One Sleepless Night at the White House by John Murphy

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[Late at night in the President’s bedroom; Trump is having difficulty falling asleep]

TRUMP’S HAIR: Donnie?…Donnie?…

DONALD TRUMP: Hmm.

TRUMP’S HAIR: Donnie?

DONALD TRUMP: What?

TRUMP’S HAIR: Are you still awake?

DONALD TRUMP: Yeah, well, I am now, you’ve waken me up, so I am now.

TRUMP’S HAIR: Donnie?

DONALD TRUMP: What is it?

TRUMP’S HAIR: Donnie, I’m scared.

DONALD TRUMP: Look, you are not going to blow away—I’ve already told you that, I don’t know, countless times. There’s really nothing to be afraid of, okay? You’ll be fine.

TRUMP’S HAIR: Yeah, but what about that one time at the airport—

DONALD TRUMP: Look, forget that airport, okay? That airport was nothing. In fact—and listen to me now—it wasn’t even an airport. That’s right, not an airport. It was a landing strip. Landing. Strip. There’s a difference.

TRUMP’S HAIR: Okay.

DONALD TRUMP: Okay. Now, go to sleep.

TRUMP’S HAIR: Okay.

DONALD TRUMP: Good.

[pause]

TRUMP’S HAIR: Donnie?

DONALD TRUMP: What?

TRUMP’S HAIR: I’m still scared.

DONALD TRUMP: Look, we discussed this—what?—not one minute ago.

TRUMP’S HAIR: No, not about me blowing away.

DONALD TRUMP: Not about you blowing away.

TRUMP’S HAIR: Yeah.

DONALD TRUMP: All right, what then?

TRUMP’S HAIR: You’ll judge.

DONALD TRUMP: No, I won’t.

TRUMP’S HAIR: Yes, you will.

DONALD TRUMP: Just—come on, out with it. I’ve got a country to run in the morning, you know? A great country. The U.S.A.—best country in the world, and I have to take care of it. With the Russians and the North Koreans, I’ve got my hands full. And the tax reform and the healthcare, it’s—look, the point is, I’ve got responsibilities and I need my sleep, and I can’t get my sleep if you’re bothering me all the time. Okay? I can’t have you bothering me with your worries. You need to just stay on my head and be silent. Quiet. Behave. Right? Behave.

TRUMP’S HAIR: Okay.

DONALD TRUMP: All right, now what are you afraid of?

TRUMP’S HAIR: I thought you didn’t want to hear.

DONALD TRUMP: Just this once I’ll hear. Last time.

TRUMP’S HAIR: Okay, okay… Well, I’ve been having these thoughts recently…

DONALD TRUMP: Yes?

TRUMP’S HAIR: What if nobody really loves us? Or ever has?

DONALD TRUMP: [looks up at hair] People love us, Hair. What are you on about? Millions of them—they elected us. We’re President of the United States because of millions. Look… [takes phone from nightstand and swipes through it] …listen to this: “Getting closer and closer on the Tax Cut Bill. Shaping up even better than projected. House and Senate working very hard and smart. End result will be not only important, but SPECIAL!” That’s the tweet from yesterday, and guess what? Go on, guess. Guess how many likes.

TRUMP’S HAIR: I don’t know.

DONALD TRUMP: 76,866. Guess how many retweets.

TRUMP’S HAIR: I don’t know.

DONALD TRUMP: 15,255. You see? Thousands with that one tweet. Thousands of people. See? I don’t really know what you’re going on about. It’s obscene. You’re inventing imaginary—imaginary—problems where none exist. Look— [taps the phone screen] Okay? End of discussion. No more talking. Go to sleep. [puts phone back on nightstand]

TRUMP’S HAIR: What about Ivana and Marla?

DONALD TRUMP: What about them?

TRUMP’S HAIR: They loved us, right?

DONALD TRUMP: Of course they did. They married us.

TRUMP’S HAIR: Yeah, but how do you know? How do you know they loved us?

DONALD TRUMP: Because they married us! Don’t you listen? I feel like I’m constantly repeating myself when I talk to you. Christ! If they didn’t love us, they wouldn’t have married us. Simple as that.

TRUMP’S HAIR: What about Melania?

DONALD TRUMP: Same thing. You’re going to get the same answer. Do you want to run down the list of all the relations? It’ll always be the same thing—okay?—same answer.

TRUMP’S HAIR: But what if—

DONALD TRUMP: Look, do you want me to prove it to you? I can do that. I can do that right now. Watch. [leans over to the other side of the bed where Melania is sleeping and, hesitantly at first, shakes her shoulder] Mellie…Mellie…

MELANIA TRUMP: [half-asleep, groaning, removes her sleep-mask] Hmm, yes? What?

DONALD TRUMP: Mellie, you love me, right?

MELANIA TRUMP: What? Yeah. Sure. [flops back over on her stomach and twists her head into the pillow; after a few seconds, falls asleep]

DONALD TRUMP: You see, Hair? There—love. Now, if you’re not going to go to sleep, and if you refuse to stop pestering me with stupid questions, I think I’ll just watch some TV. [picks up remote from nightstand and turns on the TV across the room; a bluish light fills the bedroom; on the screen, M*A*S*H reruns]

TRUMP’S HAIR: But, Donnie—

DONALD TRUMP: Nope, [points] T.V.

M*A*S*H BARTENDER: Here you are, sir, one shot of whiskey. [puts shotglass down at bar table in front of the Colonel]

M*A*S*H COLONEL: I ordered a shot and a beer! Where’s my beer?

ALAN ALDA: Beer’s on you, Colonel! [yanks a cord and a bucket of beer on the rafters spills over onto the Colonel]

DONALD TRUMP: Not funny. Complete disrespect of authority and the military. Totally not funny. [changes the channel; it’s an infomercial for Bowflex]

TRUMP’S TV: Donald.

DONALD TRUMP: Yes?

TRUMP’S TV: Donald.

DONALD TRUMP: Yes, what?

TRUMP’S TV: Look at this: it’s a Bowflex. Look at it. Now look at this sexy young woman using the Bowflex. Look at her, Donald. Now look at this sexy young man using the Bowflex. Look at those abs! Don’t you want abs like that, Donald? Look at those biceps! Back muscles! Oh, yeah. Don’t you want to be a sexy young man again? Don’t you?

DONALD TRUMP: Yes.

TRUMP’S TV: Yes, what?

DONALD TRUMP: Yes, I want to be a sexy young man again.

TRUMP’S TV: You do?

DONALD TRUMP: Yes, I do.

TRUMP’S TV: You don’t just want to be sexy, you want to be ultra-sexy!

DONALD TRUMP: Ultra-sexy…

TRUMP’S TV: Yeah! Say it again!

DONALD TRUMP: Ultra-sexy…

TRUMP’S TV: Say it again. Ultra-sexy!

DONALD TRUMP: Ultra-sexy…

TRUMP’S HAIR: Ultra-sexy…

TRUMP’S TV: Yeah! If you want to be ultra-sexy again, Donald, and I know you do, just call this number: 555-555-5555. The number is 555-555-5555. 555-555-5555. I said it three times so you wouldn’t forget. Get your Bowflex, Donald! It’s the only thing that’ll get you back to lady-killin’ fitness. Look at this ultra-sexy young man! Oooh, pecs! Abs! Eight-pack! Look at his abs, Donald. You need a Bowflex to get those abs. Call the number within ten minutes to get ten-percent off shipping. That’s right! Call now to get your Bowflex. Operators are standing by.

[Trump reaches over for the landline on the nightstand and picks up the receiver]

PRESIDENTIAL ATTENDANT: Yes, Mr. President.

DONALD TRUMP: Yes, hello, could I make an out-of-White-House call.

PRESIDENTIAL ATTENDANT: Why do you need to do so, Mr. President, if I may ask?

DONALD TRUMP: No reason, I’d just like to order…some food. I’d like to order some food.

PRESIDENTIAL ATTENDANT: What would you like, sir? I can have the kitchen bring it up to you.

DONALD TRUMP: Um, you know what, never mind, good night.

PRESIDENTIAL ATTENDANT: Good night, sir.

[They hang up]

TRUMP’S HAIR: Now what?

DONALD TRUMP: I don’t know.

TRUMP’S HAIR: What about our cellphone?

DONALD TRUMP: No, the WiFi blocks out-of-White-House cal—hey. Wait a minute. [grabs the cellphone from the nightstand, goes to settings, turns off the WiFi so it’s on the LTE, and types in 555-555-5555 into the phone keypad; puts it to his ear; it rings for a few seconds]

BOWFLEX OPERATOR: [a woman’s voice] Hello, this is Bowflex, how can we help you today?

DONALD TRUMP: Hello, yes, I would like to order one of your Bowflex machines. They look great.

BOWFLEX OPERATOR: That’s excellent, sir. Are you going to be buying the home gym?

DONALD TRUMP: Yes. The home gym. That sounds fine.

BOWFLEX OPERATOR: We have two different home gym Bowflexes. Do you know which one you would like to order?

DONALD TRUMP: Give me the best one—best one you got.

BOWFLEX OPERATOR: Excellent. That’ll be the Bowflex Revolution. Would you like to order the Bowflex Revolution?

DONALD TRUMP: Yes.

BOWFLEX OPERATOR: Excellent. The price is $2,999. Is that okay?

DONALD TRUMP: Yes.

BOWFLEX OPERATOR: Terrific. Will you be paying with credit or debit.

DONALD TRUMP: Um, I think debit would be fine [grabs his wallet from the nightstand and gets his debit card out]

BOWFLEX OPERATOR: Okay, you can give me the card number whenever you’re ready.

DONALD TRUMP: Okay, yes, it’s 1234-5678-9101-1121. And it’s valid through March of next year. And the CVV is 123.

BOWFLEX OPERATOR: Excellent, I have your information down. And what address should we ship it to?

DONALD TRUMP: Um…1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C. I’m forgetting the zip code.

[pause]

BOWFLEX OPERATOR: Is that the White House?

DONALD TRUMP: Um…no.

BOWFLEX OPERATOR: Yes, it is, it’s the White House.

DONALD TRUMP: Okay, it’s the White House.

BOWFLEX OPERATOR: [faint] Viv, I think I’m talking to the President. [normal] Yes, hello.

DONALD TRUMP: Hello.

BOWFLEX OPERATOR: So we should send it to the White House?

DONALD TRUMP: Yes. The White House.

BOWFLEX OPERATOR: [pause] May I ask you something?

DONALD TRUMP: [dread] Okay.

BOWFLEX OPERATOR: Are you the President?

DONALD TRUMP: Well… Oh, all right. Yes, I’m the President.

BOWFLEX OPERATOR: Wow. Wow. That’s so cool. I’m talking with the President— Wait, how do I know this isn’t some hoax? Is that you, Jeffrey? It’s you isn’t it? Dammit! Jeffrey, you got me so excited! You really fooled me. That voice is spot on.

DONALD TRUMP: Look, I don’t know who any Jeffrey is, but my name is Donald John Trump. It has been ever since I was born. I haven’t gone by any other, lady.

BOWFLEX OPERATOR: [laughing] Jeffrey, I’m going to pound you. You rascal!

DONALD TRUMP: Lady, I just want a Bowflex.

BOWFLEX OPERATOR: That voice, it’s spot on! ha-ha!

DONALD TRUMP: [sighs; pauses; sighs again] Hey, can I ask you a question?

BOWFLEX OPERATOR: Sure, “Mr. President.”

DONALD TRUMP: Did you vote for me in the election?

BOWFLEX OPERATOR: Well, yes, I did.

DONALD TRUMP: Do you like or retweet any of my tweets.

BOWFLEX OPERATOR: I don’t have a Twitter, Jeffrey.

DONALD TRUMP: Okay, but you did vote for me.

BOWFLEX OPERATOR: Yes.

DONALD TRUMP: Okay, well, would you say that you love me, that you have love for me?

BOWFLEX OPERATOR: [groans] Ugh, Jeffrey, why, why? Why do you keep trying to bring it to the next level? You’re my friend, okay? That’s all. You’re my dear dear friend. That’s what I think of you as. Nothing else. Confessing your love once every three months isn’t going to change that. And this, with the President voice and all that, just makes you look desperate, okay? It was funny for a bit, but…

DONALD TRUMP: Look. Bowflex lady. I’m not Jeffrey—do you hear?—not Jeffrey. Never was, never will be. I’m Donald Trump and I just called to get a Bowflex, and then I got sidetracked by this Jeffrey nonsense.

BOWFLEX OPERATOR: Jeffrey, I got to go. My boss is giving me glares.

DONALD TRUMP: Wait, you didn’t even answer the question. About love.

BOWFLEX OPERATOR: Bye, Jeffrey.

DONALD TRUMP: Wait, justgivememyBowflex!

[the operator hangs up; Trump stares at the cellphone screen, then turns it off and puts it back on the nightstand]

MELANIA TRUMP: [half-asleep] Donald? What is it?

DONALD TRUMP: Nothing. Nothing. It’s just the TV.

MELANIA TRUMP: Turn the TV off and come to bed, love.

DONALD TRUMP: Okay, I will. You go to sleep though.

[she rolls over and falls back asleep; Trump turns the TV off and nestles in under the covers]

TRUMP’S HAIR: Nobody…

DONALD TRUMP: What?

TRUMP’S HAIR: Nobody loves us.

DONALD TRUMP: Just be quiet and go to sleep. That doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter.

TRUMP’S HAIR: Maybe you’re right.

DONALD TRUMP: I am right. Go to sleep.

TRUMP’S HAIR: Okay, good night.

DONALD TRUMP: Good night.


 John Murphy lives in Virginia. He has published writing in The Vignette Review, Ad Hoc Fiction, Ruminate Magazine, Penultimate Peanut and 101 Words. In his free time, he is usually reading books, watching movies or listening to music.

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