I got to the office late this morning, as it had snowed and the tires on the old jalopy are as thin as a presidential promise.

(For those of you reading this in Florida, it occasionally snows in Maine in April. Don’t knock it, it keeps the alligators away.)

Anyway, I tore the yellow “Crime Scene” tape away from my door and went in. There was enough of it to nearly cover up the “Dick Richards, P.I.” sign on the glass (it’s the landlord’s idea of a subtle reminder to pay my rent, but he overdid it this time).

Then I noticed I could see my breath inside just as easily as I had outside, and realized the owner had decided to escalate his case for moving up the payment priority scale by cutting off the heat, too.

So, I kept my hat and coat on and decided to open the week’s worth of mail I’d been ignoring on my desk.

I worked my way through ads to buy gold and silver from some guy who always plays the president on TV (and is more convincing than the real one) or put my money into a numbered account in the Bank of the Marianas Trench (somebody’s anticipating a Democratic win in November).

Then there were the pleas for donations to the Save the Plastic Bag Foundation, the Environmental Offense Fund, the Social Justice Warriors Scholarship Pledge Drive (a mind is a terrible thing to waste, all right) and the Campaign to Raise Conservatives’ Taxes (that one came on official IRS stationery, I noticed).

Then I saw the phone’s message light blinking. My last secretary, Sheila, had quit weeks ago, having finally realized that actually being paid wasn’t in her job description.

So I punched the button, to hear an instantly recognizable voice say, “Hey, jerkface, call me now!” So I dialed the number he left and said, “This is Dick. The Donald called for me.”

“OK, jackwagon,” his aide said (the boss likes to keep the branding consistent). “He said to put you right through.”

And then he was on the line: “Dick, first thing is, your nickname is Rotten Richard from now on out, got it?”

“Sorry, Donald, my mother already beat you to it. What’s up this time?”

“Did you see Lena Dunham from that show ‘Bimbos’ promised to move to Canada if I won? She said, ‘I know a lot of people say this, but I really will!'”

“It’s called ‘Girls,’ Donald, and I figure your potential support just went up a half-dozen points.”

“Yeah,” he replied, “I already said that. You don’t get endorsements like that every day. But how come nobody ever says they’ll move to Mexico? Is it the wall thing?”

“Yeah, that’s it,” I said. I knew he hadn’t really called to tell me that, he just likes to boast. But you already knew that.

“What’s really on your mind, Donald?”

“Couple of things. One is the new George Washington University Battleground Poll this week that has me within the margin of error against Hillary, just three points apart. How about that, huh?”

“You know I’m not surprised. I said a long time ago you could win this, but I still don’t support you. And your negatives are still higher than hers – even though both of you are in uncharted territory there.”

“Ah, who cares. You’re not going to vote for Hillary, are you?”

“No, it may have snowed here, but I don’t think the freezing temperatures got all the way down to Hades.”

“Hey, Cruz and Kasich worked out a deal to be my only opponent in their strongest states, but couldn’t hold on to it for two days in a row. All the high negatives mean is that people who don’t like either one of us won’t vote at all, and Republican primary voters have outnumbered Democratic ones by a ton.”

“True dat,” I said, “but more of them voted against you than for you. How are you going to win them and independents over?”

“A lot of the Sanders socialists are going to stay home, because they’ll think Wall Street has two candidates in the race. And you and I both know Hillary is a terrible campaigner.”

“Uh, I wouldn’t be too quick to jump on that comparison. Are you counting on the FBI email and corruption probes to pay off?”

“I already noted that ‘crooked’ is her first name, and lots of people agree. I’m not going to let up, so whatever the feds do is just gravy.”

“Do you really think you can win?”

“Hey, it’s like the old joke about the two guys being chased by the bear. I don’t have to outrun some ideal candidate like Honest Abe. I just have to outrun Crooked Hillary.”

M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a freelance writer and speaker. He can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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