Currently as six instalments – a bumper three-in-one instalment launching the series – the short stories feature an unnamed protagonist dealing a heavily fictionalised, yet still familiar, version of Donald Trump, described as “the obnoxious, orange-haired creature on the other side of the wall.” Lagan editor Colin Dardis selects some of his favourite passages from the series so far.
‘You know your U-bend isn’t big enough for that thick paper,’ I told him. ‘That’s why it always blocks.’
He brushed this aside with a goofy smile.
‘You can’t say that,’ he said. ‘My U-bend is the best there is.’
‘It’s not. It’s the same as mine. That’s why I don’t use that quilted roll. That’s why the roll you used in there was only double-ply. That’s why my toilet isn’t overflowing right now.’
‘There is nothing wrong with my U-bend,’ he said. ‘It’s a tremendous U-bend. It can take normal quilted paper just great. Every time.
– from #1 ‘Blockage‘
‘You’re not,’ he asked, putting his arm around my shoulder, ‘one of those, are you?’
‘Hi Donald,’ I said.
‘I mean, you don’t have a religious thing, or a moral thing, or a medical thing, or a preachy thing do you?’
‘I don’t have a… well, I have some medical, and morally, I guess…’
‘You are in luck today, is what I mean, my good friend. My great friend.’
I still can’t believe I let him sell me three whole chickens then.
– from #2 ‘Love‘
‘Do you want to come in?’
He looked at me then moved across the hall so he could see into my doorway. He peered into the apartment and sized it up, still rooted to the spot.
‘Everything is still in boxes,’ he said.
‘Most things, yeah. I’ve just unpacked the bedroom really. You know how it is. The longer you leave it the harder it gets. Pretty soon you just end up sitting on boxes, stacking things on boxes, and reading the print on the side of the boxes because your books are all in boxes.’
He looked at me as though he really had to think about this. As if he had never used, or even heard of the use of boxes before.
– from #3 ‘Pizza‘
” ‘Listen,’ said Donald. ‘Have you felt this heat? It’s incredible heat. They shouldn’t be allowed to have heat like this when people are trying to do great things with themselves. We shouldn’t have to put up with it, it’s a disgrace, it’s an inconvenience and it’s making everything very uncomfortable for me.’ ”
– from #4 ‘Ice‘
‘Donald,’ I said. ‘Who did this? Were they burglars? Who were the six?’
‘The six,’ he replied. ‘The six. The six, they were magnificent, by the way. I don’t think I’ve ever seen six like them. Good guys. Real smart guys. They know their way along the yellow brick road, if you know what I mean.’
I thought I did.
‘Tell me about them, Donald. If they’re still here I can call the police.’
‘Six guys. One mission,’ he said. ‘Justice.’
‘The scarecrow was one. Great guy. Very scary guy. Knows a lot about wheat. Then the chicken. Huge. Biggest chicken you’ve ever seen, even if you’ve been to Newark. You won’t see bigger. Never. How many is that? Is that six?’
I realised then I should have already called an ambulance. This must be the sound of his brain dissolving.
– from #5 ‘Gravity‘
‘You knew Donald’s father?’
‘Sure, I did. Everybody round here knew him when I was coming up. Had to know his name if you wanted to curse him.’
I waited for him to continue and he waited for me to ask.
‘Why? Why curse him?’
‘Why curse Freddie Trump? Because the man was Satan. That’s why we cursed him. He owned half of the buildings that used to stand here and would toss every last man, woman and child out in the street just to knock them down and build them higher. Then, when the workers went on strike, he’d burn their union halls down and have his other boys build on them too. Satan.’
Something about the story sounded familiar but every city in the world is built by men like that. I tried to picture Donald in a suit, signing papers, commanding workforces, but it just didn’t fit. Maybe that’s why he was living in a dump like this.
– from #6 ‘Music‘