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Chapter 25
July 16, 2017

Speech of the Devil

In advance of the G-20 summit, American President Donald Trump had a two hour meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The only other people in the room were American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and two translators. Ordinarily there would be note takers at such meetings, but the American side refused to allow any to attend, concerned that they would leak conflicting, untrue accounts of the meeting. We might suggest that the actual American objection was that note takers would tell consistently true accounts of the meeting, but that would be cynical, and we're trying not to be cynical because...umm...reasons?

Anyway. The two world leaders could have been talking about anything in their meeting. Seriously. They could have talked about how awful Arnold Schwarzenegger's version of The Celebrity Apprentice was. They could have talked about their favourite Miley Cyrus songs. They could have talked about how to corrupt the 2018 mid-term elections. We just don't know.

Until now. Through the magic of imagination, Les Pages aux Folles has received a recording of the meeting between the two world leaders. Here is a partial transcript:

TRUMP: Can I ask you a question?

PUTIN: You can always ask...

TRUMP: Crimea. I mean, what's the deal? I've been told about the place - it's a real dump!

PUTIN: That may be, but would you build a hotel there?

TRUMP: I don't build hotels.

PUTIN: My mistake. Would you licence your brand for a hotel there?

TRUMP: If there was money to be - aah, I see. You think there is money to be made there.

PUTIN: Not quite. The benefit of an action can come in many forms.

TRUMP: Really? Cause for my money, money is the only benefit that counts.

PUTIN: I can appreciate that a man with your business experience would feel that -

TRUMP: Ha! Ha! Did you see what I did, there? Repeated the word money for emphasis! That's what I did. Clever, hunh?

PUTIN: Charming.

SECRETARY OF STATE REX TILLERSON: I don't use the bathroom on Air Force One - it's got cooties. If we have a long, trans-Atlantic flight, I pee into empty soda bottles until we land.

PUTIN: What...what's wrong with Mister Tillerson?

TRUMP: I don't know. You know that drug you gave me - the one you said would make him not remember anything at this meeting?

PUTIN: The one that would make him suggestive to whatever we wanted him to tell the press? Yes, yes.

TRUMP: I put three tablespoons into his diet soda just like you instructed.

PUTIN: Three tablespoons? Tablespoons? Bozhe moihe - you were only supposed to use three teaspoons! Teaspoons! Not tablespoons!

TRUMP: Oh. Is that bad?

PUTIN: Bad? You could have killed him!

TRUMP: Oh, you're just exaggerating...right?

PUTIN: I speak truth!

TRUMP: How do you know?

PUTIN: Better you don't ask. All I will say is that I believe that experience is the best teacher...

TRUMP: What about your man over there?

PUTIN: Who, Sergey?

TRUMP: Jeez, is every man in your country named Sergey? I swear, I can hardly tell them apart sometimes!

PUTIN: Sergey, what did I tell you yesterday?

FOREIGN MINISTER SERGEY LAVROV: Green lemurs are manipulating the Earth's crust from 100 miles below the surface in order to create the illusion of global warming.

TRUMP: You believe that?

PUTIN: It doesn't matter what he believes in. Sergey says whatever I tell him to say...if he knows what's good for him.

TRUMP: What about your translator?

PUTIN: He translates from Russian to an obscure Catalan dialect. Yours?

TRUMP: English to Mandarin.

PUTIN: Smart. China is developing into an economic superpower.

TRUMP: But, uhh, enough chitchat. While we're here, we need to discuss an important matter between our two countries.

PUTIN: Yes...?

TRUMP: Did your government meddle in the American 2016 presidential election? Because, you know, we take the integrity of our elections very seriously. Very seriously. So, did you? Meddle in our election?

PAUSE. Several seconds later, Putin and Trump burst out laughing.

PUTIN: Oh, ah - good one!

TRUMP: Ha ha. Sorry, but you knew I had to go there.

PUTIN: How do you say...well played.

TRUMP: Thank you. I try.

PUTIN: But, seriously. We do need to talk about something important: your sanctions against my country...

TRUMP: Ah. Money. That's something I understand!

PUTIN: I make you deal: you agree to lift sanctions, I agree to pretend to do something to stop the slaughter in Syria. Sound good?

TRUMP: Anything for you, Vlad. Anything...

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