Donald & Michael

Donald sat in his office, the point of his tie resting in his crotch. His mother had always told him that the longer your tie, the more manly you were. All those sad losers at school that had made fun of him were just peddling fake information. When he came home crying, his mother had wiped the tears from his cheeks and patted his head. This had gone on for his entire school life, but he had just laughed off the jibes.

Now, as a grown man at the top of career, nobody made fun of his tie. He turned to his computer screen and began the lengthy process of reading his emails after returning from a golfing weekend. He scanned the subject titles for anything that indicated something even remotely interesting. He got bored very quickly, so he picked up his phone and told his secretary to bring him coffee. While he waited, he went back to the emails, but his attention span was still shorter than his finger nails. After what felt like ages, the door opened and his secretary came in with his coffee in his favourite mug – the one with the American flag on it. He stood up and placed his hand on his heart, much to the surprise of his secretary.

“Sir?” she queried.

“I’m showing respect for the flag. The flag and the country. The flag, the country, and the war veterans who fought and died for the flag.”

“But I didn’t know you were American?”

“Oh, yeah I am. Totally American. Born and bred in New York.”

“But your company biography says you were born in Guildford.”

“FAKE NEWS!” Donald yelled, causing his secretary to jump and spill coffee into the tray. “That is fake news.”

“But you wrote the biography yourself,” she said, dabbing spilt coffee with napkins.

“That’ll do,” Donald snapped, taking the cup of coffee from the tray and setting it down on a coaster. He shooed his secretary out of the room.

He was just finishing his coffee when his door opened. He looked up to see his deputy, Michael poke his head through.

“Hey, can I come in?”

Donald smiled and nodded. He liked Michael. He was friendly, warm, and did exactly as he was told. He had done a good job when he hired Michael.

“So, Donald,” Michael started before he stopped suddenly and stood bolt upright, his hand on his heart and began singing ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ with gusto. Donald stood up and mirrored Michael, looking at him like a proud parent looks at a child that has done something well. After he finished, Michael relaxed and approached Donald’s desk.

“That’s a great mug, boss,” he congratulated Donald.

“Thanks, Michael,” Donald grinned smugly. “Can I get you a drink?”

“I’m good, boss, thanks,” Michael shook his head.

“What can I do for you?” Donald sat down, and motioned for Michael to take the seat opposite. Michael swept forward and sat down, resting his right ankle on his left knee, exposing his rather jazzy American flag socks. Donald stood up and began singing ‘The Star Spangled Banner’, Michael jumped up and they both sang together.

Donald’s secretary came in with an armful of papers, placed them on the corner of Donald’s desk and left the room, shaking her head in bemusement.

Singing over, the two men sat down again and Michael explained to Donald that the Finance Director had been making some off-colour remarks about him in the country club. Donald was incensed.

“What did the son of a bitch say about me?”

“Well,” Michael hesitated. “allegedly, he was heard calling you a dumbass moron.”

“That two-faced, four eyed jerk. You can’t be a dumbass and a moron.”

“Absolutely, boss.” Michael nodded.

“Well, I’ll show him!” Donald hissed. “When is our next board meeting?”

“Friday, sir.”

“Right, you get an IQ test, and we’ll do that on Friday. And I’ll show that son of a bitch who’s a moron.”

“You got it.”

“And then we can hit that golf course Friday afternoon and he’ll be put right in his place.”

Michael stood up and shook Donald’s hand. Once Michael had left, Donald sat down and started searching the internet for IQ questions and answers.

At lunchtime, Donald and Michael met up and went to Subway. As they headed into the shop, Donald noticed the NFL logo on a poster. He stopped suddenly, and Michael accidentally bumped into him, pushing Donald forward and pressing him against the glass door, frightening a small girl who was sat with her parents inside, innocently eating a sandwich.

“What’s up boss?” Michael stood back.

“That NFL logo. Some of those guys won’t stand for our anthem. Really gets me wound up.” Donald ranted.

“Yeah, they certainly got no respect.”

“Well, I’m not going to eat in a place that supports the NFL.” Donald decided. “Let’s find somewhere else.”

“Actually, boss, I’m kind of hungry.” Michael pleaded.

“Well, you can go in then. But promise me you’ll leave before you get your sandwich?” Donald asked him.

“Sure thing. You got it!” Michael nodded. Donald smiled and watched Michael go through the door, then he went into the Pret A Manger next door. He was impressed when Michael showed up, a few minutes later, looking hungry. Donald gave him one of his own sandwiches and watched as Michael stuffed it in his mouth whole, then struggled to chew and swallow with a mouth full of salmon and cucumber sandwich.

Donald spent the rest of the afternoon looking up IQ tests on the internet and planning the downfall of the Finance Director. He was interrupted occasionally by phone calls, and eventually lost his temper and yelled at his secretary to hold all his calls for the rest of the day. Then on a trip to the toilet, he accidentally caught the end of his tie in his trouser zip without knowing. He really didn’t like it when he could hear people laughing at him behind his back, even more so when he didn’t know why they were laughing.


Donald Returns

Donald And The Incompetent Theresa

Poor Donald was struggling. He was being talked about as the worst ever to hold his position. He knew this because he hid around corners when his staff were chatting in corridors, in toilets, or by the coffee machine. They didn’t know this, which accounted for the freedom of their speech. Whether it was his humorous hairstyle, his remarkably small hands, or the way he wore his tie stupidly long, they really didn’t hold back.

And so, he was incredibly overjoyed when he got a call from Theresa, who was new across the pond. She had taken over the huge clusterfuck of a company last year, and was having trouble imposing her will on the folks. Donald had called her to provide advice – ‘you gotta stop new people coming in until you work out what the hell’s going on there’. He’d also sent her an email following a particularly bad savaging she’d received in the press.

“Dear Theresa, (it read) I saw what they writ about you the other dayy. No matter how bad the press covfefe-”

His small hands had mistyped and he had sneezed at the wrong moment, causing his finger to accidentally click the mouse button, sending the incomplete and unchecked message to Theresa, and somehow, everyone in his email contacts. He quickly received a reply from his secretary, Michaela (it was Mike really, but Donald was incredibly sexist and refused to entertain the idea that a man could be a secretary) admonishing him for sending an email without being proofread first. He also got a reply from Theresa asking what the actual fuck a ‘covfefe’ was. He decided to front it out and so ignored both emails. Instead he went to the drinks cabinet and poured himself a chocolate milk.

The next day, he heard a couple of the women talking about his email in the toilet. It was difficult to make out exactly what they were saying because the toilet flushed and caused the wiretap to overload. He really needed to speak to his security guys about the placement of wiretaps in bathrooms. They had already made a hash of the peep-holes, making them too big. He had somehow managed to explain it away to Mike and Donald Junior in such a way they laughed it off. His other conversation with security was going to be about putting the spy-holes in the ladies bathroom. The talk was not good, anyway, so Donald decided to do something about it. He asked Mike/Michaela to place a call to Theresa.

“Donald,” came the voice at the other end. “Hello,”

“Hey Theresa,” Donald said. “Wow, your voice is quite different on the phone. Almost masculine.”

“Actually, it’s Mike, your Secretary.” Came the reply. “I’m just patching you through now.”

“I knew that, just kidding,” Donald blustered. Mike sighed, and the he heard the sound of a phone being put down.

“Donald, hello,” said a definitely female voice.

“Hey Theresa,” Donald greeted her.

“Ah, no. I’m her Private Secretary.” A brief pause. “I’m afraid she is in a meeting that has overrun slightly.”

“Right, no problem,” Donald laughed. “I can hold.”

“Are you sure? It might be a while,” came the reply.

“I’m sure,” Donald assured her. “I have nothing else to do,” he explained, looking straight past the huge pile of papers stacked in his ‘In Tray’ and the countless unopened emails on his computer screen.

“Alright then,” the Secretary told him, and then his ear was filled with the sound of some godawful classical music that could have been played by a three year old.

He was on hold for what felt like hours, but what was in fact two days. He was getting pretty mad by this point – he’d missed two rounds of golf and a massage with the hot Russian babe at the spa. Finally, as Donald was nodding off, the music stopped and he heard a female voice speak.

“Donald, I’m so sorry,”

“You fricking well should be you prissy little madam!” Donald yelled. “I’ve been on hold for two fricking days waiting for some dumb broad to patch me through to her boss.” There was a silence at the other end. “You giving me the silent treatment now, huh?”

“Certainly not. I will pass your feedback on to my Secretary once we have finished our conversation. I’m sorry about the delay, but we had a minor emergency in the office and in our hastiness to evacuate the building, Amber totally forgot about you.”

“Huh?” Donald was confused (which wasn’t difficult).

“This is Theresa. To whom you have been waiting to speak.”

“Umm” Donald fumbled and stumbled over his words.

“If you’re finished?” Theresa sounded pretty pissed off.

“Hey, no. I just called to let you know you have my support.” Donald said, yawning.

“That’s most kind,” Theresa thanked him, a slight softening of her tone. “I could certainly do with some support.”

“How come?” Donald asked.

“Well, I made a bit of booboo the other day. I was concerned that the board weren’t fully behind me, so I called for a vote of confidence.” Theresa sighed. “I lost.”

“That’s a shitter,” Donald commiserated. “When I hold board meetings, I go round the table and let everyone tell me how great I am.”

“You do?” Theresa sounded surprised.

“Yeah, they love me. And if they don’t,” he paused, “I fire their sorry asses!”

“An interesting approach.” Theresa said. Donald thought he could hear the sound of pencil on paper.

“Yeah, so anyway, I gotta go,” Donald said. “I’m meeting a couple of the guys at the golf club for a quick round before I meet the Head of Security.”

“That sounds like you have a busy day.”

“Yeah,” Donald agreed. “But I always play golf before I fire someone!” He laughed himself silly and put the phone down without the usual farewell etiquette was observed.

He got up from his desk, straightened his tie and strode out of his office, past Mike’s desk (where he was struggling under the sheer weight of work that Donald had ignored for the past two weeks) and out to the lift.

Song Title Short Story #13

Redondo Beach – Morrissey

“I don’t need this bullshit,” Clare yelled. “Who do you think you are?”

“I’m the man who brought you here to try and help you relax,” Mark yelled back. “Some thanks this is!” He reached over for his phone and stood up to leave. Clare stormed into the bathroom and slammed the door behind her. Mark stood in the hotel room, seething. He looked around for his shoes.

He was just finishing tying the laces on his shoes when Clare came out of the bathroom. She sat down on the bed next to him, but he ignored her, studiously looping the lace and wrapping the other one round before finishing with a deliberate motion. Just to be sure, he double tied it as he had with the other shoe. Clare cleared her throat as if to talk, but before she could start, Mark stood up and walked to the door. He stopped for a moment, then turned round.

“Actually, why am I going?”

“What do you mean?” Clare asked, a little puzzled.

“I paid for this room. Maybe you should go instead?” Mark almost sneered. “Go on, take your things and go.” Clare looked at him in a state of shock. Without a word, she stood up, grabbed her bag off the bed and stormed out. Mark threw himself down on the bed and buried his head in the pillow.

It was about two and a half hours later, Mark was half-watching something on television, and he felt bad. He couldn’t even remember what had set off the argument. He picked his mobile off the bed next to him and dialled Clare’s number. It rang out for a bit and then went to answerphone. He left a grovelling message and begged her to come back. He went over to the window and looked out at the sea view he had paid extra for. His attention was drawn to a crowd just by the water’s edge. An ambulance was there. He felt sorrow for whoever was in trouble, but he couldn’t get Clare off his mind. He turned away from the window and headed for the door, swiping the room key off the table as he passed.

He came out of the lift into the hotel foyer. He went over to the reception desk and asked the young girl if Clare had come past. The girl listened to his description and gave a shrug of her shoulders.

“It’s been busy.” She told him. Mark thanked her and went out through the front entrance. As he walked, a group of elderly ladies hurried past. He heard snippets of conversation – ‘poor girl’, ‘troubled soul’ and ‘pretty’. He saw the ambulance drive off down the street and an inexplicable feeling of dread came over him. He ran back to the hotel and spoke to a different receptionist who was just removing his coat. Mark described Clare to him. The guy looked at him with sadness in his eyes.

Mark went up to the room again and threw himself on the bed, tears streaming down his face.

Song Title Short Story #12

Just Pretend – Elvis Presley

Something was wrong. I had walked away too soon. We were both heartbroken at the time, and we’d kept out of each others way for over a month, trying to let the emotional scars heal. This was easy enough considering the geographical distance between the two of us. I often wondered if you were doing okay, or if you were suffering just as I was.

Then, one day, I stopped and thought to myself – ‘what was I doing?’ It was blatantly clear to me that I needed you, and I hoped you still needed me. I took a huge leap of faith and I keyed your number into my phone and pressed the ‘call’ icon. The phone rang out, and just as I was about to give up, I heard the click and your familiar voice. We talked, awkwardly at first, but then the familiar old ways came back and soon we were laughing like we used to.

As the conversation tailed off, neither of us wanting to address the elephant in the room, for fear that the feelings might not be mutual, I wondered if this was it, which scared me more than anything, so I took a deep breath, and went for it.

“I made a huge mistake, leaving you like that,” I admitted. “You said that if I needed you, I’d know what to do. Does that still stand?” There was a momentary silence, then a quiet sound that could have been a sigh, or a sob.

“What do you think?” She replied.

“Okay then,” I sighed. “I’ll pack some stuff, and I’ll be with you very soon.”

“I can’t wait,” she said, a happy tone in her voice now. “Until then, I’ll just pretend you’re already here.”

“This is going to be brilliant,” I shouted, both of us laughing now, the sadness completely forgotten. “I can’t wait to hold you in my arms again,” I told her.

“Well, we’ll just have to pretend you never left,” she suggested.

That was the longest three hour journey of my life! The weather was truly awful, rain lashing down on my windscreen, requiring the wiper blades to be on full speed, and me, peering through the darkness, trying to see the road ahead. But all along the way, I kept telling myself this was totally worth it. As I got closer to your house, the stress of driving was replaced by that familiar feeling of butterflies and nervousness. But when I did finally arrive at your doorstep and rang the doorbell, you opened the door and I knew it had been completely worth it. We embraced there and then, and I promised you as we stood in the rain, that I was where I belonged, and I would not be leaving your side ever again.

Once I was dried off, we cuddled up on the sofa and watched some dodgy television show and that was where we fell asleep – in each others arms.

Song Title Short Story #11

I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times – The Beach Boys

They said I was streets ahead. I was making music that nobody else had even dreamed of making. It all came together in my head, and then I had to try and express the emotion and the melodies in a way the musicians and the band could grasp. And that wasn’t easy. I would lock myself away in a studio somewhere and play around on the piano, or with a guitar, just trying to put something together that I hadn’t done before, that nobody had done before.

One afternoon, the guys came into the studio to hear what I was doing. I played a few rough tracks that I’d got to a satisfactory stage and when I finished, there was total silence. I waited for the congratulatory whoops and back-slapping, but they didn’t come. There were nervy looks between them, as if they wanted to say something but couldn’t bring themselves to. Eventually, Mike scratched his head and said – “Hey, it’s different.”

“Different?!” I asked. “Good different?”

“Look, man, what I meant was, it’s not what we’ve been used to.”

“Of course it’s not,” I chided. “I haven’t spent three months in the studio, experimenting, just to come up with the same crap about girls and cars.” The other guys kept quiet, as usual, while Mike and I, the two strongest personalities, battled it out. I could see no-one was going to say anything good, so I picked up the tapes and stormed out, kicking a stool over on my way to the door. To Hell with them, I thought.

As I drove home along the coastal road, I looked out to the horizon and wondered if I was wasting my time. I had put my heart and soul into this new music, and yet the very people I relied on for support and love, were holding back. Maybe they just didn’t get it yet? I arrived home and went straight to the little music room I had at the back of the house. I put the tape on again and listened in darkness, my eyes closed, trying to map out the layers of instrumentation and harmony. Having got it all in my head, I helped myself to a small tab of acid and sat back.

The next afternoon, I woke feeling determined and positive. I was going to sell this to the guys. I got dressed and called round to get the guys back into the studio. I got there first and, with the help of the session band, we quickly knocked about three of the tracks into shape so that they just needed the vocals. Mike walked in first, with a look that said ‘this had better be good.’ The others soon followed and when we were settled, I walked them through the sound I wanted to hear. I sat up in the booth and after the vocals were done, the guys came up to hear the full effect. It was beautiful.

Song Title Short Story #10

Memphis Tennessee – Chuck Berry

Bob cursed his luck, and his crappy mobile phone signal. He had three calls now where the line had cut out as soon as he had answered it. He had an inkling it was Marie, but he couldn’t be sure. It was three weeks now since he had last seen her as she was driven away by Charlotte.

Marriages rarely end well, and Bob and Charlotte’s was no different. There had been no particular incident, but over time they had just fallen out of love with each other. Bob had been the one to move out of the family home, moving in with his brother on a short term basis while the whole divorce played out and the house sold. In the meantime, Bob had continued to be a parent to Marie, and what’s more, Charlotte had let him.

It all came to a head one afternoon when Bob went round to pick up Marie for an afternoon out. He turned up as arranged, only to find the door answered by a strange man. Understandably, Bob wanted to know who this guy was in his house with his daughter. Charlotte came to the door and explained, curtly, that the man was Peter, and he was her new boyfriend.

“When were you going to tell me?” Bob asked, attempting to veil his anger.

“When the time was right,” Charlotte replied, her arms crossed in textbook defensive mode.

“Has he been staying over?” Bob asked, afraid he already knew the answer.

“Yes, he has.” Charlotte told him coldly and matter-of-factly. “And it’s not really any of your business any more.”

“Well, excuse me,” Bob raised his voice. “When it concerns my daughter, it actually is my business!”

The conversation was cut off as Marie came running down the hallway and launched herself at her dad. Bob caught her and held her in his arms. He told Marie to give her mummy a kiss and then led her down the path to the car.

About two weeks later, Bob was due to take Marie to a friend’s birthday party, and he drove round to pick her up. To his shock and horror, the road outside the house was filled with a removal lorry. Bob pulled up and leapt out, slamming the car door behind him. He couldn’t get up the path as two men were carrying out a sofa – his sofa – to the lorry. He shouted for Marie, and her heard a cry of ‘Daddy’ from a bit further down the road. He looked to see Marie’s head poking out of a car window as it sped off down the road away from him. He had tried to run after the car, but his general lack of fitness let him down.

And now, here he was, desperately hoping his daughter was trying to get in touch with him. His phone rang once again. Bob swiped his finger to answer the call and thought he could hear a young voice before the line went dead…

Song Title Short Story #9

Slight Return – The Bluetones

Tony took his seat, his palms glistening with sweat. He rubbed them on his trousers under the table, and coughed. The gathered photographers, newspaper hacks and television media all turned their attention towards him. He tried not to notice the camera flashes, or the blinking red lights on the video cameras, much as he attempted to ignore the sound of pens scribbling on notepads, and dictaphones thrust towards him.

With a deep breath, and a comforting pat on the shoulder from his wife Liz, Tony began to read out his resignation statement. He praised the people who had helped him reach the dizzy heights of politics, thanked those who had supported him through the troubles caused by his own lack of foresight, and wished his successor at the Foreign Office all the best. Naturally, he omitted the part played by the gutter press in his downfall, and also the Prime Minister for forcing him to resign or face the indignity of being sacked.

His statement finished, Tony stood up and left the room, turning his back on fifteen years in front line politics. He had hoped the prepared statement would have been enough for the media, but to his dismay, as he reached the lobby of the hotel, he could see a further scrum blocking the way to his car.

“Fuck,” he exclaimed.

“Don’t panic, Tony,” his wife soothed. “I’ll send Patrick first to push them back.”

She nodded and a burly man in his fifties stepped forward and led them through the throng of shouting journalists and to the safety of his car. Liz got in the drivers seat and soon they were speeding away from the hotel and into traffic. Tony let out a sigh and loosened his tie.

“Well, that’s that,” Tony stated, matter-of-factly. “My political career down the toilet.”

“I’m not going to say I told you so, Tony dear, but if you will go around taking drugs with prostitutes on Government time, you’re bound to come unstuck.”

Tony nodded wordlessly and looked out of the window as the city gave way to the green, leafy Surrey countryside.

Tony spent the next couple of days and weeks at home watching television and reading the newspapers, hoping that, finally, his name would be out of the headlines and he could begin to pick up the pieces of his broken life. He missed the hustle and bustle of Parliament. He watched PMQ’s and gazed wistfully at the seat he would have been in, now filled by that conniving shit Philip.

It was the very next day when he got a call from the Prime Minister’s secretary asking for him to come back for an urgent meeting. This was followed by phone calls from his former cabinet colleagues who had received news on the grapevine that there was a way back for Tony.

His hopes raised, Tony raced back to London to meet the Prime Minister. He was looking forward to being back in the game…