First appeared on Blogcritics.
Hoping to get Bernie Sanders away from a crowd of aggressive supporters, his security team rushes him down an alley and through a doorway. One agent goes inside with him and the others block the people from following the candidate.
Sanders realizes he is in a dimly lit tavern. Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” is playing on the jukebox, and only a few people are sitting in booths along the wall. He sees no one sitting at the bar and sits on a stool. The bartender glances at the fellow standing behind Bernie in the dark suit with a wire coming out of his ear. “Can I get you something, sir?”
Bernie says, “I’ll have a Chivas neat, some water on the side.” He glances back at the agent who raises an eyebrow slightly. “Can’t a guy wet his whistle?”
There is a good deal of commotion at the front door and a fellow with wind-blown orange hair is hustled in by a man in a dark suit with a wire coming out of his ear. Sanders recognizes Donald Trump immediately and grins as Trump tries to press down his comb-over.
“We’ll just stay in here until the crowd dies down,” the agent says.
“Fine, fine,” Trump says. He looks around and notices Sanders and he puts out both arms and says, “Bernie, how the hell are you?”
Sanders takes his drink from the bartender and lifts the glass toward Trump. “L'Chayim!”
“Gesundheit,” Trump says as he undoes his scarf revealing the signature bold red tie. He puts both hands on the bar and says, “I see you are a drinker.”
Sanders sips his drink and places it on the coaster. “Once in a while; I am a social drinker.”
“I don’t touch the stuff myself,” Trump says.
“Well, you know what they say, “In vino veritas.”
“Ahh, I don’t speak Polish,” Trump says.
“Oh, I’m not sure that you speak English,” Sanders says with a chuckle.
“You are a funny man, Bernie,” Trump says.
“Drinking is good for the ticker,” Sanders says after taking another sip.
Trump looks back at his security man and leans toward Sanders and whispers, “I can’t control what I say now; imagine what would come out of my mouth if I drank.”
“The prospect is both intriguing and repulsive,” Sanders says.
“Amen to that,” Trump says as he stands straight and stares at the mirror behind the bar. “I am looking my best even despite that harsh wind out there.”
The bartender wipes down the bar where Trump is standing and he asks, “Can I get you something, Mr. Trump.”
“I am thinking of a drink I had back in Queens when I went to a bar with my father to hand a guy an eviction notice,” Trump says. “It was named for someone.”
“Rob Roy?” asks the bartender. Trump shakes his head. “Tom Collins?”
“No, named for that curly-haired little girl, an entertainer. She used to tap dance with that black fellow – James Earl Jones I think.
“I think you mean Bill Bojangles Robisnon,” Sanders says.
“No, that’s not the drink either.”
“Do you mean Shirley Temple?” Sanders asks.
“That’s it!” Trump slams his hand on the bar. “One Shirley Temple, my good man.”
The bartender rolls his eyes and goes to make the drink. Sanders looks back at his security guard and whispers, “At least he didn’t order sasparilla.”
Trump takes a deep breath and looks around the room. “Oddly, none of the patrons of this establishment seems to recognize me.”
Sanders sips his drink. “Did you ever think that some people don’t know who you are?”
“The thought never entered my mind,” Trump groans.
“Not surprising at all,” Sanders says.
Trump takes his Shirley Temple from the bartender and sips it. “Ah, just as I remember it from the Mohawk on Jamaica Avenue. Well done!” He slaps a $50 bill on the bar saying, “Keep the change, my good man.”
“So, Donald, don’t you find it odd that we both got hustled in here tonight?” Sanders asks.
Trump sits down on the stool next to Sanders and shakes his head. “This meeting was inevitable – didn’t you read my book?”
Sanders turns to him. “I haven’t had the pleasure.”
“Read it before November,” Trump says with a wink.
“Are you dismissing Mrs. Clinton?”
Trump sips his drink and winces as if he were in pain. “I can’t listen to that shrew’s voice. No wonder Bill fooled around.”
“I thought she was your friend at one time.”
“I get along with everybody – I would have even gotten along with Hitler.”
Sanders nods solemnly. “I don’t doubt it.”
Trump puts a hand on Sanders’s arm. “Don’t get me wrong; Hitler was a terrible person. But I would get along with him to get the job done. It’s all in my book.”
“Kind of like Mein Kampf no doubt.”
“Very funny, Bernie.”
“Well, I’m ready for you if you make it to November.”
“If?” Trump sips his drink. “There’s no if. I like the idea of two New Yorkers going at it – Brooklyn against Queens.”
“Born and raised in Brooklyn, but I live in the good state of Vermont now,” Sanders reminds him with a raised index finger.
“You can take the boy out of the borough but you can’t take the borough out of the boy,” Trump says with a smirk.
“That’s rather incisive coming from you, Donald,” Sanders says.
“Hey, I have my moments,” Trump says. “I do like the Jew verses the Gentile angle too.”
Sanders turns and puts his elbows on the bar. “I bet.”
Trump’s guard taps his shoulder. “We can leave now, sir.”
“Gotta go!” Trump gets up and shakes Bernie’s hand. As he walks away Trump gushes, “I’m feeling the Bern.”
An older gentleman yells “For you, Bernie,” and points to the jukebox.
Sanders raises his glass and says, “Thank you, sir.” He turns and waits for John Fogerty to sing “Who’ll stop the rain?” and he whispers, “I will.”
Photo credits: CNN, NBC