All’s Well That Ends Well
By Patrick F. Cannon
(We are in the Oval Office. The Sun is shining outside, and a shaft of light shines on President Trump, who sits behind his desk in his latest acquisition – a rather large, throne- like Louis XIV chair, covered in gold leaf. He holds a gold pen, and appears to be practicing his signature on a large piece of parchment. He occasionally glances at a wall of large-screen TVs, which are tuned to Fox, CNN, MSNBC and the Playboy Channel. There is the sound of a discrete knock on the door.
Trump: (In a stentorian voice) Enter!
(A young man, dressed in a navy blue suit with a red tie, comes through the door, and approaches the desk with some trepidation. He holds a leather folder, upon which is emblazoned the Great Seal of the United States.)
Trump: Who the hell are you? I don’t remember seeing you around here.
Smithers: I’m Smithers, Mr. President, the assistant to the assistant chief of staff. I have some proclamations for you to sign.
Trump: I thought I sent for my chief of staff?
Smithers: You fired him yesterday.
Trump: Oh, yeah, I remember now. He disagreed with me about something. He didn’t realize that a President of the United States can’t be wrong! Tillerson got to be uppity too, lecturing me about foreign policy. Listen, I got golf courses around the world, even in Bali! I bet Tillerson’s never even been there! But you said you were the assistant to the assistant chief of staff. Where’s he — what’s his name?
Smithers: You mean Alfred E. Newman? He quit after your fired General Kelly. I believe he said he got a job feeding the hyenas at the National Zoo.
Trump: Good riddance to him and the rest of them too. What’s the first proclamation?
Smithers: It’s the one declaring your birthday as a national holiday.
(Smithers places it before the president, who signs it with his usual flourish.)
This one designates Mar El Lago as a national monument.
I’ve been asked to tell you that this last one might be illegal. The White House counsel says you might not be able to pay for the wall by selling advertising on it. He thinks the Constitution only gives Congress the right to raise money.
Trump: Why do my lawyers keep looking at the Constitution? I never read it and I’m the President. Who is my lawyer now, anyway?
Smithers: The guy you brought in from Chicago, Glen Lerner. He apologizes, but says that even in Illinois you have to know something about the Constitution to pass the bar exam.
Trump: Excuses, excuses! I managed to graduate from the highly prestigious Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania without ever reading a book.
Smithers: If you don’t mind my asking, Mr. President, how did you manage that?
Trump: I paid someone, just like I’m paying you. By the way, I noticed my secretary wasn’t at her desk. What gives?
Smithers: She just didn’t show up, but Kelly Girl promised to have a new one here by 10.
Trump: Isn’t Secretary Carson supposed to be here at 10?
Smithers: I’m afraid he had to cancel. Seems he and the misses have to go to Ikea to pick out a new dining room set for his office. On the proclamation, maybe you could just sign it. Maybe by the time the courts rule on it, the wall will be up. You know, a fait accompli.
Trump: Enough with the French! Anyway, I like your thinking Smithers. You’re my new chief of staff!
Smithers: Wow! That’s great, sir. I can’t wait to call my mom.
Trump: Later, Smithers, later. Right now, I want to run an idea by you. You know my building in Chicago? The Trump Tower? It’s the tallest building in the country! And the best! I was so proud of it, I put my name on it. I have my name on most of my stuff, even my underwear. Maybe you’ve noticed – on the news and in the newspapers, they keep talking about the “Trump White House.” But when people come here, how do they know it’s the Trump White House? It could be any old white house. My idea is to put a sign on my White House, not too obvious, maybe on the roof – it could light up at night and maybe flash. What do you think? Best idea ever, right?
Smithers: (Poor Smithers looks a bit shell-shocked. He is struck dumb for a moment; but finally gathers himself.) I’m not sure that’s a good idea, Mr. President. The people kind of think of it as their house, that they let the President live in for a few years. I don’t think a sign would be very popular.
Trump: Are you trying to say you don’t like my idea?
Smithers: I’m afraid so.
Trump: I can’t have anyone working for my who doesn’t love my ideas, so you’re fired!
Smithers: (Agast) But you just gave me the job ten minutes ago!
Trump: Look, I’m doing you a favor. At least you get fired as chief of staff, not from a flunky job as assistant to the assistant chief of staff. Oh, on your way out, would you send in the new secretary if she’s here? She better be a looker, or I’m cancelling the contract with Kelly Girls.
Copyright 2018, Patrick F. Cannon