A little breeze blew across the Mar-a-Lago terrace, flapping tablecloths in the wind and making little waves in the water glasses. The chattering of diners and the clinking of glasses started again.
“Tell me about us, Steve. Tell how it’s gonna be.”
Steve Bannon had been watching a waitress across the room. He came back to Donald. “Look out across the room, Donnie. Look at that waitress.”
Donnie stared across the room. “She a pretty one. I gonna grab her…”
“C’mon, Donnie. You ain’t gonna do that no more.” Bannon pulled his phone out of his pocket. He slid the unlock bar. His hand shook and he stared at Donnie’s neck, the spot where the rolls disappear into the collar.
“Tell me ’bout the rallies, Steve. Are we gonna have rallies?”
Steve steadied his hand and pulled up a folder of PDFs. “We gon’ have lots of rallies, Donnie. Lot of folk all happy to see you.”
“Will they chant?”
Bannon thumbed through the PDFs. Tax return, Russia file — he selected them all. “Gonna be lots of chantin’, Donnie. People shoutin’ your name. Ain’t nobody not happy to see you up there.”
Donnie’s shoulders slumped.
“None them people with the signs? The mean people?”
Bannon frowned. “You want some them folks ‘round the rallies? Them ones don’t like you?”
“I likes to see ’em get beat,” Donnie said. “Like when the good people break them mean signs and push ’em out the room.”
Bannon smiled. “How bout we let a few them in just so they can get em what’s comin’?”
Donnie nodded. He kept looking at the waitress, watching her gather gold rimmed plates covered with half eaten steaks.
“Tell me more bout the rallies.”
“Gonna be a whole sea them red hats. Them red hats with the promise you done made on em. That promise bout making everythin’ great ‘gain. Everybody gonna be so happy to see you, holdin’ sweet signs and sayin’ your name. Gonna be a sight to behold, Donnie. Ain’t like nothin so grand as nobody ever seen.”
Bannon stared at his phone and pushed the send arrow. He pushed the button for email. He typed the New York Times tip address. Then he typed one for the Washington Post. He looked back at Donnies thick orange neck and paused.
“Can we go do a rally right now, Steve?” Donnie turned. “When can we do it?”
“Keep lookin’ out at that waitress, keep lookin at ’er. We gonna do the rally real soon.”
“You an’ me and all the nice people who like me,” Donnie said.
“That’s right, Donnie. People lovin’ you and trustin’ you, everybody believin’ in you and the only mean folk around be the ones we let in just so they can get what comin’.”
Bannon could hear footsteps coming up the terrace stairs.
“I thought you was mad with me, Steve, ‘bout the tweetin’.”
“No,” said Bannon. “I ain’t mad about the tweets, I ain’t mad at you. Don’t you never forget that.”
“Let’s go do the rally now, can we do the rally now, Steve? Can we go to Jacksonville? Them Jacksonville folks is good folks that like me.”
“Sure, Donnie,” said Steve. “We can get in the helichopper and be there by nightfall. Get a whole lotta folks out to see you.”
Bannon hovered his finger over the send button. His hands shook but he steeled his face. He could hear footsteps coming up the terrace stairs getting louder. He hit send.
Donnie turned from the waitress to Bannon. He smiled, golden hair waving in the breeze, squinty eyes twinkling.“I’m gonna go up my room, pick out a tie for Jacksonville.”
“Okay, Donnie, go get you a tie. We’ll be there soon.”
Donnie hurried off. The footsteps up the stairs stopped and Reince hollered out to Steve. “Bannon? Bannon? You done it?”
Bannon held his phone up. Reince saw the email verification.
“By god, you done it.”
Bannon nodded. “Took it right at the failing New York Times,” he said.
Reince put his slight, soft hand on Bannon’s shoulder. “Don’t you worry, a guy got to sometimes.”
Bannon nodded. “C’mon, let’s get a drink,” said Reince. Bannon nodded again.
“A few of em,” said Bannon. Reince led him through the Mar-a-Lago dining room to the bar.
“You hadda Steve, you hadda,” Reince said. “You hadda.”