jennifer called her mother, as she did every saturday at noon. she told her about robert’s proposal.
o honey, that is wonderful! that is the most wonderful news i have ever heard! i am so happy for you.
well, don’t get too excited. he just asked me, that’s all. i didn’t say yes.
not yet, you mean.
well, maybe not ever. i haven’t decided.
haven’t decided? are you serious ? what’s to decide? robert is a wonderful catch for any girl. i can just guarantee you you will never get a better one. just consider. he is
d) a little bit famous
e) knows a lot of the right people
f) is good-looking and in good shape
g) dresses nice
h) is a gentleman
i) isn’t too old
j) went to harvard
k) seems to sort of respect women and
l) isn’t a slob, at last not in public. so what more do you want?
i don’t know. it just that he is… he is… you know…
no, i do not know. he is what?
he’s just… kind of an asshole.
and that’s a problem? as my dad used to say, some people will complain if they get hanged with a brand new rope. surely you are not serious about turning him down.
jennifer wished she had not made the call. well, she had to call, she called every saturday, she just wished she had not mentioned the proposal.
i don’t know, she said. let me think about it. i will talk to you next week.
don’t think about it too long. a guy like robert can find plenty of other girls.
and with that, jennifer’s mother began a long description of her sister peggy’s latest legal problems
a year later.
robert was long gone, and had married a woman five years older than himself, whom he had known for years, since she had been a bartender at a club he and his buddies had frequented when they were underage, when they were still in prep school.
jennifer’s mother had stopped talking about robert, but jennifer still felt kind of bad about letting her down, especially as her mother could have used some of robert’s money for legal and medical bills of her own.
and jennifer just felt kind of depressed in general, because life sucked.
suddenly, she had an idea. an idea for something that would at least break the monotony of her miserable existence.
she would go out in the street and ask the first man she saw if he would like to marry her. ha ha ha!
think i don’t know how to play the newlywed game? well, check this out, my friends!
well.. not absolutely the first guy she saw… not somebody old or smelly or a complete homeless bum … somebody you could at least walk down the street with without being stared at…
jennifer woke up the next day at her usual time, around two o’clock, and decided to put her plan into effect and not give herself the chance to get cold feet.
jennifer went down to the street and started walking toward the corner. there were people standing there, like they were waiting for the bus.
right away she saw a guy who might suit her purpose. not real real old, 28 or 29 maybe, dressed halfway like a slob but not homeless bum dirty. wearing a baseball cap, but it was straight on his head. not gym fit, but not fat either. he was not hideously ugly, but ordinary enough that he should be properly flattered by the attention of a female as fit and well conditioned as jennifer.
excuse me, jennifer addressed him, can i ask you a question?
sure. the man did not seen too surprised by jennifer’s talking to him, and was not quite as awed by jennifer’s person as he should have been.
would you like to marry me?
ha ha. he did not laugh, but spoke the words ha ha.
no, i am serious, jennifer told him.
any particular reason you are asking me?
i just decided i would go out today and ask the first man i saw to marry me. do you have a problem with that?
no, i think it’s very impressively aggressive. too many people today don’t know what they really want.
so you will do it? you will marry me?
well, uh, will you expect me to support you?
oh no, nothing like that. i have my own money.
how nice. then i guess it’s a go, what is your name, by the way?
my name is brandon jones.
jennifer offered brandon her hand and he took it and shook it, not too hard but not limp either.
an older man and an older woman, standing apart from each other, were also waiting for the bus. neither gave any sign that they were listening to jennifer’s and brandon’ s curious conversation, or found it particularly interesting if they were.
so, brandon asked, when do we put this great plan into effect?
as soon as you like. do you know where we can get married? do we have to go to vegas or foxwoods or someplace like that?
no, i have a friend who has a license to marry people. he got one of those preacher certificates in the mail. he can do the job, totally legal.
ha ha, you sound like you have done this before.
i might have, brandon answered wth a trace of a smile. i can call him right now, if you want. he’s a guy that doesn’t have a lot to do , i should be able to get hold of him.
that sounds great.
by the way, do i get a honeymoon out of this?”
why, of course. what’s a marriage without a honeymoon? do you have anyplace in mind?
as a matter of fact, i do. i have a little place of my own upstate. nothing fancy, but it’s private. nice and quiet.
how convenient. i say, we go as soon as your friend marries us.
if that suits you.
i will go home and get packed, and we can meet somewhere. you can get hold of your preacher friend.
all right. brandon pointed across the street, to a burger king. how about if we meet there, at five o’clock?
that is perfect.
any questions? brandon asked. until we meet again?
um - are you a nice guy?
nice enough. i am not a terrorist or a serial killer.
i am glad to hear it. jennifer smiled at brandon, and turned and started back to her apartment.
the bus came, and the man and woman who had apparently paid no attention to the conversation, got on it, leaving brandon to his thoughts.
brandon had thought the whole thing was probably some kind of jimmy kimmel man in the street joke, and he would find a camera and a microphone in his face, but if it was, would it not have happened by now?
maybe the girl, jennifer, was serious. it would not hurt to show up and find out. brandon did not really have “a friend” waiting at a moment’s notice to marry them, but he had a couple of numbers he could call for that purpose if he had to.
and he did have a place upstate, a cabin way back in the hills. brandon had only been telling jennifer half the truth when he told her he was not a terrorist or a serial killer. he did not belong to any terrorist organization or any kind of organization, but he was a serial killer. one who prided himself on picking up halfway hot and innocent young women, not just hookers.
he usually spent some time stalking them and setting them up, carefully getting them to trust him, trying to make sure they did not know his real name and such, or that he could be traced by their friends, if they had any.
this was too good to be true. that was the problem.
it was too easy. the fun was in the challenge. this was no fun.
some people will complain if they get hanged with a brand new rope.
donald trump read the ten thousandth online entry - that day! - cursing him and hating him, and he began to cry.
that’s it, he thought, i can’t take it any more. forget retiring to a monastery, because there probably is not a monastery in the world that will take me. i will just have to hang myself.
he took a rope out of his desk and headed out to the back yard of the white house where there was a tree suitable for his purpose.
but when he reached the tree, who should he find waiting for him but st peter.
look here, don, st peter got right down to business, it is your decision as to what you wish to do. but before you go through with it, i have some fellows and a couple of gals here who have a few things to say to you. first off, let me introduce sir isaac newton and professor albert einstein, who will explain to you how the universe works.
professor einstein stepped forward, brandishing his beloved pipe. you understand, don, he began, that there are seven basic elements in the universe.
if you say so, professor, donald said. i hope you don’t expect me to remember all of them.
ha ha. no, the only one that concerns us here is the seventh and strongest one - the one that threatens to overwhelm al the others snd destroy the universe. i refer, of course, to hatred. are you with me so far?
i guess, donald replied. i know all about hatred.
but what you may not know, einstein said, is that hatred inexorably builds up over the years and centuries, and with the huge increase in human population over the last few centuries -
and humans are the largest producers of hatred, sir isaac newton interjected, with no one, not even scorpions or sharks or stonefish producing so much hatred per cubic ounce.
hatred can not be dissipated, einstein resumed, but its effects on the wider universe can be limited if it focused on a few individuals. that is where you come in.
donald nodded. i think i begin to understand.
st peter stepped forward again. i said i had some guys and a few gals for you to meet, don, and here they are.
donald looked up and beheld hitler, stalin, mao zedong, richard nixon, genghis khan, attila the hun, pontius pilate, salome, marie antoinette, and margaret thatcher.
stalin stepped forward and grasped donald’s hand. i just want to say, donald, how proud we all are of you , and what a great job you are doing under conditions none of us could have dreamed of.
thats right, brother, hitler added. i thought i had it rough - but what did i have to put up with, just hatred from countries i was running over! nothing from my own country, until a little bit at the end!
and in our day, margaret thatcher put in, all we had was television and the gutter press - every little jackanapes in the street didn’t have an organ of propaganda and hatred in his pocket that he could beam from 24 hours a day!
i used to cry myself to sleep every night, said marie antoinette, and all i had to put up with was pamphlets - hand-printed pamphlets!
i think i can speak for all of us, genghis khan said, when i say the job gets tougher all the time and you are the greatest of them all.
three cheers! shouted salome. three cheers for the donald!
think you can carry on, big fella? richard nixon asked when the cheers had subsided. you have shown you can handle it. we don’t know if anyone else can.
i - i’ll do it, donald managed to choke out. i - i’ll do everything i can to show you guys your faith in me is not misplaced.
st peter simply said, thank you, and they all disappeared .
donald was left alone on the white house lawn with the rope he had been going to hang himself with.
he wandered back into the white house.
whew, he thought, that was emotionally draining. i need some sustenance.
he called mcdonalds and ordered three bacon egg and cheese mcgriddles, three orders of hash browns, and a mango pineapple smoothie and a strawberry banana smoothie.
then he called dunkin and ordered a dozen glazed donuts.
he had had a strange dream, which caused him to question his whole existence.
what a miserable slacker i have been, he thought, and what a shoddy job i have done in my capacity of emperor of the world.
ever since the magic ruby fell from the sky and landed in my pocket, giving me the power of life and death over all living creatures on this earth, all i have used it for is to sow hatred and discord, racism and misogyny and tribalism and capitalism and war and paranoia and unhealthy life styles.
i will turn the magic ruby over to some more worthy owner, somebody like ms jennifer collins of london ontario, or ms gloria jones of durban south africa, so that she may use it to make a world a better place, a happy land of peace, plenty, fairness, and diversity, and rid of oppression, alienation, aggression, poverty, pollution, cholesterol, injustice and inequality.
i myself will then retire to a monastery in the syrian desert, or hang myself.
i will do this, donald thought, after i have my breakfast.
he then ordered his usual breakfast of two sausage and egg mcmuffins with hash browns and a chocolate shake.
but just as donald was putting the first mcmuffin into his mouth, bernard moreau, of kaiserslautern germany, woke up.
bernard had had a strange dream, which gave him confidence that someday he would conquer the world, or at least find a nice girl who would be his slave.
he rolled over and tried to go back to sleep, but gave up after fifteen minutes and got up and got dressed and had a cup of coffee and went to work.
it landed in the dust on one of the roads to the great city, the capital of the mighty empire.
the empire had been ruled for many years, not particularly wisely or well, by the emperor grop xvii, who liked to eat, but took little pleasure or interest in any other activity, especially the activity of ruling the empire.
all this would change with the fall of the magic ruby into the road.
the magic ruby gave whoever possessed it absolute power over the heavens and the earth, and all living creatures crawling under the one and on the other.
the last time the magic ruby had fallen to earth it had been picked up by grop xvii’’s distant ancestor, a wandering minstrel named bobo, who had established the empire and crowned himself marcus the first, the magnificent one.
now, a new age was to begin.
the ruby lay in the road.
four dusty roads led to the road the ruby was lying in.
a little peasant approached from each of the four roads.
the first little peasant, who approached from the west, was named eugene mao. he was a lazy good-for nothing fellow, but quick to take offense, especially at what he took to be jokes at his expense. he had lost his job as a schoolmaster in the little village he had grown up in, and he was making his way to the great city to start a new life as a stevedore’s assistant. but in his heart he had bigger dreams.
the second little peasant was a young girl named joan. she had no last name. she had been suspected of being a witch in her village, and despite being of a naturally placid disposition and inclined to take things one day at a time, she decided it would be best if she headed to the city, rather than face the fate of so many other anonymous wretches before her. she was willing, once she reached the city, to do anything.
the third little peasant was named frankie lee. she had been the town tramp, and after running through all the men in the town and being threatened by half the women, determined to try her luck in the great metropolis, where she was sure her attributes would be appreciated, and her talents allowed to flourish and be rewarded.
the fourth little peasant was named donald trump. a crafty roundshouldered fellow, wth a permanent smirk on his moon face, he had been noted in his village for his annoying habit of providing his neighbors, young and old, male and female, reputable and disreputable, and rich and poor, with irritating and insulting nicknames. once donald had attached a name to a person, he would repeat it at every opportunity with infuriating persistence.
finally one day, the village blacksmith, big john the baptist, whom donald had christened “big butt” - “hey big butt! hey big butt!” - had enough, and he fell upon donald and whipped him with a single tree to within an inch of his life. the other villagers, seeing this, gleefully joined in and drove donald out into the high road and out of their lives.
these then, were the four peasants who approached the magic ruby.
the ruby lay glittering in the dust, as the sun went down…