The summer of 1971 is a scorching blur in my memory. The Rolling Stones’ Brown Sugar dominated the radio waves, we all celebrated the Mets’ 10th season, and my four-month Labrador puppy Waffles and I were inseparable friends. The skies were blue and school was over the horizon. It was a good time to be a six-year old kid in Brooklyn.
It was a good time to be Donald Trump, too. He’d just been given control of his father’s real estate company, effectively making him a millionaire at the age of 25 by virtue of a surname. Having dodged the Vietnam draft three years earlier, he’d moved back to New York to better marshal his empire. Inflated by a sense of certainty, he bestrode the narrow world like a titan.
Outside our house, heat rose off the tarmac in shimmering waves, and it was quiet. I went out to play fetch with Waffles, as was our pleasure in those days. He scampered around the street, and I paid no attention to the road. Why would I? It was just an ordinary, peaceful, American street. Much like yours, probably.
Around the corner came a black Mercedes — fast, heedless, screaming death. And Waffles was out in the road. In a heart-stopping moment I saw the danger and shouted, “No! Stop! Come back, Waffles!”
And he did! He started to scamper back to the sidewalk! But as he neared me, even as he was within arm’s reach, the car swerved and crushed him.
Not on purpose though, right? It was just an accident. The driver opened the door, lingeringly. He’d killed my best friend, a puppy, whose only joy was to love unconditionally and be loved in return. A tragedy that would have haunted me forever, but it wasn’t deliberate. That’s not the world we live in. Is it?
He stood over me as I held Waffles in my arms. To a boy of six, Trump was an Olympian being. He wore his money — no doubt his watch and suit could have bought our house several times over. Colossal, he hummed with hidden energy. Trump looked down at Waffles’ tiny, broken body.
“Did I kill your dog?”
I nodded in reply. Slowly, with sickening ease, he broke into a smile. Trump looked at me — looked right into my soul — and spoke with the voice of Satan.
“But no one will believe you!”
Then he laughed a metallic, rasping laugh, maniacal yet somehow joyless. A laugh from beyond the veil.
By the time he’d driven off I’d managed to collect myself enough to cry. I didn’t stop for a week.
I don’t know what the future holds. The world is wide and we are small. It’s only together that we can face the monsters, but I know that together we can win. Please heed my true story, and do what needs to be done, for Waffles.