27 February 2017


Scene: A high-end Washington D.C. restaurant. The place is very exclusive. The lights are dim, for ambiance reasons. Waiters wear bow ties and scurry around with bleached towels over their arms. Some of them have small French-style mustaches. Enter Supreme Chancellor Donald Trump, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and Vice Chancellor Mike Pence. The table they’re sitting at is covered with classified documents and half-eaten salads. Trump is sitting there with his hands folded in his lap; he’s very overwhelmed. Mattis is going over papers in a very professional way. Pence had asked for his salad’s dressing on the side, and but sometime during the salad course he inadvertently knocked the boat of dressing over, and the ranch spilled out all on the table and it’s slowly spreading, and Pence is trying to block everyone’s view of it without calling attention to what he’s doing. Lots of guests are standing around the table and marveling at being able to see Trump and his aids conducting yet another highly secretive meeting in public; this is standard operating procedure, by now.


Trump: Mike, why are you leaning over the table like that? It’s strange and weird and it’s putting me on edge.

Pence: Leaning like what? With my elbow stretched way out and my head resting casually on my fist? I always sit like this. I’m surprised you haven’t noticed it until now.

Trump: Hmm. I’m surprised by that, too. Let’s ask Jim. Jim. Hey, Jim. Jim. Has Mike always leaned way out over tables like that? Or is this like the first time?

[Mattis says nothing; he continues looking over the documents; he makes clicking noises with his tongue, indicating an intense concentration.]

Trump: [Snapping] Yo, hey, Jim, Earth to Jimmy. What are you looking over? What’s so important you can’t pay attention to the incredibly awkward way Mike’s sitting?

Mattis: [Looking up.] Hmm?

Trump: What are those papers?

Mattis: They’re highly classified documents.

Trump: Well I could’ve guessed that. What else would we be looking over here in a five-star D.C. restaurant?

Mattis: Sir, they’re in regards to last night’s mission. The sabotaging mission? You remember? We spent all week discussing it.

Trump: I remember. Of course I remember. But. Um. Mike probably doesn’t, so go over it again, for Mike’s sake. Mike, sit up, you’re making the people huddled around us nervous.

[Pence shifts in a way that makes it look like he moved, but, really, he didn’t move.]

Mattis: Well, I should start off by saying, Mr. Supreme Chancellor, that congratulations are in order.

Trump: They are? Of course they are. Regarding what?

Mattis: Um. The mission. Sir, are you sure you remember?

[Trump nods nervously.]

Mattis: Yes. Well. In terms of overall objectives, the mission was a great success. Though, I should say there were some mishaps. Some casualties. Some collateral damage. But in the end, you got exactly what you wanted.

[Pence is trying to covertly manage the spread of the ranch dressing with a napkin.]

Trump: I’m very glad to hear that. What was it we wanted, again? For Mike’s sake?

Mattis: Well, “La La Land” didn’t win Best Picture at last night’s Academy Awards.

Trump: Oh, thank God. Thank God for that. It just really didn’t deserve it, Jim. You know that, right?

Mattis: I thought it was pretty good, actually.

Trump: But there was singing. And Jazz. It was just so, I don’t know, un-American.

Pence: Why don’t Kevin James’ movies ever get nominated?

Trump: A very poignant question, Mike. Jim? Any ideas?

Mattis: Uh. Well. I haven’t seen any of his movies. But I’m under the impression that they’re terrible.

[Trump screws his face up in a display of extreme confusion.]

Mattis: They’re just pee and fart jokes.

[Trump bursts into laughter. He pounds his fist on the table.]

Trump: [Wiping a tear from his eye] Oh man. Oh man. Jim. Stop. Just the mention of it. Oh my.

Pence: You said there was collateral damage?

Mattis: Yes. Um. Yes, there was some unintentional damage.

[Trump gets suddenly serious. He stiffens up; his mouth droops into a scowl.]

Trump: Jim. What happened?

Mattis: You have to understand, sir, “La La Land” was nominated for 14 total awards. According to probability theory —

[Trump’s eyes narrow; Mattis thinks he sees a brief flicker of red in them.]

Mattis: Um.

Trump: Just spit it out, Jim.

Mattis: “La La Land” did end up winning a few awards.

[Trump is fuming; he looks as though he might actually be hot to the touch. Pence has completely forgotten about the ranch dressing he’s trying to hide, and he sits up in his seat.]

Mattis: Mostly in very minor, forgettable categories, though.

Trump: What do you mean, “mostly.”

Mattis: Um. Well. Damien Chazelle won Best Director.

[Trump hurls his salad plate on the floor. He puts his head in his hands and starts tugging at his hair, some of which comes out.]

Mattis: And. Uh. Emma Stone won Best Actress.

Trump: [Into his hands] Goddammit! Why? How? Her character barely had any arc to it!

Mattis: Sir, calm down, please. She’s a very charming actress. I didn’t even know she could sing like that. It was a reasonable pick.

[Trump glares up at Mattis through his hands. His face is sweaty and bright red. His eyes are webbed with veins. Therere long strands of orange hair tangled in his fingers.]

Pence: Gosling didn’t win, did he? Please tell me he didn’t win.

Mattis: No, he wasn’t even nominated. Apparently being an absolute dreamboat doesn’t necessarily buy you an Oscar.

Trump: [Trying to collect himself.] I think I need a drink. Do they serve Fanta, here?

Mattis: You haven’t heard the good news yet, though, sir.

Trump: Could there even be good news, at this point?

Mattis: Sir, when they announced the award for Best Picture, they announced “La La Land,” and but then they took it back and gave it to “Moonlight.”

Trump: Heh. Ha ha.

Mattis: It was very embarrassing for everyone, sir.

Trump: Serves them right, I’d say. For trying to make a musical in my America.

Mattis: I anticipate they’ll think twice about making another one, now, sir.

Trump: [Letting out a deep sigh.] That does make me feel a little better. Maybe the director and actress things are a small price to pay for that kind of result.

Mattis: Exactly my thinking, sir.

Trump: Still, I may need to eat two desserts tonight.

Mattis: Totally understandable, Mr. Supreme Chancellor.

Trump: Mike, what is that? Over by your elbow.

[Pence suddenly remembers the ranch dressing. He throws himself across the table to cover it and gets ranch all on his coat sleeve. He lifts his arm up. Ranch drips all on the floor and table. Restaurant guests gasp and step back in horror.]

Trump: Mike, please, we’re in public. There are standards.



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