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WHY NOT? / The Brain Trust (Early Days)

On an unseasonably warm (is warm ever “unseasonable” any more?) day in mid-October 2015, Travis Redfish headed North in his orange 1970 El Camino. His destination – New York City. His purpose – a delivery. His cargo – a suitcase full of the finest marijuana to hit Austin since the invention of the bong, and a small bag of magic mushrooms. His road music – Roky Erickson’s “Two-Headed Dog!” The highway was smooth. The sky was blue. Redfish was loaded. A bag of cash awaited his arrival in The Big Apple. All was right with the world.

Surprisingly, Redfish’s plan did not unfold exactly the way he mapped it out. But on October 31, 2015 he was not in jail. He was waiting tables at the Off-Broadway Burger Barn in Brooklyn.

It had been an uneventful evening. The place was empty, except for one sad-eyed Hispanic gentleman wearing a custodial uniform. Then, like a cliché of sharks emerging suddenly from the depths, three black Cadillac limousines pulled up in the No-Parking zone. Large, fierce-looking men in dark suits emerged simultaneously from the front of each car. When they entered Burger Barn and cased the joint menacingly, Redfish pegged them as Hell’s Angels pledges that had failed the entrance exam.

The Neanderthals were followed in by the most over-dressed group to ever enter the burger barn. Redfish was a bit frightened by their Halloween costumes. Then he became truly frightened when he realized they were not costumes. They were Trumps!

Without asking permission, the bodyguards pushed two tables together. The Trump party of four sat down. The bodyguards stood near the entrance and the back exit. The Hispanic gentleman had vanished.

When Redfish approached the table with four menus, one of the bodyguards stopped him. He took the menus and looked at them for a moment. “Ivanka will have the My Little Chickadee chicken filet sandwich with no onions. Mr. Kushner wants the Shecky Green Kosher Dog. Bring Donald Junior the Triple Meat, Triple Cheese Hamilton Burger and…”

“No, no Garth. I want the —”

“Shut up Junior! Garth knows what you want. We can’t spend all night in this dump changing orders every five seconds.”

“Right Pop.”

Garth, the bodyguard continued, “ Mr. Trump will have four Jolson Burgers with Black-face Fries, but with only one bun on each burger.”

“Yeah, that’s it. My quack has me on a health kick.”

Redfish dutifully turned in the orders to Mango, the cook. Mango looked like he could play Queequeg in the next film version of Moby Dick, if only he were better looking and less threatening. Then Redfish had a brilliant idea. To be honest, Redfish’s ideas are rarely brilliant. In fact, they are never brilliant. But sometimes they are extremely novel. And sometimes these novel ideas lead to extraordinary outcomes.

When Redfish went into the kitchen to pick up the orders, he added a little seasoning – a few magic mushrooms and a sprinkling of crushed buds of high-octane weed.

He delivered the food as Garth watched carefully to make sure everyone got the proper order. While three members of the party continued their conversation about the annoying hygiene of the homeless, Big Donald woofed down two of his single-bun burgers. For a moment he sat quietly pretending to listen to the discussion. Then he was overwhelmed by an obsession to possess Junior’s triple meat, triple cheese. His makeup streaked as he began to sweat. The enormous mound of meat became the most important thing in his life. “Should I take it away from my son? That’s what makes me special,” he thought, “when I know what I want I take it. And by god, I want that burger.”

The others had begun to eat when Big Donald wrestled the burger away from Junior. “Hey Dad, what the —?”

“Here, take one of my little ones. I’m doing it for you. You don’t need all those carbs.”

Kushner and Ivanka looked at each other with puzzlement and a bit of fright, but said nothing. Everyone continued to consume the meal at an alarmingly rapid rate. When they had devoured every crumb, Big Donald ignored Ivanka’s mild objection and bellowed out an order for “four, no make that five, chocolate milk shakes.”

While Big Donald chug-a-lugged his first shake, Kushner began to discuss strategy. “History shows us that for an underdog to win an election, he needs to create an enemy of the people.”

“Hilary?” asked Big Donald, as he wiped chocolate from his lips.

“Yes, but she’s not enough.”

“Muslims? Everybody hates Muslims.”

“Yes, but not all Muslims. Don’t forget the Mecca-Trump-Mega-Tower! And the Saudis have agreed to buy all the leftover Trump steaks, no matter how far past the expiration date.”

“Mmmm … dates. They got delicious DATES in Riyadh. If you know what I mean, heh, heh.”

“I’m thinking Mexicans.”

“Love, love, love Mexican food.”

“Me too Daddy!” added Ivanka.

“Pop can eat more tacos than anybody who…”

“Shut up, Junior. Okay Kushie, I’m guessing that if we turn all the Mexicans into Dorito Banditos, that makes your Wall plan work.”

“The Wall works for us on so many levels. Number one: The Wall becomes a symbol for the power of Trump. Majestic, creative, imposing, impenetrable, built by a builder, enforced by an enforcer, strong but protective.” Suddenly he was singing a mushroom-inspired tune, “it’s delightful, it’s delovely, it’s delirious, it’s the Donald! Oh, oh, oh sorry about that last bit, don’t know where that came from.”

“I dug it,” chimed in Junior.

“Jared, has your head always been so tiny? Never mind. What about the cost of my wall?” inquired Big Donald squinting, then closing one eye as he stared at the ever-changing shape of Kushner’s noggin. “Everything has a price. Right, my sumptuous slice of coconut cream pie?”

“That’s right, Daddy. I must say, this was the best chicken sandwich I ever ate, but it clucks every time I — ”

“What’s really delightful is, you’ll tell ‘em the Mexicans will pay for it. But if that doesn’t work, just demand five billion from congress.”

“That’s right, Kushie honey,” added Ivanka.

“Five billion?” Once again Junior chimed in, “Chump change. Shoot, we can raise that just from our friends. Kushie’s A-Rab buddies will probably kick in a few billion on their own. Don’t need Congress. Look at this dollar bill. It’s sooo green it’s… Oh, and the Ruskies — ”

“Shut up Junior! We’re not in business to spend money. But listen Kushie, five billion won’t even pay for the surveying. We’re talking 2,000 miles of rocks, scorpions, rattlesnakes and those vicious armadillos. They are some kind of prehistoric monster! Right, my scintillating pork chop?”

“That’s right Daddy. But stop it! Stop looking like those creatures. It’s too weird. You…”

“Wait a minute, Ivanka. How dangerous are those armadillos? Now when me and Eric were hunting lions .…”

“Shut up, Junior! Those lions you boys shot were full of tranquilizers and led out in front of you on a leash. These armadillos are wily creatures of the wild. I’d hate to meet one in a dark bowling alley. Right, my entrancing little éclair?”

“That’s right, Daddy. Your eyes? They’re — ”

“Just give us a chance, Pop,” Junior interrupted his sister. “Me and Eric can clear out that armadillo threat in a month. Maybe less. I hear there are some whoppers down around Los Alamos. Huge mutants! But we’ll make ‘em extinct. That’s our specialty.”

“Not a bad idea, Junior. You boys need to keep punching up that macho Trump image. It really fires up those NRA rednecks. And probably titillates a lot of those southern belles too. Right, my sensually pulsating little lollipop?”

“That’s right Daddy, —”

“But back to the five billion.”

“Just a number,” insisted Kushner. “ The beauty of government contracts is over-runs. And I can promise the over-runs will be in the $50-100 billion range.”

“Are the other families on board?”

“They jumped on board faster than you can say ‘Lock her up.’ The Gambinos will handle all the transportation. The Genevese family gets the steel work. The Colombos will provide cement. The Cheneys will be in charge of communications. The Manaforts will deal with dirty laundry. And the Guthries are bringing the marshmallows.”

“Marshmallows? Who the hell are the Guthries? Do they serve marshmallows here? You know what – these burgers are the most greatest I’ve ever had. This chef is a genius!”

“Daddy, why do my diamonds keep changing colors?”

“The Guthries are out of Odessa, Texas. Our crews will be spending a lot of time in their territory so I said they could provide marshmallows for any roasting around the campfire that might take place out on the range.” Suddenly Kushie began singing, “Home, home on the range, where the deer and the antelope….”

“Hey Big Daddy, could me and Eric blast us some deer and antelopes when we finish with those ferocious dillos?”

“Shut up Junior! You know something Kushie? I can see that Mighty Trump Wall now. Huger and greater than The Great Wall of China. That’ll teach those fake fortune cookie bastards who they’re up against. Right my luscious cream puff?”

“That’s right Daddy. Can we have flowers engraved in the wall? Maybe sunflowers along the Texas border. Or Bluebonnets! Lady Bird would have liked —”

“Oh well, it’s nice to dream, but let’s face it. I’ll never get elected.”

“If that’s so,” inserted Kushie slyly, “why not promise the moon? If Crooked Hilary gets elected, we can lambast her for not building the wall. And if you get elected….”

They all laughed heartily. Ivanka and Junior, in particular, had the giggles.

Ivanka caught her breath,” Can you imagine Daddy President? With all those porn stars running through the stuffy old White House in their lingerie?”

Big Donald’s laughter turned into coughing. Finally he was able to speak. “If I’m elected, this wall project could make us richer than Gates, Buffet or even Oprah. Huger than Scrooge McDuck!” With some effort, he rose to his feet and started stacking tables while singing to the tune of “We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder.”

“We are building Trump’s Great Wall.”

“We are building Trump’s Great Wall!” The others joined the proceedings. Kushner stood on a chair while Ivanka and Junior handed him tables to add to the “Wall.”

“It’s just another brick in the wall.”

“10 feet! 100 feet! 100 feet higher,

Build the Trump Wall and find us a buyer!”

The building and singing halted when Big Donald staggered and stumbled into their creation, causing the stack of tables to come tumbling down. While Kushner and Redfish helped Big Donald to his feet, Junior continued to sing.

“All the king’s horses and all the King’s men,

Could put the Trump Wall back together again!”

“Shut up Junior.”

Kushie waved his hand for permission to speak. Big Donald nodded.

“But we’ll never actually build the wall. Will we?”

“Of course not. But before they stop us we’ll milk the treasury like a bloated cow. We’ll be living large like Saudi Kings. What we will build are golf courses – From California to the New York Island. From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf Stream waters. Straight through the Grand Canyon! It will be beautiful. Huge! Dream huge. Why not build a golf course on the moon? If those migrant laborers want to migrate we’ll migrate them to the moon. Problem solved. I wish others could see the extraordinariness of my visions. But hey, it’s getting late and it’s Halloween. Melania wants me to wear my SS uniform to her party. Right, my sexy tater tot?”

“That’s right Daddy. Say what you will about the Nazis, they knew how to play dress-up. And guess what that goofy looking waiter told me while he was copping a feel? Halloween is the birthday of Michael Ventura, a famous writer from here in Brooklyn, just like your daddy.”

“Ventura, eh? Sounds Sicilian. I could use some writers who know the need for necessity. Does he do tweets?”

“One other thing, sir.” Kushie whispered. “About your campaign motto: ‘Make Trump Richer Again’ has a ring to it. But it needs some work.”

Off they drove into the night, taking Mango the cook with them to create the epic new Trump Burger, but leaving no tip behind for the hard-working waiter. And so was born the Legend of the Trump Wall. So sayeth Travis Redfish.


James BigBoy Medlin © 2018

James BigBoy Medlin was the sports writer for the original Austin Sun. His column was called "Why Not?"


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