It’s been a long day.

President Donald Trump and Steve Bannon have finally slipped out of their fat suits and are settling in for the night.

Vintage champagne and imported sashimi are served in a second oval office soundstage within a nuclear-proof silo deep under the White House as both men ponder the fate of democracy.

“Imperium” is a political short story about the providence of nations and philosopher kings.

Will history repeat itself as tragedy or farce?

2,000 words / 8 minutes of uncanny reading pleasure

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‘We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark. The real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.’ Plato 



Copyright 2024 Stefano Boscutti
All Rights Reserved

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP slowly opens his eyes as his pupils fully dilate.

There’s a soft humming of air conditioning in the background. The light is sumptuous, ethereal. Spilling from the ring of pure neon hidden within the oval cornice.

Pull back to reveal a slim, naked Trump levitating cross-legged above the cream and gold Presidential Seal woven into the carpet in an oval office. Underneath a white plaster ceiling medallion of a winged eagle encircled in stars, clutching peace and destruction within its talons.

Trump slipped out of his fat suit hours ago. His hairpiece, latex jowls and makeup have all been removed. His natural hair is white and swept back, his body lithe.

A door opens and TWO BLACK BUTLERS in pristine tuxedos, black ties, white gloves enter. First Butler is holding a golden kimono aloft, Second Butler is holding a golden tray with a small platter of Keiji sashimi, a pair of gold hashi and a tiny dish of shoyu.

First Butler drapes the golden kimono over Trump’s shoulder. Second Butler lays the golden tray on a glass table in front of Trump. Besides a copy of the Resolute desk is a large white globe of the world on its axis, lit from within. On the wall in front of Trump is a white marble fireplace. Above the narrow white marble mantel is a large gold frame mirror. Other gold frame mirrors are hung on the walls. No books are in the inset bookcases.

The sashimi had been meticulously prepared and flown in from Aragawa in Tokyo. Trump dips his hashi into the shoyu, picks up a sliver of the young, delicate salmon and slips it between his lips.

The three large windows behind the desk look out onto what appears to be a beautifully sunlit oval office patio and rose garden, leaves and velvet petals ebbing in a soft breeze.

Trump closes his eyes and the view changes to a live feed of the Hyades star cluster. Trump opens his eyes and turns to one of the three inset doors. It’s opened from the outside by a MILITARY SECURITY GUARD in full combat gear. Instead of the president’s secretary or a corridor to the West Wing, it’s a soundstage. This version of the Oval Office is deep underground, deep in a nuclear-proof silo. 

STEVE BANNON ambles in without his fat suit or wig. He looks like a slim, older version of James Dean with a buzzcut. All American all the way. Blue jeans, white tee shirt, light grey nylon windbreaker.

‘Steve, you really must try this hashi. It’s utterly perfect.’

‘I am not eating raw fucking fish. I don’t care how perfect it is, it’s disgusting.’

Bannon nods to the view of the sea of stars on the giant ultra-high-definition LED screen through the windows.

‘Hyades star cluster, right? One hundred and fifty-three light years from the sun.’

‘Hiding our closest black hole amidst the heavens.’

‘A thing of beauty to behold.’

Trump motions Bannon to one of the two white sofas in front of the marble fireplace. Bannon sits in the one closest.

‘How are the polls?’ asks Trump.

‘Who gives a fuck!’

‘How are the people?’

‘Lost, confused, spiteful, petty. More addled than usual, to be honest. People? What are you going to do?’

‘I’m concerned the crucible of democracy still eludes them.’

Bannon’s grey-green eyes appear to shift colour as he nods agreement. He fishes a cigarette out of a USA Gold pack and places it between his lips, checks his pockets for a lighter. Trump speaks in a low tone.

‘It’s a thoroughly disgusting habit.’

‘It’s absolutely disgusting. That’s why I buy this horrible discount brand. The terrible flavour is supposed to dissuade me but I’ve actually grown rather fond of the acrid taste.’

Bannon knows Trump hates smoking so he slips the unlit cigarette back in the pack as a show of concession. Trump sighs.

‘You know when they took photos of my and my father together, he would rise just a little on his toes -- so he would look taller.’

‘Fathers do the darnedest things.’

‘Steve, you wouldn’t want to rise above me, would you?’

‘Why would I want to do that?’

Bannon smiles.

‘I’m on the National Security Council. I’m a nationalist. What more could I fucking want?’

Trump isn’t sure. Steve is.

‘The crown is not for me.’

‘Steve, what if history decides you’re wrong about everything.’

‘That’s impossible. We’re ascending, we’re getting bigger. True democracy will triumph.’

‘Even though many consider what occurred at the Capitol an insurrection, an attack.’

‘Slander from our enemies. It was a wake-up call.’

‘They seemed to have missed the point.’

‘It was a warning, a call to arms to save democracy from itself.’

‘Yet look at me now.’

‘King of kings.’

Trump glances at the press briefings every day, worries about all the speculation of an impending reign of terror.

‘We must forge a more robust democracy, you and I. Unity, vigilance, truth.’

‘When it’s raining fire, that’s when the truth will out.’

‘What if we’re wrong? What if we’ve damaged democracy irrevocably?’

‘If democracy can’t survive, it’s not worth saving.’

Trump frowns as he looks at Bannon.

‘Do you really believe the election was stolen? I’ve heard it whispered you thought it was all a joke. Never believed the election would be overturned.’

‘That’s absurd. Just because they don’t believe it doesn’t mean I don’t believe it. I absolutely believe it to the core of my being.’

Bannon leans forward.

‘Facts don’t lie. Harvested ballots, broken machines, lapses in signature matches.’

‘Steve, we made up those facts.’

‘We’ve got to pressure test the election process or else any fuckwit can come along and topple it.’

‘Steve, you realise you’re a majestically unreliable narrator.’

‘This is not my story. This is America’s story. We’ve been through the great unravelling. We’re now in the time of crisis, destruction, battles great and small. It’s completely natural. It’s to be expected. We just need to get through it with the least amount of casualties.’

‘And on the other side?’

‘An evolutionary rebirth awaits us.’

Trump laughs under his breath.

‘Do you know what your uncle told me about you, Steve?’

Bannon shrugs.

‘Anything Steve says, you have to cut in half and divide by two.’

Bannon smiles.

‘We face a hundred battles to reinvigorate democracy, to awaken the disillusioned, to show the way.’

‘Steve, do you think we’ve weakened or strengthened democratic institutions?’

‘What sort of question is that?’

‘An honest one.’

Bannon thinks for a moment.

‘If it wasn’t for us, if it wasn’t for you, it would have all collapsed. Blood would have flowed in the streets, bodies would have piled high. Brother against brother, father against son. It would be the end.’

Bannon’s eyes appear to shift colour again. 

‘That’s why we have to burn it all down.’

‘Burn what down? Congress? Washington DC? The world order?’

‘All of it. It’s us versus them. They hate us and we hate them. One side is going to win here. And it’s going to get ugly. It’s going to get messy.

Bannon smiles.

‘The people have to win. The politicians have to lose, the political class has to crumble and fall.’

‘And the chaos to come?’

Bannon’s smile widens.

‘Chaos is our friend.’

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Copyright 2024 Stefano Boscutti

All Rights Reserved

The moral rights of the author are asserted.

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This is a work of fiction. While many of the characters portrayed here have counterparts in the life and times of Donald Trump and others, the characterisations and incidents presented are totally the products of the author’s liberal imagination. This work is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. It should not be resold or given away. Thank you for your support. (Couldn’t do it without you.)

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