The highly stylish, smart, successful, forward-looking breakfast nook Chez Bates had known some happy times. Days when the sound of laughter and dozens of designer shopping bags crinkled as they were brought into the house. Things seemed a bit colder this winter. Recent events were not helping.
Princess Bates daintily spread low-calorie margarine on her low-calorie rice cracker.
At the other end of the table, Master Bates lazily ate a full Scottish breakfast while reading the lastest Evening Express.
But even the exciting story ‘Ghost Found in Photograph Drunks Took in front of Restaurant’ headline wasn’t cheering him up.
He thumbed through pages of riveting news stories in the papers he edited – ‘Shopping Trolley Stolen’, ‘Cold Weather Expected in January’ and ‘Pope is Catholic Shock’ and then came to the ‘Beautiful Bride’ competition page. The latest brides smiled up at him. How long ago his own wedding to the most beautiful girl in the world seemed somehow. A long, long time ago.
There was their photo, sitting on the mantelpiece. How wonderful their afternoon was on the Northern Belle; and the photo of them sitting together smiling for the P&J cameras was even available for people to buy for their own homes.
“Share the happiness!” he thought, “and make some money out of it as well, particularly if she keeps spending everything I make on clothes, shoes you can’t walk in, and beauty treatments”
The recent prang with his Maserati had made him reassess what was important, and perhaps it was time to rein her spending in a bit. There was this Lotus up for sale which would be perfect for driving to work in Maastrick in.
The Princess was not smiling. It had been a hard week. Film and news crews crossed Trump International Golf Links Scotland’s parking lot to access the dunes. Phonecalls even came in. Suzanne Kelly had the audacity not only to suggest Donald was somehow a mean guy, but also to ask Trump Golf to restore Michael Forbes’ fishing rights and take down the big pile of earth which was called a bund from in front of the Munro cottage. All the terminology Sarah had needed to learn! A bund was a big pile of earth. A bung was a big envelope of money. It was easy to get confused. She did remember though that Mr T and Georgie Sorial had told her that any compromise was a sign of weakness.
It was her duty to be every bit as strong and smart as Donald was always telling the world he was. She had also been asked to be in a live debate with Kelly, but Mrs Bates was not taking the bait. Talking about the wonderful course she knew so much about would have been easy of course. But all this other stuff about the UK’s Public Order act, laws, hate speech and petitions was so confusing.
What did it matter anyway? After all, Donald was pumping hundreds of millions of pounds into a grateful Scotland. Why couldn’t they just leave him in peace so he could be president and get rid of all those nasty Muslims, Mexicans, handicapped people, women who weren’t pretty and other awful people? Who cared about Muslims when there was money to be made? She just didn’t understand what was wrong with other people’s values.
The rice cracker snapped under the pressure of her knife as she thought of these things. Master Bates peeked from behind his newspaper, hoping it would be a good time to broach a difficult subject.
“Darling, I think we should talk”
“Yes, I do need another pair of kitten heels, you’re right – I’ll go shopping tonight.”
“Well, uh, yes, of course – but something else too. This, this – statement that you put out.”
“Brilliant isn’t it? I sure showed that dreadful Suzanne Kelly, didn’t I dear. It’s been in a few papers, doubtless more will pick it up.”
“Well, yes, about that. I’m not so sure we’re going to run it”
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN!!!?”
“Well, dear, you know I love you; you’re absolutely beautiful-“
“yes, of course I am – what’s wrong with my statement!?”
“Just a few little points my buttercup; nothing major, we just need to maybe leave some of it out. you’ve got this bit here complaining that ‘valuable Parliament time was wasted.”
“I like that bit. Georgie thought that up. In fact, he thought up a lot of it, which was good because I was busy – we’re getting new curtains.”
“Well, it’s just that we don’t want people to start to think about how Mr T has taken up a huge chunk of Holyrood money and taxpayer money, and tied up the courts trying to stop those offshore windfarms.”
“Well, that’s different. They were going to be ugly. And golfers doing golf would have been, y’know, distracted.”
“My dearest Sarah, of course, of course I agree – but we’re talking hundreds of hours in courts, legal fees, Holyrood time, and an untold sum of taxpayer money on an appeal which so far has stopped an experimental windfarm project which meant clean energy and energy sector jobs, which Aberdeen needs.”
“What Aberdeen – and Scotland needs – is the class that Donald Trump brings, and all those thousands of jobs we’re going to make. Any day now. If there are no offshore windfarms. Or anything else Donald doesn’t like.”
“Sarah my sweet I so agree and understand, it’s just that some folks facing unemployment in the energy sector are thinking of making their next career in renewables, and would prefer engineering to toilet cleaning and bussing tables.”
“We’ve got crests. Trump family crests. Did you see them last time? We’ve got lovely crests with a double headed bird thing. It’s very classy. And pretty. What unemployed person wouldn’t want to live in an on-site staff block and do laundry or serve drinks?”
“Unemployment… yes, that’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a while….” but he rallied:
“I hate to mention it, but I think we should forget you making any comments about DT’s freedom of speech being attacked.”
“Why ever not? And do you think this shade of lipstick clashes with my Chanel?”
“Er, you look fine honey. How can I put this – Donald’s people here in Scotland fired that cook you had had at the clubhouse because of a picture on his personal Facebook page.”
“Well, it was disgusting! It was obscene! It was a shortbread that looked.. that looked – oh my like a man’s private parts!”
“Well,” said Damian, thinking the allegedly offensive piece of shortbread looked like a blob and nothing more, “Some people might think it was hypocritical – that means unfair” he added hastily, seeing her perplexed face.
“Donald didn’t like it, and that wasn’t free speech it was a picture, so that’s different.” Sarah helpfully explained. She’d stopped nibbling her rice cracker now. Really, for a newspaper editor person, Damian didn’t understand some very basic things.
“Dearest” Damian continued “Then there is that woman – that Muslim woman – who came to one of Donald’s presidential rallies. She was thrown out for no good reason I could see. Some people might think that isn’t exactly respecting freedom.”
“She was ugly! And wearing an offensive foreign shirt – I think it said ‘Salaam’ or ‘salami’ or something. Really, if you’re not great looking to start with, you could at least wear nice clothes.”
“And, well, how should I put this? Parliament is meant to, on occasion, listen to people.” Damian felt his blood pressure might be going up. “It’s not quite like you said. Your statement said ‘for the UK to consider banning someone who made a statement in America, about American borders during a US election campaign is ridiculous.’ I think you’ll find, oh light of my life, that the UK has laws stopping hate speech – as mean as that might seem” he added, seeing her pout and her nose wrinkle up,
“people have been already injured because of Donald Trump’s words.”
“Some homeless guy got beaten up. That’s America’s problem not ours. And if someone tried to make a bomb, then that’s their problem too.” A frown came over the otherwise beautiful countenance of the beautiful princess. “As my statement written by Georgie said ‘it is absurd that valuable parliamentary time is being wasted debating a matter raised as part of the American presidential election.”
She was reading it from the large font printed sheets they’d given her the other day to practice saying.
“Yes darling – but the UK’s laws on public order are supposed to stop people who encourage others to do that kind of thing from coming over here and doing it. I agree with you and Donald of course, but remember he said that relatives of terrorists should be taken out?”
“Yes, that’s just the kind of peacemaker he can be, when he’s not busy being smart and strong. He’d take them out to play golf, and then they’d agree with him.”
Damian didn’t know what to say
“So, when he said all those things about women, Mexicans, ugly people, Muslims, even Republicans in the past, black people, Jewish people – that kind of made Robert Gordon University think he didn’t really belong in a multicultural institution, and the Global Scot ambassadorship was taken away too. Honey – do you really think he should be put in charge of a country as powerful as the US and made Commander in Chief of its army?”
“OH! Of All the Nerve!”
The Princess was not going to have her husband question her about these little details.
“Do you remember how much I get paid for being the spokesperson and talking about golf and investment? It’s quite a bit Master Bates. And you – that Maserati guzzles petrol. If Donald didn’t advertise where would you be?”
He thought of where he might be. To change the subject seemed the way forward.
“Let’s not worry – worrying makes wrinkles.”
The Princess reached for her handbag and got out her magnifying, light-up mirror.
“Where? Where?” she asked in blind panic.
“Not you, never – let’s avoid any worry. Or too much overthinking. Don’t you worry honey. All’s fine. I’ll run your quote in full.” Master Bates said soothingly, but his brow showed some signs of stress.
The Princess pulled out a small rectangular package.
“I’ve got something for you darling” She said, handing the box over,
“Remember, Donald will be here in a week or so to see how great everything is.”
Perhaps a Louis Vuitton credit card case? A voucher for the Marcliffe?
As he opened the package, for the first time he felt a bit angry.
“A Trump golf tie? Made in Mexico?”
“He’s coming next week, and it will look great on you!” The Princess beamed
“I’m not wearing a goddamned polyester tie for anyone! Thank F*£$”! no one’s seen me in the golf cap” he thought.
Master Bates stifled his first impulses and answered:
“Well, thank you Sarah, it’s, well, it’s wonderful. I’m going to save it for when we all meet up at the Clubhouse when he’s next here, shall I?”
Grabbing his last piece of toast he got up.
“I’ve just remembered, I’ve got a story to do for Woody; he’s giving money away to charity.”
“Darling you’re the best” The Princess crooned;
“Would you be an absolute angel and let me use your card? I’ve got to get my hair all teased up like in that photoshoot I did at MacLeod House for when Donald’s around. A few extensions here and there will do it. And a new dress. He’d love to see me in a new dress, and I’m sure you would too. Be a darling!”
She kissed his forehead.
Master Bates’ voice was perhaps a bit terser than usual. He thought about asking here where on earth ‘hundreds of millions of pounds had been pumped into the Scottish economy by her blustering boss. Master Bates looked at the photo of them as newlyweds on the mantle piece, and thought, there’s more than a few wrinkles between then and now. He grabbed the toast, flung her the credit card, and grabbed the Maserati keys.
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