds the wound in his mouth to stop the bleeding.
Trump: Can I have some?
Pence: What? Gross. No. That’s gross.
Pence. Did you really just ask me that?
Trump: [Ignoring Pence] This job is harder than I’d thought. I’m exhausted. I maybe need to take my nap early today.
Pence: You’re telling me.
Trump: I know I am. You’re the only one here.
Pence: At least during the campaign if something particularly incendiary came up we could always count on throwing you up in front of a crowd of people at a rally and just letting you say something racist or ignorant. This is just a whole new ball game.
Trump: That’s it!
Pence: What’s it?
Trump: We’ll hold a campaign rally.
Pence: We’re not campaigning anymore.
Trump: That’s not important. What’s important is I don’t have a filter. Like none whatsoever. We don’t even need to plan a distraction. Just put me up in front of a crowd of people and I’m bound to say something incredibly offensive.
Pence: You know what, sir? This just might work.
Trump: “Might work” is what I do best.
Pence: That it is, sir. I’ll schedule something for Michigan or Wisconsin. Or Pennsylvania. One of those middle-America states that helped win you the election.
Trump: Actually, Mike, I was thinking, since it’s really cold in those states, I was thinking maybe doing something in Florida, where it’s warm.
Pence: But you’ve gone to Florida pretty much every weekend since your inauguration.
Trump: Exactly! They already know me here!
Pence: I’ll see what I can do.
Trump: Now, about that vote you said we can’t do anything about.
Pence: We still can’t do anything about it, sir. It’s out of our hands.
Trump: But it’s not fair! “La La Land” can’t win an Oscar! I won’t have it! It’s a musical, for crying out loud!
Pence: I’m sorry, sir. People just really seem to like it. Chances are they’ve already cast the vote, and now it’s just a matter of announcing it at the end of the month.
Trump: But I don’t like it!
Pence: There’re just some things, sir, even a supreme chancellor can’t change.