President Trump pees on homeless children! the thing screeched at her. Putin named Special Director of Donald Trump Jr.’s. senate campaign! Trump declares all media but Fox News illegal! To strike a blow for freedom, send money now to this radio station!
“No, no, no, no,” Ann muttered, throwing on her bathrobe and lurching down the hallway of her house. The moment she entered her office, her cellphone started hopping all around the top of her desk.
Ann! Ann! Quick! it squealed at her. Check your email, Facebook, Twitter! Look at the news! God knows what’s happened since you left the bedroom! North Korea might have bombed America! Trump’s probably run over Mueller with his car! Find out the latest man who’s wagged his penis around like it’s a Nobel Prize! Hurry, Ann, hurry!
The second she picked it up, though, her phone went silent. Now its screen was showing two buttons: “Update OS now” and “No thanks. I’d prefer a phone that might explode any moment.”
Ann threw the phone down, ran into the family room, and turned on her TV. The next thing she knew, Donald Trump and Wolf Blitzer were literally standing between her and the television. Both men were naked, save for their matching sumo wrestler loincloths.
“What the hell!?” cried Ann.
Trump turned to her. “Watch this,” he said. He reached out and slapped Wolf Blitzer in the face.
“How dare you, sir!” said Blitzer. “You, Mr. President, are unprecedented!”
Trump cupped his ear. “What’s that, Wolfboy? I can’t hear you.” Then he clapped his hand around the back of Wolf Blitzer’s neck, turned towards Ann, grinned, lifted one leg, and pulled Wolf Blitzer’s face straight down and into his butt.
“Speak up, fake news!” said Trump. “Here, I’ve got some real news for ya!” Then he let out a fart that rustled Blitzer’s hair.
The newscaster wrenched himself from Trump’s grip. “Unbelievable!” he said, yanking off his glasses and rubbing his eyes. “Though not all that much different from being at one of your so-called press conferences.”
Trump turned to Ann. “Did you see what I did there? I farted, right in his face! No one’s ever cut such an amazing, amazing fart. Everyone says I have the most unbelievable farts in the world. I once demolished a whole skyscraper with just one fart. It was beyond belief. Everyone was asking how I could have done something that amazing. But for me it was nothing.” He stepped towards Ann. “You look hot in that robe. You want me, don’t you? You want me to grab you by your–”
Ann screamed and hurled the TV remote at Trump. She bolted into her living room, slamming its door behind her. She had run a few steps into the white-carpeted room when she stopped.
In a corner of the room was the Christmas tree she’d put up the week before. She’d barely started decorating it when the podcast she was listening to at the time, “Democracy’s End?” had made her too upset to do anything but sit on her couch eating popcorn and watching The Rachel Maddow Show.
Her abandoned ornaments sat in a pile of boxes on the floor beside the tree.
Trump pounded on the door. “I know you’re in there!” he bellowed. “I’ve got your cellphone! You’re missing all my amazing tweets!”
Ann stared at the door in terror. She prayed that it wouldn’t occur to Trump to try turning the doorknob. It didn’t.
“Okay, fine,” Trump said through the door. “That’s fine. But, believe me, you’ll come out of there once you’re done throwing your little tantrum. And when you do, I’ll be right here. Though who’s to say if there’ll still be a here here? I could do anything. Anything at all. But right now I’m hungry. What’s in your fridge? Do you have ham? I love ham.”
Ann held perfectly still for a moment or two, listening to the growing quiet. She tiptoed over to the tree. In the open ornament box sitting atop the others, she saw peeking from its crumpled nest of ancient newspaper something that her grandmother had made for her when she was a young girl. It was an ornament made from an imprint of Ann’s hand in potter’s clay. Glazed sky blue, her grandma had painted a message across the palm of the little hand. “Only love matters,” it said.
Reading those words again, tears came to Ann’s eyes. She remembered how her grandma would always hug her so tightly, and say, “You got this, girl.”
Quickly wiping her cheek, Ann looked back into the box. She saw one of her favorite ornaments, an old Hallmark one of a squirrel hanging a Christmas wreath on the outside of his snow-capped little acorn home. The squirrel’s smile was so delightful that Ann found it a touch contagious.
Taking the ornament in hand, she searched the tree. She had just put the squirrel in the perfect place when Trump rapped hard upon the door.
“You’ll never believe what I just tweeted about Martin Luther King, Jr., who a lot of people are calling an ungrateful traitor to his country!” he yelled. “He’ll probably have a heart attack when he reads what I wrote!”
“I’m sure he will,” Ann whispered. “Now go away. I’m busy.” She looked to the white dove she’d so carefully placed at the top of the tree not a week before. It was poised in mid-flight, headed, it seemed to Ann, toward somewhere in the past, toward back when life was good, and full of hope.