It was rare that such beautiful weather accompanied the beginning of the end of January. Usually, frigid wind swept across the Earth, bringing with it a refrigerator of misery, and the sun hid behind the clouds, its warmth suspended in the air like a helicopter overlooking the world. But today . . . the sun warmed a world beset by winter. Today, birds sang and trees regained the barest traces of color. And winter’s chill became that of a cool, autumn day.
“What do you mean I can’t take the Oath of Office on January 22?!”
“Well, uh, sir, the Twentieth Amendment of the Constitution stipulates that Presidents are to be inaugurated on January 20,” a young aid stuttered, petrified as he conversed with a man wearing a blonde, combed-over raccoon.
“That’s a bunch of baloney. Obama took the Oath on January 21!”
“Yes, well, that’s because the 20th fell on a Sunday, sir. He took the Oath privately that day and then publicly the next day.”
“Then why can’t I take it privately on the 20th and then publicly on the 22nd? I’m not missing a major business deal just to play copycat to some overrated judge!”
“B-Because that’s not t-traditional, sir—”
“Do I look like I care about tradition, idiot?”
“Um—I—I’m sorry, sir, but it’s the law—”
“Ladies and gentlemen, the First Lady of the United States, Mrs. Melania Trump—er, sorry, I mean Mrs. Kate Upton Trump, accompanied by . . .”
Spectacular cheers erupted from the assembled masses as the First Lady emerged from the U. S. Capitol, trailed by legislators and organizers alike. As she approached the front rows of the crowd, many, mostly men, shoved and pushed each other, fighting for the best view.
The Capitol building glittered in the sun, like a resplendent beacon of vitality, as American flags fluttered beneath its many balconies, blown to and fro by frigid winds.
The Inauguration Ceremony had commenced.
The music of the United States Marine Band once again broke through the crowd’s chatter, heralding the arrival of the vice president. Surrounded by sour officials, Sarah Palin stumbled into the proceedings with a goofy smile, stepping on the shoes of her fellow marchers.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the Vice President of the United States, Sarah L. Palin, accompanied by her teleprompter and Rosetta Stone: English . . .”
Sarah Palin smiled at the crowd and exclaimed, “I can’t see Russia anymore! What a relief! Shirtless Vladimir Putin is not a handsome sight, I’ll tell you.”
Roaring applause met her arrival—as well as an equal amount of groans and tears. As soon as Palin’s party assumed position, the music started up once more and out emerged the man of the hour.
“Ladies and gentlemen, President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, wearing Cousin Itt and accompanied by . . .”
The audience watched with bated breath as Cousin Itt held on for dear life, blown about by the wind, hair separated into long, aggregated clumps. Donald Trump didn’t seem any the wiser; he simply strolled into the Capitol building as if he owned it. (Rumor has it that he was in the process of stamping it with the Trump brand.)
As he turned the corner to climb the Capitol’s stairs, the masses began to realize that it was not Cousin Itt atop his head . . .
. . . It was a blonde Snuffleupagus!
As Trump approached the steps of the Capitol, he shook hands with his supporters, working his way up to his new wife. He kissed her cheek and shook hands with a grinning Sarah Palin as the audience chanted, “We want Trump! We want Trump!”
Near the front of the crowd, a child cast innocent eyes upon Donald Trump. “Mommy,” the child asked, tugging his mother’s pants and pointing at Trump. “What’s wrong with his hair?”
The mother smiled at her child, revealing a mouth missing several teeth, and replied, “It’s on hairoin, sweetie.”
Meanwhile, Donald Trump greeted other well-wishers as he and his toupee waved to the crowd.
“Please be seated,” the intercom intoned. “Ladies and gentlemen, the Chairman of the Joint Committee for Inaugural Ceremonies, the honorable Charles E. Schumer.”
An older man with balding, grey hair and glasses reluctantly stepped to the podium. Adjusting the microphone, he began, “Mr. . . . President and Mrs. . . . Vice President,” a distasteful look came over his features, “members of Congress, all who are present, and to all who are watching, welcome to the Capitol and to this . . . historic moment. This is the fifty-seventh inauguration of an American president and certainly one that will not fail to make your heart beat faster.”
A brief bout of confused applause met his remarks. Schumer, stone-faced, merely droned on.
“. . . The theme of this inauguration is nostalgia for the past . . .”
Finally, Schumer concluded, “Thank you, and God help—I mean bless these United States.” Pausing briefly for applause, Schumer then continued, “Allow me to introduce Mr. . . . Jon Stewart to lead us in the invocation.”
As Jon Stewart approached, Schumer walked away, disappearing into the folds of the audience.
Roaring applause greeted Jon Stewart’s emergence; he walked to the podium with a Joker-esque smile, looking around the proceedings as if he were both horrified and ecstatic that such an event was happening. He blinked a couple of times, each longer than the next until, at last, he decided that no, this is not a dream.
“Well,” he spoke, “I’m not entirely convinced I’m not supposed to say ‘Welcome to the Daily Show. My name is Jon Stewart.’ A part of me is still back at the studio staring stupidly at the phone asking me to deliver Donald Trump’s invocation and yet another part of me is stuck staring stupidly at the TV screen announcing Donald Trump as the next American President back in November.”
He paused and shook his head at the audience, Joker-smile still in place, “Not all the prayers in the world would be sufficient enough to save this country from being Trumpled, but—uh, uh—we can try. Here goes: God Almighty, we pray today for the future of America and especially for the first openly asshole president and the poor animal on his head. We pray that America will still stand after his presidency and that Mexico will not declare war on this soon-to-be-ruined country. I also pray that I will be in Canada by the time this national crisis combs over. Amen.” Everyone opened their eyes, including a rather disgruntled Donald Trump.
“I love this man,” Jon Stewart giggled, twitching as he walked off the balcony, headed, most likely, to the airport.
“. . . Now it is my honor to introduce the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor, for the purpose of administering the Oath of Office to the Vice President. Let everyone please stand.”
Sonia Sotomayor stepped forth, looking as sour as her neighbors. Others stepped with her, one carrying an enormous book.
“Mrs. . . . Vice President, please raise your right hand and repeat after me.”
Sarah Palin stumbled into the procession, teleprompter left behind. She smiled at the audience and raised her right hand, putting her left over the book.
“I, Sarah L. Palin, do solemnly swear,” Sotomayor intoned, looking to Sarah Palin to repeat.
“I, Sarah Louise Palin, solemnly swear not the sit on my thumbs and let this country go to waste . . .”
As she rambled on, Sotomayor sighed and told her neighbor, “Get her teleprompter.” Nodding, he retrieved the object and placed it in front of her. Sotomayor interrupted, “Mrs. Palin, we have to start over.” And again she said, “Mrs. Vice President, please raise your right hand and repeat after me.”
Sotomayor once again read off the Oath, which Sarah Palin repeated verbatim from the teleprompter, “I, Sarah L. Palin, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
“Congratulations,” Sotomayor deadpanned over the congratulatory applause and subsequent music.
“It is my pleasure to introduce . . .”
“It is my honor to present the Chief Justice of the United States, John G. Roberts Jr., who will administer the presidential Oath of Office. Everyone please rise.”
Polite applause followed the announcement as Chief Justice Roberts and Donald Trump, followed by his family, stepped up to the balcony. His wife approached him on the right side, carrying the Bible.
Once the crowd had settled, Roberts stated, “Please raise your right hand and—”
“You don’t need to spell it out for me, Roberts,” Trump interrupted. “You say the same thing every four years; I remember it loud and clear.”
He took out a leather-bound book entitled Trump: The Art of the Deal and shoved it into wife’s hands atop the Bible. He placed his right hand above it, raising his left. Chief Justice Roberts could only stare as his eyebrows tried to decide whether to raise or to furrow.
Finally, he gathered his wits, “Mr. Trump, this is not—”
“I, Donald Trump,” he interrupted, his toupee flailing around in such a manner that would please the Village People, “swear to be the best President the United States of America has ever seen and will be the best jobs president, the best economy president, the best everything president! And I swear to preserve, protect and viciously defend,” he emphasized, grinning at the audience as his fuzzy, white caterpillars raised to his artificial hairline, “the Constitution of the United States. So help me God. Now congratulate me already, Roberts.”
But before Roberts could get in another word, the music started up once more, claps resonated, and the cannons shot off. Two official-looking men rushed over and ushered a spluttering Roberts off the balcony.
“Ladies and gentlemen . . . the forty-fifth President of the United States of America . . . Donald J. Trump.”
Trump approached the podium to a symphony of celebration. The masses heralded his arrival, whistling and howling like a pack of dogs.
“We want Trump! We want Trump!”
Donald Trump adjusted the microphone.
“Thank you. Wow, thank you. There are a lot of you here,” boasted the business mogul as he glanced over the crowd. Applause burst from every corner of the audience, an audience that housed thousands.
“I’m gonna be honest with you,” Trump continued as the noise died down, “and—and cut the crap that any other politician would force feed you.” Claps sounded again.
“You didn’t elect me to wax poetic. You elected me because you wanted competence.”
A couple of people whistled. “You wanted competence,” Trump repeated, waving his arm.
“Because America isn’t so great anymore—we aren’t beating anyone anymore. China’s beating us, Mexico’s beating us, and ISIS is mooning us from the Middle East!” Raucous applause once again erupted as Donald Trump repeated, “They’re mooning us from Syria and—and building hotels.”
“Can you believe this?” he shrilled to the delight of the crowd. “The Middle East is beating us! I was talking to my friend the other day—he’s a military man—and he was saying, ‘Donald, this is gettin’ serious—I’ve never seen anything like it. We need ta do something about this.’”
“They’re taking our equipment, our weapons, right under our noses and they’re using it against us! And you know why? You know why this country is going to the dogs?”
Donald Trump paused, hand frozen in midair. The audience hang onto his every word.
“Bad leaders,” he finally supplied. “Incompetent leaders—five dozen Obamas’ runnin’ everywhere.”
The audience burst into applause and whistles. “All these countries beating us—China, Mexico, Japan, ISIS—they got better leaders than we do—even that new Greek finance minister whose signature looks like a penis! Now, though, now,” he repeated as he waited for the cheers to die down, “now America’s got a good leader—Donald Trump. I’m a good negotiator. And I’ve got good judgment—everyone reads The Art of the Deal for advice. And—and,” he stressed, “I’m really rich.”
(Somewhere near Trump, a figure facepalmed and asked himself why he had even bothered to write Donald Trump a four page speech if the man wouldn’t even follow it.)
“And I’m gonna make America great again.”
Cheers, like a broken record, erupted again. “And you know how? Here’s how. Here’s how,” he repeated. “We’re gonna create new jobs. We’re gonna lower unemployment. We’re gonna get rid of the death tax. Our economy’s a dumping ground right now. Mexico and China are creepin’ up on us,” he yelled. “Our GDP’s below zero—it’s in the negatives right now—and our unemployment rate is—is forty percent. Don’t listen to anything else . . . Don’t listen to anything else because that’s the truth. And Obamacare is a big, fat lie. Premium costs are going up fifty-five, sixty, or maybe even seventy-two percent. And remember that five-billion dollar Obamacare website? It’s still not working! It’s draining—it’s draining our pockets and blowing up the deficit some $140 billion. And that’s from the Congressional Budget Office. We’re gonna get rid of Obamacare, too.”
Thunderous applause greeted Trump’s remarks. In the very back row of the audience, Paul Krugman didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
“You know what else we’re gonna do? We’re gonna stop illegal immigration. Border security is a joke. Criminals, rapists, and job-stealers—mostly from Mexico—are crossing our borders unchecked. So how are we gonna fix this?” Donald Trump stared out into the crowd solemnly. “We’re gonna build a wall around our southern border. And we’re gonna beat China by actually finishing the wall. It’s gonna be called the Great Wall of—of Mexico and we’re gonna send the bill to the Mexican government. We’re gonna have Mexicans and illegal immigrants build it and after that we’re gonna send them home. And then—and then we’re gonna take our jobs back!”
Another round of ear-splitting applause echoed around the building.
“My Hispanic friend was saying to me the other day—he and his cartel work for me—he was saying, ‘Look at all this job competition! Do you believe this, Mr. Trump?’ It’s crazy. It’s crazy,” he repeated, gripping the podium.
“But that’s not all—that’s not all. There’s the Middle East—Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia. Iraq—I said we should have stayed outta Iraq years ago. We shoulda invaded Mexico for all the rapists they’re sending our way, not Iraq. Not Iraq. It’s a waste of troops—we’re sending in our men to die for nothing. Iraq’s not even a county. Iraqis don’t exist anymore. They’ve divided into so many factions. Take away their wealth and they’re nothing,” Donald Trump affirmed as a series of claps uplifted his statement. “Take away their wealth and they are nothing,” he repeated. “We don’t even need to send troops over there! We just need to bomb the hell out of Iraq’s oil fields. They’re controlled by ISIS anyway and used against us. Bomb it until everything’s destroyed. And then we send in our best oil companies to rebuild everything and take the oil. And—you know what? We’ll bomb them tomorrow. I got a couple thousand dollars in my pocket that Congress will be interested in. So we're gonna pass that law tomorrow. We’ll take back our oil and—and save our vets. And we’ll get rid of ISIS.”
Even more thunderous applause met this statement.
“And the Saudis—I love the Saudis, I really do. I love their camel rides and their—their sand. They make billions of dollars a day. Billions a day. And they rely on us to protect them. Whenever they go under, we send Prince Charming to save the day. Without us, they’re nothing. Without America, they’re nothing,” he reiterated. “They got billions—so I’m saying, what are we doin’? If they want protection, they oughta pay for it. Prince Charming didn’t save the princess because he felt like it. He was promised something in return—a beautiful wife! . . .”
Two hours later . . .
“. . . We’re gonna make America great again!” yelled a very hoarse Donald Trump. By this time, his toupee had given up all efforts to stay still and was currently waving atop his head like a flag. “Thank you. Thank you so much and God bless the United Corporation—I mean States of America.”
Only a smattering of claps answered his call; the rest of the audience had collapsed upon the floor hours earlier, snoozing. Sarah Palin snored the loudest as she leaned against the wall, sitting on her thumbs. The few that remained upright and attentive glanced with shining eyes between the snoring Sarah Palin and the red-faced Donald Trump, exclaiming, “Aren’t they marvelous?”
“Welcome, Mr. President, to the Oval Office.”
Donald Trump was not impressed. His Trump Tower was roomier and better equipped for business than this Hotel Politician. Following the direction of his tour guide’s voice, he stopped evaluating the strange paintings opposite the Oval Office entrance and turned around to tour the most famous room of the White House . . .
. . . Only to find huge, ear-shaped indentations on the sides of the Oval Office door. He stared, eyebrows furrowed.
“Does Mickey Mouse live here, too?”
His tour guide followed his look.
“Ah . . . no, sir. This was Mr. Obama’s form of . . . assisted living.”
Donald Trump growled in frustration as his government-issued computer once again crashed. Text and light disappeared in an instant, replaced by a disturbingly black screen. Donald Trump cursed and hurled the offending object at the wall. It impacted with a sickening thump, collapsing on the ground in a pile of broken glass and sparking wires. Trump glared at his Chief of Staff.
“Can’t you idiots get someone in here who knows how to fix computers? That’s the fourth broken one this month. We’re the American government for God’s sake!”
“Most computer repair technicians left in the mass exodus to Europe, Mr. President, along with almost everyone with an IQ above 90.”
“Exodus? What exodus?”
“The one that started last November, sir.”
“Because that’s when you were elected President, sir.”
Trump scowled. “Tell everyone who left that they’re fired.”
“Of course, sir. As soon as we fix the Internet.”