Old Home Week

Meeting across the river

©2020 Palácio do Planalto, used under a Creative Commons license

[The “Summer Throne Room” at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, as pictured in “Getting the Story Straight.” The ridiculous draperies remain in place, but the throne itself and its riser have been pushed into a corner; there’s a card table with rattan chairs around it, and a room service cart with drinks and sandwiches on it and a bus bucket of mostly-melted ice on its lower shelf. DIBS, the elderly goon dressed in butler’s livery, sits on a low stool in a far corner, reading a Stephen King book. TRUMP, wearing a grey running suit with the Presidential seal over his right breast and clunky athletic shoes, and MARCO RUBIO, wearing a nice dark suit and sweating, are seated at the card table.]

TRUMP: So I dunno if these fellas can fix it. The judge is everything in these cases. You see what that did to that Chevron guy? Guy who defended the Indians in Peru or someplace? Chevron got the right judge for that, and now the guy’s fucked, no question. Now I’m not as rich as Chevron — almost as rich! Believe me, it’s close! But I gotta lean on my connections. I called my sister who was a judge, you know. Maryanne, she was a judge here in Jersey. Says she can’t do anything. Also whenever I call she makes sure I know she’s got bodyguards. I think she’s senile.

RUBIO: I wish I could help you there, sir. But New York’s not my territory. [Looking around] Sir, which one of these is the door to the bathroom?

TRUMP: Give it a minute, listen. There’s a couple judges in Dutchess County, they’re Spanish people of some sort. I got their names. You talk to them.

RUBIO: Talk to them? But I don’t know them.

TRUMP: You’re a Senator, right? They gotta listen to you. Plus you speak the language, they like that, so I find. You tell ‘em you talked to me and that’s all you gotta say. You don’t have to worry about implicating yourself. Totally innocent, what you’re doing.

RUBIO: [Nodding] Sure, I can do that.

TRUMP: Really do it, now. I don’t wanna call around and find out you didn’t do what you said you’d do.

RUBIO: [laughing nervously] I said I would do it, sir. Why wouldn’t I do it?

TRUMP: You know, I was pretty hard on you in 2016, calling you little Marco, making fun of you.

RUBIO: Oh, that’s all forgotten, sir.

TRUMP: No it isn’t. People still laugh about it. I was talking to this waiter yesterday, he was on the floor, doubled over laughing talking about Little Marco Rubio and the amazing water bottle.

[Some drapes fly back and Rep. MADISON CAWTHORN rolls into the room in his wheelchair. He wears Tommy Hilfiger and Hush Puppies.]

Hey, look who it is! Kid Cawthorn. How ya doin’, Champ.

CAWTHORN: Doin’ great, Mr. President, and I bet you are too. [To RUBIO] Hiya Marco. ¿Como estas?

RUBIO: Doing great, Madison.

CAWTHORN: Hey, you call me Mr. Representative, ¿comprendes, amigo?

RUBIO: [laughing less nervously] Llámame Senador [rolls r’s] Rubio, ¿OK, pendejo?

CAWTHORN: [Pointing at RUBIO] I know what that means, fucker! [To TRUMP] ‘scuse me, sir. The little fella gets my goat.

TRUMP: Grab a sandwich, Madison. Something to drink.

CAWTHORN: Not hungry but a little J.D. would do nicely, thank you Mr. President. [To RUBIO] Hey, help me out, Marco, I take it with ice. [To TRUMP] So, Mr. President, I hear you pulled the trigger on that lawsuit.

[RUBIO looks at CAWTHORN, then at DIBBS, who is engrossed in his reading.]

TRUMP: $100 million. Not the biggest but my lawyer says it’s right.

[Seeing no alternative, RUBIO makes the drink.]

CAWTHORN: Listen, hate to tell ya, sir, but I couldn’t get hold of Bannon.

TRUMP: Now that I hate to hear.

CAWTHORN: But! I found his dealer and gave him the word that we’re scoping him out. Believe me, it’ll get to him. And I gave him a little preview of [Looks at RUBIO, then at TRUMP, puts his hand next to his face, stage-whispers] the real S-H-I-T.

TRUMP: Good. Good. He’ll get the message. Probably we don’t need it but it couldn’t hurt now that we got a problem. You know he was very touchy last time I talked to him.

CAWTHORN: Never fear, sir. He gets touchy, we’ll touch him.

[RUBIO holds out the drink to CAWTHORN.]

RUBIO: Here you go.

CAWTHORN: Hey, son, that looks a little watered down to me. I said ice, not ice water. Maybe you oughta go down to the kitchen and get one of your cousins to make it, OK?

[RUBIO drops the drink on the table; it splashes.]

RUBIO: Make your own fucking drink, then.

CAWTHORN: [To TRUMP] You see this, Mr. President?

RUBIO: Don’t Mr. President your way out of this, man. You’ve been an asshole to me from the get-go and I’m not gonna put up with it.

[CAWTHORN gets out of the chair and stands in front of RUBIO, pushing his skin out belligerently. TRUMP, who has seen it before, watches blandly; RUBIO is stunned.]

CAWTHORN: Not gonna put up with it, huh? Not gonna put up with it? Put up with this.

[CAWTHORN grabs RUBIO’s lapel and front- and back-hand slaps him. RUBIO recoils. DIBS pays a little attention.]

You little spic faggot, don’t you ever talk to me that way.

[RUBIO stumbles away, out through the drapes through which CAWTHORN came in.]

Yeah, run, bitch! Run away, bitch!

TRUMP: Hey, hey, Madison, language, Jesus.

CAWTHORN: Sorry, sir, I know you don’t like to hear it but that little faggot got up in my face.

TRUMP: Look, climb in your chair, God forbid somebody sees you.

[CAWTHORN gets back in his chair, arranges his legs. TRUMP looks at DIBS.]

Dibs, how’s the book? What is it?

DIBS: [Turns the book around and looks at the cover] Stephen King.

TRUMP: What! You know he’s against us, right? Tomorrow bring something else. [To CAWTHORN] OK, kid, who can we count on?

CAWTHORN: [Pulling papers from his jacket pocket] Got it all right here, sir.

TRUMP: OK, just a minute.

[TRUMP reaches under the table, pulls out a silver box, puts it on the table, opens it, withdraws from it a couple of straws, a razor, and a small mirror, then tips the box over the mirror and shakes out some of the “formula.” CAWTHORN watches attentively.]

Things are looking up, figured we’d celebrate.

[TRUMP pushes the apparatus across the table to CAWTHORN.]

You chop. But listen, don’t get out of that chair again — somebody might walk in.

[CAWTHORN scoots up and beginning chopping the formula as the CURTAIN falls.]