The curtains are drawn in the opulent hotel suite. The front desk has been asked to tape all incoming calls. The cult classic Over The Top, starring Sylvester Stallone at his line-mauling best, is playing on the television at an uncomfortably loud volume. Donald Trump is staring at his lap, trying to recover from a devastating loss he suffered today at the hands of the French President, in which his hand was gripped so tightly he almost released his tax returns.
On the screen a perpetually sweating Lincoln Hawk, method-acted by a perpetually flexing Sly Stallone, uncorks a golden gem of dialogue: “What I do is I just try to take my hat and I turn it around, and it’s like a switch that goes on. And when the switch goes on, I feel like another person, I feel, I don’t know, I feel like a… like a truck. Like a machine.”
Trump rewinds to the beginning of the line. He listens again, carefully, nodding silently, then turns his hair backwards and begins making engine noises. This goes on for some time. It is awkward. He doesn’t care.
“Get me Barron on the phone,” he shouts to Melania, who is sitting beside him.
Barron answers the FaceTime call, telling his parents it had better be important as he has Kellyanne Conway pinned down in Trump tower’s three-floor paintball maze.
“Son,” The president says, quietly but with a gravitas that has until know eluded him his entire life, “We’re going on the road. Honour. This is going to be about honour. And muscles. And about being great even when you’re just a guy in a truck with biceps that look like genetically modified mangoes. And about winning. It is all about winning. Only losers don’t win. And Buddhists. But they win later. Its a deferred win, which is almost as good, if not better when it comes to taxes.”
Barron confesses he for once feels like pretty much everyone else on earth, in that he has no idea what his father is talking about.
“What I’m saying son,” Trump says, slowly flexing his tiny hands, lost in the phantom-limb memory of a thought, “Is tomorrow morning I want you to go out and buy a tractor trailer. And a lot of weights. And some shirts with no sleeves. You and me son, are going…over the top.”