The President-elect Goes to the Desert

The sun rises over the city of Geld. “Thank-you, Damien Crusher,” says the President-elect. “Thank-you for once again causing the sun to rise over your tremendous city.”

To think that only weeks ago America was doomed! America the wretched, cast to the hitherto unplumbed depths of war and deprivation. To know the nation was finished, to see the smoke belch and bellow from the charred and twisted ruin, to think that an inner city child would be shot having walked less than a block, to feel the cold fingers of inexorable demise on one’s throat, and in that pitch and fury of doom to hear the blood-chilling toccata of hooves on the skulls of your trampled countrymen as the Apocalypse horseman lay waste!

But now everything is tremendous. It’s the greatest, the best. So true. “Thank-you, Damien Crusher!” repeats the President-elect.

The orange menace stands before the window and beholds a waking city. Atop his tower of gold, he notes the movements of a populace that has rejected him. Jesus said that a prophet is not without honor except in his own town. What strange and savage irony that the orange menace should win so bigly, yet find himself deprived of the adulation he craves the most. Yes, the movers and shakers of Geld, his own city folk, have renounced him, there is no getting around it. Mr. Crusher believes that no knee is truly unbendable. Many will see and fear. In time, even the haters will submit. “Be still,” he tells himself, “and know that I will have my revenge.”

– We are restless, says Mr. Crusher. What should we do?
– We should gather the people for another round of rallies, answers Mr Crusher.
– Yes, we have tremendous rallies. The best rallies.
– And we shall call our rallies the USA Thank You, Again, 2017 Tour, says Mr. Crusher.
– And a dias shall we make of thirty cubits.
– And, behind the dias, there shall stand a host of persons bearing signs, and the number of the signs shall be legion.
– And the signs shall bear our graven likeness.
– The graven likeness shall be of a span, in order that the camera may discern it.
– A podium shall there also be, and of acacia wood shall it be made. It shall be adorned with an indigo, red, and white sign. And the sign shall be fastened unto the podium with gold clasps.
– And a skilled craftsman shall produce our official merchandise.
– It is ordained that a hat shall cost fifty shekels.
– There shall be an entrance to the north, and there shall the people queue. And, verily, the length of the queue shall be a Sabbath day’s journey.
– So verily, so verily.
– We shall go to the south, and to the north, and to the midwest. To the northeast shall we not go, neither to the coastal west.
– Shall we go to the desert?
– We could be a voice crying out in the wilderness.
– A tremendous voice.
– Let us go to the desert!

Hours before the rally, Mr. Crusher’s jet lands in the desert.

A short distance from the Nevada tarmac, he beholds two vast and trunkless legs of stone standing in the desert sand. His eyes follow the horizon to a half-sunk and shattered visage. A stone face lies in the sand, bearing a wrinkled frown. It wears a sneer of cold command. On the rock, the living passions of a long-dead man are stamped for the ages to behold.

“Who is this man?” asks the orange menace. He approaches the colossal wreck of sculpture.
“My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings!” replies the visage.
“I’m Damien Crusher,” says the orange menace.
“Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!” says the King of Kings.
“Are you into real estate much?” says the orange menace.
“I have tremendous properties in Egypt and Nubia,” says Ozymandias. “The best properties. And I have many cartouches, so many, even on buildings I didn’t actually build. People call me and they say, Ozymandias, I want your cartouche.”
“So you have a successful brand?”
“Statutes, palaces, temples, cities—you name it. My brand is on buildings like no monarch, big league. I have my own capital. I spent the early part of my reign just building.”
“I too will have my own capital,” says the orange menace.
“Colossal scale, that’s my trademark. And deep carving,” says Ozymandias. “I pioneered deep carving. The shallow carving—it looks okay, but it doesn’t last. Deep carving is great in the sun, and I’m a sun god kind of guy.”
“I’m really into Apollo,” says the orange menace.
“Never heard of him. Son of Ra, that’s my cartouche. Tremendous cartouche, the best.”
“In all due respect, Ozzy, I’d have to say Apollo is the best.”
“So you’re a business man?” says Ozymandias.
“And the leader of the free world,” says the orange menace.
“Just so we’re clear, I’m the King of Kings,” says Ozymandias.
“Well I have tremendous businesses, all over the world.”
“Well I’m regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire.”
“People say I’m the best. I won by a historic landslide, so true.”
“I made Egypt great again.”
“I’m making America great again.”
“You’re a loser,” says Ozymandias. “A real low-energy type.”
“You have no stamina,” says the orange menace. “At the Battle of Kadesh you were ambushed by the Hittite forces of Muwatallis, and after your counter-attack you couldn’t even sustain the siege.”
“You over-leveraged your Atlantic City casinos. You would have disappeared into a giant hole of debt and oblivion, if Mark Burnett hadn’t rescued your finances by offering you The Apprentice.”
“Would not,” says the orange menace.
“Would so,” says Ozymandias.
“Would not,” says the orange menace.
“Would so,” says Ozymandias.
“I know you are, but what am I,” says the orange menace.
“Takes one to know one,” says Ozymandias, King of Kings.

They argue like this for several hours as the embarrassed sun pulls a blanket of horizon over its face. Later, the orange menace issues broadsides against Ozymandias on Twitter, whilst the King of Kings orders his Royal masons to deep-carve Philippics against the President-elect.

“You call that hair, Mr. Crusher?” reads the obelisk inscription.
“Ozymandias has such HORRIBLE teeth. SAD!” tweets the orange menace.
And on and on it goes.

Mr. Crusher eventually returns to his tower, somewhat shaken by the exchange. His entire life he has bounced, back-and-forth, between a state of drunken self-regard and roiling anger toward others. He now feels like a man who has clawed his way heroically to the top of a majestic mountain, only to find there an unwelcome rival. He wants to be on the top of that mountain, he alone, and to have the others applaud him from below. How, he wonders, can he make this happen? Will it ever come to pass?