Magazine September 9, 2019, Issue

From the Adventures of Donald J. Trump, Private Detective

President Trump at the White House in Washington, D.C., July 16, 2019. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

Chapter Six:
A Tweet before Dying

“Mr. Trump! You’ll never guess what happened!”

Pence had, as usual, interrupted the world-famous detective right in the middle of his morning rituals. Trump had carefully applied his preferred hair preparation onto his fingers and was busily dabbing and pinching his stray hairs into place. He looked up from his work and regarded his companion with a baleful glance.

“Good Lord, Pence. Excitable as ever!” Trump cried, in as good-natured a way as he could. Trump hated being interrupted during his morning toilet. He was as fastidious about his hair placement as he was about his bronzer application, and the quiet hour or three it took to get these just right, along with his trademark suit and four-foot necktie, was a time, for him, of quiet contemplation. He had solved many mysteries during these morning hours alone, and his fevered and overheated brain required solitude and respite. Nonetheless, he could not restrain himself from smiling at his friend.

“I would venture to guess,” Trump began, without taking his eyes from his mirror or looking up to regard the still-hyperventilating Pence, “that you have come directly from your morning Bible study, after enjoying a healthy breakfast where you once again made distracted and desultory conversation with your long-suffering bride, and you are here to inform me that Jeffrey Epstein, the incarcerated villain, has committed suicide in mysterious and unexplained circumstances.”

“Great Scott, Mr. Trump!” cried Pence. “Why, that is precisely the case! How ever did you guess?”

Trump looked at his friend sharply.

“I do not guess, my dear Pence,” the great detective said in a withering tone. “I deduce from the facts in front of me. In the first place, I notice the drape on your suit jacket is slightly askew, suggesting that your family Bible is in your left jacket pocket. On your tie, which is comically short and barely reaches to your belt buckle, I noticed a single, almost imperceptible Grape Nut, suggesting a fiber-rich breakfast. And the dark ink smudge on your left thumb and forefinger tells me you spent your breakfast time reading the newspaper — the Washington Post, if I’m not mistaken, which is printed on cheap paper with the cheapest possible inks, due to the greed of its proprietor and his slapdash attention to fact and detail — and not making pleasant conversation with your charming wife.”

Trump resumed his tonsorial labors. Pence sputtered in amazement.

“I’ll never cease to be stunned by your deductive powers, Mr. Trump,” he said. “But tell me, how did you know about Jeffrey Epstein?”

Trump sighed. With a shrug, he indicated the smartphone sitting next to the toilet.

“Twitter, my dear Pence. Twitter!”

In the distance, one could hear the soft thundering of an approaching helicopter. Pence remained agitated.

“But we should visit the scene at once! I don’t mind saying, Mr. Trump, that these mysterious events seem to be connected, somehow, to some of our current investigations!”

The helicopter noise became louder. Trump smiled.

“I quite agree, my dear Pence,” he said. “And in fact, I believe that our conveyance has arrived.”

With that, Trump tucked the remaining strands into place, tugged gently at his necktie, and turned to his friend.

“Shall we, Pence? The chopper has arrived. The game, as some people are saying, is afoot!”

Chapter Seven:
A Mysterious Suicide

“Notice something unusual about this prison cell?” Trump asked his nonplussed companion.

“Seems like an ordinary New York City federal incarceration facility, Mr. Trump,” replied Pence. “What am I missing?”

Trump chuckled amiably. Pence was forever missing the obvious. He decided to wait a bit before he revealed the powers of his deductive mind. Trump took a sip of his Diet Coke and nibbled on his Bacon, Egg, and Cheese McMuffin.

“What you are missing, my dear Pence, is not what you can see but, rather, what you cannot.”

Pence stared at him, baffled. Trump sighed. 

“The coffee machine in the guard’s area was dry and cold, suggesting that no coffee was consumed last night, which in turn suggests that the guards were not awake, by either choice or indifference. The interior of this cell is visible neither by eyesight nor by closed-circuit devices — see here? Where the camera apparatus was supposed to be directed to the cell interior, it has been repositioned, and quite recently. There are barely visible scratches by the mounting, and some of the screw is exposed.”

“How monstrous!” shouted Pence.

“And here, a small shoe print. Quite easy to overlook. I think when it’s measured it will be revealed to be a left shoe, women’s size six, with a heavier imprint on the inside edge, suggesting it was placed there by a woman roughly one hundred sixty-five centimeters tall with a certain amount of excess weight in the thigh region.”

Pence gasped, thunderstruck.

“Mr. Trump, you don’t mean — ”

“That I do, my dear friend. This is unmistakably the work of . . .”

Trump trailed off. He could not bring himself to name the woman in question.

(Continued . . .)

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