For six seconds, the entire world was silent. Not a single person dared to breathe.
In Washington, D.C., the announcer stared at the results, aghast. It was true. “Trump,” he repeated. “Donald – Donald J. Trump is the forty-fifth President of the United States of America.”
Thousands of millions of people stared at their television screens, feeling numb. In Ohio, somebody started crying.
The silence was broken by a whoop of laughter from the man himself, as he leapt in pure joy, not even caring that his comb-over was flailing everywhere. He danced on the stage, arms and legs flapping like a demented ostrich, the deepest insult to every bad dancer who had ever existed.
The millions of people who had jokingly written Trump’s name on their ballot felt the deepest shame in their lives. ‘It’s just one vote,’ had said those millions of people. ‘One joke vote for Trump won’t actually get him elected.’ Not even Trump’s hired crowd dared to cheer; they hadn’t actually thought that the man would ever win the election.
All over the world, the silence was finally broken.
“Bloody hell,” said Queen Elizabeth. “Somebody get me a damned drink.”
“Madre de Dios,” breathed Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico.
Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, said nothing, because he was too busy laughing.
All across the world, people hung their heads and cried, gently, to the uncaring wind.
“No more concrete?”
“No more concrete.”
“When you say ‘no more’, you mean…”
“No more concrete! There is no more concrete!”
“Are you sure?”
President Donald J. Trump folded his arms and glared at the engineer, as if that would magically make more concrete appear. “Check again,” he said.
The engineer (who had drawn the short straw and had to break the unsurprising news to the President) sucked in a deep, deep breath through his nose. The last six months had been almost certainly the worst in his life. In the months before the election, he and some of his coworkers had gotten together to jokingly plan out what would be necessary to actually build Trump’s planned wall, and had concluded that it was impossible in almost every possible way. Then the orange bastard had actually won, and he’d been hired to actually build the stupid impossible wall.
“But why isn’t there any more concrete?” the President asked.
“Because we’ve used all of it,” the engineer said calmly.
“Then just tell the concrete mines to mine more,” Trump said. He rolled his eyes as if he was talking to an idiot, and went back to his game of solitaire.
“I’m just going to overlook the fact that you think there’s such a thing as a ‘concrete mine’,” the engineer moaned. “Well, the… ugh, ‘concrete mines’ will take months to make all the concrete we’ll need. And, again, I have to remind you about the problem of the logistics…”
“God’s sake,” Trump snapped. “What is so damn hard about building a stupid wall? Have you ever seen New York City?”
“No, I’ve never heard of it.”
“New York City! Greatest city in the world. Greatest buildings in the world. And you know what the best one is?”
“Why, obviously, the Trump World Tower, Mister President, sir.”
Trump grinned. “Exactly! I built that, designed the whole thing.”
The engineer made a cough that sounded suspiciously like, “Costas Kondylis,” which was coincidentally the name of the architect who designed the Trump World Tower.
“Need a cough drop?”
“No, sir, thank you.”
“Good. Now, Trump World Tower, that’s a triumph of engineering! Seventy five stories, top to bottom, some of the best contemporary architecture you’ll ever see, one of the top ten tallest buildings in the city, even!”
Cough. “Seventy two, no distinguishing features, fifteenth tallest.” Cough, cough.
“Are you alright?”
“Because it sounded like you just said…”
“You were saying something about the tower, sir?”
“Oh, yeah. Trump World Tower! If I can build a thousand foot tall tower-”
Cough. “Eight hundred and sixty one.” Cough.
“-in the middle of New York City, best city in the world, I love it, then how hard can it be to build a little wall in the middle of the desert?”
A thousand answers to that question raced through the engineer’s mind. Raw materials, casting and transporting entire sections of the wall, proper facilities for the workers, land acquisition, environmental reviews… just thinking about it made the engineer wish for a large bottle of grain alcohol.
“Look, clearly you’re incompetent. Nothing against you, nothing at all, it’s just that this work isn’t cut out for you,” Trump said, standing up and guiding the engineer gently but firmly towards the door. “Just leave it all to me, I’ve got people who know how to get stuff like this done. Why don’t you just go home, put your feet up, and in a week or so, start sending out your resume to some other construction places or whatever. You’re fired.”
The engineer let out a breath of relief as the door was closed behind him. His colleagues, who had been waiting outside, took one look at him and didn’t need to guess how the meeting had gone. “You okay?” one of them said, putting a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
“That man has got to be the most bullish human being I’ve ever met,” said the engineer. He looked at the suited Secret Service guards flanking the doors. “Hats off to you gentlemen, by the way. I can barely stand dealing with him for fifteen minutes, and you guys have to do it all day.”
The impassive guards looked at each other in silent conversation. One of them sighed and removed his dark sunglasses, fixing the engineer with a haunted stare. “I have to spend almost twelve hours a day between ten and fifty feet from the President while carrying a loaded sidearm,” he said. “Do you have any idea what kind of willpower that takes?”
Somewhere along the border of the United States and Mexico, a construction overseer looked at the sections of the wall that had been completed and planted in the ground after six months of work; all three of them. One of the workers, smiling like a cat with the milk or whatever, stood at his side.
“¿Manuel? (Manuel?)” the overseer asked.
“¿Si? (Yes?)” the worker responded.
“¿Porque hay una puerta en la barrerra? (Why is there a door in the wall?)”
Manuel looked between the overseer and the door, a simple plank of wood in the expanse of concrete. Still smiling, he shrugged. “No veo una puerta. (I don’t see a door.)”
The overseer looked between Manuel and the door. “Yo tampoco. (Me neither.)”