No. 45 – Lunch

“I’ve got everything here”.

The Veteran had to double check. If anything was missing, well, he wouldn’t yell at you, he’d just think you were incapable. Unreliable. A dumbass, in his own words. So the Veteran opened the insulated bag and had a look. A big Mac from McDonald’s. Two cheese and beef melts from Arby’s. A bucket of KFC – Extra Crispy. A small loaded pizza from Papa Johns. Two bottles of coke.

“Seems like everything’s in order. Go on in, he’ll be waiting for you” the Veteran told the Rookie intern. The Rookie looked up at him. The Veteran finished his thought for him before he opened his mouth. “Yes, all of that is for him. Steve might grab a slice of pizza, but… besides that, yeah, it’s all his. No, he’s not going to eat it all in one go. He sets it up like a little buffet and picks at it throughout the afternoon. Go on, he’s expecting you. He might seem scary, but he’s an alright guy.”

The Rookie nodded and trotted off. The Veteran ducked off to the washroom to tweet this. They were cracking down on leaks. But this was too damn good of an opportunity to pass up.

***

The Rookie opened the door to the Oval Office. There was the President of the United States, yelling at the television.”Those fucking liars! Those fucking sons-a-bitches! I didn’t tell the Aussie Prime Minister to go fuck himself.”

The Vice-President was pacing behind him. “No sir, you didn’t say that. But you were rather curt.”

The President of the United States spun around. “Yeah, and I hung up on the clown. Over a thousand refugee he says he’s sending over. Said he made a deal with the last guy. What a lousy deal. You know what we get? Nothing. We get a bunch of broken sand hicks and their shitty offspring.”

Steve was sitting in the chair behind the desk, twirling a pen. “It was good of you to show your strong hand there, Mr. President. We can’t be letting just anyone into the country. The last guy was soft. You need to be strong.”

The President walked over to the desk, put his hands on it and leaned right over to look at Steve. “I am strong. I’m the strongest. There’s nobody out there who’s stronger than me.” Steve looked right at the President and didn’t break eye contact. There was a pause. “Good. That’s exactly what this country needs. Mr. President”. Steve flashed a grin and soon the President of the United States was beaming. “You’re my guy Steve, this is why you’re my guy.” The Vice-President shook his head in the corner.

“Lunch! I can smell it. New guy. Thank you so much for running out and grabbing this for me. You’re a rockstar, you know that? Just put it on the desk”. The Rookie intern walked over to the desk and placed to order down. The Vice-President finally spoke again. “Look, with all due respect Mr. President, at your age you shouldn’t be eating this kind of…” The President of the United States waved his hand at the Vice-Pres. “Now, now, we’ve talked about this, okay? I’m healthy. I’ve got a body like, like, hey, who’s that superhero that can rejuvenate himself? Played by that hairy guy.”

The Rookie’s eyes brightened. “You mean Wolverine?”

The President clapped his hands and pointed at the Rookie. “This kid. This kid right here. RockStar. You’re going places kid, I can see it. What’s your name?”

The Rookie thrust out his hand. “The name’s Matt, sir. Matt Goading.” The President shook his hand. “Whoa there, Matt, strong grip you’ve got. I like that in a man. Good business skill”.

Suddenly there was a buzz from the President’s pocket. He pulled out his cell phone. He looked at it, and then his face curdled. His jovial, round features became hard lines, and he started turning red as the blood rushed to his face.

“Fuck!” he screamed. It was clear now that, even though he might have been disappointed with the television earlier, he didn’t lose his cool. Now, the calm seas in the oval office became a torrential storm of scorching emotions.

“How the fuck did they know? This @RoguePOTUSStaff on Twitter. How the fuck did this shit for brains asshole knew what I was eating? He’s got the whole list right here.”

Steve looked at the Rookie, his dropping eyes piercing right through him to the back of his skull. “Mr. President, we might have a traitor in our midst right here.”

The President looked at Steve, then over at the Rookie. He started pointing his finger right in the Rookie’s face. “Do you know who the fuck I am? I will wipe the fucking floor with you. I will ram so many lawsuits down your goddamn throat you’ll be begging me to stop. You-will-be-begging-me. I will go to fucking war over this. Who the fuck are you?” The Rookie tried to say something but was shot down immediately. “I do not give a shit who the fuck Matt Goading is. I will bury you, your family and your goddamn children.”

The President straighten his tie, threw a hand through his hair. The red drained from his face. He held out his phone. “Your phone. Lemme see it.” The Rookie was pale, shaking nervously as beads of sweat started running down his face. “C’mon, don’t make this harder on yourself kid. Gimme your phone.” The Rookie pulled out his cell phone and handed it over. The President swiped at it. “What’s your password?” The Rookie stuttered slightly “It… It’s 5468…” The President tapped the phone a couple times, then started swiping again. After a while, he cocked an eyebrow and looked up at the Rookie. “Where’s your Twitter app? I can’t find it.” The Rookie gulped nervously. “C’mon kid, I don’t have all day. Where’s the app?” The Rookie was looking down at his feet. “I… ummm. I…” The President poked him with the phone. “C’mon, big man, where’s Twitter? You’re saying something. Say it.” The Rookie shuffled in place. “I don’t…. I don’t have Twitter. I don’t even have a Twitter account.”

The President’s eyes bulged, then rolled back. “Jesus Christ, I thought we were only hiring kids who understood cyber.” He shook his head and handed the phone back. His face went scarlet and he kicked at a chair. “Goddamnit!” The entire time, Steve hadn’t taken his eyes off the Rookie. “Mr. President, we don’t have a traitor here. But we might have a tool. A Trojan Horse.”

The President was still red in the face and walked towards the desk. “Not in the mood for riddles about horses, Steve. You have an idea, spit it out.”

Steve broke his gaze with the Rookie and looked over at the President. “The person in charge of this account, it’s obviously a brat. What we need is someone to find out this brat, sniff ’em out. We need a younger person, someone fresh.” he continued twirling the pen.

The President threw up his hands. “Stop with the games Steve, who are you talking about?”

Steve sighed. “The RockStar here. He goes out, makes himself chummy with all the other staff members, finds out who’s in charge of the handle @RoguePOTUSStaff. Our solution is right here in the room.”

The President looked over at the Rookie, back to Steve, then back to the Rookie. His eyes lit up when the pieces came together. “Good idea. I like that idea. I like that idea a lot.” He walked back to the Rookie and put his hands on his shoulders. “Listen, Matt, sorry about earlier. But I’m surrounded, surrounded by losers who want to bring me down. I need loyal people. If you’re loyal to me, I’ll be loyal to you. You get whatever you want. You want a new car? I’ll get you a new car. You want to fuck a bus full of models? I will personally hand pick the models myself. I’m offering you the key to a new life, a life of success, a key that will open every door for you. All you need to do is be loyal to me. Can you do that, Matt?”

The Rookie, still pale as a ghost and sweating profusely, nodded in agreement.

“Not good enough Matt. How do businessmen do business?” The President put out his hand. The Rookie extended his own and shook his. “Beautiful. What a handshake. You’re going to go far, Matt. You help us find this leak, and we’ll plug it up.” The President reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. He opened it and produced a stack of hundred dollar bills. “Here’s some money. You make friends out there. Take them out for drinks, take them to dinner, buy them whatever they want. Grease ’em up and make ’em talk.” the President said as he handed the stack of hundreds to the Rookie. “I’m counting on you. Now get at it, tiger.” The President smiled and winked.

The Rookie gave a grin, just about tripped over his feet as he turned and walked out of the room. Just before he was out the door, the President spoke.

“One last thing, kid. Get a Twitter app. It’ll help you find this loser.” The Rookie nodded once and pushed the door open.

On the other side of the door, the White House was bustling as usual, but the air was less heavy. The door latch clicked. The Rookie closed his eyes and took a deep breath. It was only his first day, and already he making waves. He opened his eyes and he saw the Veteran, the guy who double checked his order, on the other side of the hall. The Veteran grinned and gave the Rookie a thumbs up. The Rookie returned the thumbs up, even though his hand was trembling. It was going to be a long four years.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I’m not even sure this even counts as satire anymore.

 

 

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