The Presidential Apprentice
Ted Cruz stood among a shroud of darkness. It enveloped him like nothing else ever had; though he tried to embrace the calming powers of the infinite black, he felt a sense of unease sweeping through him. He could no longer see the door through which he entered the room, so he realized he was trapped in here, alone with nothing but his wits and his constitutional conservatism to guide him.
His eyes were adjusting to the dark, letting him see various shapes in the distance, when he realized he was in an office room of some sort. So he hadn’t just trapped me in this place to let me suffer… That’s fortunate.
A few small red lights turned on, illuminating small portions of the room in a moody crimson. Finally, Ted Cruz was able to let himself take several steps forward towards what he realized was a large desk, though it was shaped like nothing else he had ever seen.
For all Ted knew, he was alone, but he felt a presence around him, and not just the darkness that had seemingly accepted him into its fold. I wonder if he’s really here… Ted closed his eyes and let himself focus, and then felt a hand on his shoulder.
“You’re finally here,” a gruff and sinister voice whispered into Ted’s right ear. The hand on his shoulder slipped down to his chest and began rubbing it. “I’m very excited for you. Very, very good news that you’re here.”
Ted turned around and saw him: Donald Trump, the enigmatic master of the Art of the Deal. Ever since his traumatic injuries during the previous debate, he has been completely missing from the public eye. Ted could understand why, seeing him up close– the left side of his face was completely gone, replaced with a cyborgic, metallic reconstruction. He even had a glowing red computer-camera connected to a neural interface.
“I’m going to offer you a Deal,” Donald said. “It’s going to make you very, very powerful.”
“How powerful?” Ted asked.
“More than you could ever think to wish for,” he replied.
“What do I have to do?”
Donald’s face glowed against the red lights behind him, and the red light in his eye. “Join me, and together, we’ll make America great again.”
Ted stepped away from the podium as the crowd roared louder than a police siren on a cop car chasing down an illegal alien. The people out there were screaming, tearing each other limb from limb, chanting various slogans and mantras about America, and also about destroying the world and letting the apocalypse happen, though that was only a minority.
He stared at two muscular men beating each other up with baseball bats; both were bleeding heavily and near-death, but they continued to fight. Ted felt warm, like Christmas morning when he opened up the American-flag-pattern gift-wrapped presents under the tree.
Behind him was the sign: “TRUMP/CRUZ 2016: LONG LIVE AMERICA.” It was the ultimate team. The final combination of two men to save the country from the progressive tyranny. And it was working.
Donald and Ted ate dinner in the Trump Tower penthouse, overlooking the New York cityscape. The sunset was obscured by dozens of skyscrapers blocking the view, and it gave the entire room a scarlet hue.
Donald munched on his steak, while Ted sat back and smoked a cigar imported from Havana. It was a daily ritual of his to smoke one before dinner, even in the company of others. Fortunately, Donald did not seem to mind. Though he did not seem to express much of any emotions anymore.
“I’ve seen your speeches,” Donald said, his robot-eye staring at Ted while the rest of his face looked down at the plate that he was eating from. “They’re great speeches. I love them. You’re very, very, very good.” He chewed a piece of meat and swallowed it. “We’re going to get to the White House in no time.”
“It’s all thanks to you,” Ted said. He sat back in his chair and put his legs up on the table. “You taught me how to Deal. Ever since then, I’ve been raking in the big bucks. The bad guys stand no chance.”
“I wish I could be out there with you. I love being out there. I’m great at speaking. Being stuck in the shadows, it’s very not fun.” Donald’s robot-eye averted from Ted and looked back at the steak.
“It’s all good,” Ted said. “We’re doing it together.”
“What is it like, being the running mate of the most mysterious man in America?” Brian Williams asked Ted in an exclusive interview on NBC Nightly News, airing September 7th at 8 PM EST.
“I love it, it’s fun,” Ted said. The chair he sat in was very comfortable, but also not very soft, so he didn’t sink into it and relax enough to lose focus. “Mr. Trump taught me everything I know.”
“And so you’ve been in contact with him since his injuries?”
“Of course. We talk once a day, every day. About once a week in-person. He loves America, just like you and me. He’ll be a great President.”
“But can we really have a President that won’t even appear in public? Maybe he talks to you, but the American people don’t seem very confident when he’s not talking to anyone else.”
“Oh, well…” Ted hesitated. “Well, we can trust that Donald Trump is the right choice for America. And that is a trust that I hope the American people have in them when they go to the ballots in November.”
Ted looked at the Twitter comments to his latest tweet that read, “Loving my time with Donald this evening! #LongLiveAmerica.” Several of the comments were from the profile @TedForPresidentPlease, literally begging him to be the President instead of Donald Trump. This user, and many others, were posting this same thing on almost every single post he ever tweeted. It always happened.
No, Ted wasn’t going to fall for this trap. He knew exactly where his place was. He didn’t need the power trip that these tweeters promised with their tweeting tweets. He and Donald were collaborators. The masters of the Deal.
And the Deal promised great things out of them both…
Ted stepped into the dark office room once again. Donald sat at the weirdly-shaped desk, and his chair was turned around so that Ted could not see him– only feel his presence.
“It’s over,” Ted said. “I’m making you a Deal of my own. You step down, and endorse my run for President.”
Ted kept talking anyway. “You don’t have to feel bad. I’ll make you Secretary of the Treasury if you want. You can still help make America live long, and prosper greatly.”
No response, even still.
“I’m winning in the polls. 45% of the vote. I’m going to capture the electoral college. I just want you to succeed, Donald.”
Suddenly, Donald’s chair swung around. His robot-eye shot out a beam of energetic light and struck Ted through the chest. The vision in Ted’s eyes would have disappeared if it was not already gone from the blackness of the office room.
Donald stepped up to him. “I told you, we had a Deal. We were very, very good together. Apart, we are not good. We’re very, very not good.”
“I… I’m supposed to win this…” Ted muttered.
“No. You lose this.” The last thing Ted could see was Donald’s red eye, fading into the ether. “You’re fired.”