Books, Pop Culture and Political Humor from J.D. Rhoades, best-selling author, attorney, and award-winning newspaper columnist.
"Like [Lee] Child, Rhoades dishes out one airtight action scene after another, mixing in just enough character-building moments and holding our interest in a full cast of nicely developed supporting players."-Booklist
High above the teeming streets of the Big Apple, in the secure fortress of Trump Tower, a phone rings. A small, stubby-fingered, but exquisitely manicured hand reaches for the receiver.
“Yeah? What is it? This better be good. I was getting ready to really burn that totally unfunny Alec Baldwin on Twitter.”
“I’m afraid that will have to wait, sir,” the voice on the other end responds. “There’s a problem. It’s the Carrier air conditioning plant in Indiana.”
“You don’t mean …”
“Yes, sir. It’s shipping jobs to Mexico.”
The short-fingered man springs to his feet.
“Not if I can help it! This is a job for … Trump-Man!”
Quickly, mild-mannered billionaire Donald J. Trump dashes into his walk-in closet. When he emerges, he’s clad in a bright orange, skin-tight Spandex suit and turquoise shorts. A mask and cape that match the shorts complete the ensemble. As the cleverly disguised billionaire admires himself in the mirror, a gray-haired man in a dark suit walks in.
“Oh, Lord, not this again,” he mutters.
“Half-Pence, my faithful sidekick!” Trump-Man says. “Just in time! Get into your uniform! There is globalism afoot!”
The gray-haired man sighs.
“Sir, the election’s over. I really don’t think we should be wearing those …”
“No time to waste!” Trump-Man insists. He hustles his sidekick into the closet. After a few minutes, the gray-haired man emerges, shoulders slumped, in similarly tight Spandex, this time colored beige, with the figure “1/2” emblazoned across the chest.
“Excellent!” Trump-Man nods. “Quick! To the Trump-Plane!”
As he dashes off down the corridor, he begins to sing. “Here I come to save the daaaay …”
“Why the heck did I agree to take this stupid job?” the man now known as Half-Pence groans as he trudges off behind his boss.
Two hours later, superhero and sidekick stand in a corporate boardroom in Indiana, in front of a baffled group of Carrier executives.
“You’re on notice, globalists!” Trump-Man bellows. “You’ll not toy with American workers’ lives any more! Conservatives are in control now!”
A man in a Brooks Brothers suit timidly raises his hand. “Um, sir? What’s ‘conservative’ about a single member of the Executive Branch strong-arming companies who make economic decisions based on free market factors?”
“So,” Trump-Man says, with a haughty sneer, “that’s the way you want it, eh?” He turns to his sidekick. “Half-Pence! Show them we mean business! Give them millions of dollars in tax breaks!”
Half-Pence nods confidently, then does a double take. “Wait, what?”
The man who spoke up echoes him. “Wait, what?”
“Shut up, Farley!” the CEO breaks in. “Can’t you see he’s got us right where he wants us?” He turns to Trump-Man. “Curse you, Trump-Man,” he says in a voice strangely devoid of anger. “You’ve won this time. But we’ll be back.”
“And we’ll be here!” Trump-Man says, “Ready with more taxpayer money!”
“Oh, woe,” the CEO says, “Woe is us.”
Later, on the steps of the Carrier plant, Trump-Man stands, hands on hips, basking in the cheers of the crowd. “Feels good, doesn’t it, Half-Pence?” he says. “We saved over 1,100 jobs today.”
“Just like you promised during the campaign, sir,” Half-Pence replies.
“Actually,” a man in a hard hat on the steps speaks up, “it’s more like 800 jobs.”
“What?” The superhero’s brow furrows in annoyance.
“Yeah. We got a letter from the company saying the deal with Carrier will save only 730 factory jobs in Indianapolis, plus 70 salaried positions. And 553 jobs are still moving to Monterrey, Mexico. Oh, and all 700 workers at the Huntington plant are still gonna lose their jobs.” He holds up his smartphone. “Here. It’s all in a report on the local station, WTHR. Oh, and according to Business Insider, Carrier’s announced that it’s raising prices by 5 percent.”
“Half-Pence!” Trump-man snarls, “silence that man! Hit him with a million dollar tax break!”
The sidekick leans over and whispers in his ear. “Oh … he’s one of them, eh? Not eligible for tax breaks.”
Before the man in the hard hat can speak again, a group surges forward on the steps.
“Trump-Man!” one of them calls out. “The globalists are sending my job manufacturing wiper blades from Ohio to the Philippines!”
Another speaks up. “And my paper company in Scranton is outsourcing sales to call centers in Sri Lanka!”
The crowd begins calling out, “Hairbrushes from Michigan to Indonesia!”
“Back-scratchers from Nashville to Malaysia!”
“Help us, Trump-Man!”
“Only you can fix this!”
“Half-Pence,” the crestfallen superhero says, “this may be more complicated than I thought.”