“I went to the crossroads, fell down on my knees,
Asked the Lord above ‘have mercy, now save poor Bob, if you please.’”
~ Robert Johnson, “Cross Road Blues”
Meanwhile, in Donald Trump’s White House… (pt 5) (read pt 1 here)
Two new White House interns are nervously awaiting a meeting in the Cabinet Room. Both are wearing Ivanka Trump “Embellished Mock-Neck Slit Dresses.” One dress is in the color “Blush,” the other the brighter “Berry” hue.
Don Jr. and Eric Trump come into the room talking loudly. “So dad offered Meat Loaf the job and he said no,” Don Jr. says.
“The Communications Director thingy?” Eric asks.
“Yeah, ungrateful prick. Good morning girls.”
The first part of White House orientation is being done by the Trump sons at their father’s request. Don Jr. opens a file folder on the table and starts going through the new intern’s resumes. He says, “So … Your names are Karen and Tamela.”
“Yes,” Karen and Tamela say in unison.
Eric says, “We’re going to call you Christie and you Sabrina.”
Karen and Tamela, now Christie and Sabrina, exchange a confused look. “Uh, okay, I guess,” Sabrina says. She’s wanted to work in the White House since she was thirteen and is not going to risk any perceived insubordination.
Don Jr. asks, “Christie, do you have a business card?”
“Let me show you mine. Picked them up from the printer’s yesterday.” Don Jr. flicks a gold business card holder open and places a card on the table.
“Good coloring,” Eric says.
“That’s bone. And the lettering is something called Silian Rail.”
“It’s, uh, a … nice, business card,” Sabrina says.
“Let’s see mine,” Eric says and presents his card. “Eggshell, with Romalian type. What do you think?”
“Nice,” Don Jr. says. His iPhone dings its text message alert. On the phone is the text, FEED ME A STRAY CAT.
Christie and Sabrina have moved beyond confused to uncomfortable. Approaching scared in a hurry.
Eric says, “Christie, Do you like Huey Lewis and The News?”
“I don’t know. Is that a band?”
“Their early work was a little too new wave for my taste, but when Sports came out in ’83, I think they really came into their own, commercially and artistically. The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost. He’s been compared to Elvis Costello, but I think Huey has a far more bitter, cynical sense of humor.”
Eric syncs his iPhone with a bluetooth speaker and plays the song “Hip to be Square.”
“In ’87, Huey released this record, Fore, their most accomplished album,” Don Jr. says. “I think their undisputed masterpiece is “Hip to be Square”, a song so catchy, most people probably don’t listen to the lyrics. But they should, because it’s not just about the pleasures of conformity, and the importance of trends, it’s also a personal statement about the band itself.”
Don Jr. puts his Gucci briefcase onto the table in the Cabinet Room. He begins to pull seemingly random items out of it.
“What’s that?” Christie asks.
“Duct tape. I need it for … taping something.”
“Is that a raincoat?”
“Yes it is!”
In the Oval Office, President Trump has just signed an executive order making the manufacture and sale of Guy Fawkes masks illegal and a Class E felony. Punishable by up to five years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 dollar fine. Trump holds up the executive order for the cameras, saying “This is big stuff. We’re cracking down on this kind of stuff, bigly. We can’t have these masks in our mostly black inner cities and liberal college campuses. Those kids are dickheads anyway, okay?”
Within days, now-illegal Guy Fawkes masks will begin to be hot commodities on the black market. A street vendor in New York City’s Chinatown will start covertly peddling them out of a counterfeit purse stand at $500 bucks a pop.
The machinations of further legislation regarding the rationing of poster board and Magic Markers is underway. Sharpie markers coming into the United States from Mexicali, Baja California have been slapped with a seventy-five percent tariff. And President Trump’s daily Twitter attacks on Michaels arts and craft stores has effectively driven them out of business. All of this has been done in an effort to punish whatever and whoever possible connected to making protest signs against Trump and his White House.
Having come directly from Steve Bannon’s bat-filled basement office, Stephen Miller enters the Oval wearing his gimp suit. Miller has paired the gimp suit with a pair of $560 dollar blue suede Salvatore Ferragami “Parigi” moccasins. An aide unzips the mouth slit on the gimp suit and Miller says in a muffled voice, “Bannon wants you to turn on Morning Joe, Mr. President. Important segment coming up.” The aide re-zips the mouth flap and Miller bear crawls out of the Oval Office on all fours.
To get messages to the President, his staff occasionally has to relay them through the television he watches all day to make sure they are heard. This morning Melania needs to get her husband to go to the barber to tame his ridiculous hairdo, take his Propecia and Lipitor, and pay Barron’s allowance so he can order some medieval swords for his new collection.
Chief of Staff Reince Preibus drew the short straw and is being interviewed on Morning Joe. When Mika Brzezinski asks a question about what President Trump meant when he told Senators on a conference call that “golfing left-handed is fuckin gay,” Preibus answers:
“Mika, the President has more important things to worry about than political correctness on conference calls. He has other things to do. Such as working for the American people. Such as repealing and replacing Obamacare. Such as making sure he keeps his barber appointment, taking his meds as prescribed by his doctor, and giving his son Barron his generous allowance by the end of today. President Trump is a father first and he is not going to apologize for making that a priority.”
Mika Brzezinski looks directly into the camera and asks, “What?”
Of course, Trump is watching and he immediately picks up the phone on the Resolute desk to tell his secretary to confirm an appointment with his barber for him and Mike Pence.
“Mr. Pence is not in Washington today, Mr. President.”
Trump asks, “Where the hell is he?”
Meanwhile, in Rosedale, Mississippi…
Vice President Mike Pence’s disguise is convincing. His signature silver hair is hidden under a simple black, curly-haired wig. A high-quality fake mustache is stuck on his upper lip. The ensemble is completed with cheap gas station sunglasses. Thrift store jeans and hoodie purchased by a trusted aide at a Salvation Army. Chuck Taylor sneakers that have been scuffed with a wire brush and sandpaper to look worn. And an Army issue field jacket with the name tag reading BURR.
To avoid detection, Pence took a Greyhound bus — in disguise — from D.C. to Mississippi. When he made the same trip last year, the disguise wasn’t necessary. No one noticed the governor of Indiana walking the streets of Rosedale, Mississippi.
On Symonds Road, isolated and remote, hardly a landmark visible in all directions, is the Remembrance Mortuary and Crematorium. Mike Pence steps inside the small building, looking for the mortician, Elston Gunn. For years, that man has worked as an intermediary of sorts.
Gunn is a big man, shaped like a cannonball. He wears a pair of denim overalls so big that it would be hard to guess how many “Xs” come before the “XL.” He greets Pence quietly, with a thick drawl. “Been a year, huh? There’s a full moon tonight, I noted.”
“Yes,” Pence says. “I need to see Him tonight. Can you arrange the meeting?”
Elston Gunn smells of formaldehyde and embalming fluid. He reaches into the front pocket of his overalls, retrieves a red handkerchief, blows his nose into it, peeks inside to see what came out and says, “You got the money, I assume?”
“Ten thousand. It’s all there.” Pence puts a manilla envelope stuffed with cash on a small table.
“Three o’clock in the AM. On the button. Be absolutely sure you’re not followed. Be sure you’re alone.” Gunn pulls a red velvet Mojo Bag out of the front pocket of the denim overalls and hands it to the Vice President of the United States. “You’ll need the Mojo Bag. Put it on the ground at the Crossroads at one minute before three. Then say the prayer.”
Inside the Mojo Bag is a mixture known in voodoo and Delta Blues songs as “hot foot powder.” A blend of cayenne pepper, graveyard dirt, ground coyote jawbone, sulfur, bluestone, kosher salt, and gunpowder. Also in the bag is a severed paw from a black cat, a bat wing, a human eyeball, and a pair of loaded dice.
Hours later, Pence has made his way to the intersecting cross of Highway 1 and Highway 8. He checks the time on his Rolex. 2:58 a.m.
No longer in disguise, having changed into a long black robe and flip flops, Mike Pence places the red velvet Mojo Bag on the center of the Crossroads, bows his head and whispers, “In nomine magni, dei nostri Satanae Luciferi excelsi.”
About thirty seconds passes.
The Devil has appeared at the Crossroads. Illuminated in the moonlight. Smelling of fecal matter, bile, and rotting meat. Scaly green skin. Skinny arms and legs. Hoofed feet. Bifurcated tail. Red eyes. Three-inch horns on his forehead. Alongside the devil is a glowing hound the size of a Kodiak bear.
“Ave Satanas,” the Vice President says.
“How are you, my son?”
“Exhausted, but energized.”
The Devil hisses, “Yes, I know. For us to continue, you know what must happen. You must greet me properly.”
In Latin, the ritual is called the Osculum Infame. Translated, it means the “Kiss of Shame.” Satan turns around, exposing to the Vice President the second face he has on his ass. An eyeball in each cheek that moves independently like a chameleon’s, his tail acting as the nose, flicking back and forth, and doubling as his anus, the Devil’s second mouth.
Pence goes to his knees. Satan laughs softly out of both of his mouths. A long, forked tongue comes out of his backside and licks the side of Pence’s face. Closing his eyes, Pence leans in and performs the Osculum Infame.
“Aren’t you going to say hello to Belphegor?”
Pence reaches out and scratches the Devil’s giant glowing hound behind the ear. “Hey there, Belphy. Good boy. That’s a good boy.”
“So,” Satan says and he spits fireball-loogies into the dirt out of both his mouths, “everything is going to plan.”
“So far,” Pence says. “We’ve been successful in continuing the slow implantation of increased hate since the campaign. I think we’re a year away from beginning to re-normalize some of the ethnic slurs that have been taboo.”
“I’d like to see ‘kike’ re-enter the lexicon. That’s a fun one. But I’d start with ‘hymie.’ It’s a little softer.”
Illuminated in the moonlight, Satan takes a a scaly green hand and gently taps the Vice President on the cheek. “That’s good work, Michael. That idiot has no idea he’s being manipulated does he?”
“Not a whit. All it takes is some flattery when we know he’s watching us on television and a steady stream of right wing news stories and we steer Donald any way we please. I could get him to say the Earth is flat within a week.”
The Devil lets out a guttural laugh. “He really is a thick, dopey stooge.”
“If there is any sign of resistance, all we have to do is throw him a rally in an airport hangar with mouth-breathing troglodytes in cheap hats agreeing with everything he says and we’re back on track.”
Satan says, “I’m sending one of my best men to keep an eye on things in the White House.”
“Is that necessary, Master?”
“Everything is okay. You’re getting everything we agreed upon, don’t you worry, our deal is solid, I just want direct updates. You won’t even see Pazuzu. He’ll be mostly invisible. But he’ll be keeping an eye on your progress.”
“As you wish.”
“Pazuzu has a wicked sense of humor. He may make himself known to tell a few jokes. He’s been working on some new material. The kiddie-rape stuff is hilarious. I want you to be back here a year from tonight.”
The Vice President says, “I understand.”
“Good night then, Michael. And Michael?”
“Keep up the good work.”