Democracy was dead to begin with.
There was no doubt whatsoever about that. The election proclaimed it and the electoral college confirmed it and Trump himself signed off on the note, vaguely annoyed that Clinton had somehow still gotten 2.9 million votes more than he had. Well, they were from California. Everyone knew California didn’t count.
Not that Trump painted out Democracy’s name on the door of the business; it served him well, in that White House, to give the impression that Democracy was alive and — well, if not well, then perhaps just out for a walk, a mere perambulation around the grounds before coming back and sitting back down at its now-vacant desk, shoved into the corner as it was between Trump’s own gaudy, gilt-edged desk, and the desk of their wretched clerk, Mike Pence, to whom Trump had grudgingly given the title of Vice-President. Yes, pretending that Democracy was still alive suited Trump just fine.
The muttering of his private security people alerted Trump that Jared, his son in law, and one of his minor advisors whose advice he definitely didn’t take on everything, had entered the room. “The happiest of holidays to you, Mr. President!” he said, with immense cheer.
“I know you’re a Jew, but say ‘Merry Christmas,’ Jared, damn it!” Trump replied. “We campaigned on it! Bannon says the Social Justice Warriors hate Christmas, so we have to go hard.”
“Sorry, sir,” Jared said. “Merry Christmas.”
“Better,” Trump said. “Now. What do you want?”
“Well, I’ve spoken to the maintenance staff, sir. They’re concerned about some of your plans for the White House.”
“The one to apply gold leaf to all its visible parts.”
“What’s wrong with it?” Trump growled.
“The staff feels that the building is called ‘The White House’ for a reason.”
“White is crap,” Trump replied. “Gold is classy. Gold is rich. Gold is strong.”
“I like white,” Pence volunteered, from his desk.
Trump snarled at Pence and threw his taco bowl at him. Pence retreated.
“Aside from historical issues, there is also some concern about the – aesthetics,” Jared said.
Trump hated it when Jared used long words. “What about them?”
“Well, Mr. President, covering the White House in gold foil while we’re simultaneously planning to repeal the ACA thus raising the cost of healthcare… it might send mixed signals.”
“Bah! Humbug!” Trump said. “We’re replacing it with something great!”
“And what would that be?”
“I don’t know! That’s Paul Ryan’s thing. The point is, I said I was going to make America great again. The voters expect greatness! And there’s nothing greater than gold.”
“Yes, I suppose so. On that matter, the gold leaf provider has presented us the bill for their services. It’s… quite a significant bill.”
“Stiff ‘em,” Trump said, and went onto Twitter to announce the rebranding of Trump’s Gold House DC.
Later in the evening, Trump sat in his bedroom, a dinner of well-done steak picked at, alone, as Melania was in New York, and Ivanka and Jared had gone home. Saturday Night Live was a rerun, so he couldn’t get worked up about that. Bannon had confiscated his Twitter feed, so he couldn’t even amuse himself harassing journalists. He was considering his options when he heard a dragging, shuffling noise in the hallway.
What the hell? Trump thought to himself. Didn’t he pay his own private security force a modest percentage above minimum wage to protect him?
He was giving serious thought to docking their salaries when a body heaved itself through the door!
It was spectral, and ghastly, and behind it trailed numerous reel-to-reel recording machines, to which the specter was bound by braided quarter-inch recording tape.
Trump squinted at the apparition. “Who are you?” he cried.
“Ask who I was in life,” the specter said, and reached out, something in his hand. “And speak into the microphone. These goddamn ghost recorders aren’t worth shit.”
Trump squinted again. “Richard Nixon?”
“What are you doing here? Now?”
“I have come to save you from my fate!”
“But you were one of the greatest presidents! Top three!”
“Who are the other two?”
“Well, there was Reagan. I mean, of course. Then…” Trump trailed off.
“You can’t name any others, can you?”
“I can name a couple of the Democrats?” Trump said.
Nixon spat. “Quiet! In life, I could have been a great president. I had progressive policies for a Republican! I won re-election in a landslide. But then… the Southern Strategy. Watergate. The Saturday Night Massacre. All that goddamn recording. And for what?”
“Power!” Trump exclaimed.
“Power?!?” Nixon roared. “The true power of the United States is in the common weal! The founding fathers knew it. Well, except the part about the slaves and the women and the men who didn’t own property, but still. It is the common weal I should have tended to, instead of mere power. And now look!”
Nixon pointed to his ropes of recording tape and the heavy reel-to-reel machines. “And note well, Trump, that you’re 40 years down the time stream from me, and you’re a bigger asshole than I ever could have dreamed about being. I mean, shit, man. Muslim registries? A wall down in Mexico? Taking away rights from gay people?”
“That’s Pence’s thing, really,” Trump began.
“SILENCE!” Nixon roared. “You’re going to Hell, Donny boy, if you don’t change your ways. And not the fun Hell, where all the cool people go. Real Hell. Just you and Scott Baio.”
“Terrible apparition!” Trump cried. “What must I do to avoid this cruel fate?”
“Tonight you shall be visited by three ghosts of 2016,” Nixon said. “Expect them with the turn of the hour. These will be really cool ghosts. We’re talking ghosts who wouldn’t have wanted to be seen with you in real life.”
“Everyone wants to be seen with me!” Trump protested.
“Dude, I saw your inaugural,” Nixon said.
“I had the Rockettes!” Trump cried. “And the Mormon Tabernacle Choir!”
“SILENCE!” Nixon roared again. “For your sake, heed their lessons! Expect the first ghost when the clock strikes one! And be careful with her, she’s a ballbreaker”
But Nixon had already shuffled through the door, dragging his eternal, infernal recording machines behind him.
The clock on the mantelpiece was huge, shiny, probably the best clock ever. Trump found himself transfixed as he waited for the second hand to click towards the hour. But he was tired. His eyelids drooped.
He woke to a point of light that glimmered and shimmered through the velvet hangings of his bed. He leveraged himself out and up and into his slippers hardly having to breathe or strain a muscle. ‘You still got it, Donny Boy,’ he whispered to himself.
The light was so bright that he could not look directly at it, or at the top three tiers of the tree it sat on top of. Look at it, or rather look up at it, because suddenly the tree had grown – and so had his dressing gown so that it pooled about him on the floor and was heavy on his suddenly scrawny shoulders.
A terrible thought struck Trump, and he reached with his right hand inside his gown and into the front of the thin cotton pyjama bottoms he found there.
“They’re still there,” he said, with relief, in a voice that skittered so much between high and low that he would not have been sure if the proof were not in his hand.
The light grew in size and faded at the same time so that she only gleamed a little as she stepped from the tree and strutted towards him on heels that made her tower over him, so that the triangle of diamonds that gleamed between her welcoming breasts still dazzled his eyes as she came closer…
“Dzat’s not very nice, leetle Donald,” said the woman. “Not how you greet a lady friend, dahlink.” She patted the top of his sudden mop of curly hair. What was that accent? Hungarian? Russian? One of those places where the hot chicks came from. But this woman was no piece of ass. This woman was nothing he could control. This woman – she frightened him.
“Scared, leetle boy?” She laughed. “I should take you in hand. But zen I would have to marry you, and you are a little young, a little small, no?”
Trump felt his cheeks burning. “I’ve got a tower,” he said. “A huge tower. In New York.”
She laughed. It tinkled like the breaking of glass balls.
“Ah, darlink. I marry a lot of millionaires…Or someone or several someones who are a little like me only not as perfect as when you walked past me in one of my husband’s hotels.”
“Who are you?”
“I’m all that you always wanted and will never really possess. You could buy the world, but you’d never have me – I am…”
“I know who you are.” Trump said. “You are the Ghost of Christmas Past.”
“Oh no dahlink,” and her laugh was a terrible thing, a thing that sliced right into the part of his heart where all the rejection lived, the shame. “I am the Queen of Outer Space.”
Donald reached out to grab her. He wanted her, he hated her, he wanted to hurt her, make her sorry, sorry for laughing at him – he hated it when people laughed at him. He’d show that bitch. He’d show them all.
But the light was blinding now, brighter than a thousand dressing-room mirrors, brighter than a million camera bulbs, and then –
And then it was gone. And so was she.
Trump got to his feet, his heart pounding. He was back in his body, his real, grown, seventy-year-old body, a little extra maybe, but still potent, yeah. He breathed deeply until he was calmer. Everything was going to be good. Better than good, great. He was going to be president. Nobody would laugh at him then.
The door flung open, as if moved by an invisible hand.
The words came out of him like a Howard Dean scream, but there was nobody there. Not even his secret service guys. Trump was frightened. Still, the afterworld seemed to be laying on a show just for him – that made sense, all the greats probably got this, and wasn’t he great now? – and he ought to make an appearance.
It was strange music, music Trump felt he almost remembered. He stepped into a corridor.
Which wasn’t a corridor anymore. It was utter blackness, spotted with stars.
‘Where am I?”
His mouth made the words, but no sound came out.
“We’re in space, mate,” said a young man’s voice beside him. “In space, no-one can hear your bullshit.”
Trump spun around. There was indeed a young man there, with a flop of red-brown hair, strange mis-matched eyes, and awful British teeth that gave him a feral look, like a cat who had been transformed into a human and hadn’t yet learned to pass.
“You always wanted to be a star, didn’t you?” said the young man, whose voice was as British as his dental work. “I know how that goes. I used to admire people like you, you know. That’s why they sent me. It’s like, you know, imagine like you’re in space and the bad drugs make you feel like a king and you can do anything, but the difference is, mate, the difference is – I can play guitar.’
The young man strummed a chord, and the stars flared like dressing-room bulbs, and the man was changing, growing older and stranger, his face streaked with makeup and glitter, dressed in sequins and rainbows, his hair a shock of red.
“That wasn’t bad,” Trump admitted. “You know how to put on a show.”
“Better than you ever did,” agreed the stranger, “I used to think that was all there was to it. Get up on stage and make love with your ego. It made me lonely. Made me selfish. But, after all that, I was selfish in a way that let other people be kind. I didn’t understand for the longest time. Here, come and see.”
The ghost pushed at the curtain of space and opened a door that hadn’t been there before. “Mate,’ he said, exposing his crooked teeth, ‘come in. Get to know me better. I’m just passing through, but aren’t we all?’
The room was full of music and colour. Trump could see shapes moving in the darkness, strange bodies dancing. Beautiful young men and women circled the room with trays of champagne and perfect lines of the finest powders money couldn’t buy anymore.
“I know where we are!” said Trump. “This is Studio 54! I used to come here all the time in the seventies, back when I only had a few million!”
“And did you have a good time?”
“No,” said Trump. “They laughed at me, that crowd. All my money, and they still laughed. I could never join the fun.”
The ghost handed him a flute of champagne. “Maybe it wasn’t money they were interested in.”
‘Joy,’ said the ghost, sadly, looking out at the dancers. ‘Dreams. Wealth.’
‘I’m a very wealthy man.’
‘No, mate,’ said the ghost, ‘you’re rich. There’s a difference. Don’t touch,’ he said, slapping Trump’s hand away from the shade of a shapely buttock. ‘Honestly, what’s wrong with you?’
‘What, are they politically correct in hell, too?’
‘This isn’t hell, but yeah, we’ve got manners. Dance,’ said the spirit, holding out a hand.
‘When was the last time you danced like you could become someone else? Be generous. Remake yourself. You can do it. Dance with me.’
Trump found that he wanted to dance with the strange man more than he’d ever wanted anything before. Not the fame. Not the women. Not the presidency. Nothing came close to this awful yearning. What would he become, if he took hold of that thin white hand and stepped onto the floor?
He was shaking with desire. And he was terrified. If he danced, they would laugh at him.
‘Fucking fag,’ snarled Trump, spinning on his heel.
The star man laughed. ‘Maybe. Does that scare you?’
‘What, aren’t you afraid?’
‘Only of Americans.’ The strange man was dressed differently now. No more glitter, no ginger wig – he was thinner, paler, older, his voice a gentle growl, as he said –
‘Now, listen. My time here is short, and I’ve got to stop off in Berlin to visit an old pal before morning. So I’m going to play you a song, and you’re going to listen, and you’re going to watch, and for once in your life, you’re going to say nothing.’
‘Hey-‘ Trump opened his mouth to curse, but the strange man caught the words in his two long hands and laughed. Trump could not say anything. He spluttered.
‘Watch,’ whispered the strange man, the lines deepening in his face.
The music changed, became stranger, something from beyond the world. Trump looked again at the dancing young people -men and women and everything in between, black and brown and white and Asian. They were beautiful. They danced with their eyes closed, their heads flung back, glitter in their hair, sweat shining on their skin. But not just sweat.
A blonde woman with two black eyes spun towards him out of the darkness, was gone.
A black girl in a tight vest threw back her head to the beat, and her chest was a welter of bruises.
A man with a neat dark beard danced with a brown boy of no more than twenty. They smiled at each other, at him. There were bullet holes seeping in the centre of their foreheads.
‘Who are they?’ whispered Trump.
‘Prejudice,’ said the strange man, whose skin seemed to be shrinking to his skull. ‘Ignorance. Violence. The consequences of lives like yours.”
“I don’t murder people.”
“You don’t need to, mate. You talk murder talk. You sailed into power on a wave of hate. You knew people would drown in it. You didn’t care.”
Trump stared. A boy in a battered hoodie laughed at him out of the mass of bodies.
‘Why are they still dancing?’
‘Because the music is still playing.’
Trump felt suddenly lonely. Lonelier than he had ever felt in his life. Lonelier than he’d ever thought possible. He thought he might die of it.
‘Make it stop!’
‘It won’t ever stop. You can’t make it stop.’
The strange man’s face had become a skull, now, and there were stars winking where his mismatched eyes had been.
Trump stumbled into the crowd, flailing with his fists. They passed straight through the dancers, who smiled terrible, beautiful smiles at him, and the music went on, got louder. Trump felt like he was drowning.
‘Help me!’ He cried, and turned around to the strange man, but he was already fading, fading to starlight – gone.
The music went on.
‘Shut UP!’ shouted Trump. ‘You’re weak! All of you, you’re weak! I’m strong, stronger than all of you!’ He thumped a tiny fist on the wall.
The music stopped.
Trump was alone, alone with the echo of the strange man’s laughter, and a new, dreadful feeling snagged under his ribs. It felt like – like loss.
He stumbled forward in the darkness, alone, looking for someone to tell him how wonderful he was – Melania, maybe, or that weird little British man who kept hanging around, Norman, he thought, or maybe Nigel, eyes like a drunk frog and clearly queer for the Donald, or maybe that was just the English way of being friendly.
The corridor went on and on. Trump could no longer see in front of his face. Three ghosts, Nixon had told him. Trump didn’t read much, but he could surely count. There was one left.
At the end of the corridor, the lights became brighter, the space opening into a familiar room, where a tall man was standing, all alone.
Trump staggered forward. The man was black, and huge, and he seemed to fill the space around him by sheer force of personality. Trump had never seen a human being stand so straight.
“I’m not a racist,” Trump said, automatically.
He recognised the stark brilliance of the lights now. They were in a TV studio.
Trump started to relax. This was his own ground, not that nonsense of maimed dancers and weird music.
“Nobody accused you of being a racist,” the other man said. He had a surprisingly gentle voice for his size, the soft, formal accent of someone who thinks about every word before they speak it. “You’re very quick to answer an accusation nobody made. Do you have a guilty conscience?”
“No,” Trump said. It came out very loud in the echoing space. He’d never been in a TV studio when it was quite this empty. There was dust on the floor, and even on the banks of cameras.
“I expect some of your best friends are African Americans?”
Before Trump could say he wouldn’t go quite that far, the man went on.
“I expect you know some of the greatest Americans? Americans like me?”
“I float like a butterfly, I sting like a bee, when you think about a champion, you’ll always think of me?” He sighed. “I was born Cassius Clay. I became Mohammed Ali.”
“I remember you now,” Trump said. “You became a Muslim. Yeah. Before 9/11, of course, before everyone knew about Muslims. We’d have people like you on a registry these days.”
Ali swung a punch at Trump’s head, and Trump just barely dodged it.
“You want to talk about all the things Christian fanatics have done? You want to talk about how violence taints a whole religion?” he said. “No you don’t, because your Christianity is an even thinner veneer than your decency. It’s not even a fig leaf. You don’t believe in God. Just yourself. Don’t duck and cringe like that. I could flatten you without hardly trying, but I wouldn’t soil my fists on you. It would give me no pleasure to beat you. I am here to show you the future. Christmas Yet To Come.”
He turned, and Trump saw that there were three small monitors behind him.
“Why do you need three?” he asked. “Why don’t you just have one big one?”
“Because this ain’t about dick wagging,” Ali said. He touched the screen on the first monitor, and it sprang to life. Static spurted. He tapped the screen.
“That seems more like the past than the future,” Trump said, trying to sound scornful.
The screen came into focus, and showed some people huddling in ruins, darting glances from side to side. “Aleppo?” Trump sneered. “Pretty obvious.”
“No, this is DC,” Ali said. “You can just about see the glint of your Gold House off in the distance there.”
Trump wanted to question it, wanted to sneer, but he could indeed recognise the formerly White House in the background. The pathetic survivors were tearing up books to start a fire.
“What book is that?” the child asked, brushing his golden hair back from his dirt-streaked face. “It doesn’t look like Great Again.”
“Long ago, before the nuclear war, before democracy died, there were other books,” a woman answered. She was black, but she put her arm around the golden-haired boy as if she were his mother. The camera closed in on the two of them, and Trump could see that she was gorgeous – mid-twenties, the kind of pussy he wouldn’t mind grabbing some of, at least if she were clean.
“Do you remember that?” the kid asked.
“Not really. I was born in 2016.” When she named the year, everyone spat. Some did it ceremoniously, and some automatically, casually. “By the time I was old enough to learn to read, we only had books written by Trump – well, ghostwritten. But my parents told me about it. We lived in Georgetown. My father was a professor. My mother was a lobbyist. We — ”
“Stop telling fairytales,” a man said, a white man with sores on his face. “Don’t go filling the kid up with lies. Fat lot of use reading is when there ain’t nothing to read except fucking Great Again,” he said. “It was useful when we’d find caches of food, but it’s been a long time since we did. Guess I’ll eat you soon.”
The child raised his head and started to wail. “No! Don’t eat Marion!”
“Don’t worry,” the woman said. “Your daddy’s strong. He’ll find plenty of strangers to kill and eat before he gets around to needing to eat me.”
Trump jabbed at the screen, and it reverted to static. “What is this bullshit? Americans eating each other in the ruins of Washington?”
“It’s the world where you started a nuclear war with China,” Ali said.
“I didn’t mean to,” Trump said, hearing the whine in his voice.
“No, you did it in total ignorance. That’s the worst of it.”
“Those people were burning my book.”
“They were spitting when they spoke of 2016,” Ali said. “Not that it doesn’t make me want to spit too.”
“It’s the year I was elected President of the USA, the greatest nation in the world!”
“And the year when I died,” Ali said. “And Marion was born.”
“That black woman in the ruins?”
“The ghosts you’ve seen tonight have all been people who died in 2016. Lots of other people were born. Sebastian. Marion. Yasmina. ArsNik. People whose names will be remembered. If there’s any people to remember.”
“My name –“
“Can it, Trump. You’re no champion. Champions know when to be humble.”
Ali pushed the corner of the second screen. Marion was there, on a nightclub stage, spotlit, just barely covered in sequins, dancing as she crooned into a microphone. Men in the audience were leering, pushing money towards her. Ali clicked it off.
“Christmas Eve. That’s the world where you didn’t start a war. Things got slowly worse in your administration, and in twenty-five years you’re completely forgotten. You’re the punchline to a tired joke. But there are things you’d like. No more political correctness. Sexism is back, and so is Isolationism. The camps you instituted to get rid of the Immigrants are still going, and getting into the US even for a weekend is almost impossible from Canada, never mind Mexico. There’s no health insurance except for the rich, and US life expectancy is lower than Botswana.
“But there’s other things you’d hate. America itself, far from being great, is considered to be a second rate power – like France. And the whole world is grateful to Indonesia for ending Global Warming. There’s a recession in the US, and while nobody is eating each other, it’s pretty rough.”
“And I’m forgotten?”
“Like President Polk.” Ali looked down at Trump. “What did you want when you came into this studio?”
“What were you looking for?”
“You were looking for somebody who loves you. That’s what you were hoping to find. It’s difficult to get through to you, because you don’t have much of a conscience. You don’t even really hate immigrants and Muslims and queers. You can’t be shaken up by seeing that we’re real. Your appointees really hate us, but you just want — ”
“To be rich.” It didn’t sound like enough, suddenly. “To be powerful. To be safe.”
“To be loved. Your daddy should have given you a goddamn puppy instead of that million dollars. Taught you what it means to care for something. Maybe taught you how to serve rather than be served. Service to others is the rent you pay for your time here on earth, and you, Donny, you’re way overdue.”
“Can you cut the psychobabble and show me the world in the last screen? The one where I’m remembered? Or maybe no, I know – it’s the one where I repent and all the Politically Correct Gamma Rabbits have their way, and bow down to all the minorities and the immigrants and the feminazis and — ”
“You’re foaming at the mouth, Trump. And it doesn’t matter. You can’t even be remembered for being the most evil. Do you know what they call you? Little Orange Hitler.”
“Then I’m not going to get to repent and go off and buy turkey for everyone and give my nephew the day off?”
“Your nephew, sure. Nepotism is on the rise. The people who actually need your help — the disabled, the impoverished, families living below the breadline…” Ali shook his head. “What could you do, after all?”
“I could – I could not repeal Obamacare! I could stop Pence cracking down on the queers! I could fund NASA’s climate stuff. I could stop using the Presidency to make myself rich. I could sack Bannon — ”
Ali held up a hand. “So you do know what’s right. The common weal. The wellbeing of everyone. All Americans. The whole world! But a minute ago you were babbling about Gamma Rabbits. All that power, and you won’t dare do what’s right in case somebody thinks you are one.”
Trump didn’t want to listen to any more of this. He reached forward and tapped the corner of the third monitor. It came up with a set of menus, and all the lights in the studio came on, focused on Trump and Ali.
“This is the future where there are options. Choices.”
“It’s not just going to show me that girl again? Marion?”
“Marion? You can see her.” Ali touched one of the menu options and the screen flowered out into Marion’s face, close up, then the camera zoomed out and Trump could see she was sitting at a piano, and wearing what looked like a man’s Armani suit. The sound of Debussy, played very well, rippled from the keys.
Then the tune changed, with a touch of Leonard Cohen for a moment, and then something he didn’t recognise, and she stared out of the screen right into Trump’s eyes and started to sing:
“Fuck your old sonatas and fuck your dead-end dreams
I’m not here to nursemaid you no matter how it seems
Remembering the melody of times that never were
And the girl who never kissed you – well I’m her!
The future doesn’t love you, and we have no fucks to give
About your good intentions or the way you try to live
Keep all our options open and give everyone a voice
And you’ll find the world exploding into choice!
If you want to be remembered then you do the best you can
Respect, expect, extemporise, be a spectrum, have a plan.
If you want to take my hand and dance potential into time
Rise up in diverse energy and find another — ”
Then she stood, and started to dance with the man in makeup whose hand Trump had wanted to take downstairs, young again, young forever, and the music was wild and the dance was strange and dangerous, and again, he trembled, wanting to join in and wanting to denounce them – she was leading! And he was wearing a dress! And there was something strange about the way they moved, as if gravity was different, as if maybe they were dancing in space, or on the moon. Then she turned her head and looked directly into Trump’s eyes again, and she and the man sang together:
“Time watches from the shadows and coughs as you would kiss*
But remember, it’s the only world there is.”
Then the screen was whirling, and the lights were very bright, and people were asking him impossible questions and Ali was throwing a punch. He dodged again, and found himself naked and soaked in sweat and tangled in blankets. Melania was there. She put the light on, illuminating their huge, luxurious bedroom in Trump Tower.
“It was only a dream!” Trump said, lying back on the pillows with relief.
“What, darling?” Melania asked. She looked away.
“David Bowie, and Mohammed Ali, and that German chick, and Democracy, and they were dead!”
“Well, those people are dead, actually.”
“All a dream! Nobody really calls me Little Orange Hitler.”
“Well — ”
But Melania knew when to keep quiet.
“And I haven’t started yet, there’s still time!”
“It’s 5am, nobody starts Christmas this early except little kids. But look, darling. Ex-President Obama has sent you a Christmas present.”
“What is it?”
The door opened, and something ran onto the bed, something small and yellow and excited.
“It’s a Golden Retriever. He said his girls got a puppy when he became president, and he thought it was kind of a nice tradition.
The puppy jumped up onto the coverlet and gazed into Trump’s face with an expression of absolute, unconditional love.
There are people you can use, thought Trump, and there are people you can’t use, people you just throw away. Obama wasn’t either kind. That was why he’d always made him uncomfortable. What did he mean by sending this dog?
Trump looked into the puppy’s eyes and saw that they were mismatched. One was green, and one was blue.
*This line only, W.H. Auden, from As I Walked Out One Morning.
© Roz Kaveney, Laurie Penny, John Scalzi, and Jo Walton