The Trump Files
An ongoing novel series (This is a work of fiction)
Chapter One: North Korea – Part One
It had already been a long day for Tom Jones. Rising at three in the morning, Tom took two swigs of his coffee as he half-walked and half-jogged towards the federal building. By four-thirty, Tom was on his way to the White House holding the President’s Daily Brief inside the briefcase handcuffed to his wrist. Tom chuckled to himself as he thought about how the Daily Brief was still a paper affair, neatly printed on several sheets of paper and put inside a leather portfolio embossed with the president’s gold seal. As he was whisked inside the White House, Tom contemplated if today would be any different.
Outside of the Oval Office, Tom dutifully sat down in the chair that always made him wince with the thought that it would break under the weight of his 230 lbs., 6 foot, one inch frame. Tom Jones never thought he’d be the president’s national security errand boy. He had joined the Navy soon after high school to serve his country. Although there were several offers for college football scholarships, Tom had spent many years playing Call of Duty on his Xbox, dreaming about becoming a Navy Seal.
Tom had made it through BUD/S in record time, exasperating his instructors who were never able to get Tom to show any discomfort whatsoever during the six-month course. For Tom, the day the gold Seal Trident was smacked unto his chest was the first day in his life that he felt accomplished. For Tom, warfare was but a day at the park. Tom saw action in Afghanistan, Iraq and on many other locations, that were still so classified that he didn’t even think it was appropriate to let his mind remember them.
But now, Tom was sitting in this chair dreading the moment he decided to join the military. Somehow, the brass had decided that Tom’s talents were better served by playing errand boy for a pompous figurehead of the US government. “What could I have done to God and country, that this is the thanks I get,” he kept asking himself silently over and over again in the attempt to remain seated waiting for the inevitable.
As the clock chimed seven o’clock, Tom began to quietly swear at the demons at the Pentagon that had conspired to put him in this seat.
By eight-thirty in the morning, Tom was wishing that he had taken the time to finish off his morning coffee. Four and a half hours into this grueling ordeal, Tom began to contemplate making a run for the nearest exit. He began to envision snapping the neck of the smug announcer that kept chiming, “it will only be a few more minutes, Commander. The President does want today’s briefing.” It would have been a simple thing for Tom – to snap the sniveling twerp’s neck in two, with a quick twirl of his large hand. Tom would have been half way down Pennsylvania Avenue before anyone was the wiser.
Just as Tom was about to seriously consider going AWOL, the sniveling twerp showed him into the Oval Office. Tom’s sense of dread shot up as soon as he saw the president behind his desk. “Good morning, Mr. President,” Tom smartly saluted as he stood at attention at the door way ignoring the stupid smirk on the aid’s face as he closed the door behind him. After standing at attention, for what seemed like eternity, but was only about 5 minutes, Tom knew that today would be no different.
The president hadn’t even bothered to look up and much less acknowledge the salute.
Tom silently sat down and waited again.
“He’s on damn Twitter,” Tom thought to himself, as he watched the president’s fingers dance across his smartphone’s keyboard like a manic under the influence of too many uppers.
Thoughts about abandoning his post were quickly arrested as Tom’s many years of serving his country slapped him back into reality.
It was now ten in the morning and Tom scolded himself yet again for neglecting his morning coffee. It was his wife’s fault for insisting that he live a healthy lifestyle. No matter how many times, it had already been four weeks, Tom had endured this ordeal. Since he was ordered to deliver the Daily Brief, only two possible outcomes had existed. One, the president would send him away without so much as an acknowledgement that Tom existed, or Tom would be forced to sit for hours waiting to be allowed to deliver the brief to the Commander-and-Chief.
“Commander-and-Chief my ass,” Tom muttered to himself. Tom was still horrified at what his country had become since that fateful night when the president had been handed the office that Tom had deep respect for – until last year. Tom wasn’t worried that the President might overhear him muttering to himself. Tom wasn’t even sure that the President even realized that Tom was sitting only a few feet away.
After an eternity of kicking himself for not resigning his commission for the umptieth time, a voice bellowed; “ok, what do you have for me today!”
“Mr. President,” Tom began, as he stood up to hand the leather-bound portfolio to the President. Trump, with a look of disdain, just pointed towards the coffee table with his eyes. “Just give me the broad strokes…and remember that I know more than the generals,” bellowed the president.
“Mr. President,” Tom persisted, “there are several issues that require your attention this morning.”
“Don’t waste my time!”, the president urged. “Just give me the first thing on the list.”
“Mr. President, the North Koreans launched a ballistic missile today…”, the president interrupted, “and what of it, they are always launching a missile!” “Why is that even on the Daily Brief today?”, he demanded.
“Mr. President, the missile traveled over 6,000 miles before it exploded over the Pacific Ocean…”, once again the President interrupted, “it exploded, why are you bothering me with this, if it exploded in the ocean?”, demanded the president again.
“Mr. President…”, Tom was ordered to stop by a wave of Trump’s hand, as the president grabbed his phone to see why it was chirping.
“What! Are you kidding me? I’ll make them sorry for publishing that article…”, the President muttered to himself as he began to type on his phone.
Tom knew that the president was tweeting a response to some perceived slight. It happened every morning leaving Tom standing in mid-sentence each morning, or was it midday. The days were all a blur now for Tom. “I wonder how long it’ll be this time?”, he thought to himself.
On his second week on the job, Tom was left standing, half way through his sentence, for hours while the President got into a tit-for-tat with a 10-year old about presidential decorum. By the time the dust had settled, the ten-year old had become a social media phenomenon, leaving Tom with dealing with the famous presidential temper-tantrum until he was mercifully released by the dinner call to the President.
Tom had been ready to resign his commission that night, but his wife persisted on what an honor it was to deliver the briefing to the president each day. “Tom, it’ll get better soon…it has to…besides there’ll be a promotion in it for you.”
“Why do I listen to Linda”, Tom asked himself at least twice a day, since the night she dissuaded him from resigning.
“You still here?”, the president asked Tom.
“Mr. President, as I was saying, the North Korean’s successfully launched a ballistic missile and apparently self-destructed it before it reached the ADIZ.”
“ADIZ?”, the look of puzzlement on Trump’s face betrayed his lack of understanding, “what is ADIZ, talk to me like a human, not some drone”, the president demanded.
Exasperated, Tom, continued, “ADIZ is the Air Defense Identification Zone our country has set up to identify and destroy any threats to our nation.”
“So, are there like signs that say ‘ADIZ’ on them all over our borders?” asked the president.
Summing up all of the will power at his disposal, Tom took an exaggerated deep breath, and continued, “Mr. President…the United States operates an intruder alert system that detects any aircraft or vessel approaching the United States. Our surveillance systems catalog, identify and when necessary, deploy military forces to defend our nation against hostile forces.”
“Ok, I think I get it, but the Korean missile did not cross the security zone, right?”, asked the president.
“That is correct, Mr. President, the intelligence community…”, with a smug face, the president interjected “what an oxymoron”. Tom ignored the comment, and continued, “…the intelligence community believes that the North Korean’s self-destructed the missile before it entered our self-defense zone so we wouldn’t shoot it down.”
“So, we can shoot it down…”, the president uttered, “what’s the big deal then?”
“Mr. President…”, Tom was interrupted again by the president’s chirping phone.
“The dishonest media got it wrong again…”, the president muttered to himself as he released another Twitter tirade against another ten-year old.
By now, Tom was beside himself, even his stoic demeanor of years of heavy combat had not prepared him for this. Feeling his blood begin to boil, Tom started the relaxation techniques that BUD/S had taught him for underwater operations. Staring at the president, Tom silently began the breathing rhythm that allowed him to conserve air and bring his blood pressure under control.
A few minutes later, the president demanded, “explain the problem to me!”
Tom continued, “as I was saying, Mr. President, the North Koreans just demonstrated that they have the capability to reach the continental United States with one of their missiles.”
“Ok, but I still don’t see the problem”, chimed the president in, “their missile didn’t make it to our shores.” “What do you want me to do about it?”, he asked Tom.
“Mr. President, it is our recommendation that we deploy naval forces around the Korean peninsula to send a clear message to the North Koreans that we will not tolerate this. We also propose to hold military exercises with our regional allies…”
Trump interrupted again, “why bother with all of that mumbo-jumbo, as I see it, North Korea is some backwards country out in the middle of nowhere, why can’t we just send our magnificent army to crush them into submission?”
On the verge of an exasperated outburst, Tom continued, “Sir! The North Koreans have a standing army of over 8 million active and reserve soldiers indoctrinated to defend their country. We have about one million active duty soldiers deployed across the globe. It would take months to plan and mount an invasion…not to mention the logistical nightmare it would be to wage war against the North Korean’s.”
“Wait a minute, are you telling me that a few of our men aren’t enough to kick Kim Jong-un’ ass?”, asked the president, with a look of incredulity on his face.
Before Tom could respond, the president muttered, “I don’t know why we have nuclear missiles if we can’t just use them, what a waste of money.” Just then, the president ordered Tom out of his office, telling him “we’ll continue this after I confer with my advisers.”
As Tom closed the door behind him, he could hear, “my friend Vladimir, oh yes, I forgot, Mr. President Putin, your humble servant here, has a question for you about the pesky Koreans…”
To be continued…