It was a bright cold day in November, and the clocks were Trumping thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his Canada Goose in an effort to escape the vile wind, obviously sent over from China, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory McMansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him. There had been rumors that a Gritty Dust Wall might be built, with gritty dust paying for it, but Winston knew that was probably just idle talk from nasty women.
It was the coldest day in weeks, a frigid 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Winston grabbed a few pamphlets detailing the hoax that was climate change to use for kindling for his evening fire.
The hallway smelt of boiled mail order steaks and old KFC buckets. At one end of it a colored poster, too large for indoor display, had been tacked to the wall. It depicted simply an enormous face, a huge face, definitely not a little face: the face of a man of about seventy, with a heavy orange tint and hair that could only be described as unfortunate.
Winston made for the stairs. It was no use trying the elevator. Even at the best of times it was seldom working, and at present the electric current was cut off during peak Twitter hours. It was part of the economy drive in preparation for Hate Week, a four year long event. The apartment was seven flights up, and Winston, who was thirty-nine and had a preexisting varicose ulcer above his right ankle, went slowly, resting several times on the way. Wincing in pain, Winston muttered the words “Thanks, Obama,” the mandatory country-wide mantra for experiencing anything unpleasant.
On each landing, opposite the elevator-shaft, the poster with the enormous face gazed from the wall. It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. BIGLY BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran.
Inside the apartment the crazed voice of High Chancellor Giuliani of the Ministry of Tremendous Winning was reading out a list of figures which had something to do with the production of automatic pussy grabbers. The voice came from an oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror which formed part of the surface of the right-hand wall. Winston turned a switch and the voice lowered in volume but not craziness. The instrument (the telescreen, or Trump TV, it was called) could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely.
He moved over to the window: a smallish, frail, Jeb Bush-like figure, the meagerness of his body merely emphasized by the large red hat with white lettering sitting atop his head which was the uniform of the party.
Outside, even through the suction cup proof window, the world looked stunned. There seemed to be no color in anything, except the posters that were plastered everywhere. The angry clown-esque face gazed down from every commanding corner. There was one on the house-front immediately opposite. BIGLY BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said, while the squinting eyes looked deep into Winston’s own. Down at street level, another poster, torn at one corner, flapped fitfully in the wind, alternately covering and uncovering the single word MAGA. In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs before darting away again with a curving flight. It was the Rosie O’Donnell patrol, snooping into people’s windows, searching for evidence of Koosh balls. The patrols and regular police did not matter, however. Only the Thought Police mattered, the armed guards that arrested and disappeared any bad hombre with a logical thought.
Behind Winston’s back the voice from the Trump TV was still babbling away about the amount of the swamp left to be drained and the emails of the Party’s enemies.
A mile away the Ministry of Trump, Winston’s place of work, towered vast and ominous above the grimy landscape.
The Ministry of Trump — MiniTrump, in Locker Room Talk — was startlingly different from any other object in sight. It was an enormous tower structure of glittering gold, soaring up, floor after floor, 666 feet into the air. From where Winston stood it was just possible to read the four slogans of the Party chiseled into the tower:
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
Winston averted his gaze from the slogans and stared at the poster of the tremendously huge face.
BIGLY BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU.
Looking down at his hand, Winston saw that, unknowingly, he had taken out his party-approved smartphone and opened up Twitter. His fingers were furiously typing:
DOWN WITH BIGLY BROTHER
DOWN WITH BIGLY BROTHER
DOWN WITH BIGLY BROTHER
over and over again until hitting the character limit.
Staring into the giant, lying eyes of the poster, Winston hit Tweet.