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Dreams of Trump, vol. 1

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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.”

When Harper’s excerpted portions of the book in July 1993, some wag titled it “Our Long National Nightmare is Just Beginning,” a phrase that has become nearly, and aptly, ubiquitous.

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.

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  • Had my first (and so far only, please let that continue) Trump dream two nights ago. I was a Secret Service agent trying to get him into a van to get home from some kind of camp/retreat type event, but all the other agents were gone. I had to keep apologizing for him and trying to steer him toward the car. He was sweating and breaking out in hives and my job was to cover for him. It was like those Goldeneye missions where you had to get Natalya to follow you, but a thousand times worse because people kept asking why he was like that.

    We eventually made it to the van, where we got recognized by a kid in another car on the highway. That was about where I woke up. It was . . . interesting.

  • Grumpy

    Don’t be shocked if the assorted strains of nazis publish a compendium of these and call it Dreams From My Fuhrer

  • q-tip

    Loved your dream narrative! The little weird details are what make it special and real.

    The other day, I woke up early from a dream where I had lunch with Jon Stewart. Weirdly, this was the second “lunch with JS” dream I’d had recently. Having the second triggered my memory of the first.

    I got up and wrote the details down, since I was awake already.

    I thought I’d tweet or email it to him – he did something nice for me in the dream, so I thought I’d say thanks! – but it looked like he doesn’t have a twitter account, and with celebrities, who knows what happens when you send them an email?

    Now that I’m not half-awake, I’m stuck with this dream narrative I went to the trouble of writing down. I’m sure it’s terrible.

    I find it interesting that my impulse upon waking up was to share it with the subject of my dream, and since it wasn’t someone I know, I thought of tweeting or email as the way to do that.

    So Dave, maybe you should tweet this to our president-elect? See what he thinks?

  • William Berry

    Weinachtsabend!

    • William Berry

      OK, a little cryptic, I guess. “Weinachtsabend” (Christmas Eve) is the title of a fine sf story by Keith Roberts. British Nazis (alt-universe in which Germany wins WWII) hunt and kill, fox-hunt-style, dissidents on a British country estate.

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

        Don’t remember the details, but there’s another SF alt-universe story where the Germans won the war and are about to kill Gandhi, who has failed because appeals to conscience only work it the person you’re appealing to has one.

        • cleter

          I think that’s The Last Article by Harry Turtledove.

          • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

            Thanks, I’ll look it up- story seems suddenly more relevant.

  • wengler

    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.

    Quality trolling by Brad.

  • efgoldman

    You should have awakened about 10 paragraphs sooner.

  • Yankee

    Good stuff. … When doing textual criticism, the thing is to distinguish original authorial intent beneath layers of anachronistic editorial intrusion.

  • rm

    That was too much.

    If you were flying X-wings near Trump Tower, you should have used the Force to locate that one exhaust vent and do some target practice.

  • Ghostship

    I have to say I haven’t had any dreams about Trump yet, I mean, who could dream of such a tosser, but I’m glad the nightmares I have about Hilary Clinton seem to becoming rarer, shorter and less scary. It’s got to the stage where I don’t have to take a nap in the afternoon after a trip to the pub for a pint or two of old and a pork pie with pickle.

    • rm

      May she haunt your dreams forever.

  • leftwingfox

    No Trump dreams, but I did have a Rogue One dream.

    I was watching the new Rogue One movie, and instead of an opening crawl, it featured Jack Black giving over-dramatic narration about the obscure political situation happening in Star Wars. After several cringeworthy minutes, the film glitches. I realize I’m not watching the movie in a theatre, but on a couch in a seedy lounge that hasn’t been reupholstered since the 70’s, with multiple big-screen TVs like a sports bar.

    The staff announce the movie will return shortly, but not before the most ridiculously obscene commercials for PetCo and a german bank that my sick brain could concoct.

    At that point, I demanded muy money back. I was refunded a $10 Canadian coin, then spent it at the local gourmet coffee kiosk in the mall, run by my favourite movie critic, where we griped about how bad the film was.

    I have very strange, vivid dreams.

  • mpavilion

    Why did Harpers use that title (even as a “joke”)? Were “cool people” cynical about Clinton being elected? I was in high school, had lived under Republicans most my life, and was happy as hell…

    • J Alfred Press

      I was 16 when WJC was first elected, and I hated the man passionately. Like many 16 year olds (and Freddie and his buddies) I had an avowedly all-or-nothing mindset and I believed the Clintons were basically Reagan Rebooted and beautified with a thin veneer of civil rights cred and phony baloney populism. All my other friends/mosh pit partners/fellow zine writers totally agreed with me.

      • mpavilion

        Geez… which candidate did you favor?

      • Hob

        I was 19, but I was more or less the same. I still voted for him and was glad to see Bush lose, but thought the Democrats should have nominated… hmm, I’m not even sure I can reconstruct my thought process now. Harkin? Brown???

  • JBC31187

    I don’t think I’ve been having any dreams, but my sleeping is shit and my asthma’s come back, even though it’s forty degrees in December. The next four/eight/infinite years should be fun.

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    it reminds me of the library scene in Gatsby, and also a half remembered pilot version of Fantasy Island that involved a man being hunted

    so now I envision Herve Villechaize going around in his white tux saying “hi, I’m Nick Carraway”

  • J Alfred Press

    I went to a pretty good small liberal arts college in the 90s, and our President was a sort of charming and well-meaning old money WASP with a huckster’s instinct for advancement. One of the factors that was keeping us down in rankings, in his estimation, was the fact that our library was just abominable. Hand-to-God when they gave us tours as prospies, the guides would come to the library and say “And the state school down the street actually has a really good library and we have privileges to check books out there.”

    So our peerless Prez realized the quickest and cheapest way to look better on paper (he did have long term plans for actually improving the real quality of the library too) was to get the volume count jacked up. So one of the duties of my campus employment as a junior was to go around and find large lots of books to buy. Many of these books were awful paperbacks. Some of them were pseudoscience. Some of them were the kind of shit that would have been comical in 94 but are now probably actually in use again in public high schools (history texts written through the lens of 1950s patriotism, for instance). My summer employment then involved leading a team of students to go through our acquisitions and determine “Which texts we can definitely shelve, which texts we may be able to shelve, and which texts we under absolutely no circumstances can let appear on a shelf.”

  • tallmutha

    Shortly after the election I dreamt that I was watching a movie wherein, in a comical mixup, Beetle Bailey inadvertently swiped the nuclear football from Donald Trump.

    • Shortly after the election I dreamt that I was watching a movie wherein, in a comical mixup, Beetle Bailey inadvertently swiped the nuclear football from Donald Trump.

      And hijinx ensued!!!

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