A retelling of the Classic Dickens tale for our times.
Onetime segregationist presidential candidate George C. Wallace was dead. There was no doubt whatever about that on Christmas Eve 2015. So what was his face doing on the very large ornamental door knocker outside the third marble bathroom in Donald Trump’s Trump Tower suite, grimacing and howling at the apartment’s owner himself?
Trump felt woozy. After dodging a number of charity-collection agencies in midtown (“Are there no detention centers? Are there no relocation camps?” he was heard snapping at one bell-ringer collecting on behalf of refugees), the mediocre tycoon-turned-terrifying-candidate mopped his brow. He leaked self-tanner onto his monogrammed hankie as he beheld the gruesome vision on the door. But the suddenly, it was a knocker again and he shook his head, chasing the vision out.
“This door is a dummy!” he shouted. “You’re fired, door.” The door being inanimate, remained standing, but The Donald had made up his mind. He would get the knocker removed tomorrow. Still, the strange apparition returned that very evening, as he relaxed in his gold leaf-paneled office, putting his feet up on an ottoman, donning his spectacles and special nightcap toupee, and dreaming of demagoguery.
It was then that the distant bell rang: “SCHLONG! SCHLONG! SCHLONG!”
Once more, the deceased Wallace appeared to him, this time as a full-fledged spectre, rattling chains and howling something horrible.
“Yoooge!” the spirit moaned. “Yooge! Yoooge!”
“That’s me. I am yooge, the yoogest!” cried Trump. “How did you get in here? I need to build a higher wall to keep out ghosts, clearly.”
“No wall can contain me,” said Wallace’s ghost. “For I am a spirit doomed to walk this earth, and these rattling chains are my sins. I am the last man who ran for president on a platform of pure race-baiting and hate-mongering, and that’s why I’m dooooomed —”
“Now it’s true I liked your ideas,” interrupted Trump, perplexing the ghost. “You were a good man with the political business. But face it: you were a loser.”
“Business?” cried the wraith. “Business! Mankind was my business! Injustice was my business! Save yourself from my fate, for you forge your own fetters as we speak.”
“Yeah, I’m not really following that line of thought,” said Trump. “The problem is: you’re weak. This is why you were only polling third place, tops. But you’re looking at the leading candidate for the nomination.”
Wallace turned as pale as a ghost can, let out a ghastly sigh, then promised Trump a series of visits from three more spirits. He muttered, “I’m getting out of here. Purgatory beats this by far — for that matter, so does hell.” Then, chains clanging, he exited.
The first spirit arrived shortly after the diamond-studded clock chimed midnight. Melania was fast asleep, but The Donald was restless. He looked out the window at the holiday lights and the empty streets and tried to soothe himself by asking his usual question: if he picked on Muslims, women, the disabled, or Mexicans, which insult would get him a bigger round of TV interviews the following day? “That can’t have been real,” he muttered, thinking of the face on the knocker, the appearance of the ghost. “It must have been thinking about women peeing that did this. That is so disgusting, it’s like I have the flu from it. Now I’m seeing things!”
“I am the Ghost of Christmas Past,” said the first spirit, at the threshold of the room. “I’m here to show you where you went wrong.”
“Newsflash, lame-brain,” said Trump. “I don’t have to go with you.” But a great wind picked them up, and what commenced was a long journey to find the moment that Trump became Trump.
A long, long journey. First they traveled together to recent history, and the ghost showed Trump his own angry face as Obama lit into him during the White House Correspondents’ Dinner by making fun of The Celebrity Apprentice.
“You see how embarrassing your shtick was? You got humiliated!” said the spirit. “You’re still a laughingstock, even if you don’t see it”.
Yet his companion was more agreeably occupied. “Wow. My profile is so noble,” said Donald, looking at his past self. “So good-looking. That guy right there is the best. They thought my involvement in politics was a joke, but I’m winning, so who’s laughing now?”
“You have a point.” The spirit frowned and adjusted his hourglass. Traveling further back, to the ’70s, when Trump was sued for racially discriminating against tenants, he lit upon a heart-stirring scene: families unable to secure housing as a female Trump employee turned them down.
“You see what you have wrought?” asked the spirit.
“Who’s the lady?” asked Trump, distracted by the comely woman working in his office. “I would love to protect her from the Muslim threat, if you dig what I mean. Would. Totally. Bang.”
“You know, she pees sometimes,” said the Sprit, getting desperate. “They all do.”
“Not within earshot,” said Trump. “I put it in all my contracts. I don’t like to think of women that way.”
The ghost grimaced, taking Trump even further back to his childhood, where he saw the child Donald, round-faced and leering, avidly bullying a smaller child in the playground.
“That kid was a liberal clown,” Trump explained to the ghost. “He said girls did not have cooties!” The ghost decided not to linger on the scene. He swiftly deposited his charge back at Trump Tower, hoping the next ghosts in line would do a better job.
The Ghost of Christmas Present, wearing a Drake holiday sweater and a “This Is What Feminist Looks Like” button, arrived soon thereafter and took The Donald to see an American Muslim family happily sitting around their television set with their Latino neighbors, all watching Michael Bublé‘s Christmas special and staring at their smartphones. “They’re as American as you and me!” cried the ghost.
“These families are pathetic,” said Trump. “How are they watching this puny Canadian singer and I’m not even on the show? That’s not American, that’s ‘this-sucks-ian.’ Were they even born here? Where’s their birth certificates? They may need to leave the country.”
“You’re missing the point,” said the ghost.
“This is boring,” said Trump. “At least with the last ghost, there was younger ME to look at. We’ve been here for too long without any Trump sightings.”
“Hold on, I’m on Snapchat,” said the ghost, getting desperate. “Wait, here, look at these pictures of Syrian refugee children sleeping on the streets. Does that mean nothing to you?”
At last, Trump seemed fascinated by the screen. His expression grew sober. Perhaps all was not lost, and he was learning something.
“My reflection in this is outstanding,” he said, finally. “I’ve aged well.”
“Are you even paying attention to my question?”
“Do I trust these miniature Muslims watching Canadians on TV? I do not trust them, no,” said Trump. “Let’s face it: you’re a complete failure, kid. Go home to your mommy ghost. Bring on the next guy.”
The third ghost, hooded and carrying a scythe, took Trump to a bleak landscape in the future, a place that appeared to be war-torn Washington, DC, where the Washington Monument, that schlong-shaped edifice, was half-destroyed.
“This is all The President Who Shall Not Be Named’s fault,” someone was heard saying from the rubble. “He got us into war with Russia, China, ISIS, the zombies, and Batman.”
“They say he’s near death,” said another voice. “After he challenged Putin to a boxing match…”
“I will spit on his grave,” said the first voice.
Suddenly, from across the city, bells rang out. People in rags poured into the streets. “He’s dead!” they cried. “He’s dead!”
Trump taped the spirit on the shoulder. “Is the president they’re referring to… me?” he asked. “Dead?”
“Indeed. Rebellion leader Charlotte Clinton-Mevinsky, age ten, the Chosen One, will be taking over as a new Democratic leader and restoring peace,” said the spirit. “President Trump will be buried in an unmarked grave so no one can be the Kylo Ren to his Vader. Thus ends an era. How does that make you feel?”
“So you’re saying I’m going to be dead,” said Trump thoughtfully. “But look at you, look at that Wallace guy and those other two guys I saw before.”
“They’re still walking around. You made a big, big mistake — a yooge one, really, in showing yourself to me as ghosts. Now that I know I will always walk the earth as penance for my sins, I don’t even have to worry about kicking the bucket, which was literally my one concern. I am such a big deal, I’m immortal. And wait ’til I tell Sean Hannity that I know the future, my ratings are going to be tremendous. Merry Christmas to me, morons. Best. Holiday. EVER.”
Trump retired to the bathtub, undisturbed by any face at the door knocker. The ghosts remained behind, perplexed, and not knowing what else to do, decided to convene at a 2015 multiplex and watch Star Wars one more time. This Trump thing was entirely too much for them.