The sun glares down hotly on desert sand speckled with tufts of sagebrush and dry balls of tumbleweed. There is no wind. And no sound except the sweaty grunts of a large man hoisting cinder blocks onto what looks like a wall. A Border Guard approaches.
“Hey you,” the border guard shouts. “What d’ya think you’re doin’?”
The large man slathers a layer of mortar on top of blocks already laid. “Can’t you see, you idiot?” he shouts.
“Get away from there,” says the guard. “You have no authorization to do that.”
The man reaches down with two hands, grasps a cinder block, lifts it, sets it carefully on the wet mortar. “Who are you to tell me what I can do? Who are you? Some wise acre who thinks he can order everyone around?”
The guard draws closer to the man. “Listen, I’m guarding this wall, and no one is to get near it. Do you hear me?”
The man reaches into the mortar bucket, brings up another trowel-full. “You’re telling me what I can and what I cannot do? Who do you think you are?”
“My name is Officer Brown, and if you don’t step back from that wall, I’m calling for reinforcements.”
The man sets down the trowel and turns toward Officer Brown. Officer Brown suddenly realizes who he’s shouting at. “Mr. President. Good grief. I didn’t know it was you. What are you doin’ here?”
“Can’t you see, you idiot. I’m building the damn wall myself.” The President points farther down the wall. “Pence is over there. Cruz is around here somewhere, but he keeps complaining about his back. Hannity was supposed to be here, but he didn’t show. I texted Mr. Talking-Face, but he didn’t respond, so I don’t know where he is.”
Officer Brown draws closer. “But you? Why are you building the wall?”
The President lets out a sweaty sigh and nods toward the line of cinder blocks. “Because no one else will do it. I promised a wall, and dammit I’m going to get a wall.”
“Two thousand miles, Mr. President?” Officer Brown looks down the wall at Pence. “Mr. President, it doesn’t look like your Vice President is laying blocks.”
The President glances at his Vice. “That’s Pence. He’s got this zany idea that God is going to build the wall.”
“Yeah, I know. It would be a miracle. But you know Pence. He says if God tore down the walls of Jericho, he can just as well build up the wall with Mexico. What goes down, must come up. Something like that. So he prays.” The President casts Pence another glance. “I don’t know if he’s getting through though. At least I don’t feel any divine help lifting these blocks.”
“So, Mr. President, can I ask who’s running the government?” asks Officer Brown.
The President throws him an irritated stare. “Who’s running the government? Who knows who’s running the government? And who cares, because the government isn’t running. I thought some of those Congress people would come down here and help out. You know, the ones who tell me I’ve got their full support. Tell me how great I am. The greatest president ever. But come down here and build this wall? Not on your life.”
Officer Brown looks over at the Vice President. “Mr. President, it looks like Vice has connected. He’s standing up, I think he’s dancing, he’s spinning in circles, he’s bowing up and down like he’s on to something.”
“Oh that,” the President replies. “That’s just part of his, what does he call it? Supplication. He thinks if he wiggles around a lot he’ll get more notice. ‘Course I’d rather see him stop all that nonsense and get into the blocks and mortar like I am. Nobody but nobody is going to build this wall but me.”
“Ah, Mr. President, do you see those people watching you from the other side?”
“Of course I see them. They’ve been standing there all day. They make me feel uneasy.”
“Have you given it a thought, Mr. President, that maybe they’d be willing to assist?”
“Them? The ones I’m tryin’ to keep out?”
Officer Brown waves toward the bystanders. “Hola, Pedro, Juan. Amigos, vamos sobre. Trae a tus amigos. El presidente necesita ayuda.”
“You know them? What’re you doing?” the President gasps.
Officer Brown replies, “Of course I do. Look, here’s the deal. Instead of our building the wall and Mexico paying for it?
“Mexico builds the wall, and we pay for it. An even exchange.”
“Mexico... we... pay... for... it doesn’t sound right.”
“Trust me, Mr. President, it’s a good deal.”