October 2084

It’s time to confess. It’s my fault that every presidential election for the past sixty-four years has been Biden vs. Trump.

It started back in 2020. I was wandering masked and alone through an abandoned Costco parking lot, hoping to find a discarded packet of yeast, and consumed with worry about the possibility of Trump winning a second term when I saw it: a monkey’s paw.

A single finger remained open—the middle one. I picked it up, and the words flew from my mouth. “I wish for Biden to beat Trump!”

The finger slowly curled shut, a clap of thunder rang out from the sky, and a chill ran down my spine.

Lo and behold, that November, Biden won. Yes, Trump’s supporters attacked our nation’s capitol and tried to hang Mike Pence, but at least Biden was president.

I had almost forgotten about the paw when Trump and Biden became the nominees again in 2024. Still, it was weird. I mean, most of the country would rather listen to Lara Trump butcher more Tom Petty songs than endure another election in which these two argue about who’s better at climbing stairs. But, once again, Biden was victorious, despite Trump claiming activist ChatBots rigged all the voting machines.

When Trump and Biden kicked off campaigns for the 2028 election, the panic set in. People began to wonder, “How is this possible? Isn’t it illegal for Biden to have a third term?” and “Why isn’t at least one of these guys dead already?”

It wasn’t until after Biden won again that it finally dawned on me: it was the cursed monkey’s paw wish.

And so the story repeats every election cycle. I wished for Biden to beat Trump, and now he has, over and over for the last sixty-four years. Both candidates are now the walking dead. They have stiffened, blackened, and mummified, yet continue to run for president. Their aides trail alongside them, carefully retrieving any bits that fall off.

Each election cycle is a nightmare of Trump scandals, yet nothing disqualifies him. He’s been indicted in all fifty states. Russia finally released the Pee Tapes. He shot a golden retriever in the middle of Fifth Avenue. Plus, all the skin finally rotted off his feet, revealing that he never had bone spurs.

At his rallies, Trump calls Biden “Zombie Joe,” and the crowd chants, “Box him up! Box him up!” while a parade of doctors declare Trump “fit for office” and “partially alive.”

Every four years, Joe is our only hope, the sole politician who has ever beaten Trump and, therefore, the only candidate who can beat Trump. Sure, the economy is robust, social safety nets are still in place, and we are investing more than ever in infrastructure. But when Biden eats an ice cream cone, it falls right through his ribs and onto the floor. That doesn’t exactly scream “presidential.”

Will you find it comforting to know that, at the very least, Biden will always win? Or is it more dreadful to know that candidate Trump will never go away?

Is there a way to break the curse? I do not know. But in my final years, before I reach sweet death and an escape from this endless treadmill of Biden vs. Trump, you will find me wandering alone through abandoned houses, unkempt yards, and big box store parking lots, searching for another paw and just one more wish.