I couldn't help but get teary-eyed as one of U.S.' best was given a fine farewell send-off. He was a military hero, a loving and constant husband and father, and a highly-respected statesman. Regardless of one's personal politics and sexual misconduct allegations, George H.W. Bush will most likely be remembered as a loyal and kind man, whose stature straddled both sides of the aisle. (No one in the budget office has yet complained that too many rounds were fired in his memory, quibbled that dozens of soldiers had been taken from their border-wall assignments to serve in his color guard, or lamented that a cardboard casket would have been far less costly.)
Enter: Marcello Gabello, clad in turban and cloak, and looking into his crystal ball.
Marcello: Oh, crystal ball, show me that which has not yet come.
(There is a tinkling sound, like a million tiny icicles colliding.)
Me: So...so what do you see?
Marcello: Shhh! I'm listening. Yes, there's something appearing in my shiny orb. It's a bit fuzzy ... getting clearer. It is sometime in the future, but I have no way of knowing the year or the date. I am seeing a scene of great merriment. People are dancing in the streets and singing the strains of Rogers and Hammerstein. I can hear the words clearly. Oh, yes, they're singing "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'."
Me: Well, what does it all mean?
Marcello: Great crystal ball, zoom-in, I pray, to the center of the scene.
Me: So, is the zoom function working?
Marcello: You need to be very quiet and quit interrupting. But, yes, yes, it's working. I'm seeing a closeup of the people in the throng. There are people in suits, workers in overalls, academics with books under their arms, women linked arm-in-arm in splendid camaraderie, Mexicans and African-Americans doing what looks like the hornpipe, and each of them is happily singing.
Me: So what do you think it's all about?
Marcello: I'm looking for some indication, some clue, but there's simply no evidence to weigh. Oh, wait a moment; here's something important. I can make out the front page of the evening news. It sits in silence in the glass display window of the Times vending machine, right in the middle of the town square.
Me: What does it say. Tell me. What are you seeing?
Marcello: (a confused look on his face) The headline doesn't seem to correlate with what's happening in the streets. I can see it clearly: Nation Mourns the Passing of Donald Trump.
Me: Well, that explains it.
Marcello: OK, I'm seeing a man addressing the crowds. Oh, it's President Joe Biden, and I'm able to hear what he's saying.
Marcello: Shhh! Be patient. Oh, here we go. He just said that if Congress votes to provide a casket, he'll go ahead and shut down the government on the 30th.
Me: 30th? What 30th? Didn't he even give the month?
Marcello: No, and I can't make out the date on the paper. Well, this is interesting, six soldiers are bearing the body to the waiting aircraft. They are walking slowly, and in perfect step.
(Marcello stops abruptly, laughs raucously, and slaps both knees.)
Me: Why are you laughing? Tell me.
Marcello: I wish you could have seen it happen. Each of the six soldiers had what appeared to be a firm grip on Trump's clothes. Two held his pant-legs; two were latched on to his belt, and two had death-grips—excuse the pun—on the shoulder pads of his suit. They're just standing there now, howling with laughter and holding shreds of his garb. But wait, there's something serious happening. Three men and one lady, all dressed in orange jumpsuits, have run in to save the day. They are carrying him to the plane. Oh dear, the lady has lost her grip, grabbing at whatever she could, and she's left with only a small orange animal in her gloved hand.
Me: What an embarrassment! What a disaster!
Marcello: Not as big a disaster as when he was alive. Wow! Look at this; I've never seen anything like it before. The tarmac just opened and swallowed them all.
Me: Here's a hundred. Just keep the change.
The author is a former Vietnam-era Army assistant public information officer. He resides in Riverton with his wife, Carol, and one mongrel dog. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org