(This is a story stub. I do not plan on completing it anytime soon. Its distinctive lack of humour troubles me.)
‘Hi,’ I said, extending my gloved hands at his naked, outstretched palms as if they were forensic evidence I had come to collect. ‘I’m Trudeau. Are you Trump?’
He nodded slightly, his hair dancing around his face like a horse’s mane whisked around in the winds of a race, and proceeded with great caution to open his mouth. ‘Honestly, we aren’t fooling either of us with these names.’ He looked sloppy, fingers fidgeting, tracing ellipses in the dusty diner air, feet shuffling to reveal footprints on the floor. The way he moved left no doubt that he was a junkie, and had been one for quite some time now, but was he the one I was looking for?
‘Business names,’ I explained tersely. ‘Strictly business.’
‘I get you,’ he said. ‘I ain’t a floozy. I get why you might want to be anonymous but we should probably choose names that sound less c-conspicuous.’ He stuttered on the last word, gulping it down a few times in his throat before spitting it out, then smiling as if he had just conquered the world.
I put the coke on the table near the salt-shaker. Motioned him to sit, then said in the best Law and Order tone I could manage, ‘Can you prove to me beyond reasonable doubt that you are the correct person to receive this?’
For a moment, a fleeting one, I could see him steel himself out of his persona, before he slunk into the booth opposite me and said, ‘Going too fast there, I see. Can you prove without reasonable doubt that this is the stuff I left in your backyard?’
Stalemate, I thought. We sat at our tables in silence for a couple of minutes, till the waitress walked up to the booth and asked, ‘Can I get the two of you something to eat?’
‘Two double espressos please,’ I said, before I was forced into paying for something that would bite into my next month’s rent.
‘Who do I make it out to?’ she asked.
‘I am sorry,’ I said, looking around at the relatively deserted diner. If things went south, I would just have to dart straight out of the open door.
‘House policy,’ she said, pointing towards a poorly-lit banner that read, ‘Assist your waitress. Help them get your names correct.’
Trump started giggling.
‘I am, er, Justin. And this my friend here is Donald.’
‘Good to meet you, Mr Presidents,’ said the waitress and rotating on her heels, marched away with our orders to the back of the diner.
‘C-Conspicuous as fuck,’ Trump groaned, settling into a more comfortable position. ‘Tell me Justin, am I too white for you?’
I choked on the air I was inhaling. ‘No,’ I fumbled, looking for words to put it right. ‘No, I did not mean to question you that way. Trust me, your complexion has nothing to do with it.’
‘I think you are shitting me right now Justin. I guess you think me too white.’
I suddenly felt sick. Was he correct? Were my suspicions coming from a place of deep-seated prejudice?
‘Or maybe you think my long hair makes me less of a man? Is that it? Is that why you are fucking with me here?’
His hair was definitely long, longer at least than most men I had been around. Men in my university were not allowed to keep their hair long, a rule that dictated that my hair, among a host of other people’s, was to barely crawl down my neck or my forehead.
‘I am sorry, Mr Trump,’ I said, the practice of thousands of Sunday schools distilling into my responses. ‘I did not mean to hurt your feelings. It is just that I did not want to deny the rightful owner of this bag of their property.’ A tear almost erupted from my eyes, but I looked down, blinked it back and sniffed hard.
He breathed heavily. ‘You seem like a good kid,’ he confessed.
At this moment, the waitress barged in, holding a tray full of paraphernalia. She put the cups down upon their saucers, laid down the sugar sachets beside them and giving us a smile, eloped with her judgements.
The distraction had given me some time to control my emotions and some time to think. ‘So you claim that this is yours but there is nothing that proves your ownership,’ I summarized, waiting for his response. He looked at me, sipping his coffee, his gaze boring into my eyes.
‘What do you suggest?’
‘Would you like to take a lie-detector test?’