It’s not a merry Christmas for the orange menace. He finds neither rest nor peace in the holiday. In the night, Mr. Crusher is visited by three spirits. The first is the Ghost of Presidents Past, Mr. John F. Kennedy.
“May I call you Jack?” says the orange menace. “Feel free to call me Damien.”
“Jack is fine,” says the ghost.
You may well ask why this apparation has appeared to the President-elect. The unfortunate fact, however, is that we shall never know. Surely the ghost has a message, a purpose, even perhaps a divine mission. It’s near certain he’s come to Crusher Tower for a reason. One assumes the Ghost of Presidents Past has wisdom to impart. Yet the orange menace, who does not care for the counsel of others, has an agenda of his own.
“Do you like my home?” says the orange menace. On his side and still in bed, perched on elbow, he adverts the ghost’s attention with a sweep of his arm. “The marble, the 24-karat gold, the best gold. And the ceiling fresco, the statuary, the candelabra.”
With a turn of his head, the ghost absorbs the display. “Oh, ah, yes—it’s, um, nice,” he says.
“They did a program on Fox earlier tonight, about my tremendous home.”
“Good to know,” says the spirit.
“I’m guessing there was a tremendous amount of gold in your home,” says the President-elect.
“Not like this,” says Mr. John F. Kennedy.
“Really?” says the orange menace, feigning surprise.
Mr. Crusher has done his research. The fact, known to Mr. Crusher, is that Mr. John F. Kennedy was the second richest American President, far behind the President-elect in wealth.
“How would you like to be my Secretary of State?” says the orange menace. “We’ll go to a restaurant, talk about it. The media will be there, great people. You can mention to them that you’re the second richest American President.”
“You already have a Secretary of State,” says the ghost.
“Oh, so you keep up on the news. That’s good.”
“I didn’t really come here to—”
“In all respect, I may be the most tremendous President since, what, FDR. They’re saying I’m going to be the best.”
“People. You know, already the market has gone up like ten percent.” The orange menace nods with evident self-satisfaction as the radiant ghost of Mr. John F. Kennedy floats before him.
“Aren’t you even curious to know why I’m here?” says the frustrated apparation.
“I’m sorry,” says the orange menace. “It’s three o’clock now and I have to tweet.”
“Oh fuck this,” says Mr. John F. Kennedy. “It’s hopeless.”
The orange menace lumbers toward the bathroom. Mr. John F. Kennedy shakes his ghostly head.
“At least there’s going to be something worse than the Bay of Pigs to look back on. What an asshole.”
The ghost departs as he arrived, in an instant.
Some time later the orange menace is back in bed, having finished his tweeting. The Ghost of Presidents Present arrives.
“Holaaaaaaaaaaaa,” says the ghost.
A startled Mr. Crusher spins in his bed to apprehend him.
“That’s Mexican for hello,” says the ghost. “Hola. But did you see how I said it, right there, kind of all ghostly like? Ooooooooooo!”
“Hello George,” says Mr. Crusher. “Why are you a ghost when you’re still alive?”
“It’s easier to get past security,” says Mr. George W. Bush. “And I thought Jack Kennedy looked good, so you know.”
“I’m sorry I’ve never invited you here,” says Mr. Crusher. “Honestly, I’ve been meaning to.”
“That’s okay,” says Mr. George W. Bush. “All that matters is that I’m here now, with an important mission from the Almighty.”
“You look good George,” says the President-elect.
“It’s the lighting,” says Mr. George W. Bush. “All, you know, shiny and bright. I’m, what’s the word, resplendid. Kind of like what they do to you in Photoship.”
“It looks tremendous.”
They enjoy a moment of levity. The orange menace sits upright in his bed.
“That’s quite a bed you got,” says Mr. George W. Bush, gesturing at the canopy. “I imagine that would keep out the miskitoes.”
“So what brings you here?” says Mr. Crusher.
“Oh, like I said, just a little old mission from God,” says Mr. George W. Bush.
The apparition now has Mr. Crusher’s full and urgent attention. Taking notice of this, Mr. George W. Bush pats himself, smoothing out every pocket in the hope of feeling the seam of a folded note beneath the cloth.
“Schucks,” he says. “I think I lost it.”
“You lost a note from God?”
“It’s okay,” says Mr. George W. Bush. “It’s only my own notes of my own thinkerings.” He points to his forehaed. “I got the other stuff here in the old noggin, the bits I heard before I drifted off.”
“You know, I had a tremendous landslide in the Electoral College,” says the orange menace.
“I only won by five votes in 2000,” says Mr. George W. Bush. “Thank God for Rutherford B. Hayes, or I’d be in the basement.”
“My margin was bigger than yours and Jack Kennedy’s, true. I win, big league.”
“Here it is!” says Mr. George W. Bush, unfolding the note. He reads. “Remember to smote the evil-doers.” He folds the note and tucks it into a pocket.
“No, no, there’s more. Just let me think.”
Mr. George W. Bush furrows his brow, rests his chin in hand. As he floats in the air, his tapping foot touches nothing.
“I was supposed to say something to you about starting World War III. You know, to do it, or to don’t do it. It’s either good or evil, World War III. ”
“So true. I haven’t made up my mind yet, to be honest. Some days I’m leaning one way, other days—.”
“Yeah, you know what, that’s got to be it. What God is saying, I imagine, is that some days you want to start that darn war, and other days well maybe not so much, so just go with your gut.”
“That makes sense, George.”
“It makes a right pile of horse sense, Mr. President,” says Mr. George W. Bush. “Now you say, ‘Yes it does make sense, Mr. President.’ Say that to me now, because it’s funny.”
“I’m not going to say that, George.”
“Come on, make a joke.”
“You’re not President.”
“Yeah, but I was. That’s how we do it in America. Mr. President it’s time to get up from your nap, Mr. President that’s not how it’s spelled, Mr. President that’s a nice painting: that’s how everyone talks to me. Anyway, neither are you, not yet.”
“I’m not interested in how it’s done in America. I’m doing it differently.”
“Good golly!” says Mr. George W. Bush. “It was just a joke.”
“I don’t like jokes,” says the orange menace.
“Well fuck you then,” says Mr. George W. Bush, vanishing.
The next ghost to arrive is the Ghost of Presidents Future, President Crusher VIII, the great-great-great grandson of President Crusher and the great-great-grandson of President Earl Crusher—the son of President Crusher, the brother of Presidents Damien Crusher II, Charles-Edward Crusher I, and Laki Crusher I.
“President Crusher the Eighth!” says President-Elect Crusher. “Tell me, what is the future?”
“The future is tremendous,” says the ghost of President Crusher VIII.
“Yes, tell me more!”
“It’s the best, so good. So good. True. And it happens so fast, so fast.”
“Yes but what do you mean? Tell me exactly what it looks like, the future.”
“Oh, the future! Let me tell you. Believe me, believe me, it’s so good, it’s great. The best, I mean, it’s just tremendous. Thanks to me, it is really the greatest, the greatest future. People call me and they say, ‘President Crusher the Eighth, you have made really the most tremendous future.’ It’s true, so true.”
“Okay, but you haven’t really told me anything. Like, how much money do we have?”
“Tremendous amounts of money. I’d show you the tax returns but, you know, we’re being audited. Believe me, it’s a huge amount. The best amount.”
“But—I want to know! Don’t just tell me it’s tremendous. What the hell does that mean?”
“It means it’s tremendous. What more detail could you possibly want? You’ll love it. Anyways, I have to go and Gurt now.”
“You sit on the toilet with a phone and write public messages. You probably don’t have anything like it and wouldn’t understand. Bye!”
And with that, the Ghost of Presidents Future disappeared.