The 45th President of the United States and I went to Baskin Robbins. I got a mint chocolate chip milkshake and the 45th President got a hot fudge sundae with chocolate ice cream. I grabbed some napkins and we sat by the window. I slurped at my shake and the 45th President shoveled his hot fudge sundae into his mouth. His face went dark and he stabbed at the sundae with his plastic spoon. What’s wrong? I asked the 45th President of the United States. My sundae, he said. It’s not right. He slid it across the table. I picked through it with my spoon. At the bottom of the bowl my spoon touched on something hard. It felt like a bone or a tooth or a shell. I pulled it out of the ice cream and laid it on a napkin and noticed it was a very small carcass. What is it? The 45th President asked. I’m not sure, I said. It looks like a baby opossum. The skull was pointy and slender. There was a small rib cage and tiny feet. Oh, the 45th President of the United States said. I wonder how that got there? He put his head down and fidgeted with his napkin. He looked out the window and down at the table. He lifted his eyebrows and pretended to whistle. He tapped on the table with his fingernail and stared out the window again and pretended to whistle as the tiny opossum leapt up and scurried across the table. The 45th President slightly opened his suitcoat and the opossum lunged and disappeared inside his suit. You put that there, didn’t you? I said to the 45th President. He shook his head. Open your suit jacket, I told him. He shook his head. Open it, I said. The 45th President of the United States sighed. Open it, I told him again. He unbuttoned his suit jacket and held it open. Clumps of dirt fell into his lap. The 45th President’s torso was a forest floor. Rodent skeletons scurried in and out of ground holes and tunnels chewing on leaves and scratching at the dirt. How long have you been this way? I asked the 45th President of the United States. He grinned. Look inside your milkshake, he said. I looked down at my half-finished milkshake. I slid it across the table. Why are you like this? I asked the 45th President of the United States of America. He shrugged. I don’t know, he said. Why are you like this?
GRANT GERALD MILLER lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama with the writer A.M. O’Malley and their son Max. He is currently an MFA Candidate at the University of Alabama.