Near the end of October of 2020, a small item appeared on the AP wire feed. Lady May, the yacht seized during the arrest of the former White House Strategist, Sloppy Steve, had been seconded to the White House as the new presidential yacht. The article went on to say that the last presidential yacht, the USS Sequoia, had gone out of service during the Carter administration. Nobody gave a shit, and the only paper to run the story was the Badger Bugle, out of Gibipowac, WI. They had lost an advertiser, and the article fit neatly into a half-empty column on page 4.
The media had more important fish to fry. Each new day in the torturous slow-motion weeks leading up to the election brought the agonizing decision: what do we run as the lead? The latest barbs volleyed between Sleepy Joe and the Young Vibrant Man? The impending doom of Obamacare? The numbing statistics of yet another few thousand Covid deaths?
There was also quite a lot of agonizing going on within the now-subdued West Wing. “Why aren’t we giddy with joy?” they all thought. The Hardest Working President in History had appointed enough federal judges to keep gun control and abortion legislation in the courts for decades. The federal Beast had been starved to the point that, even if it couldn’t be drowned in the bathtub, it should at least think about installing an accessibility bar and non-slip strips. Federal workers in every department were cowed or retired.
Even the current Ms. Alternative Facts was not immune to the ennui that held the West Wing in its grip. The Greatest of All Presidents himself had privately admitted that he was not destined for a second term. That wasn’t the problem. If you couldn’t sound the trump of victory when your candidate was down at least 7 points in all the polls, you didn’t belong in this game. A draft of her letter of resignation (undated) was tucked away on her hard drive. A series of private lunches in recent weeks had brought numerous lucrative offers from various interests, all of whom needed the services of a truly gifted liar.
Like her, all the others had exit strategies, with a promise, in most cases, of at least double their government salaries. Some even nursed political ambitions, as time and the short memories of voters allowed them to downplay their stints as backup vocals for “President T”.
The problem was that they were now just going through the motions. Even the Toughest Kid in the Neighborhood no longer seemed to have his heart in the fight. He seemed resigned to running out the clock, barely able to dole out a derisive jab or two whenever Sleepy Joe laid a glove on him.
In fact, it seemed, the only one who had not announced an exit strategy was the Lone Warrior himself. Whispers in dark corners of the White House were traded, but all was speculation. Many of those evoked images of Individual 1 doing a perp walk in some dingy New York precinct.
In any normal election, the morning of the first Wednesday after the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November should have been greeted, at the very least, with a sense of relief. By now many of the staffers, including the current Ms. Alternative Facts herself, had decided that win or lose, they would tender their resignations. Everyone had had enough of this shit. It was time to “spend more time with their families”, or “pursue other opportunities”.
But this was as abnormal a year as a year could be. It was now very clear that no one would know anything about the results, even for down-ballot races, until millions of mail-in ballots had been tabulated, court injunctions filed, accusations of voting fraud traded, and maybe even a Supreme Court intervention. Nobody wanted to wait that long.
There was a transient moment of glee on the Right when the new Supreme Court declared Obamacare unconstitutional. Even Your Favorite President seemed to wax surprisingly optimistic in a television appearance. Only a few immediate members of the crime family knew that his buoyant mood was largely due to an envelope delivered to him by hand, from the Russian embassy.
There were a LOT of mail-in ballots! Nonetheless, even painstaking counts and recounts can only take so long, as, one-by-one, the tally of electoral votes climbed relentlessly upward in the wrong column, as state after state delivered a fresh stab of humiliation. Although he was A Better Warrior than Anybody, he had failed to recall that even that little guy, uh, Napoleon, had finally been forced into exile.
There were too many states now, to contest the election. The Supreme Court would not be pestered with futile pleas from an Unindicted Co-Conspirator. Your President of Law and Order would have to occupy himself with spending his remaining days in office in seemingly pointless gestures, like pardoning his former Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor, Sloppy Steve.
With the onset of the Covid-ridden Holiday Season, people seemed to forget the Second Coming of God, who dominated the news cycles less and less. Just after Christmas, Fox News filled some air time asking him about his plans for the future. He seemed cagey about the specifics. “Well, I’m selling off some properties to finance my next project. It’ll be HUGE! The biggest!” “Nothing else?” the journalist persisted. “Just work, no retirement plans?” The former King of Palm Beach seemed to relax a bit, smiling serenely into the camera. “I’ll be back in Mar-A-Lago soon. I am thinking of taking up yachting.”
Ten days before the Inauguration, the Ally of All Peaceful Protestors had the roads cleared, using tear gas and rubber bullets, for his motorcade to exit the White House, en route to the airport, and from there to Florida, where he would finish out his term.
The next day, the Justice Department received a letter on a presidential letterhead, proclaiming that the President of Law and Order had granted himself “a full, free, and absolute pardon for all offenses against the United States I have committed or may have committed or taken part in during or prior to my election as President of the United States.”
The details of the events of January 12, 2021, may never be entirely known. A farewell regatta of his loyal supporters was planned, to be headed by the Lady May, piloted by none other than his loyal henchman, Sloppy Steve. The final epic MAGA rally, replete with red and white banners, sailed out of Miami, and down the coast on a crisp Florida morning. The Secret Service and the Coastguard had pleaded that security would be impossible with so many boats. The Commander-in-Chief responded, at the last minute, by ordering that the size of the detail be slashed. They threw up their hands. “What the fuck, just a few more days and we’ll be shut of this numskull.” Like most of the rest of the planet, they were exhausted, counting down the days until the nightmare ended.
The party sailed without incident, to the scheduled turnaround point at Key West. The fingers of the Professional at Technology deftly typed a Tweet whose meaning wouldn’t be fully understood for several days: “Thnks 4 everything Vlad. CU soon.” Why didn’t anybody anticipate that the man whose winning strategy invariably consisted of sowing confusion, would make good his escape from justice by a final staged spectacle of confusion? The small cadre of Coastguard officers in attendance at first perceived nothing but poor seamanship by potentially drunken yachtsmen. As they struggled to keep their principle within reach, the Lady May receeded farther and farther to the south, and appeared to be gaining speed with each passing minute.
The Lady May sped across the water, pursued, but unimpeded. What were they going to do, sink the President’s boat?
At first, the news media could only get the White House to say that the President’s boat was missing. In his nightly broadcast, Trevor Noah speculated, “It looks like he went back where he came from - The Bermuda Triangle.”
Jan. 16, 2021 - Cuba announces that the President has been granted asylum. In a hotel in Havana, John Baron grows increasingly desperate and enraged as Vladimir Putin fails to return any of his phone calls.
Jan. 21, 2021 - Joseph Biden is inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States.
Jan. 22, 2021 - Attorneys for the Southern District of New York unseal over 20 indictments, naming the former President as defendant. The former First Lady files for a name change, and announces a $15 million book deal.
Jan. 29, 2021 - An audit of White House properties reveals valuable items missing, including gilded cutlery and artwork. The Secret Service states that “It looks like an inside job.”
Spring 2021 - Congress passes a bill restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba, opening the door to trade and tourism. Further indictments are filed in New York and Florida for bank fraud, money laundering and tax evasion.
March 2022 - A gleaming new hotel and casino opens in downtown Havana. It is obscenely ostentatious, defying any standards of good taste. American tourists flock to Cuba for the first time. Many of them decide to stay there.