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secret thumb sucker

Friday, 31 March 2017

Dear Mr President,

I’m not sure you’re reading my letters, because this is the thirty-fifth one, and you haven’t answered yet. But some folks in the White House are reading them, because I’m starting to get replies. And I must say I’m finding them a little alarming – not the letters themselves, which are mostly sympathetic, some are quite touching, actually – but alarming for the state of panic they suggest in the White House.

One letter says, “He yells at me about the nasty stuff the press writes, and the press yells at me about the crazy stuff he’s doing. Everybody hates me. As if I could control what they write about some gentleman who was employed here for a limited time, and I didn’t actually know who he was. And then he goes and calls Robert Costa directly. Sure as anything, I’ll be responsible for what he writes!” It’s signed “Don’t-talk-so-good.”

“He calls me into the Oval, tells me how he’s attracted to beauty, then looks like he’s going to grab me, so I always hold Volume 379 of the Federal Reporter, Second Series in front of me.”

Another says, “He calls me into the Oval, tells me how he’s attracted to beauty, then looks like he’s going to grab me, so I always hold Volume 379 of the Federal Reporter, Second Series in front of me.” Signed “Beautiful but Frightened.”

Another asked whether I knew a good lawyer. Signed “No longer involved.” I recommended a guy I know in Lo Que Quieras, down on the border. Irish, but smart. Connected, if you consider Irish connected. Knows words. Handles money-laundering, in the event you’re also interested.

One letter, signed “Pepe”, contained what I might consider a threat. It said, “I know you really live in Beaver City, Nebraska, and drive a lime-green 1974 Ford pick-up.” I thought of showing it to the FBI, but they seem to have their hands full right now. And, anyway I’m not worried. I sold that pick-up to a relative in Beaver City last month. And he’s a Democrat.

I got this one from some poor soul, who obviously misses Mommy: “People here think I don’t have feelings, but I do – truly great feelings. And they are hurt, big time, when I hear people whispering. As Shakespeare said, I think it was, ‘If you call me a prick, I bleed, you better believe it.’ That Shakespeare . . . really special! But back to me. No one understands me except . . . and I can’t get near her, what with Mr Got-It-All standing there with his hand on her ass all the time, rubbing it in. I’m going to send him to check things out in Mosul.” Signed, “Secret Thumb Sucker.”

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Dear Mr President,

Out here in Gattos Gordos County, we are much encouraged by your bold tactics in the War Against the Environment, because what with the our wells drying up and our forests burning down, it seems sometimes as if the Environment is winning. We watched your ceremony with those coal miners the other day, celebrating their expected return underground in a year or two, now that you have signed an Executive Order making coal smoke safe to breathe again. Your jolly cheer-leading . . .

– “C’mon fellas. You know what this is? You know what this says? You’re going back to work.”

. . . sounded a little bit like they needed jolly cheer-leading – the folksy “C’mon” meaning “Get with it, how about a little enthusiasm?” and the colloquial “fellas” reminding them of your common social and economic background as working men – somewhat qualified in your case by that crippling bone-spur that prevents much off-the-course physical activity. And finally those rhetorical questions about whether they knew why they were there – “You know what this says?” – clearly arising from your shared experience as men who lack the inclination to read stuff.

It looked to me like the polite smiles and tepid hand-clapping meant that some of them might have enrolled in programming courses at their local JC or had found jobs as truck drivers that perhaps mitigated their enthusiasm for life underground. On the whole, they looked better fed and better dressed than the hollow-eyed and emaciated miners that we’re used to seeing waiting with anxious women for word of the workers trapped by the ceiling collapse in some over-regulated mine in Utah or West Virginia. But I noticed some coughing in the back row that might have distracted them from the joyful prospects that your Executive Order was opening up. Maybe they had caught colds from too much fresh air. I noticed one guy kept spitting something black into his handkerchief. Gross. Why was he allowed in?

Speaking of Executive Orders, we have seen how effective they are in solving other problems – like getting that Wall built and halting global warming. Would you consider signing one to prevent the water table in Gattos Gordos County from dropping any further?

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Dear Mr President,

I think someone in the White House must have leaked my name, because I got a “confidential” email from Congressman Devin Nunes yesterday – that’s pronounced “Noons” not “Nuñez” – he made a big point out of it, like somebody had accused him of being an immigrant. And as for the “confidential” bit, let’s face it, the NSA is reading his emails in real time. But since they’re not sharing everything with you these days, I thought I’d better. Especially since I’ve figured out what no else has – that Nuñez is covering up something. And I mean more than just his name. Here is his story. Believe it if you want.

“I got a call on the night after the Comey hearing. The caller wouldn’t give his name, but he had a heavy and not altogether convincing accent.”

– ‘Come to ze grounz ov ze White House at midnights. Zeres a hole in ze fence behinds ze Garden ov ze Rose. Luk for ze Fet Man. Don’t be followed. Stay off the Henry Hudson.’

– ‘But the Henry Hudson Parkway is in New . . .’

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– ‘I know zat, you putz. Jus don be followed, capisce, amigo?’

“I switched cars twice, once, for extra security, in a driverless Uber – which was really cool – snuck through the fence and found the Fat Man standing under a tree, eating a cheeseburger. He was fat – no surprise – in a trenchcoat and wearing a Ronald Reagan mask. He handed me a paper.”

– ‘Read zis fastlick, shmendrik. Ze ink vill disappear in 15 minutes and 7 seconds. It’s ze Secret of ze Top. Tell everybody. Zen inform ze Donald. He vil be surprise. Big time. And somevat windicated.’

“Then he disappeared into the bushes. The next day I gave the blank paper to the president, who read it carefully. And sure enough he was surprised. And somewhat vindicated. Then he said he wanted me to go on an important mission to Mosul. Like tomorrow.”

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Dear Mr President,

I don’t know whether I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m a genealogist and historian in my spare time, and I’ve recently found a trove of documents that shed light on the descent of the Trumps – a heroic American family that has descended – indeed, has been descending for centuries – down to you.

When they got to Plymouth Rock and got their hut built and thanked God for a safe passage (though they complained a little about the passengers below decks) and all that, the Trumps weren’t sitting around whining about Meals on Wheels – like “Hey, where’s the turkey delivery guy” – or demanding 12 weeks maternity leave – like “Make your own cranberry sauce, Obadiah, you see this kid I just birthed? Don’t act like you had nothing to do with it!”

No way. They sucked it up and got on with the American Dream. Obadiah couldn't go himself, because of his bone-spur, but he sent out a servant to shoot some meat. And Keziah got out of bed and chopped some wood and built a fire (after first dumping the cold ashes in the stream) and boiled up some gruel. And then Obadiah limped down to the Village Hut and filled out a birth certificate for his son, named Makemoney Trump.

As soon as he could, Obadiah got his fellow Pilgrims to make laws banning certain people – actually, everybody else. So a Methodist or a Seventh Day Adventist shows up looking for a handout or a job, they’d say “Get on down the road, bub, back to your own kind.” No discussion about rights, refugee status, wretched refuse of your teeming shore – none of that. Catholics? “Forget about it.” Jews? “You got to be kidding.” Muslims? “What?”

Later, Obadiah ran for Mayor on the platform of free cranberries for all. And because he was the richest guy (from cornering the cranberry market), from a family with the best genes, he was elected, and then he told everybody they could get all the free cranberries they could pick for themselves out at 22-Mile Bog where the Indians camped, which caused some grumbling, like, “That’s not what you said” and stuff, but he picked out the biggest guys and made them cops (called constables, but really just big guys with guns) and he told them which Indians to shoot (basically all of them) – and anyone who made a fuss, the constables would call him a heretic and burn him or if it was a woman, they’d call her a witch, same result. There was no more whining about cranberries.

And years later when Makemoney Trump was Village Health Commissioner, some idlers wanted cheaper medical care, Makemoney said, “Sure, if you want to take care of yourself. Your choice. If you want your leg set or your bad humors bled, it’s going to cost you. A cure for the cranberry fever? You can ask old Dorcas . . . oh, actually, she’s not around any more.”

So the Trumps taught their fellow Pilgrims the American Dream: “Dream about all the cranberries you want, they’re six shillings a pound at Trumpmart. And don’t bother me about your sick kid.”

Monday, 27 March 2017

Dear Mr President,

OK, here’s my plan. You knock everyone’s expectations for a loop by ditching Ryan, Priebus, and the Alt-Right and forming an alliance with the Democrats. You get what you want by again showing that the rules of politics – like the rules of logic, decency, language, and law – don’t apply to you. The hard-core troglodytes that elected you hate Republicans who can read as much as they hate Democrats who can read, so they will cheer the sidelining of the gang who says they can’t have healthcare without noticing that they’ve been replaced by the gang who tells them they can’t beat up gays. They’ve already figured out that you don’t really care about or know anything about any of the issues, and really they don’t either. Like you, they just care about winning . . . something.

The Democrats will win big in the short term, of course, probably demanding that Merrick Garland get on the Supreme Court in place of Neil “Golly, Gosh” Gorsuch, but he can have Kennedy’s seat when he resigns, which will be soon, or Roberts’s seat when he has another heart-attack, which could be even sooner, given the shocks to his system that your actions will deliver. In the long term – say a year – the Democrats, being Democrats, will fall to fighting one another over whether the minimum wage should be set at $15.00 an hour or $15.50 and whether the top tax bracket should be 90 percent or something a bit higher. By the 2018 elections, they will have retaken their accustomed position of righteous impotence.

The administration will have to pay a price as well – no, no! not in money, and not you in person, of course! But as a demonstration of good faith, you’ll need to compel your cabinet to enroll in courses that might qualify them for their jobs: Rex Tillerson in a night class in Korean at the Defense Language Institute, Rick Perry in nuclear physics at Howard University, Scott Pruitt in meteorology at Florida State, and Betsy DeVos in a teaching credential program at Fresno State – after which she must teach seventh-grade science for a year at Belle-Shivers Middle School in Aberdeen, Mississippi.

You then write a letter to Comey telling him you have just heard that Bannon, Miller, Ross, Paige, Manafort, Flynn, and Pence were a cell of Russian Intelligence agents. Stress that you don’t know this for sure – you just read it in the National Enquirer.


Finally, Ivanka must announce the Hot-Pink, Hand-Knit Power-Pussy Hat as an addition to her Hillary Collection – $49.99 plus shipping.

Dan Embree