Donald went to bed, and thought, and thought, and thought it over and over and over, and could make nothing of it. The more he thought, the more perplexed he was; and the more he endeavored not to think, the more he thought.
McCain’s Ghost bothered him exceedingly. Every time he resolved within himself, after mature inquiry, that it was all a dream, his mind flew back again, like a strong spring released, to its first position, and presented the same problem to be worked all through, “Was it a dream or not?”
“OMFG, Donald,” his hair said, “you keeping flipping and flopping and rolling over and over. Let me off and I’ll sleep on the credenza.”
“Gay,” the hat said from his stately stand.
“It’s nothing,” Donald muttered. “Nothing at all. Just a flashback maybe or a bad batch of fries.”
He screamed when a hand reached out of the dark and touched his shoulder.
It was a strange figure–a young man, in a jumpsuit. Donald realized with a start that it was McCain, a McCain he had never known. Young McCain was squinting as if into the sun and had a head with short-cropped hair. He smiled at Donald and put on aviator sunglasses, mirrored and impenetrable. As Donald stared in horror the figure flickered–stuttered almost–winking in and out; and he was as insubstantial as fake news.
“Is it going to be all night with this Scooby Doo shit?” the hat asked.
Donald cried out for the Secret Service but none came.
“Are you the Spirit whose coming was foretold to me?” asked Donald.
“I am,” Young McCain said. The voice was soft and gentle.
“Who, and what are you?” the hair demanded.
“I am the Ghost of Warboners Past.”
“Long Past?” inquired the hat. “Like World War II?”
The Spirit did not turn to answer him. “No. Donald’s past.”
Perhaps, Donald could not have told anybody why, if anybody could have asked him; but he had a special desire to see the Spirit in his cap; and begged him to be covered.
“What?” exclaimed the Ghost, “Is it not enough that you are one of those whose passions made this cap, you want me to wear it low upon my brow?”
“Don’t have a ghost put me on, Donald,” the hat said, fear in his voice.
“What about the hair? You want to wear my hair?” Donald asked.
“Neither!” the Spirit thundered. “I don’t want to wear either your hat or your hair.”
“Then what business do you have here?” Donald asked.
“Your reclamation. Take heed!”
It put out its strong hand as it spoke, and clasped him gently by the arm.
“Rise! and walk with me!”
It would have been in vain for Donald to plead that the weather and the hour were not adapted to pedestrian purposes; that bed was warm, and the thermometer a long way below freezing; that he was clad but lightly in his slippers, dressing-gown. The grasp, though gentle as a hooker’s hand, was not to be resisted. He rose: but finding that the Spirit made towards the window, clapped on his hat and hair in supplication.
“I am a mortal,” Donald remonstrated, “and liable to fall.”
“Bear but a touch of my hand there,” said McCain, laying it upon his heart, “and you shall be upheld in more than this!” As the words were spoken, they passed through the wall, and stood upon a busy New York City sidewalk.
“What in the mother of fuck?” the hat shouted.
“Did we just teleport?” the hair asked. “I think we just teleported!”
“Good Heaven!” said Donald, clasping his hands together, as he looked about him. Men in hats and women in dresses passed them on the sidewalk unaware of them. “I was bred in this place. I was a boy here!”
“Look at how the people are dressed,” said the hair. “Look at the stores and billboards that line the streets. Look at the cars.”
“Time travel,” the hat said. “I can finally kill Billy Ray Cyrus before he is born.”
“Your lip is trembling,” said the Ghost to Donald. “And what is that upon your cheek?”
“Wait, are you crying, Donald?” the hair asked gently.
“It’s just so beautiful,” Donald whispered. “So many white people. White people everywhere. And everyone is so skinny.”
“Do you recollect the way?” inquired the Spirit. “Do not be bothered by those around us. We appear as naught to them.”
“Remember it?” cried Donald with fervour; “I could walk it blindfolded.”
Donald took off a wattling run, the hat and hair holding on. The ghostly figure of McCain flew beside them, his spectral feet a few inches above the cold sidewalk.
Donald stopped before the window of a huge toy store and pressed his face before the glass. Dolls and BB guns and wind-up tanks and sparking robots sat inside the track of an elaborate toy train that chugged along. Planes and cars and cowboys and noble knights astride fine steeds hung from the ceiling by fishing wire, and lights flashed and bells rang.
“I loved this window,” Donald said. “So many things, all the things, such classy toys.”
“This was your last Christmas, wasn’t it?” McCain’s Ghost asked.
“The last good one,” Donald said. “The next year I was sent off to military school. I spent Christmas there from then on.”
“Military school,” the young figure of McCain said. “A chance to get your first warboner, a proper one. A chance you wasted.”
“Your last good Christmas,” the hair said, rubbing Donald’s head in sympathy. “Did you at least get what you wanted?”
“No. Father refused to buy me the store,” Donald said mournfully. “I was going to burn it down for the insurance money.”
“Away,” said the Spirit. “We have more Christmases to visit!”
A wind picked up and began to swirl around them, and somehow made it seem as if the city was swirling around them.
“I think I’m going to be sick,” said the hat. And then the scene settled and he merely groaned.
They were now on the lawn of a college campus quad, students arm-in-arm going to and fro.
“WEST PHILADELPHIA, 1967” floated in the air before the in neat white block letters.
“Anyone else seeing words floating in the air?” the hair asked right as they began to fade away.
“Wharton,” Donald said hoarsely. “1967? 1967?”
“Yes,” said the Spirit. He grabbed Donald’s arm and walked through a nearby wall. When the four of them stepped out of the grey darkness of passage they were in a room full of young people, navy blazers and ascots all around, cable-knit sweaters and Brylcreem, pretty girls in knee-length skirts and sweater sets. Frankie Valli crooned on the record player.
“1967?” the hat asked. “Where are the hot hippie girls? Where is the free love? This looks like fucking Happy Days.”
An older man, wearing a corduroy jacket over a turtleneck and smoking a pipe turned to the ghostly party. “There are no ‘hippies’ at the Wharton School of Business, you degenerate,” he said, addressing the hat.
“Who the hell are you?” the hat asked the man with the pipe.
“None of your business, you sad little id projection,” the man said and did exhale a cloud of fragrant smoke. He took two steps away and faded into the party crowd.
“Who the hell was that?” the hat asked the Spirit.
“He is the Spirit of Exposition, another Ghost who walks this night. Pay his irritation no heed,” said Young McCain.
“I remember this,” Donald said, growing excited. “I remember this.”
“Yes,” Young McCain said, his eyes becoming pools of oily blackness, “Your lowest point.”
Donald walked away, ignoring the Ghost, and slipped insubstantially through the throng of party-goers.
“This was the night!” Donald said excitedly. He walked through a shut bedroom door taking the hat and hair with him.
Three young men were in the bedroom, leaning over a nightstand they had pulled away from the wall.
“Try it,” one of them said.
“You’ll like it,” another said.
Young Donald Trump, all of 21-years-old said, “I don’t know. I don’t like drugs very much. Heck, I don’t even drink.”
“This isn’t like grass,” the tall one said. “It doesn’t make your dick limp and turn you in a commie. This stuff is fantastic.” He handed Donald the rolled up 20 dollar bill.
“DONALD!” said the hair in a shocked voice.
“This was just a great Christmas. Just tremendous,” Old Donald said.
Young McCain joined them in the bedroom and said, gasping, “This is not what we are here to see.”
“Are you out of breath?” the hat asked. “You’re a Ghost. That doesn’t make any sense.”
Young Donald leaned down and hoovered a fat line of the cocaine and Old Donald sighed.
“They sold me an eightball to take home,” Old Donald reminisced. “I didn’t sleep for maybe four days.”
The ghostly McCain stepped forward and plucked a piece of paper out of Young Donald’s cardigan. “This is what you are here to see,” he said, holding up to the other three travelers. It was a draft deferment form, stamped 1-Y.
Old Donald shrugged. “I had bone spurs,” he said and shrugged.
“You threw away your chance for glory!” the shade said. “Your chance for honor!”
“Your chance you get your balls shot off,” the hat said mockingly.
“It was a stupid, pointless war,” Old Donald said.
“COWARD!” the Spirit of Warboners Past thundered.
He stepped forward and tried to run his finger on the cocaine-dusted mirror. “Aw, nothing? Not even a little bump?” he asked.
Young Donald was writhing around, dancing to music only he seemed to hear.
“How do you feel, Donny?” one of his friends asked.
Young Donald grinned beatifically. “I feel amazing, like I could beat-up Godzilla and fuck King Kong!”
“YEAH!” the hat cheered.
“OK,” said the shade of McCain. “Fuck it.” He waved his arms in a complicated pattern.
Donald found himself back in The First Bedroom, the lingering scent of cigarettes and stale beer in the air. He was conscious of being exhausted, and overcome by an irresistible drowsiness. He gave the hat a parting squeeze, a placed his hair back on the credenza; and had barely time to reel to bed, before he sank into a heavy sleep.