The big day arrived and the wraps were rock and rolled and ready to infiltrate the MAGA zombies and perhaps work some stealth healing magic within their withered souls.
Trump wasn’t going to eat the meal. No way he was going to eat that Rotary Club garbage with the masses. He hated these uncouth morons and their stupid outfits. He mocked them all the way to their bank accounts.
The catering crew drove multiple vehicles to Pumpkin Ridge. Protesters and supporters lined both sides of the road the last mile to the entrance. It was zoo where the zoo caged lunatics from the Right and Left and they ate each other’s young. Television crews caught it all and broadcast it back to the bowel movement of America.
The wraps were in the kitchen waiting for the designated lunch time, but things were going wrong the program and the fanatics were getting restless, bored and hungry. Corn nuts and bottle water weren’t cutting it.
The Pillow Guy wouldn’t shut the hell up about Italian lasers and pedophiles eating pizza. When it was the Republican candidate for governor’s turn to speak, she came across scared and appeared as if she might shit her skirt.
Some corn nuts started flying. The crowd tuned her out. They wanted the Great Satan himself and a steaming plate of fatted calf. They had paid a thousand dollars a head and had to watch a mime! They didn’t get his act, even the bit about Pence swinging from a noose in a tree.
Free Bird waited in the wings and munched on the wraps. Dani got a text from Brian: start serving the meal ASAP! She huddled with the crew one last time. She gave a fiery speech and then they broke the huddle with a resounding clap and went to work.
The wraps hit the tables and the MAGA meatheads were dumbstruck. What is this Portland commie/hippie/queer shit? They started texting and posting. They tried flagging someone in authority down to bitch and moan.
Free Bird opened with “Gimme Three Steps.”
Brian braced Dani. He screamed, “We had a contract! You won’t get paid!”
“I don’t care,” she said.
“Sue me. It will be great for business.”
Brian’s phone was blowing up with texts from Trump’s team. He texted back he was handling it. Maybe get Trump up on the podium to take the edge off?
Free Bird began playing “That Smell.”
The team texted back: No chance. He’s still eating a steak in the restaurant lounge with his toadies and has to take a dump.
Then something happened. The MAGA cretins started eating the wraps. They had no choice! And lo and behold, they didn’t taste all the bad. They might even help with constipation, excessive flatulence and erectile dysfunction.
Dani saw it happening. She saw hands bolt into the air demanding for more wraps! The groovy game was now afoot.
Free Bird was somewhere in the middle of a blistering “Free Bird” solo when the lead guitarist looked at the lead singer, then the backup singer, then other members of the band. They all locked eyes together and nodded. It was time. It was time to let go of playing redneck rock—right now! They hated playing these nut job gigs. The pay was shit. The audience full of flat earth morons. Classic rock was dead anyway. All rock was dead.
Yes, it was time. Time to play the only music still alive, the only music that still mattered, classic 70s Soul, music that reached into the hearts of its listeners and sought to bring out the best of humanity. They’d been rehearsing in secret for years. It was finally time to let the sunshine in and fly into the Fifth Dimension!
They ripped into Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” and indeed, they were going to a higher ground and taking the audience with them.
Dani smiled. She got it. She kept shoveling wraps into the mouths of MAGA followers and taking surreptitious short videos of the scene with her phone.
“Higher Ground” ended. The band ripped into “Rocksteady” by Aretha. The bass was so chunky it threatened to bring down the roof.
There was involuntary movement at the tables. Then it became voluntary. The music was taking over. So was Doug fir dank.
Some of the MAGA minions started dancing. Others started looking around the room. This is what registered: Latinos working hard everywhere (why do we hate them?); an old Black custodian pushing a broom, but really dancing with it (why is he having so much fun?); Trump’s advance man making fun of a reporter because she’s in a wheelchair (why don’t I go kick his ass?); the mime channeling Michael Jackson’s dance moves off stage (he’s funny!). They saw those things and much more. They felt no hate, fear or resentment and it felt odd, but good, no great!
“Cloud Nine” by The Temptations was next, followed by “Sex Machine” by James Brown. Then Sly and the Family Stone’s anthem, “I Wanna Take You Higher.”
They were going higher.
A 40-foot apparition resembling Tom McCall materialized in the rafters and descended over the podium. He was smiling. He looked stoned.
Dani laughed when she saw it. Uncle Earl really knew how to cook!
Brian got word that Trump was almost ready. Free Bird was signaled to quit so Pillow Guy could warm up the crowd with conspiracies and dish up a servile introduction. The band didn’t quit. They launched into the Staple Singers, “I’ll Take You There.”
Dani and crew knew it was time to leave. They melted away into the kitchen. They fist bumped and high fived. They left everything behind. They exited to the parking lot, got in their vehicles, and drove away from Pumpkin Ridge, past the zoo. The sky was blue. A creek gurgled its way to ocean. The conifers stood green and tall. Maple and oak leaves were turning red, orange and purple. Pinot noir grapes were ready for harvest. Cannabis plants waved in the breeze.
Oregon never looked more beautiful.
As for the people still devouring the rainbow wraps and listening to soul music, waiting for Trump to appear…well, we can only hope for the best, and for the rest us, too. Doug fir dank would wear off by the time Trump ended his demented rant. But perhaps something good and clarifying they experienced that day would stick around. Perhaps one decent feeling about previously unknown people was all it took to begin change.
Hovering over the podium as Trump spoke, Tom McCall wept.
But not the tears you might think.