Marco got the call on March 16.
Well, one of his assistants got the call. He had stopped answering his own phone two weeks ago, after receiving the hundred and seventh photo of Donald Trump's hands. They all came from different phone numbers, so they were impossible to block -- Becky said something about a randomly cycling computer program. Marco didn’t give a fuck about that sciencey gobbledegook. All he cared about was whether anybody could stop the photos.
They couldn’t, Becky said. Not without getting outside tech support. And Marco refused. He was too ashamed to let anyone know he was suffering.
Sometimes they were just screenshots of news photos with the pumpkin-hued paws circled. Sometimes they were photos taken of the morning's newspaper or a campaign poster. Sometimes they were low-resolution photos of the carrot-like claws posing on a table or bedspread.
Those last were the most disturbing, because Marco knew Donald was manually modeling just for him . There was a repulsive yet inescapable intimacy to it.
Marco had gotten a new phone with a new number three weeks ago, but the photos hadn't stopped. After his third nervous breakdown in as many hours, Becky had just confiscated the phone and said she would handle it. "You have enough to worry about," she had said, with pity welling up in her big blue eyes.
She'd been right. He had so, so much to worry about. He tossed and turned every night -- he'd been having migraines since August, but the nightmares hadn't started until December. But he couldn't let his agony show in public. Even if he spent his nights crying raggedly into his hypoallergenic pillows, he had to smile and be strong for the cameras. For his family. For the millions of Americans out there depending on him -- even if only a few hundred of them cared enough to actually cast a ballot for him.
Fucking Christie might call him a robot, but it was better that than letting a crack in his chassis reveal the torment within.
Becky brandished the phone. “It’s safe, hon.”
“And it’s not Mom again, right?” Marco asked bravely. She had called last night, after he suspended his campaign, to assure him that it was alright, and she was still so proud of him despite all of his failures. The conversation was brief and perfunctory; as soon as it ended, Marco went to the hotel bathroom to vomit. He slept in the bathtub that night. He wasn’t sure why. It didn’t stop the nightmares.
Becky set the phone on the table. She knew better than to hand it directly to him. His aversion to the sight of human hands was growing worse and worse. “It’s not your mom,” Becky said. “It’s Jeb Bush.”
Jeb. I used to think you cared. Marco sighed and glanced out the window at the bright Florida sunshine. He took a bracing chug of his pulp-free, calcium-fortified orange juice. The sunshine seared like a million cameras flashing to document his shame. The orange juice tasted like the ashes of crumbling dreams.
He picked up the phone. “Hello?”
“Howdy, Marco.” His former mentor’s voice flowed like cream of wheat into Marco’s ear. Bland and comforting.
“ Now you call.” He couldn’t keep the bitterness from his voice. It was more than justified, considering the humiliatingly obvious lack of endorsement in the preceding months. And Jeb had stayed so long in the race, when he could have helped Marco earlier. Pointless. The Bush dynasty had waned, and this was supposed to be Marco’s year to shine. “What the fuck do you want?”
“Easy, kiddo,” came the milquetoast modulations. “I don’t want anything. I’m calling about what you want.”
Marco slammed his fist on the table. It made a faint thud, and the glass of orange barely shifted. “What I want?” Marco hissed. “I wanted to win Florida. I wanted the nomination. I wanted--” and here his voice broke, and Becky discreetly sidled from the room, “--I wanted the fucking White House.”
There was a long, patronizing silence. “I know,” Jeb said. His voice quavered too. “Trust me, kiddo, I know how you feel. And I can’t get you any of that. But I’ve got you something else.”
There was something new in his voice. An edge Marco remembered from his early days in Floridian politics, sipping mimosas on Jeb’s private yacht. He used to lay out on the deck, clad only in his speedo and his hair gel and his arm floaties -- in case he fell overboard -- just listening while the governor worked his conservative magic.
Young, impressionable Marco had thought it was incredible how adroitly the graying nepot could rebalance the entire state’s economy to benefit him and his cronies, all with a few phone calls from his yacht, in between berating the underpaid cabin boy and offering to rub tanning oil on Marco’s back for the third time that afternoon.
With a man like that behind him, he could do anything, Marco had thought at the time.
He knew better now. He stayed silent, aching inside for what once was. What might have been.
Jeb sighed. “Yeah, I know that I let you down,” he said. “Is it too late to say sorry now?”
“I’ve heard it all before, at least a million times,” Marco said softly. “I’m not one to forget, you know.” How could he forget the millions of dollars Jeb’s Super PAC had poured into smear ads in Florida? He’d heard some of Jeb’s staffers were calling him “Judas,” just because he’d had the nerve to reach for what should be his. And all for nothing. All for Donald Fucking Trump to snatch away Florida’s 99 delegates.
Marco couldn’t forget, but he was too exhausted to hold his ground. After only five minutes of paternal cajoling, he agreed to accept Jeb’s surprise gift.
“Neat-o!” Jeb exclaimed. “I promise, this is worth it. Now, the gift is in a… building, in Tampa. You’ll need to get here without anyone seeing where you’re going.”
Marco groaned. Tampa was a sweat-swamped shithole. “Fine, fine. I’ll make Becky stay behind, and I’ll shake the press.” He couldn’t admit that there would be no press; he was nothing now.
Jeb allowed him that little fiction. “Super-duper,” he said. “Alright, I’ll send you the address. Well, I’ll ask Marco to send you the address.”
“Marco?” asked Marco.
“Yeah, I named my assistant Marco. Anyway, he’ll send the address. I still don’t understand this whole Twitter thing.”
Marco closed his eyes. He wanted to die. “It’s called texting, Jeb.”
After the call ended, the phone buzzed. Curious as to the location of the mysterious warehouse, Marco opened the message.
It wasn’t the address.
He shuddered at the photo of the mango-esque monstrosity: bulbous knuckles and glossy, manicured fingernails held together in a bag of flaking skin. The hand was splayed against a suit-clad chest, and the thumb brushed threateningly against the flag pin on the lapel.
Eyes wide and unseeing, Marco was still trembling when Becky found him and gently plucked the phone from his grasp.
He had a press conference twenty minutes later, but it didn’t matter that his eyes were red and his voice wavered: nobody came. The room was as empty as Marco’s heart.
1. The extent of Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio's mentor/mentee relationship is subject to debate.
2. Lyric Credit: Yeah, I know that I let you down. / Is it too late to say sorry now? is from "Sorry" by Justin Bieber
3. Lyric Credit: I’ve heard it all before, at least a million times. I’m not one to forget, you know. is from "Same Old Love" by Selena Gomez
Chapter 2: 2016 Odyssey
Thank you for reading! PLEASE comment, your love and support really helps me keep going! uwu
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
When Marco found Jeb at the designated address, he was glad he hadn't brought Becky. It was stressful to have his phone in his own pocket, but he just knew she would tell Mom about this.
The building was squat, white, and dingey, much like many of Marco's fellow presidential candidates. The trim and the awning over the door were an equally dingey purple, and there was a strange, circular room on top that he couldn't identify at first. The big sign in the small parking lot read:
NOON - 5 PM !
As it was only 9 a.m., Marco was reasonably certain Jeb hadn't invited him out here for five free hours at the strip club. The parking lot was empty, and he was reasonably sure outer space-themed club wasn't open at all.
He sighed regretfully. It would have been nice to make eye contact with someone, even if he had to pay them to even look at him.
Jeb waved at him from around the corner of the building. "Come on!" he called. He had a strange expression on his face.
Marco ducked around behind the strip club, and was startled to find not just Jeb, but someone else as well.
"Good morning, Marco," smiled Mitt Romney.
Marco blinked at the former Republican presidential nominee. "Good morning, it's great to have you out here," he said automatically. Then he remembered he was off the campaign trail. That the campaign trail had crumbled into dust beneath his shaking feet. "Uh. Thanks for the robo-calls."
"Anything for a bright young man like you, Marco," smiled Mitt.
"Enough standing around," Jeb hissed. "Someone might recognize us."
Marco and Mitt shared a look. They knew that nobody would recognize Jeb. Even after all that they'd been through together, Marco sometimes had trouble remembering which one he was, especially at those early debates with ten different candidates on-stage.
But Mitt gestured to a ladder against the dirty white wall. He smiled, "After you."
Marco climbed. Jeb climbed after him, and Mitt after him. Once, Marco thought he felt a gentle touch along his ankle, but he decided he had imagined it.
On the roof, Marco stared up at the great gray spaceship. A flying saucer, even filthier than the building it sat on. Perhaps forty-seven percent filthier. There was a door in the side, propped open just a crack, and it was towards that door Mitt led them, like a smiling and obscenely wealthy pied piper.
"Why are we here?" asked Marco in a hushed whisper.
"You'll see," Mitt smiled. He opened the door and ushered the failed 2016 Republican candidates inside.
The round room was lit with white and pink lights. It was brighter than Marco expected in a strip club, even during the daytime, and he blinked rapidly to adjust. He felt like he was exposed and on display, and he shuddered inside. The public gaze had gotten harder and harder to bear in the past few weeks.
Then he forgot about the dark, stained carpet and the chrome furnishings. He forgot the tremulous presence of Jeb Bush at his side, and he forgot Mitt Romney's off-key whistling.
He felt as if he'd been transported light years away to a whole different galaxy. In the center of the spaceship waited a fluorescent-skinned alien:
Donald Trump was gagged, bound, and tied to the stripper pole.
Marco blinked. He couldn't feel his limbs. Mitt was saying something, but he couldn't hear.
He staggered a few steps off to the side and vomited in a corner. When he staggered back, shaking, his head began to clear.
Marco stared at the humanoid collection of bile that had cost him his campaign, his dignity, and his sanity. Bound to the pole, the man was no less large, but his suit was torn and dusty. His hair looked like a dead albino guinea pig. Well, his hair always looked like a dead albino guinea pig, but this one had possibly been used to mop the men's restroom before it was affixed to the great orange dome. Donald's mouth was blessedly duct-taped shut, but his eyes screamed volumes of unconstitutionally violent Tweets.
"What the fuck?" Marco asked.
Donald wriggled and moaned unintelligibly. Jeb gave a dry, dusty cackle. Mitt warbled.
Jeb said, "We wanted to make it up to you. We felt so bad--"
"You were so pathetic during your concession speech," smiled Mitt. "I mean, you know this isn't entirely on the party. Sure, Jeb could have realized earlier what an out-of-touch try-hard he was, and both of us could have at least dropped an endorsement. And yes, we waited a bit too long to make Trump's little accident look... well... like an actual accident." He shrugged his shoulders, and smiled, "But the truth is, you kind of crippled yourself from the start. You had the worst ground game. Remote offices? Really? You needed more boots on the ground, and you needed them a year ago. The cretin has been in California since August."
The cretin... "Ted Cruz?" Marco asked.
" Do not speak its name, " smiled Mitt frostily.
"Right," said Marco. He looked up at the bright, star-spangled ceiling and blinked back tears. When he'd composed himself, he looked scornfully at Mitt and Jeb. They failed too, he reminded himself. "I'm aware that God did not intend me to win our party's nomination this year," he spat bitterly. "But why are we in a strip club with Donald Trump at 9 a.m. on a Wednesday?"
Jeb shook his head sadly, like an elderly dog whose master was slowly waving a piece of burned bacon in front of his nose. "You just looked so, so sad. Dubya said he'd put down twenty bucks you'd cry before you got off the stage. Pops took him up on it."
"Who won?" Mitt smiled, "I had to turn the TV off halfway through, I couldn't take it."
"Neither," Jeb said. "We couldn't decide whether that one sort of choked-off breath he did counted as crying or not, so we called it a draw."
" What the fuck is going on? " shouted Marco. The broken sound echoed around the spaceship interior.
Donald gave a muffled shout in response, his beady little eyes flickering between the three of them.
Jeb sighed. "Anyway, we wanted to give you a little surprise, to make you feel better. So, here he is. You have," he checked his watch, "Two hours before the employees get here."
Mitt clapped his hands together and smiled, "Two hours to do whatever you want to him."
Something fragile fluttered deep within Marco. Something he hadn't felt in so, so long: a nascent and cobweb-thin tendril of anticipation. It was not a good feeling, yet he savored it nonetheless.
Chapter 3: A New American Century
Thank you SO MUCH for all your support, team! If Marco had this much support, he might not have lost almost every single district in Florida in a humiliating landslide defeat! :D
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
He wouldn't do anything, he knew. He was God's chosen leader -- not this year, maybe. But eventually, probably. In his head, God looked a little bit like the lovechild of Ronald Reagan and Ronald Reagan's even more attractive twin from an alternate universe, and God understood that sometimes the path to glory was paved with inglorious necessity.
He wouldn't do anything, but it wouldn't hurt to scare the outsized oompa loompa. Give him a taste of the terror that Marco had suffered from over the past few months. Let HIM have nightmares, Marco thought viciously.
As if he could read Marco's thoughts, Donald struggled against his bonds like a hooked fish.
"Whatever I want," Marco repeated slowly, for the sheer joy of seeing Donald struggle harder. "How the hell did you even get him here, anyway?"
Mitt smiled, "Never underestimate the power of the Latter-Day Saints, Marco boy." His eyes were dark and full of secrets. His waggling finger looked for a moment like a talon.
Best not to think about that. "Is the room soundproof?" asked Marco.
"Of course," smiled Mitt.
Marco found himself smiling in return. "Great." And he strode forward to rip the duct tape from Donald's face. It came off with a sticky sharp sound, and the fraudulent billionaire's jowls waggled as his mouth came free.
Donald was silent for a moment. His mouth hung open, and then he slowly began to swell with air. He needed a tremendous amount of hot air to propel his barrage of incomprehensible obscenities.
Before he could unleash his usual esophajism of vitriol, Marco slapped him across the face. The crack echoed. “Welcome to Tampa,” snarled Marco.
Donald’s eyes narrowed. “Good to see you, Marco,” he said ebulliently. “You know, I thought you’d still be crying too hard for your sugar daddies to bring you here. I watched your speech on repeat last night. Good stuff.”
“Whoa there,” smiled Mitt. “You can call me Daddy, but don’t make it sound so gay!”
Jeb aggressively cleaned his glasses. “I don’t have daddy issues,” he muttered darkly. “I don’t .”
Marco’s palm tingled where it had collided with Donald’s face. It felt really, really good. “They did this for you, Donald,” he said. “You’ve been so desperate for my attention, with all the photos. Tell me, do you take the photos yourself, or do have someone take them for you? What do you hope to accomplish?” Besides hurting me. Besides turning every day into a panic attack waiting to happen . “Do you think anyone wants to see your stubby little fingers?”
Donald shrugged as best he could, which wasn’t very well considering how thoroughly tied he was to the chair. “I can’t keep my hands to myself,” he said. “I mean, I could, but why would I want to? They’re great hands. Great hands. They’re terrific.”
“You know,” Marco said, circling the venomous orange creamsicle of a man. “My mama don’t like you, and she likes everyone.”
“Everyone likes me,” Donald exclaimed, wriggling. “All those suckers out there -- you think the idiots are voting for me because they don’t like me? They love me! I’m a uniter. I’m bringing people into the Republican party. Democrats love me.”
“Democrats wish they were here,” Marco said. He was trembling with something beyond rage. Beyond despair. “They wish they could see you like this. Republicans want you gone too. You only have thirty percent of the vote.”
Donald smiled, a great chasm opening up in his leathery visage. “You don’t even have a percent, Little Marco.”
Little Marco . The nickname shot into him like a bullet, powered by the entire campaign season’s share of disparagement and humiliation. Marco went ice-cold and stone-still. “Little Marco?” he asked, and his voice didn’t sound his own. “We’ll just have to see about that, Big Donald. We’ll just have to fucking see.”
He waved his hand and asked for a knife. Mitt had a pocketknife, and handed it over with a beatific: “Be prepared!” Jeb lunged forward as if to help, but Marco waved him back. He wanted to do this alone.
Cutting Donald’s clothes off was difficult. He had only the small pocketknife, and Donald just kept wriggling. Donald stopped wriggling once it was apparent that Marco didn’t mind accidentally stabbing him just a bit. The allegedly obscenely wealthy pretender to the presidential nomination kept up a running commentary of how terrible this all was, and what a great legal team he had, and how he was going to sue all their asses. Marco tuned him out. He can’t hurt me like this , he thought, and it was part comfort and part retribution.
A long time later, Donald stood naked except for his tighty whiteys. His body was a patchwork amalgamation of flesh, with odd alien patches where the fake tanner had rubbed off, or been too heavily applied.
And where he had sweated through it. The weird old racist had looked more and more nervous as more and more of his suit was torn away. In fact, Marco had occasionally considered stopping. Letting that be threat enough. But Donald’s increasing nervousness had spurred him on, and now he wanted nothing more than to see what Donald was hiding.
Hands shaking, he moved forward and cut away the frayed, sagging underpants. They didn’t fall; they caught between the businessman’s thick, wrinkly orange thighs.
The spaceship was silent for several long moments. Then Jeb said in a hushed voice, “Where is it?”
And Marco cackled. “How’s it going, Big Donald?”
Schroedinger’s Billionaire glowered. If his gray thicket of blow-dried pubes was a forest, his penis was a decaying tree stump, barely visible in the mulch. A tiny, fleshy, spray-tanned bump in the humid jungle.
“I’ll sue you,” bellowed the entree-sized man with the mint-sized package. “I’ll sue all of you!”
Marco held eye contact until the incoherent whale-sounds subsided.
In the silence, he took off his jacket and rolled his sleeves up to his elbows.
He loosened his tie.
He unbuckled his belt.
He unfastened his fly.
He hooked his thumbs in the waistband of his star-spangled boxers and said, “Say hello to Big Marco.” Then he pushed down his boxers and pants, just enough to allow his penis to spring forth.
The massive, erect tool swung like a compass needle seeking north in a storm. There was a sound like a gust of wind, composed of three lesser endowed Republicans gasping in awe.
“You shouldn’t be surprised, Jeb,” said Marco.
Jeb cleaned his glasses. “It just gets me every time,” he said softly. “It’s as great as the Floridian peninsula itself.”
Mitt just smiled.
Donald hung, stupefied, from his bonds. His tiny eyes were as wide as they could possibly get.
“Get him over the table,” Marco murmured. His dick strained with pent-up frustration, and his balls clung tightly to the promise of release. He’d promised himself he wouldn’t orgasm again until the campaign was over, as a way of offering himself up pure before the Lord, but the Lord had turned on him.
Now, in his time of darkness, he was beyond vows and promises. Marco was drawn by the inexorable pull of his dick and his innate corruption along a path he could not deviate from.
Jeb and Mitt dragged Donald from the pole and began retying him over a table. This was a mistake, Marco soon realized, as the grotesque stubby digits appeared:
Hands. The single glimpse brought with it a cacophony of memories. Hundreds of nonconsensually received images blurring together into a pair of ur-hands. The Platonic Ideal of Trumpian appendages.
Marco wavered. “Please,” he whispered brokenly. And he was indeed broken, irreparably so, by the trauma of the past year. He would never crawl back to himself intact. “You have to cover up his hands.”
“No problemo,” smiled Mitt. He procured a pair of mittens from an inner jacket pocket and shoved them over the squat, waggling fingers.
As soon as the fluffy red cloth covered the hated hands, Marco relaxed. Not today, Satan. He stood back and focused on his quiet breathing while Mitt and Jeb finished tying the jiggling bajillionaire up.
Once they had him secured over the table, Mitt backed off. “Alright, fellas, I'm heading out,” he smiled.
“You're not staying?” Marco asked.
“No, Marco,” smiled Mitt. “That would be gay, and I'm a good Mormon boy.”
Marco stared. “So assault, kidnapping, and imprisonment are fine, but watching what I do to him after is going too far?”
Mitt smiled, “I don't make the rules, I just wear the special underwear.”
He passed a small item to Marco, then sauntered from the spaceship.
Marco looked down at the cold object in his hand. A tube of lube. Marco let out a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding. Eyes burning with long-suppressed rage and torment, he forced himself to stare at the image. The small silver and orange tube read:
Of course it did. He squeezed half of the tube onto his hand and slathered it around his dick. The entire spaceship filled with the seductive scent of Floridian orchards, minus the undocumented migrant workers. As the scent filled the air, he heard Jeb panting and Donald whimpering.
At last, people were paying attention to him. It was strange and new and good to be admired and feared. Marco wondered if the campaign would have gone differently had he -- instead of making unprovable, though prescient, jibes about the frontrunner’s genitalia -- simply dropped his own pants to reveal his obvious endowment to the nation. God at least had smiled on him in this, if in nothing else.
“So, Yankee Doodle,” Marco said. “Are you ready for my Empire State Building?”
“No,” whispered Donald. “You can’t. It’s yuuuuuge.”
Jeb piped in helpfully, “It really is!”
“Fuck off, Bush,” Marco and Donald said in unison. Then they both shuddered in revulsion.
Then Marco squeezed the rest of the lube between Donald’s trembling buttcheeks, and Donald shuddered anew. The stub-dicked media whore said, “You know, I’m not surprised! I’m a great fuck. Ask anyone. Best ass in Hollywood. I’m going to be fantastic at foreign affairs. Just watch--”
Marco slammed his two-ton battering ram through Donald’s delicate portcullis, and the two-faced xenophobe wailed in shock: “ Yuuuuuuuuuge! ”
“That’s right,” panted Marco. “I am yuuuge. Yuuuuuger than anyone.”
He catapulted further into the hot, hungry orange body. His soul was already broken; what loss to sell it now? He shoved in, and was met with a warm, wet, welcoming squelch. A harsh, filthy odor mingled with the aroma of orange creamsicles.
“You know, Little Donald,” Marco said, laughing hysterically, “I always knew you were full of shit.”
As he thrust in and out, in and out, squelching into hate-filled, shit-filled bigot, Marco’s hysterical laugher segued into uncontrollable sobbing. “I hate you,” he sobbed. “I hate you so much.”
He continued sobbing, his hands slipping from their grasp on the Reality TV trash-heap’s leathery hips, slick with sweat and running spray-tan. “You ruined everything for me,” he hiccuped, pumping into the thrashing jack-o-lantern.
The orange was getting all over him, staining his hands, streaking his dick, like the sick fury streaking through his soul. “But I can’t let you ruin America too. So you know what? In November, I’m-- I’m--”
His dick was streaked with orange and brown and he kept sobbing, so hard it tore through his lungs, and as his climax neared, he screamed: “I’m voting for Hillary! ”
And with that cry, he came.
1. Lyric Credit: can’t keep my hands to myself. / I mean, I could, but why would I want to? is from "Hands to Myself" by Selena Gomez.
2. Lyric Credit: My mama don’t like you, and she likes everyone. is from "Love Yourself" by Justin Bieber.