When Bennett Met Trump

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A little Alan Bennett pastiche. Those of you familiar with Bennett's work will, I hope, appreciate the wry and mildly irreverent tone.

[Spoken with an agreeable Yorkshire cadence:] 

January 21st, 2017; New York.

A theatre performance on Broadway. The play, though reasonably entertaining, proves not to be a favourite of mine or anyone else’s for that matter. It is overrun by characters one might expect to meet at a finance managers’ golf tournament with nothing in their behaviour to give any clue to their humanity. Its one saving grace is a small disabled dog with uncontrollable flatulence; a non-speaking part more than likely added by a writer worried about losing his audience to the perils of Net Present Value.   

During the interlude I return from a much needed lavatory break to a round of booing and heckling. Forgetting earlier murmurs about the late arrival of President Trump to the Upper Tier I worry that by hurtling to the toilet before the house lights went up I breached some old theatrical bylaw and perhaps doomed the performance to an early grave. Consequently, I bow my head in shame and start back to my seat with a choc ice at the pace of an undertaker hoping no-one decides to throw their shoe at such a slow moving target.

It’s at this moment I catch sight of the man himself — Donald Trump esquire – henceforth known as POTUS, or bloatus, lumbering toward me with all the grace of an elephant with four legs of unequal length. From what I gather he is heading swiftly for the nearest exit having been informed with regret that Rowdy Red Pinko and his troupe of southern-state cheerleaders The Golden Girls would not be putting on a half-time spectacle.

I note with a modicum of interestitude that the little legion of secret agents flanking President Trump looks less troubled by the news than he, and though outwardly vigilant under the constant threat of assassination one notices these men regard their ward in the same way one might a chunk of coiffured ear wax; perhaps even a chunk fallen forth from an ear other than their own and for the protection of which they are now expected to give their lives. Such absurdities must play on their mind.

The posse shuffles ever closer my way until, stopping at a distance akin to point blank range, there is a parting of the waves and, Hail, prophet Trump emerges triumphant from their midst.

He approaches with an outstretched hand (palm naturally facing downwards) and I am struck by its diminutive size and lack of hair as though it might once have belonged to the great Joanna Lumley, or Julian Clary; I wondered at the back of my mind whether he had made an offer either couldn’t refuse.  Undeterred I rise to the occasion and shake the presented limb with the sincerity of an Englishman, hoping at least to have done my humanitarian good deed for the day.

“Do I know you?” Mr Trump then asks with the belligerent timbre of a patient in the later confines of dementia. “I very much doubt you do,” I reply, hoping my mild insinuation of his ignorance will cause him to let me go. Unfortunately, it has the opposite effect causing the President to lunge towards me in an attempt to solve the identity of the mystery man, although I suppose he could just as easily have been pushed from behind by one of the goons.

To my astonishment I notice his face is held together by mini versions of the men standing around him and for a moment at least I am fascinated by the quantum-engineering involved which presumably only a man of Trump’s wealth is able to commission. However, my interest soon dissipates as I am also engulfed by the disabling aroma of the man’s breath: a heady mixture of quesadilla and freshly mown turd; and only if I escape reasonably soon will I have a sporting chance of holding on to the remnants of this morning’s Buvette.   

He leans forward; evidently meaning business. The outmoded article he calls his hair casts a shadow over his unsmiling eyes. He says, “Tell me your name then,” at which I feel compelled by some unknown force to reply rather grandly: “Who do you think, sir, I am the Queen of England”.

Such an announcement usually provokes great hilarity and quite alleviates any social discomfiture, but to my amazement President Trump and his little legion fall to their knees in front of me, proof if proof be needed of the befuddlement felt by Americans when faced with sarcasm.  To make matters worse, before I can explain myself he bows his head and says: “Your Majesty, it is indeed an honour.”

Tempted to make a dash for it I find my escape routes blocked by ice cream sellers and ushers. So, while I have no choice but to play along I reach out a majestic hand and allow him to kiss it gently. After doing so he says, “If there is anything I can do for your Majesty, you only need to say.” Well, what can I say? Seizing an opportunity to impart the sentiment of just about every one of the Queen’s subjects I reply, “Fine, whatever you do don’t set foot in the UK otherwise I’ll have your head chopped off.”

“Your wish is my command,” he says and with that he’s gone, leaving me holding a choc ice now reduced to nothing more than a puddle. 

AB

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