The Pences Visit Manhattan – The New Yorker
Governor Mike Pence was having a romantic dinner with the love of his life, Mrs. Mike Pence, at the Red Lobster in Times Square. The Governor knew that as Vice-President he would have to attend foreign banquets, so he and Mrs. Pence were trying to broaden their palates. Luckily, they had already found a couple of dishes at the Red Lobster which they liked. Governor Pence was saying a blessing over their chicken wings and mozzarella cheese sticks when the first three notes of “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” chimed on his phone, signalling a text. As he read it, Mrs. Pence popped a sizzling cheese stick into her mouth and blew out little puffs of steam. “Look at me!” she said gaily. “I’m a steamboat!”
But the Governor didn’t laugh. Mrs. Pence took his hand and said, “What’s wrong, helpmeet?”
“I’ve been called to Trump Tower. It’s an emergency.”
Outside Donald Trump’s penthouse, the Governor was frisked by Secret Service agents. Pence found contact between men not involved in sports unnatural, but he knew it was necessary for the safety of the nation. He was so patriotic that he often insisted on being patted down two or three times in a row, faster each time.
As he entered the penthouse, he saw Ivanka doing crunches while she watched an exercise video made for the Trumps by Vladimir Putin. Eric was at a mirror, filing his teeth into sharp points, and Donald, Jr., was on a stepladder, combing the mane of a trophy lion. Any hair that came out was placed in a silver bowl, to be used for Trump’s daily weave.
“Where’s your father?” Pence asked.
“My Führer, I mean, my father is asleep,” Donald, Jr., answered.
“At this hour?”
He nodded. “We put a tranquillizer in his Big Mac. We need to talk to you alone. Mike, you’ve seen the polls. Dad’s freaking out. When he got the numbers this morning, he collapsed and started thrashing around, knocking things over and sort of— What would you guys call it?”
“Foaming,” Eric said. “Look, we wanted Dad to run for President. But not because he’d be a good President. We just want to get him out of the company. If you think he sucks as a candidate, you should see him try to run a business.”
Ivanka shook her head. “A monkey with a high fever has better business sense than he does,” she said. “And, if he loses, he’ll be back at the office, spewing out ideas—oh, God . . .” She curled up on the floor and started rocking back and forth.
Eric put the file down, bit a piece of paper, and smiled at the row of neat little holes. “We’re softening his message to help with the groups he’s offended, which include . . . um . . .”
“Everyone but the Klan,” Ivanka said.
“But we have no hope if our own party won’t support him,” Eric said. “We chose you for V.P. because the establishment loves you. So get them in line, and maybe we can win this thing.”
Back on Fifth Avenue, the Governor called Paul Ryan. “Paul, I want to talk to you about Donald Tr— Hello? Hello?” It was funny—ever since he accepted the Party’s nomination as Vice-President, he lost calls all the time. Trump told him it was because the phones are made in China.
He redialled, but the call went right to voice mail. Ryan must be trying him back, he thought. While Governor Pence waited, he looked around at the citizens of Manhattan. What a strange, sad city! Given how many people he saw wearing black, he figured that there must be funerals going on all the time. He assumed that the deaths were caused by starvation—even the wealthy-looking women he saw barely weighed ninety pounds.
But, as he studied these people, he noticed that many of them were on their cell phones. There were lots of people of different races, some from lands where they grow terrorists, and a good number of them were confused about their gender—women with short hair and army pants, men in colors that God intended only for flowers. Why did they have phone service and he did not? Surely, the Lord would take away the sinners’ service before his?
The Governor froze as he realized: maybe it’s not the service. Maybe people are deliberately hanging up on me because of Trump.
He found himself outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Before he joined Mrs. Pence’s megachurch, he had been a Catholic. How fondly he remembered the games he’d played with Father Molloy. He went inside and asked God if he and Trump had a chance. Not hearing anything, he opened a Bible for guidance. His eye fell on Mark 15:30—“Come down from the cross and save yourself.”
He knew then that there was no hope. Yet he did not despair. He thought of Mrs. Pence back in their room at the La Quinta Inn and Suites. She would be in her Lanz flannel nightgown and blue lace cap, preparing their nightcap of warm beef bouillon. They would figure out the future as a married couple should, with him deciding and her obeying. She would sit at his feet and play her guitar until nine-fifteen. That was bedtime, and they would drift off to sleep with the comfort of being man and wife—the real kind, the only kind that counts when you get to Heaven.