Along the streets of the East River, the moonlight catching his cuffs, the Donald glimpses the other Vladimir.
Night-time, some years ago. Leaving the sparkling Manhattan skyline behind it, a limo has descended from the 59th Street Bridge into Queens and drives slowly through deserted streets of warehousing and empty lots. A man in a heavy coat and a cap seems to come out of nowhere. He steps forward on a corner holding out his arm, like he was hailing a cab. The limo pulls up and Donald Trump steps out.
‘Is this the crossroads? Are you The Man?’ he calls out.
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin replies: ‘Man’s consciousness not only reflects the objective world, but creates it.’
‘Okay, if you say so. Listen, I want to make a deal.’
Lenin shakes his head. ‘We shall not bind ourselves by treaties. We shall not allow ourselves to be entangled by treaties’.
‘Listen to me, Vladimir, listen. I have everything. I have real estate, I have skyscrapers and golf courses, I have beautiful women — any woman I want’. Lenin stands motionless, staring at Trump intensely. He narrows his eyes and takes his cap off to scratch his bald head.
‘And I have great hair,’ adds Trump. ‘But I’ll be honest with you. I made a lot of money and I made it too easily, to the point of boredom’.
‘What is to be done?”
To rely upon conviction, devotion, and other excellent spiritual qualities; that is not to be taken seriously in politics.
‘Yeah, exactly. Because I’ve done everything.’
‘The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class shall represent and repress them in parliament’.
‘You mean Congress? Are you telling me I should run for Congress? If I ever ran for office, I’d do better as a Democrat than a Republican. And that’s not because I’d be more liberal, because I’m conservative! But the working guy would elect me. He likes me. When I walk down the street, those cabbies start yelling out their windows’.
Lenin nods. Trump continues, ‘But Congress? Nah. Nothing gets done in Congress. It’s like too many cooks in the kitchen’.
‘Any cook should be able to run the country,’ says Lenin.
‘The presidency? Now that is a very refreshing idea. Hmmm, very, very refreshing . . . But, what about the Clintons? Beautiful people, beautiful people. I don’t wanna eat their lunch. And you can forget those Republicans . . .’
‘History is moving in zig-zags and by roundabout ways’.
‘Those Republicans are turning into a bunch of losers. I’m a winner. You know, I’ve fought to build a very, very, very successful business empire’.
‘Convert the imperialist war into civil war’.
Trump holds his hands up like a gun was pointed at him. ‘It’s all God and guns with the Republican guys. It ain’t for me’.
Lenin thrusts his hands in his trouser pockets and looks down for a moment, nodding, thinking. ‘One man with a gun can control 100 without one’. Then he looks up, and resumes staring at Trump. ‘To rely upon conviction, devotion, and other excellent spiritual qualities; that is not to be taken seriously in politics.”
‘Go on, Vladimir…’
‘People always have been the foolish victims of deception and self-deception in politics, and they always will be until they have learnt to seek out the interests of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political and social phrases, declarations and promises’.
‘Okay, okay. But I need a platform. I’m a businessman. I don’t know the game. They have positions, they have cards to play. How do I deal? What’s the position?
Lenin juts his chin forward, his beard pointing as sharp as a finger at Trump to underline his words: ‘It is, of course, much easier to shout, abuse, and howl than to attempt to relate, to explain’.
‘Yeah? Maybe I just say the future is great, you won’t believe how beautiful the future is.’
’A lie told often enough becomes the truth’.
Trump falls silent for a moment. Then he says: ’Vladimir, you are truly a great leader. You are in a league of your own. Honestly. Now, what is that you want?’
‘The dictatorship of the proletariat’.
‘I like it, I like it. Could be a great name for a hipster hang out. The kids will love it.’ Trump walks back the limo. ‘I’ll get my people to find somewhere for you. Maybe Williamsburg. Trust me’.
As the limo drives off into the darkness, Trump looks back at the crossroads, but Lenin had already gone.
* All Lenin’s words are quotes. Trump’s words are part quotes, part imagined.
Lenin in repose.
HERBERT WRIGHT is a London-based author and journalist specializing in architecture and art, and Editor-at-Large of The Journal of Wild Culture. He studied physics and astrophysics at the University of London. He is currently a contributing editor of Blueprint magazine and is published extensively elsewhere.