The President sat bolt upright in his bed. He scanned the dark room for any signs of movement, his eyes adjusting slowly.
“It’s me, Donald,” a voice said. A shadow on the wall started moving toward him, stopping right at the side of his bed. “It’s Ronald Reagan.”
“B-b-b-but…you’re dead,” The President replied. “Right? Or are you…you died, right?”
“Yes, Mr. President,” Reagan said. “I died 14 years ago.”
“I knew it,” he said. “I knew it the whole time.”
“Good for you,” Reagan said. “Now listen. Tonight, you are going to be visited by three ghosts.”
“So, you and two other people,” he said.
“Ye…well, no. Three other ghosts,” Reagan said.
“So, four total, then,” he said.
“Have you…ever…read a book?” Reagan asked. “Does this sound familiar, like, at all?”
“I’ve read many books,” he said. “All the best books.”
“…oh my god,” Reagan muttered to himself.
“Just not any books about ghosts,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter,” Reagan said. “Just go back to sleep. Your first visitor will be along shortly. Where’s your wife by the way?”
“They won’t tell me where she sleeps,” he said.
“Sounds about right,” Reagan said. “All right. So, be prepared.”
“MOTHER F…” but *poof*, he vanished into thin air before he could finish his sentence.
The President picked up the phone next to his bed.
“Good evening, Mr. President,” the voice on the other end of the line said.
“I’m going to need a Diet Coke, and another Diet Coke to get back to bed,” he said.
“Very good, right away, sir.” She hung up the phone, gestured to the man sitting next to her. “Two this time,” she said.
“He knows that’s literally not how bodies work, right?” the man said. “I mean, he knows this?”
“Don’t start,” she said. “Just bring the man his Diet Cokes. He’ll probably be asleep before you get there.”
He ran them upstairs, and she was right. The President had fallen fast asleep again.
“Wake up, Mr. President,” the voice said.
“Daddy?” he said, his voice groggy.
“No, it is I,” the voice said. “The first President of the United States.”
“George Hamilton?” he said.
“…they named the city after me?” he said.
“…D.C. Hamilton?” the President said.
Washington rubbed the bridge of his nose. “You know what?” he sighed, “Yes. My name is D.C. Hamilton.”
“Well, it’s an honor to meet you, sir. I’ve read a lot about you.”
“Oh really?” Washington said, amused. “Tell me. I do love to hear what they wrote about me.”
“Well, you have to remember this was a long time ago, very long time,” he said. “I went to some of the greatest schools, great schools. I did very well at them, I have a terrific mind. One of the best memories of all time.”
“Yes,” Washington said. “Names especially.”
“So when they wrote about D.C. Hamilton, they always, and by the way it’s always the men who write the great histories. Never the women. Women are good writers, you know, when it comes to things like cookbooks and romance novels. I met Fabio, by the way, did you know that?”
“I did not,” Washington said.
“Great guy, very smart guy.”
“That’s wonderful,” Washington said.
“So, what can I do for you,” the President said.
“Well, since you’ve read ‘all the best books’, you’ll no doubt recall Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
“Is that the ‘Deck the halls with bears and holly’ one?” the President said.
“No, that one’s called Fa La La La La,” he said. “How does this one go again?”
“It’s the classic tale of a … you know what, let’s just skip that part,” Washington said. “We need to move this along if we’re going to get this done in one night.”
“Get what done,” the President said.
“I am here to show you what it was like in the late 18th century when we drafted the Constitution and created the United States of America,” Washington said.
“…what does this have to do with singing Christmas carols?” the President asked.
“OK, you know, just forget the whole Christmas thing,” Washington said. “Just close your eyes, and…”
The next thing the President knew, he was standing next to the ghost of George Washington in a very crowded room, filled with men in wigs and overcoats arguing loudly with each other. He strained to pick up a few words here and there, but he couldn’t. This was primarily because he was 72 years old and couldn’t hear for shit.
“…I love the people. I just don’t trust the people, or their ability to guide themselves to prosperity without a strong, centralized body holding their hand.”
“Then for what did we fight? For what did we die?”
“For the freedom to create a new form of government that can lead the world to a brighter tomorrow…”
The President nudged Washington, and whispered in his ear. “This is boring, what else is on?”
“Also, where are the Diet Cokes?” the President said. “I’m dying of thirst over here.”
“Mr. President, these are the Founding Fathers,” Washington said, “The men who created the very government over which you currently preside. You are bearing witness to the young men — many of whom are still in their twenties — who created this land.”
“Young?” the President said. “Who’s young? All I see is a bunch of gray hairs.”
“Those are wigs, sir,” Washington said.
“You know a lot of people think I wear a wig, but let me te…”
“Please stop talking,” Washington said. “Just listen to what they’re saying.”
“Back to the Bill of Rights for a moment,” a voice said. “I’d like to talk about the order again.”
“Continue,” a man at the front of the room said.
“All right, so it goes Speech, then Guns, then Quartering. Then there’s a bunch of ones about the law, then we say that states can cover everything else, correct?”
“Correct. Do you have a question?”
“Well, I’m worried that the guns one is a little high on the list,” the man said. “I don’t want a bunch of people thinking these guns are some God-given right.”
“Well, it’s an amendment. If they don’t like it, they can amend it. We covered this last week. Where were you?”
“Yes, of course.”
“Been there,” the President said.
“So, just to be clear,” the man continued. “You’re saying that just because we sat here and wrote…hang on let me get my notes…that ‘a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed‘ people aren’t going to treat it like it’s etched in stone or anything?”
“Correct. That’s what the amendment process is for. Times will change, this is a flexible document. For example, maybe one day we’ll want to let negroes vote.”
“I know, right? Too funny. OK, everybody go wring the sweat out of your wool underwear. We’ll meet back here in ten.”
The scene slowly vanished from view.
The President was back in his bed. Two Diet Cokes sat on his nightstand. The clock read 1:00 a.m.
“Oh no!” he said. “Almost forgot to tweet!” He picked up the phone. “Beverly! Bring the wheel in!” A few minutes later, one of his aides knocked on his bedroom door, and entered with a prize wheel. She sat it next to his bed. “Thanks, Beverly. Wear more makeup next time.”
“Oh, you.” she said. “You’re so bad!”
He spun the wheel. “Come on Mueller, Come on Mueller…” The wheel stopped on MS-13.
“That works, too,” he said. He picked up his phone off the nightstand, opened Twitter, and started typing:
Just came back from Border Town. MS-13 everywhere. Scary stuff! I took two out myself but had to get back to the choppa. NEED WALL NOW! DEMS ACT! #MAGA
“What the hell is wrong with you,” Washington said.
“D.C! You’re still here?” the President said.
“Yes, I’m still God damn here! You haven’t learned your God damn lesson yet!”
“Is that what we’re doing?” he said.
“This was a mistake,” Washington said. “I told them this wasn’t going to work.”
“Was there something about black people not being able to vote?” the President said. “Because I’ve been working on that for a while, you know, so if that’s the takeaway, then, you know, good meeting. Good meeting.”
Washington started fading from view. “You know,” he said, “You’re as dumb as a box of f-” but *poof*, he vanished into thin air before he could finish his sentence.
The President had fallen back asleep, drool seeping out of his gaping maw. He again awoke with a start.
“Who’s there?” he said.
The next visitor had been warned by Reagan and Washington, so he spoke very clearly and used small words.
“Mr. President, my name is Abraham Lincoln,” he said. “I was President just like you! Only now, I am a ghost, which means I am dead. I do not have any Diet Coke for you. I’m going to take you somewhere in your present day — that is, the year 2018. I hope it will help you understand more about the choices you make as the leader of this country. And by this country, once again, I mean the United States of America. Please hold all questions, and do not talk. Nod if you understand.”
The President sat there drooling, staring at him.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” Lincoln said. “Let’s go.”
The next thing the President knew, he was standing next to the ghost of Abraham Lincoln in one of the Child Detainment Centers recently established near the United States/Mexico border.
“I’d like you to take a look at these children, Mr. President,” Lincoln said. “They were all brought here by their parents, then immediately separated within minutes of their arrival. The journey that they had to complete just to get here was fraught with more peril than you could possibly imagine. And instead of being met with compassion and care upon arrival, they were ripped from their parents’ arms. Many of these children will never see their parents again.
“This all happened because of a policy you directed your justice department to implement, designed to punish asylum seekers, and make them see that coming to America was not in their best interest. These children — these lonely, terrified children — are the result of that careless, reckless, heartless decision.”
“Can we do something about all the crying?” the President asked.
“You can absolutely do something about all the crying,” Lincoln said. “Just reverse the policy.”
“No, not really.”
“No. Just look at them,” Lincoln said. “Try to imagine your grandfather in there. Picture Fred, 16 years old, coming in on a ship from Bavaria in 1885. Imagine if the people who met him at Ellis Island threw him into a cage and told him he’d probably never see his family again.”
“Well, that’s different,” he said.
“How so,” Lincoln asked.
“He was coming here to make a better life for his family,” he said.
“So are these people.”
“But they’re criminals.”
“No they’re not.”
“They tried to come in illegally.”
“They tried to come in legally, actually. That’s what asylum seeking is. But the border was closed. You closed it.”
“Well, they should have just gone back then.”
“They had no home to go back to.”
“We used to welcome people here, Mr. President. America became the great country it is because we told anyone and everyone who wanted to come here that they could make a better life for themselves and future generations. That’s all these people were trying to do. We used to be a great nation. It’s not too late.”
The President woke up in his bed. This time, the clock read 2:00 a.m.
“Wake up, dipshit,” said a voice.
“Putin?” the President said.
“No, it’s Ben Franklin. I wasn’t a President, just a Founding Father. I don’t have time for this shit so close your eyes, yada yada, we’re going to the future.”
Before the President could wipe the crust out of his droopy, old man eyes, he was standing next to the ghost of Benjamin Franklin in the middle of a cemetery.
“Where are we?” he asked.
“Queens,” Franklin said. “Maple Grove Cemetery. This is where you’re buried.”
“But wait,” he said. “I thought Presidents were buried in…you know, the place with the flame that never goes out and all the crosses from the wars.”
“Christ, you’re an idiot,” Franklin said. “Two Presidents are buried at Arlington; the rest are buried wherever they wanted to be, usually their hometown.”
“So I’m buried here?” he said. “Where’s my mausoleum?”
“Oh sweetie, no,” Franklin said. “Here. This is your grave marker.”
The President looked down and saw a simple, unremarkable stone. Someone had spray-painted the word “chode” on it. The inscription read:
Doanld J. Trump b. 1946 d.
“OK, first of all,” he said. “They misspelled my name.”
“Oops,” said Franklin.
“Second of all, it doesn’t even say when I die,” he said.
“No, it does,” Franklin said. “I’m just not showing it to you.”
“I don’t get it,” he said. “Why am I here?”
“This,” Franklin said, “is the culmination of the life you led. You were born to privilege, and were an absolute nightmare of a person until the day you died. Just garbage from start to finish. You lied and cheated, you cared only about yourself and your name. You cheated on your wives, ignored your children, you failed at business, and lied about your wealth.
“You enlisted the help of the Russian government to get elected President, and you promised a bunch of sad, tired, poor, white, racist idiots that you’d make their country great again, whatever the hell that meant. Then, you embarked upon the most destructive presidency this country has ever seen. You left our international reputation in tatters, which really pisses me off, and you used the office of the Presidency to enrich the lives of you and your mentally stunted children.
“When the full scope of your treasonous actions were brought to light, you were summarily dismissed from office, and spent the remaining years of your pathetic little life broke, fat, sad, and alone. You were the worst thing to ever happen to this country. That’s why you’re here in this depressing cemetery, buried underneath a misspelled tombstone.”
“So, they caught me then,” he said.
“They did,” Franklin said.
“Well, what can I do to change this terrible outcome?” he asked.
“That’s the beauty of it,” Franklin said, smiling. “Nothing. I just wanted you to see how it ends.”
“I don’t understand,” he said.
“I’m not surprised,” Franklin said, and *poof*, he disappeared into thin air.
The President woke up in his bed, sweating. This was nothing new, though. His bodily fluids were 30% bacon grease.
“Man, what a nightmare,” he said. He looked at the clock. It was 6:00 a.m.
“Oh no!” he said. “I almost missed the start of Fox & Friends!” and he picked up the phone to order his morning Diet Cokes.