A no-holds-barred look at the American presidential race

★ ★ ★ ★

Image by Kusi Okamura

On Day One: A Series of Nightmares About January 20, 2017

By Maria Behan

Nightmare Number One: President Donald Trump receives a state visit from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“Angle! Totally unbelievable…just great of you to stop by on my first day as president!”

“Well, European leaders are concerned about the some of the, let us say, inflammatory comments you’ve made about foreign policy during your campaign. Now that the time of crazy rhetoric is concluded, we’d like to get a better understanding of your real plans. And my name is Angela, not Angle.”

“Sorry, didn’t catch all that, what with your accent and all. Maybe I should get an interpreter in here? Being president is such a beautiful, beautiful thing. You just pick up the phone and get all sorts of people in here in seconds.”

“There is no necessity for an interpreter. I have been fluent in English since girlhood.”

“And you still remember it? I mean…those girlhood days were quite a while ago, right?”

“I believe that I’m approximately a decade younger than you, President Trump. But we are wasting time when we should be—“

“I get it, Ang. A woman like you doesn’t want to waste time because—let’s be real here—time is way, way tougher on you gals. It’s so unfair, which I know because I totally ‘get’ women. Many of them are incredible, incredible people.”

Merkel clasps her hands together and takes two deep breaths. “Since you mentioned fairness, perhaps we can discuss your proposal to cut U.S. funding for NATO operations. That could be devastating for—”

“Angle, definitely! Let’s make a deal! I’m great at those! Just tremendous! Have you read my book, The Art of the Deal?”

“I am not called Angle. I think ‘angle” is a geometry term, the intersection of two lines. It is not a human name. My name is Angela.”

“Sorry, Angle. Angel it is.”

“Please understand, my name is not Angel, either. It’s Angela. That is a common name in America, is it not?”

“Not that I know of. Anyway, I’m not great at weird foreign names.” He winks at Chancellor Merkel. “Even though I tend to marry women who have ‘em. I used to call Ivana ‘Vanna,’ after that hottie who turns the letters on Wheel of Fortune. Have you seen Wheel of Fortune, Angel?”

“Angela! And no.”

“I gotta admit, for the first couple of years, I called my current wife, Melania, Melanie, sometimes Melanoma. But she’s a great girl, unbelievably so, and it didn’t bother her one bit.”

“That is disrespectful, getting your wife’s name wrong.”

“Keep your shirt on, Ang. I got it down eventually, because let’s face it, Melania’s a 10. There are things you do for 10s that…well, you wouldn’t know.”

Merkel stares at him incredulously.

“Let me be diplomatic here: You got a little shortchanged in the looks department, Angle…er, Angel. But I know you’re a big shot over there in Europe—I actually know a tremendous amount about Europe—so that boosts you to maybe, I dunno…a 5? So I’ll get your name down soon. You can take that to the bank.”

“Perhaps we can move on to discuss the dire refugee crisis, President Trump.”

Trump slaps his forehead: “Thanks for reminding me; I almost forgot! I hear Germany has been taking in a whole lotta refugees, so I was wondering…”


“Will you take our Muslims?”

Looking astonished, Merkel mutters the word, “Dumpfbacke.”

President Trump’s gold iPhone phone rings. The ring tone is “Cat Scratch Fever.”

“Sorry, Ankle, I’m gonna have to take this. They tried to take my iPhone away ‘for security reasons,’” President Trump grimaces and traces air quotes with his tiny hands. “But I said that was bullshit. Oops… sorry, to talk that way in front of a lady. But really, how the hell am I going to tweet without a phone? Am I right?”

He swipes on the screen to answer the call. “Ted, baby! Thanks again for the endorsement. With you being a huge rock star and all, I thought more of the kids would jump on our bandwagon, but so many of the little weenies stuck with Bernie. Wait ‘til we make America great again. They’ll all have posters of me in their dorm rooms.”

He listens for a moment, then responds. “I’ve got a tremendous, tremendous idea, Ted: We’ll set up a target range on the White House Lawn. Don’t worry, I’ll tell those wimps in the Secret Service that you and your F2000 assault rifle are welcome at the White House anytime. Don’t forget the grenade launcher!”

Trump puts his hand over the phone. “Angle, I’ve got to take this call,” he whispers loudly. “Do you think you can take up that NATO stuff with Vice President Charlie Sheen?”

Chancellor Merkel rolls her eyes. “Yes, perhaps that will be better. He once tweeted that you were a ‘shame pile of idiocy.’ Perhaps we can build on that.”

“Atta girl, Ankle. You and I get on so great!”

Trump finishes his call with Ted Nugent, then phones a contracting company.

“I need you to break ground on the Trump Wall with Mexico by the end of the week.”

He listens for a moment, then responds. “Yes, I’m a great kidder and all, but I wasn’t kidding about that. If you’ve followed my track record—and my father’s before me—you know that the Trumps are consistent about one thing: taking care of our own kind. Sure, it costs us a ton fighting discrimination lawsuits and all, but hey, a guy’s got to take a stand somewhere.”

The party on the other end of the call speaks for a moment before Trump interrupts. “Yeah, I know most of your workers are illegals, but that’s the beauty of the Wall. The illegals build it, then they use a teeny, tiny door in the bottom to let themselves out. We then bar the door and send them a bill for construction costs. If they say that’s not fair—or that we owe them for the work they did on the Wall—we declare bankruptcy. Now that, my friend, is how we make America great again!”

Tune in next week for our next installment of Progressive Punch’s Day One Nightmares, in which Bernie Sanders gets inaugurated—while the media cuts to commercials.

Maria Behan writes fiction and non-fiction. Her work has appeared in publications such as The Stinging Fly, The Irish Times, and Northern California Best Places.