(This event occurred more than a month in office, though less than two months, and just days after the first resignation of a cabinet member. To put it bluntly, pretty damn early in the presidency.)
President Connald A. Trap, along with a few members of his staff, were seated in the Presidential Oblong Office. To the right end of the room sat matching couches facing each other with a coffee table between them. On one end of the couches are two armchairs. Together they form a u-shape around the coffee table.
The president was seated comfortably in one of the armchairs. With a glint of youthful curiosity in his eyes, he glanced around the room. His eyes stopped at the bust on the side table against the wall to his right.
“He must have fought for the North? Did he die in battle?” President Connald Trap grunted, “Do you know, Bansputin?”
Stan Bansputin, chief strategist, lowered the newspaper he was reading to his lap, “Who?”
“That guy,” the president wagged a finger at the bust. “Remember how crazy the enemy reporters were after my speech? ‘He’s not alive,’ they said. ‘He died over a hundred years ago,’ they said. Oh, those crooked reporters loved it. The losers.”
Bansputin looked over at the bust, “Oh. No, that’s not him. You were alive when this one died. You’re looking at the one that fought for civil rights. The one with the holiday.”
“Really? That’s him?” the president gasped, as he scrutinized the bust of the civil rights icon. “Well, they all look alike to me. Besides, I was reading a speech Millarky wrote. I wasn’t wrong, he was.”
President Trap pursed his lips, furrowed his brows, and narrowed his eyes to slits, as he directed his wrath at the young man seated next to Stan Bansputin on the couch, Stanley Millarky. He is the youngest of several senior advisors to the president. Feeling a bit under pressure, tiny beads of sweat formed along Millarky’s receding hairline.
“Stanley, look this guy up and see what you can find,” President Trap snarled pointing at the bust.
Stanley Millarky perked up, “Got it, sir.”
Bansputin returned to his newspaper. The president kept a steady eye on Millarky, as the young man typed in his query. With emphasis Millarky pressed the enter key. He scanned the results, then raised an eyebrow.
“Oh, this may be something,” he announced, “In fact, two things jump out immediately.”
“What? What’s wrong with him?” President Trap pressed.
“To begin with, four search results list him as a reverend. I didn’t know…”
“Reverend! Called it!” President Trap shouted with a loud clap.
Bansputin’s arms shook and rumpled the paper in his hands. Next to him, Stanley Millarky jumped with a high-pitched screech and nearly toppled his laptop, before saving it at his knees. Across the coffee table from the other couch came a barely audible gasp.
“I knew he was a preacher without even knowing he was a preacher. My mind is blown just like yours,” President Trap exclaimed, “I said the man was preachy and he really was a reverend. Like wow. How did I sense that? How did my brain come up with that?”
“Remarkable, sir,” Millarky cheered, “Did you ever meet him?”
“Nope. I never met the man. Back then, I was a young man looking to the future. I had a vision to build big. I was making connections and doing business. Things were going good for me. I had no complaints. I wasn’t into speeches and marches. And, I have bad feet, you know. So, we didn’t cross paths,” the president explained, “What else you find, Millarky?”
“Okay. Three out of ten of the search results list him as doctor. Is that even possible?” Millarky snorted.
President Trap grunted, then spurted out with a laugh, “More like Dr. Dolittle!”
“Oh, that’s a good one,” Stan Bansputin chuckled.
“Calling yourself doctor doesn’t make it true. I mean, if you’re running around in marches, giving speeches, blah, blah, blah, when do you have time to heal the sick? If he was a real doctor, he wasn’t a good one. Where was his loyalty to the hippocratamus oath to take care of sick people? Am I right?” the president barked.
“Completely right. That’s an extremely valid point, sir,” senior advisor Millarky chimed in, “Your never-ending wisdom is astounding, Mr. President.”
Nourished by the praise, a radiant smile illuminated the president’s face. Embolden, he gazed at the bust with indignation.
“Even some of the rappers use doctor in their names. And, that ball player…Dr. A or whatever. Hey, Bansputin?” the President yelped still peering at the likeness of the civil rights icon, “Does he look like a doctor to you? I mean, I can go along with a reverend, but a doctor? I know a lot of doctors and he doesn’t look like any I know. Believe me.”
Bansputin gave the bust a sideways glance.
“No,” Stan Bansputin exhaled, “If I had to guess, doctor wouldn’t even be my last guess.”
“Believe me. In his dreams he was a doctor. Just like the dream he had about being a mountain climbing instructor for kids,” President Trap pointed out.
Stan Bansputin looked from the bust to the president. Stanley Millarky followed suit.
In chorus they chimed, “He did?”
President Trap cherishes moments like this. He enjoys having attentive eyes focused on him. The uniformed anticipation for his spoken words always fills him with an overwhelming sense of importance.
“Believe me, he did. He made speeches about it. He said he dreamed about climbing up to some mountain top with kids holding hands. He made a point about the kids holding hands,” the president explained with a nod.
Stan Bansputin and Stanley Millarky allowed the information to marinate.
“I suppose, he wanted the children to form a chain link for safety reasons,” Stanley Millarky observed.
“I guess, that makes sense,” Bansputin agreed with a nod.
“Well, that doesn’t sound like a doctor. Does it?” President Trap grumbled.
“Sir, once again your profound instincts have uncovered the truth,” Stanley Millarky squawked, “So, I just searched for what field he practiced in and there are no results.”
“He played baseball?” said a skeptical President Trap.
Stanley Millarky had clearly stepped right into one of the Three M’s. The Three M’s are perilous pitfalls one is more than likely to step into, when conversing with President Trap. They are statements that are misunderstood, misinterpreted, or misjudged by the president. Pointing out such a mistake could prove to be disadvantageous. Millarky was careful in choosing his response. Millarky carefully chose his next words.
“Baseball. Yet, another supreme thought, sir. But, I was referring to field of medicine he practiced like pediatrician or family doctor, sir. Maybe he wasn’t a doctor, after all,” Millarky clarified and then chimed, “For you to figure that out is remarkable indeed, sir.”
The flattery took immediate effect. The relaxed posture of the president was inflated to a stern upright position. A proud grin illuminated his face.
“I have the best instincts ever. Always have. Believe me,” President Trap declared, “Millarky, just to be sure to search what college…no, make that what medical school he attended.”
“Good one, sir,” Millarky tapped, then scanned the page with his eyes, “No results for medical schools.”
“Where’s my phone,” President Trap searched his pockets, “I’m putting this on Chirper. People should know the truth. We can’t have people out there thinking this man was a doctor, when he wasn’t. This is worth a chirp.”
“Um. Don’t be too hasty,” Bansputin warned, “We’re still dealing with your accusations about the previous president placing you under surveillance. And, I think…”
“I didn’t say that,” the President interrupted, “I just repeated it. I read it somewhere. That’s not the same thing.”
“Okay, okay. I stand corrected,” Bansputin yielded, “We’re still dealing with the, not your, accusations about the previous president.”
“Not my words…originally,” President Trap grumbled, as he kept his eyes on his phone, “Not my fault.”
“Everyone knows it wasn’t your fault, sir,” Millarky assured, “You’re the President. You’re the most important person in the world, sir.”
“Well said, Millarky,” President Trap confirmed, as he began typing his chirp on Chirper, “He wasn’t a F-e-s…delete that. F-a-s…No, wait. That’s wrong. He wasn’t a P-h-a-s-i…Oh, screw it. He wasn’t a doctor.”
Finally, the president’s son-in-law, another senior advisor, made his presence known.
“Wait a minute. Maybe he wasn’t a medical doctor,” Jerald Husher spoke above a whisper, while typing in a search on his laptop.
“I just figured that out,” the President scoffed throwing up his hands, “And I just sent a chirp to give people real news, not fake phony news. And, when did you come in?”
“I walked in when…”
“I can’t hear you,” President Trap impatiently snapped, lost interest, turned his attention to the phone in his hand and his son-in-law gratefully returned to his laptop.
Actually, like a taylor-made suit and tie wearing ninja Jerald Husher slipped into the room precisely at the “Well, they all look alike to me,” comment. Noiselessly, he made his way to the middle of the empty couch directly across the coffee table from Millarky. Until now, his presence went unnoticed.
“Here it is,” Husher raised his voice, “He wasn’t a medical doctor, but he did have a PhD. He had a doctorate in systematic theology.”
Jerald Husher looked up to three blank faces.
“He had a doctorate in religion,” he simplified.
“Oh,” they all responded in unison.
“Say. What about your post?” Bansputin remarked to the president.
President Trap looked at his phone.
“Hey!” he exclaimed, “I’ve already got fifty likes. It’s a keeper.”