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"Twin Towers" by Don Stoll

An aide told the press that his boss had rejected the idea of having His image added to Mount Rushmore because South Dakota was “a shithole state.” At a press conference, arranged for the following day, the aide had been compelled to kneel in front of the assembled reporters. He apologized to the good people of South Dakota and admitted that he had lied. The President Himself said that calling South Dakota a shithole state had been a joke and that He did not understand why some people had no sense of humor.

Then He used the Presidential Saber to execute the aide, laughing when He failed to effect the beheading with a single stroke and then failing to remove the head with several more strokes because He was distracted by the need to watch the reporters to make sure they were laughing along with Him. In disgust, He finally threw the weapon down. He asked why His staff had failed to sharpen it. The Vice President knelt in front of Him. He apologized but asked the President to take notice of the fact that the treasonous aide was dead.

The President assured the good people of South Dakota that once the Twin Towers had been finished He would indeed have His image added to Mount Rushmore. He planned to force California to pay for the work.

At another press conference, a reporter asked if it was appropriate to speak of “Twin” Towers. After all, the one under construction in the nation’s capital, next to the Washington Monument, would be exactly twice the height of the latter. It would rise one thousand one hundred and ten feet into the sky. But the one being built in the city of the President’s birth would commemorate the year of His birth by rising one thousand nine hundred and forty-six feet.

The President asked the reporter if her mother was still alive. Before she could answer He said He hoped she was so that she could ask who her father really was. He said He could see by the way she was dressed—or not dressed—that she had acquired her morals from her mother.

The reporter acted as if the President’s remarks had not affected her. She shouted another question. The President had already turned to another reporter but He turned back to her because her question interested Him. She had asked why the restrooms designated for use by the press no longer contained toilet paper. The toilet paper had been replaced by stacks of copies of her own newspaper. The President said it was because her newspaper was not good for anything else. She said that she understood the sentiment though she disagreed. But she observed that even those members of the press who supported the President had to use her newspaper instead of toilet paper, and the kind of paper on which newspapers are printed is unsuited for the task. She said she preferred not to specify the shortcomings of that kind of paper but she believed the President would understand.

The President told her she had made a good point. He thanked her. Then He spoke to the Vice President. He instructed the Vice President to call the CEO of the company that made Charmin. The CEO should be instructed to manufacture a toilet paper that felt as soft as Charmin and did the work just as effectively as Charmin, but that looked like the newspaper under discussion.

The President returned His attention to the female reporter. He said He wanted to tell her one more thing about her clothes. He said that ordinarily He liked short skirts but that her legs were not good enough to justify wearing them. However, He said, He wished to commend her for the smoothness of the skin on her knees. He said her mother must have taught her about the benefits of knee pads.

As for the completed Twin Towers, in every respect other than height they duplicated one another precisely. Each depicted the President in a toga. He had mandated a departure from traditional representations of toga-draped figures. The garment flowed loosely over His body everywhere except at the groin. There, the toga had been pulled tight in order to reveal a conspicuous bulge.

The mouth opened wide. Admirers thought this was meant to indicate the President’s good humor. The statues showed Him laughing, they said: perhaps at unpatriotic Californians, perhaps at idiot reporters, perhaps at the latest illegal immigrant to whom He had given the bum’s rush across the border.

The inaugurating ceremonies, both staged on the same day, demonstrated that the wide-open mouth was not only expressive but functional. In the morning at the Tower in the nation’s capital, a number of the President’s treasonous critics were placed inside the mouth. The head, unlike the rest of the statue, had not been made out of stone. It was made of steel, the better to facilitate the mechanical operation of the great jaw, which crushed the traitors to death.

In the afternoon at the Tower in the city of the President’s birth, the remains of the traitors were placed inside the mouth and burned to cinders. The President explained that they had deserved to be executed twice because they had not merely committed treason against Him. By doing so, they had also blasphemed.

Don Stoll's fiction is forthcoming in A New Ulster and has appeared recently in Punk Noir (, Terror House (,and A Thin Slice of Anxiety ( In 2008, Don and his wife founded their nonprofit ( which continues to bring new schools, clean water, and medical clinics to a cluster of remote Tanzanian villages.


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