“The healthy man does not torture others – generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers.”
~ Carl Jung
“We’re not gonna take it.”
~ Twisted Sister
Meanwhile, in Donald Trump’s White House…
On the Resolute desk in the Oval Office sits a pot of boiling water kept bubbling on a portable hot plate. The pot is the size you would boil three or four lobsters in.
President Donald J. Trump looks on with his arms folded as an albino monk wearing a black velvet floor-length robe drops a white pebble into the boiling water.
“Bring her in,” Trump says.
Ernestina Staley, a Baltimore-born 32-year-old African American deputy communications director, is dragged into the Oval Office. Tugging by the crook of her elbow, Don Trump Jr. brings Staley to his father.
The pot of water on the desk continues to bubble.
Eric Trump trails his brother into the room, looking bewildered and confused as he tries to remove his balled hand that is stuck in a jar of Nalley’s Baby Dill pickles. All Eric has to do is let go of the pickle and unclench his hand. But he really wants that pickle. So like a raccoon in Where the Red Fern Grows not willing to let go of a shiny object in a trap, Eric’s fist remains stuck in a pickle jar.
“She’s a leaker?” President Trump asks.
“Yes, dad,” Don Jr. says, “she gave a bunch of quotes to that fake news Politico story about contact with Julian Assange.”
“Bullshit quotes, bad quotes, very, very bad quotes. Fake news quotes.”
“I didn’t do it,” Ernestina Staley says, her eyes welled with tears. “I didn’t give those quotes. I never spoke to any reporter.”
Staley had not given the blind quotes to Politico. She is innocent. It was her officemate Josh Beal that was quoted off the record about Assange’s contact with the Trump campaign. Staley does not know this.
“We’re going to see what the truth is,” Don Jr. says.
In medieval Europe, the practice was called The Ordeal. A pebble was dropped into a bucket of boiling water, and the accused was forced to stick their hand into the water and retrieve the pebble. The individual charged with the sin or crime would then have their scalded hand bandaged, and they were locked in a room or prison cell for three days. After the third day, a priest removed the bandages. If the wounds from the boiling water was miraculously healed, God had ruled and the person was innocent. If the hand was blistered and festering, guilt was determined.
Your intrepid White House correspondent was unable to find any examples in history of God ruling in the accused’s favor and healing the burned hand. Them bitches was witches, Bubba. Apparently.
The first suggestion for punishing “leakers” came from Jared Kushner, who wanted to employ centuries-old torture methods to extract information. This was mainly due to Kushner’s affinity for torture porn. Sources have reported that when Kushner is staring at his iPhone, he almost always is watching graphically violent clips from Bestgore.com. Among the torture devices considered for White House use were the Pear of Anguish, two Judas Cradles, and a Brazen Bull. However, it was decided by senior staff that using the torture devices would be “too time consuming” and “kind of gross.” Nobody in the room cared the practice would violate numerous laws and the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.
When Trump’s “spiritual advisor” and “prosperity theology” huckster Paula White mentioned in a meeting she believed she had a solution that made sure “God was in charge of the punishments,” but the method would still be “really tough and harsh,” the President was all ears.
Now in the Oval Office, the cruel Dark Ages practice of The Ordeal was going to be administered to an American citizen that has not been charged of a crime.
Paula White oversaw the torture clutching her Bible to “make sure God is involved” and to “bring spiritual gravitas” to the proceedings. President Trump remarks White’s presence was “Fucking awesome.”
Trump’s private security force is not held to the ethics and rules of the Secret Service and they are on hand to force Ernestina Staley’s hand into the boiling water. The albino monk, an odd little man named Gary from Fresno, announced with a raspy growl, “The Ordeal will now commence!”
With excitement in his voice, President Trump says, “Let’s do this shit.”
The lights in the Oval Office begin to flicker. The fireplace at the north end of the room erupts into flames. Paula White opens her Bible to a dog-eared page and begins to yell at the top of her lungs, Revelation 21:8, “BUT THE FEARFUL, AND UNBELIEVING, AND THE ABOMINABLE, AND MURDERERS, AND WHOREMONGERS, AND SORCERERS, AND IDOLATORS, AND ALL LIARS, SHALL HAVE THEIR PART IN THE LAKE WHICH BURNETH WITH FIRE AND BRIMSTONE: WHICH PART IS THE SECOND DEATH!!!”
When Ernestina Staley’s hand and forearm was forced into the bubbling and boiling water to fish out the pebble, her scream of pain is so loud it startles the crows perched around the White House grounds. The crows caw, take flight in unison, and flee to the top of the Lincoln Memorial for the rest of the afternoon.
On the campaign trail, Donald Trump was fond of using the phrase “Pay. For. Play.” when referring to Hillary Clinton’s tenure at the State Department and use of the Clinton Foundation. The line played well in gymnasiums filled with angry white people wearing matching hats. Those folks were outraged the rich and powerful could buy access or favors from the American government.
As is the case in much of Donald Trump’s myopic world, what he says and what he does can be quite different. The actions rarely match the rhetoric. Using various backchannels and with the aid of a collection of slippery, ethics-challenged associates, the Trumps and their band of loyal confederates have been swapping favors for an ever-growing list of goods and services.
The practice has been happening all the way back to the campaign. To gain further access to Trump the summer of 2016, Russian operatives gave Paul Manafort seven antique Persian rugs and a hijacked truck full of Morley cigarettes.
Ten kilos of fine Columbian cocaine was exchanged with the Trump sons for ensuring regulations on the coal mining industry would be dramatically slashed. When receiving the coke, Eric Trump had never heard the phrase “booger sugar” before. The words were said by the man driving the van delivering the blow. Eric was so excited that he learned something clever, he asked in every meeting he was in for weeks, “Did you guys know you can call cocaine booger sugar? Booger sugar!” Then he would smile as big as the Cheshire Cat and wait for everyone in the room to tell him how funny that was.
For easing the requirements for labeling electronic cigarettes, Trump received an adolescent liger from the big tobacco lobby. The big cat hybrid was given to Barron Trump for his 11th birthday. The liger mauled and ate a White House gardener last October.
To cinch that he would weaken government oversight to Wall Street banks, Trump received a box of rare German watersports porn DVDs and a newly-built sweatshop in Singapore the size of a Walmart.
President Trump was gifted a seven percent stake in an Atlanta strip joint named Booty’s for favors done by halting a bid to address risks of bumpers on baby cribs that have been known to lead to infant deaths.
And for continuing to chop away at environmental protection standards, Trump is receiving a case of vintage Aqua Net hairspray. The good aerosol stuff that can damage the ozone layer. The purple “SUPER-HOLD” cans of magical hairspray. The case was obtained from the estate sale of a wealthy Long Island widow whose family owned a dog food company.
In the White House residence, Trump is opening the case of Aqua Net hairspray. “That’s it?” he asks. “You’re sure?”
“That’s it, daddy,” Ivanka says. “The purple cans.”
The President says quietly, “That’s the SUPER-HOLD.”
Trump slowly lifts the lid on the box of Aqua Net like it is the Ark of the Covenant.
A soft purple glow emits from the box. The President says, “I’m happier with this box than I was the day Tammy was born.”
“Tiffany, daddy. Her name is Tiffany.”
It has been three days since White House deputy communications director Ernestina Staley was falsely accused of giving off-the-record quotes to a Politico reporter. She was locked in a storage closet in the White House basement, her badly burned hand wrapped in bandages. All she was given to survive was a bucket to use for a toilet, two bottles of water, and a sleeve of saltine crackers.
The door to the storage closet is opened and Staley emerges stumbling, holding her bandaged hand. Waiting to inspect her wound is President Trump and televangelist grifter Paula White.
“I did not leak those quotes, Mr. President. Please, I need to go to the hospital.”
“Let’s see what God’s verdict is,” White says. She unwraps the bandages on Staley’s hand. Bits of skin are ripped off, sticking to the blood-soaked dressings as they are removed. Staley’s hand is bright red, covered in puss-filled blisters, skin flaps hang off fingers, and gangrene is beginning to show on her thumb.
“She’s guilty, Mr. President. The Lord has spoken.”
“Please. Stop this, this is crazy,” Staley cries.
Donald Trump scrunches his orange-tinted face and says, “Ernie-stazi, whatever the fuck your weird name is—” Trump pauses. There are no cameras rolling, but the showman still instinctively builds the tension as if he were in the boardroom on The Apprentice.
With a pointing finger punctuating the delivery, Trump emphatically announces, “You’re fired.”