From the author: An all-too-plausible glimpse into our future, this story imparts a shiver of recognition, a twinge of grief, and — I hope — even a flash of empathy.
"They can't get rid of me. Trying, they keep trying, but, nope, won't work."
"Of course not, sir."
"Can't trust them. Not one of them. They can try all they want, make all the phone calls and write all the letters. But I'm too smart for them. We're too smart for them. Ivanka's on top if it, she keeps them in line. Fired the whole team of them a few weeks ago. Right down to the chef and that fat bitch who kept telling me what to wear. Don't see them around here any more, do you?"
"No, Mr. President. They're gone now. Can I get you anything, sir?"
"Another Diet Coke. New team in place, doing a fine job. Had Wilbur Ross over here for lunch the other day. Know him? Head of the Fed? Great guy. Really knows finance. Made billions on Wall Street. Chef made steak just the way we do it at the hotel. Great cut of meat, great seasoning. Ross loved it. Said it was the best."
"Mr. President, sir, your doctor is here."
"Doctor? Another check-up? Sure, sure. Come on in. Busy scheduling. Keeping busy. Keeping fit."
"How are you sleeping, Mr. President?"
"Bad night last night, Doc. Couldn't sleep at all. Phone wasn't working. Couldn't log on the Twitter thing. I blame that dinner. Big state banquet. The biggest. Some terrible prime minister. Some awful guy from Teriyakistan. I let Ivanka handle him. Ivanka did great."
"Just a few questions. Do you know who the president is?"
"Do I know who's the president? Hilarious. You're some joker, Doc!"
"Do you know what year it is?"
"Do I know what year it is? Hah! Very funny! It's, ah, 2020! And we've got an election to win. Bannon's busy, you can bet on that. Man knows his job."
"Hi, honey. Come on in. Doctor's just leaving. You look great, sweetie."
"Trina is going to help you get dressed, Dad."
"You new assistant."
"New one? Good, good. Had to fire that other girl. Terrible. Terrible clothes. Fat. Needed to lose a lot of weight."
"Danielle's gone now, Dad. You have Trina. We all like Trina. She's going to help you get dressed."
"Gotta get dressed? Is this for another one of those state dinners? I've been in meetings all day, you know, honey. The Cabinet this morning. Can't what's-his-name handle this?"
"Dad, we have to go to this. You'll enjoy it. They're dedicating the Trump Presidential Library. It's just a few blocks away, in mid-town."
"Oh, honey, I don't want to go to a library. Bo-ring. Maybe we can drive over to Jersey, play a couple rounds."
"Here, Dad. Trina has your new blue suit. It looks great on you."
"Good tailor, only the best. Now where did you say we're going?"
"The Library, Dad. Today is the dedication for the Trump Presidential Library. Remember how much you liked the plans we showed you?"
"The plans for the Tower? Der Scutt, great architect. Great building."
"Yes. Well, the Library is very much like the Tower, Dad. Very tall. You'll like it. Tiffany is coming to the ceremony. And Barron. And Eric. And Donald, Junior. And all the grandchildren.
"Is Melania coming?"
"No, Dad. Melania went back to...well, she lives in Paris. Don't you remember? It was right after you...well...the election."
"The election? That reminds me, we need to meet with Bannon. Haven't seen him in ages!"
"That's because he's—ah, don't worry, I'll take care of it, Dad. I'll, ah, call Steve as soon as we get back from the Library."
"How do I look?"
"Fantastic, Dad. The car is here for us. Trina and I will help you get downstairs. Watch your step. Careful there."
"Where did you say we were going?"
"Sure. If you want to go the library, we'll go to the library. Say, sweetie, do you think they'll have my books? The Art of the Deal? Time to Get Tough? Great Again? That one I wrote with Bannon about building the wall?"
"Absolutely, Dad. I'm sure they'll have every one of them."
This story originally appeared in After the Orange (B Cubed Press).