Photo illustration/Globe Staff

A grim look clouded the normally self-satisfied visage of The Great Trumpkin.

He’d intended his summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin to be an august authoritarian achievement. Instead, the overwhelming consensus among clear-eyed observers was that Helsinki had turned out hella stinky. So bad that some members of the Grand Old Cult, or the GOP as it had once been known, were voicing concerns.

And it had all started so well, just he and Pootie, through their interpreters, swapping stories, telling jokes, and reminiscing about Stalin. They’d even gotten into a little autocratic one-upmanship.

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters,” The Great Trumpkin had bragged, again.


“I can poison two people in England, and win a landslide election,” Pootie had countered.

“I can rip children from their mothers’ arms and put them in cages, and the Little Trumpkins won’t even flinch,” Trump had returned.

“Ah, but someone will, like a giant balloon baby,” riposted Pootie, eyeing him slyly. “In diapers.”

The Great Trumpkin had pouted, whereupon Putin had thrown open his arms.

“Just a jest, Donald Trumpovich,” he’d said, kissing his protege on both cheeks. “But remember, a cat in gloves catches no mice, and tough words butter no parsnips. It’s deeds that matter most. Take Stormy. Good move, having her arrested. But why then let her go?”

“Old times’ sake,” he’d replied. No use trying to explain the American legal system to Putin; that would just make him look weak. Besides, he didn’t understand it himself.

“Ah,” said Putin. “I see.” He winked lewdly. “You outdid me there.”

And presto, The Great Trumpkin’s spirits were restored. How good it felt to be complimented by the martinet he so admired! So much better than the endless nattering of those pesky EU types, particularly Angela Merkel and Theresa May. Why, he wouldn’t grope them if they were the last two women on earth. Wouldn’t date them, that was, wouldn’t date them.


And then, still enveloped in the lingering glow of Pootie’s bad-boy embrace, he had gone to their joint press conference and let the truth slip: To him, Putin’s word mattered at least as much as, if not more than, the considered opinion of all the US intelligence agencies.

The media had pounced. How unfair it all was! After all, he tried to see the good in everyone, be they protesters or the white supremacists they were protesting.

But not everyone was so charitable about Putin. There had been some vehement reaction from those who had been leading members of his party, back before it became the GOC. Suddenly Republican congressmen, theretofore largely invisible, were making themselves available to reporters who were prowling the Capitol halls the way Roy Moore once did shopping malls.

In his last Dear Leaders Summit, Little Rocketman imparted that all radios in North Korea were tuned to the official state station and then sealed. No need to do that in the US, The Great Trumpkin had joked; his cult members had already glued their TV sets to Fox News.

But even Fox was having some doubts. Oh, not chief Trumpswab Sean Hannity, But the morning crew on Fox & Dopes . . . & Dupes . . . & Friends.

He could even hear the whispers inside his own administration, whispers that “Lennon had it right.” He’d Googled John Lennon and the Beatles, but the only thing that made any sense was, “The way things are going/ They’re gonna crucify me.”


Then he’d found an unsigned note on his desk.

“Google searches for Dummies: Try Lenin, useful, attributed to.”

The Great Trumpkin would shortly come to hope his cult members wouldn’t do the same.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified Roy Moore as Ray Moore.

Scot Lehigh can be reached at lehigh@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeScotLehigh.