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.”
Today, it rains. Today I must go out. When I say I must go out, I mean to say that the choice to go out is not mine, or not mine alone, for there are external forces which compel me to rise from my bed and to venture into the world, against my will. My will! How absurd it sounds when I put it that way, as if I had a definite will and not rather a velleity. And against this will, this velleity, the many forces, some external but others perhaps not. Forces, that is precisely the word. And external, also the precise word. For everyone understands what is meant by a force, and also by an external. Were it not for these, I would stay in today, as I would stay in every day, if left to my own devices.
Gather around, children, gather around. That’s right, at my feet, like good patriotic Americans. Kids, don’t sit on the Louis XIV chairs, made of the best 24k gold, okay? Sit here on the marble floor, which my servants will have an easier time sanitizing after you’re gone, which hopefully will be soon. I am kidding, just kidding … well, sort of kidding. You know satire, right? It’s when you’re sort of kidding, but also sort of serious, but also you really mean it but you don’t. You can tell satire, right? I hope so, but most people can’t, even adults can’t. Even adults who read this website, in many cases.
Should I rise from my bed or should I remain in my bed? This is the first question I face, each and every day. Yes, each and every day I must decide, before all else, whether to get out of my bed or whether to not get out of my bed. This is how I go about it.
The evening of the party is like every other evening. They sit around the numberless tables in a vast well-lit space. It is a sea of humanity shrinking into the horizon. Ten are seated at each table. There is no theme to the evening, no thread that ties them. Some are dressed as for a formal occasion, but most are not. Each table is draped in white linen.
My name is Kalashnikov, it is true. The details of my history are of no consequence. They matter not, I will not dwell on them, it is best for the both of us. Whether I live or die, I no longer care. There was a time I cared, long ago, but let us pass over this. Soon I will be in the ground, or I will be dust on the air, I don’t care which. Whatever it is, I expect it will be final. Yes, I will be dead and gone and there will be no one to speak of it and nothing to say. A void and a nothing—not even an emptiness, in which a nothing. A not nothing not empty nothingness. Who can say for certain? To speak of it is to not speak of it, it is beyond speaking. So I will not speak of it.
He steps into the damp November air and descends to the tarmac of Ben-Gurion Airport. The Tel Aviv rainy season has begun. God has sketched a featureless sky of phosphorescent pencil. The earth receives its languid tears. But Charles-Edward Crusher, son of the President-elect, has arrived. The sun will soon emerge in Israel.
The Presidential Apprentice “You’re hired!” s01e03 11/22/2016
NEW YORK MONTAGE
ORANGE MENACE (V.O.)
New York is a tough place, and that’s why I love it. I also love a good show. In this town everything is show business. You want to make it big? Then learn how to put on a show. I’m talking real drama. I know show business, and look where I am today. The White House!
America’s rich diversity streams to the tower for an audience with the orange menace. President-elect Crusher receives the variegated entourage with evident pleasure. He is charmed by the oil billionaire. The Hollywood billionaire is amusing. The media billonaire cajoles. The hedge fund billionaire tells a funny story involving a scandalous politician and a Rockaway restaurant. The real estate billionaire performs an indecent but also competent impersonation of George Soros. The technology billionaire speaks mostly of golf.
– “We’ll have to get on the course,” says the orange menace.
– “Let’s,” says the technology billionaire.
The orange menace sleeps his usual seventeen minutes but does not sleep well. He wakes with the mist of a terrfying dream thick upon his brain.
Each morning the orange menace rises at 4:20, refreshed by his standard seventeen minutes of sleep, and prepares for the day.
His eyes open to the copula and take in the ceiling fresco. Apollo is crossing the sky in his four-horse chariot. The gods are young and beautiful and shimmering white. They turn their gaze to him. The orange menace tosses in his sleep but each day he awakes to a heroic world. “Good morning,” says Apollo. “I have been waiting for you.” The orange menace lifts himself from the goose down pillow and sits on the edge of his bed, puts on slippers. He is on the move.
Geld Times journalist Barry Leed is an unacknowledged hero. Although he failed to anticipate the triumphal rise of the orange menace, he retrospectively writes of its inevitability. There’s nothing about this shocking election victory that Mr. Leed cannot explain. “It’s obvious to me what happened,” he says. “Hardly a surprise, given the clear and abundant facts.” As for what lies ahead, Mr. Leed can explain this, too. He is a restless watcher of President-elect Crusher, a restless fact-checker, and a restless defender of democracy.
The orange menace returns to his city of Geld in triumph. He is the anointed one. From atop his fortress he scans the southern coast.
– “My city,” he says. “The everperning gyre, of depravity and appetite unbound, subjugated to my warrior will.”
The monstrous sun rises over the tableau, another da capo round of the daily quotidian’s diurnal recurrence. Hilari pauses her work of harvesting to savour a morsel of the dawn. Amor fati, she grumbles, of the eternal recurrence. She returns to the harvest.
Bim Kerbler is a Junior Associate in the Office of Official Optimism, Division “C” (Quotations) Unit 42 (Inspiration) sub-sector twenty-nine (Cats). His particular area of assumed expertise is words.