Ten-year-old Jacob and his 12-year-old sister, Rachel, loved visiting their grandpa and wished they could do it more than once a year. But he not only lived in the western part of the Divided States, requiring a one-hour flight in the air shuttle, he also lived deep in the woods, requiring a two-hour drive in a rented Hydrobishi. The children loved to see all the animals in the woods, but even more than that, they relished the stories that Grandpa Morwitz would read to them in front of the fireplace.
“Grandpa, grandpa, what are you going to read to us today?” Rachel asked excitedly on the very first evening. The children’s parents were preparing dinner in the kitchen, allowing grandpa to relax and spend time with his grandkids.
“Well,” said grandpa, “I have a new book. I received it just yesterday and have already read most of it.”
He took the thick hardback from his bookshelf and showed it to the kids. On the front, in orange letters, was the title: “Tales of Trump.”
“Are they scary stories?” Jacob asked.
“Quite scary. But you two are old enough, I think.”
“How many stories are there?” Rachel asked.
“Fifty. This is just Volume One. If you enjoy these stories, I will order the other four volumes.”
He turned the pages to the Table of Contents. “Which one should I read first? Ah yes, here’s one that I’m sure you’ll like. It’s called ‘The Unmasked Ruler.’ … Many moons ago, there lived a ruler named Trump. He was loved by many people and hated by many, too.”
“Oh, like spinach,” Rachel said.
“Sort of,” grandpa said. “The land that Trump ruled was a prosperous land, with an abundance of food, alcohol and prescription pills. But there came a year when a plague fell upon the land, a terrible disease that killed scores of people. It was caused by a virus called COVID and the wise men and women of those days—the ones who studied science and conducted experiments — advised everyone to wear masks to keep COVID from spreading from one person to another.”
“Halloween masks?” Rachel asked. “To scare the virus away?”
“No, these were not scary masks,” grandpa said, showing the children a picture in the book. “They just covered a person’s nose and mouth, and made some people less scary than usual. But Trump was not happy about any of this. He ranted and raged inside his white castle. He was already upset that mosquitoes and bed bugs were not only multiplying in great numbers across the land, they enjoyed a higher approval rating than him.
“He thought the disease would hurt his approval rating even more and cause people to revolt against him. At first, he told people not to worry about COVID and that it would miraculously go away. He also discouraged people from wearing masks and did not wear masks himself in public gatherings.”
“That’s stupid,” Jacob said.
“Jacob!” grandpa said.
“Mommy!” Rachel yelled. “Jacob used the s-word.”
“Sorry, Mommy, I couldn’t help it. Someone in grandpa’s story did something stupid.”
“Keep reading, grandpa,” Rachel said.
“Trump made fun of anyone who wore masks. He thought it made them look weak. Then one day, in the middle of the night, COVID showed up at the white castle. ‘Here I am, Mr. Trump,’ the virus said. ‘I hope you’re wearing your mask.’ Trump snickered. ‘You aren’t going to get me. Nobody can get me. People have tried, but everyone has failed. I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and no one would get me. You’re just a tiny virus. I’m a giant of a human being, the most powerful man in the world.’
“COVID roared, ‘You think you can stop me, Mr. Trump? I’ve infected all kinds of humans: bodybuilders and weaklings; geniuses and dunces; saints and Senators.’ Before Trump could say another word, COVID lunged toward him, saying, ‘Let’s see how powerful you really are, Mr. Trump!’
“Trump ducked and dodged and ran behind his wife, shouting, ‘Save me, Melania!’
“But she couldn’t save him from the virus, and Trump was soon revealing to all his subjects that he and Melania were both infected.”
“Oh no,” Jacob said. “Did they die?”
“Patience, Jacob, patience,” grandpa said. “When people heard that Trump was ill, there was great sadness in the land. ‘What will become of our beloved leader?’ many people asked. ‘Will we be deprived of his great wisdom and love?’ But in other parts of the land, people secretly rejoiced. ‘When you play with fire,’ they whispered, ‘you’re bound to get burned.'”
“What happened next, grandpa?” Rachel asked.
“Trump was admitted to a hospital, where the doctors and nurses saved him from COVID. Trump returned triumphantly to his white castle. ‘If you can survive the liberal media and Democrats,’ he crowed, ‘you can easily survive COVID.’ He ordered his staff to go to the Amazon and bring him the biggest monster they could find. ‘I beat COVID,’ he said. ‘I can beat anything. Let me show everyone, once and for all, how strong I am.’
“So his staff went online and ordered a 10-foot python from India. When it arrived, Trump arranged to wrestle the python in front of a TV crew.'”
“Oh no,” Rachel said. “What happened? Did he kill the python?”
“No, the python swallowed him whole. He disappeared inside the python. He was inside the python for three hours before his staff shot the python, cut it open and pulled Trump out.'”
“Three hours?” Jacob said. “Why did it take them so long to get him out?”
“They were deciding between him and the python.”
“Poor python,” Rachel said.
“Was Trump okay?” Jacob asked.
“Yes, he was just fine. After washing off and changing into a fresh suit, he took a photo standing victoriously over the python and shared it on social media, saying, ‘I pummeled this python. Who’s next?’ And his supporters were overjoyed. ‘Our leader has truly been blessed with great strength,’ they said. But other people were not happy. ‘You can take Trump out of the snake,’ they whispered to themselves, ‘but you can never take the snake out of Trump.'”