Over 20 years ago, an odd little volume appeared in print, cataloging ordinary Americans’ dreams about William Jefferson Clinton. It included gems like the following:
I was going to the Folklife Festival, just like I do every year. When I got to the Seattle Center I picked up the schedule, but instead of listing musical entertainment, like it usually does, it listed members of the Clinton Administration who would be giving talks on various topics all weekend long. The Clinton Administration had taken over the Folklife Festival, but no one seemed to mind.
Lloyd Bentsen gave a very interesting talk about the economy, and William Sessions was talking about CIA surveillance. That Romeo and Juliet duo from the Bush and Clinton campaigns [James Carville and Mary Matalin] gave a dynamic workshop about how to make your relationship work against all odds.
The thing I most remember about this dream is how enthusiastic the crowd was. For a while I was sitting by this large fountain in the middle of the center listening to wisps of conversations of people going by. Things like, “Oh, my God, did you hear what Al Gore said about cleaning up the sound?” and “That Leon Panetta, he really has a grasp of the situation. He feels the same as me.”
Now, five weeks out from the election, my fitful hours of slumber have at last been invaded by the specter of Donald Trump. I’m surprised it took this long, honestly, but here we are. And since I’m taking a prolonged sabbatical from social media, you have to endure this first.
The dream begins as I’m piloting some kind of X-Wing fighter near the surface of the moon. My friend Brad — or someone who looks quite like him — has joined me, and after growing weary of our endless lunar orbits, we decide to return home and take our kids out for pizza and video games. Once we return to the Earth’s atmosphere, our spacecraft spontaneously transforms into a pair of jetpacks, and we soon enough find ourselves hovering outside the top floor of Trump Tower in New York. The outer shell of the president-elect’s lair is festooned with gargoyles, offering it the look of Dana’s Barrett’s penthouse apartment in the original version of Ghostbusters, where Peter Venckman and company match wits and proton streams with Gozer the Destructor. As Brad and I peer into the Trump suite, we find The Clear Second Choice of the People sitting alone in bed, staring with a furrowed, half-literate brow at the interior of a large black book.
“It’s probably Moby Dick,” Brad says, “Because he thinks it’s a book about a giant dick.”
Brad is always saying stupid shit like this, so I ignore him and suggest that we start making ghost noises instead. Somehow, we figure out a way to rattle the windows without touching them, which proved to be a pretty fucking awesome trick that, alas, only works in dreams, or if you’re a an earthquake or a strong gust of wind, neither of which I am yet. After a few minutes of this, and not knowing if we have succeeded in freaking Trump out, we discover a way to slip undetected into the building. The interior, we find, looks remarkably like that Extended Stay kitchenette your uncle lived in for a few months after he got his ass fired and Connie served him those divorce papers at long last. The carpet feels like a green Brillo pad, and there is a mini-fridge that is probably stuffed with Hot Pockets and fish sticks. The walls are rimmed with low bookshelves heaving with paperbacks, and there are a couple of cheap halogen torchères in case someone needs to collect on the fire insurance.
Hearing footsteps outside the door, we duck beneath a half wall in the middle of the suite as Trump enters the room and ambles to the sink. As he fills a glass with tap water that we can only hope has been piped from a contaminated well in Oklahoma, he pivots slightly and spots us behind the wall. With no discernible change in expression, he says, “I see you’re here for the hunt. It’s better than being taken away by the Secret Service, I’ll tell you that much.”
I have no idea what he’s talking about. Opening an otherwise empty cabinet, Trump withdraws a roll of Saran wrap and casually binds our wrists together, which we allow to happen for some reason. Brad notes that our host’s nimble response to the unexpected suggests that he might actually be temperamentally suited for the presidency, and I tell Brad to shut the fuck up.
Having bound our hands in polymer film, Trump leads us around the suite. He explains that the books aren’t actually his, that he acquired them during the purchase of Eastern Air Lines, which launched his ill-fated venture with Trump Shuttle. Apparently, Eastern stocked the fuselage of every jet with cheap paperbacks, and Trump simply pilfered them to serve as the basis of something resembling the Imperial Library of Constantinople, though with substantially more Dean Koontz and Judith Krantz titles. Trump explains that he’s going to get his own books “soon — actually, sooner than you think, now that I have more money.”
With no time to reflect on possible book selections, Trump curtly announces that it’s “time for the hunt” and points to the door.
I wake up.