A SHORT PLAY
by Joel Schechter
Scene: Rainy day at Palm Beach, Florida. Water everywhere.
Characters: Noah and his ark
President of the United States (Trump for now)
Priebus, Chief of Staff
Priebus: Three more ambassadors just arrived by water taxi to meet with you, Mr. President. Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria. We’re more than halfway through the United Nations alphabet.
Trump (looks at wet ceiling, opens umbrella): I think we have a leak.
Priebus: I haven’t told the reporters anything.
Priebus (pouring him a glass from water pitcher): Yes, well, it has been raining for forty days and forty nights, Sir. Endless storms and floods — fishing expeditions and golf games cancelled — hotels boarded up. The press is waiting outside to hear your latest statement on these phenomena.
Trump: Fake news. They’re all wet.
Priebus: Well, that’s true.
Trump: If not for those weathermen, nobody would be saying a word. Look, never mind the lying media. Order some hot towels, bring in the ambassadors, and tell me which ones will withdraw from the Paris Accord. That’s all I want to know.
Priebus: So far none of them have agreed to endorse your decision. But perhaps you can persuade them. (He shows them in. Netherlands’ ambassador is a woman, the other two are men.)
Trump: Gentlemen, lady, welcome to the Florida White House. Can I offer you a hot towel? A glass of orange juice?
Netherlands: I never knew Palm Beach would look so much like the lowlands of Holland.
Nigeria: Or the river country of Nigeria.
New Zealand: Those alligators swimming outside the door make it quite scenic.
Netherlands: But forty days of rain!
Nigeria: Where have all the beaches gone?
New Zealand: Don’t you miss the sun?
Trump: My son’s in New York with Melania. He’s missing me, believe me. But I’ve got work to do, to get the weathermen to change their predictions. Listen, I’ve asked you here so that your wonderful countries will join America in rejecting the Paris Accord. I’m looking for just a few good allies. I have two already.
Nigeria: You mean Syria and Nicaragua?
New Zealand: It’s lonely at the top.
Netherlands: None of the European Union nations will join you, Mr. Trump. You’re still in denial. And now you want company!
Nigeria: Nigeria will not withdraw either. Oil causes many problems. We almost have a civil war going on over it.
Trump: I can offer you military advisors and jets, if you join our new oil and coal protection society.
Nigeria: We’d prefer extra food, to fight the famine. We have too much oil.
Trump (looking down at water sloshing at his ankles): We have too much water. Priebus!
Trump: I told you to stop these leaks!
(Noah with long white beard and animals floats through the room on deck of an ark): Anyone want to get on board?
Trump: Pay no attention to that fellow, he’ll float away in a moment. He’s Old Testament, not one of us.
Nigeria: Mr. President, what exactly are your scientists saying about all of this?
Trump: About the old geezer and his boat? Believe me, the few scientists who have even read the Bible say there was no such thing as the Flood — maybe just a few melting glaciers. He’s a crank, thinks it’s the end of the world.
New Zealand: The climate, Mr. President, not the Bible! Haven’t your scientists advised you even a wee bit on climate change?
Trump: Priebus, what is he talking about?
Priebus: With all due credit to President Trump, the EPA has been unable to confirm or deny climate change — since our staff was cut to a crew of two. Almost all EPA funding has been transferred to the fight against ISIS, with a few million going to Ivanka’s plan for maternity swimsuits.
Trump: Speaking of which, it’s time to visit the Mar-a-Lago gift shop! I have discount coupons for each of us.
Priebus: That reminds me, Sir: Two more of your golf courses were completely underwater this morning. Shall we send a tweet to the press about ISIS claiming responsibility?
Trump: Of course! They flooded Mar-a-Lago, too. Sleeper cells of Mexican plumbers. Very bad. Priebus! Let’s send another tweet about the new sensational sport, water golf!
Priebus: I’ll get on it, Sir.
Trump: Gentlemen, lady, let’s take lunch on the new Trump cruise ship. It’s docked by the eighteenth hole, and it’s huge, believe me — Noah’s ark isn’t even as big as one of its lifeboats!
Joel Schechter is a contributing writer to Jewish Currents and the author of Radical Yiddish and Eighteenth-Century Brechtians.