A Burner Phone & A Plot To Take Down Trump
‘Ms. Orlando’ was the only contact saved in the burner phone that had been anonymously left outside my front door on Christmas day. She didn’t answer when I called but the next day she sent me a text: “Hello?”
“Good Morning, Ms. Orlando.” I tapped out on the T9 keyboard.
“You know my name?”
“If your name is Ms. Orlando, than I guess I do.” I said, strangely proud of what in hindsight was not that cleaver a comment.
“Did you get more than a phone?” Ms. Orlando asked.
“I got a phone with your contact and a short call explaining to ‘dress sharp and be ready on January 1st.’” I recounted.
“That’s more than I got.” She seemed even more confused than I was. I asked where she was and if she wanted to switch to a call since texts were taking so long to type. She didn’t seem particularly interested in telling a stranger her whereabouts and the conversation ended there. The next day she told me she’d received a message saying we weren’t to speak until further notice.
I had a feeling I was being kept in the dark because my family and wife, Molly, seemed interested but not dumbfounded. I told Molly if she truly didn’t know anything about this, than it was actually quite creepy. She laughed and told me she didn’t know any details but I shouldn’t be worried.
On January 1st around 11am, the doorbell rang. On the front step was an envelope from the Democratic National Committee. Beside it laid another, unmarked envelope.
“As you are undoubtedly aware, 2016 is an important year for our country.”
The letter began after a couple sentences thanking me for past support.
“This year, we are taking a new approach. Traditional campaign strategies have lost their impact leading us to develop unconventional methods to secure a Democratic White House.”
It went on to tell me I’d been identified as innovative and creative with great ingenuity. I blushed a little. They certainly knew how to stroke my ego.
The letter continued to outline how the DNC was piloting a number of highly experimental strategies targeting various assets of political opponents and aiming to deplete funds through initiatives that, if successful, could be replicated and scaled over the coming months. The details of my assignment were attached in the accompanying envelope and to protect my involvement with the operation, I’d been given a pseudonym and backstory. The instructions would no longer refer to me by my real name and the DNC would not comment on any involvement. I was encouraged to build on or adapt my character to suit my needs. To assist in the field, I was paired with another operative who’d also been given an assumed identity. We were to collaborate and be creative in our undertaking and report back on our tactics and outcome. I sipped my coffee in an attempt to focus and drown the butterflies in my stomach. This was admittedly absurd yet strangely exciting.
The ‘Operational Brief’ was unmarked and included a 2pm bus ticket from the Port Authority to Atlantic City. The following pages included my assigned task, a character sketch, basic backstory, and a number of prompts to assist me in strengthening my role. There were even a handful of fake business cards to help execute the plan.
The mission was essentially to ‘deflate Trump’s campaign funds by infiltrating the candidate’s personal real estate portfolio.’ It pointed out that active gamblers at the Trump Taj Mahal receive complimentary items such as alcoholic beverages. How much of a dent could one person put in the casino’s operation without actually spending a dollar on site? ‘Gamble smart, drink smarter.’ it said. ‘To accept this challenge, please text ‘Y’ to the following number…’
“We will not contact you again. After arriving in Atlantic City, you will receive no direct instruction. You are to find your partner on your own. From there, you must carry out the assignment.”
Shortly before my bus arrived, I got a text from Ms. Orlando. ‘Turn right in the casino and follow the outer corridor. I have white-blonde hair and a black dress.’
Despite recognizing my wife in a wig immediately when I saw her, she remained completely foreign. Molly has a history of setting me up with strangely familiar women, but this still felt new and thrilling. She wore unfamiliar clothes, short blonde hair, a seductive new side-glance, and a shade of lips and touch of fragrance that betrayed the woman I know. The details rounded out a woman I had never met before.
Like my character, Oz Linden, Annie Orlando (as she introduced herself) had also received a phone and similar instructions. She wasn’t fully comfortable with her character, but was excited to get creative on how we could spend as little money as possible and drain as many resources as we could. We casually strolled up to a roulette table and ‘observed’ until a waitress approached. When she arrived, we sat down and each ordered a drink. To kill some time while she went to get our beverages, we watched another round and then I bet on red while she bet on black (a pretty safe bet as far as we could determine). We got to know each other while another round of play went by and our drinks arrived. Then I bet on odd and she bet on even.
We got another cocktail and went for a wander. We found the door to the kitchen and, with empty glasses in our hands, asked a waitress walking past if we could get refills. We already had drinks so she know we were playing and obliged us with refreshers.
After a bit more play, a few more drinks, and many more laughs and adventures, we cashed out up $9 and too many cocktail down. I’m not sure what that makes for collective damages against the Taj Mahal but we were happy about it.
The letter from the DNC told me I would not be contacted again and they would deny any involvement with the operation. The parting words were simply that by participating in this highly unconventional experiment I was doing my party and future generations a service. I was asked to convey my findings by posting them publicly… They’d be watching.
I know I’ll never be thanked directly for this ‘heroic’ research, but the experience was reward enough. I got to meet my wife all over again. I got to play with her once more for the first time and see her through a new set of eyes. I realized the key to a character is a backstory, not an accent, and I truly became Oz and got to know Annie. She was lovely.
We left Trump’s property and ate a dinner elsewhere. We went dancing together and played as strangers. Annie and Oz got along well and were a good team on the town. Through accepting this challenge with open minds and open hearts, they played some small role in simultaneously hindering a madman’s bid for the White House and bringing my wife and me just a little bit closer. For that, I thank them.
If you want to plan an adventure for your partner, visit hellostranger.date. Molly is damn good at this. It’s kind of a ‘thing’ she does. You can follow my socials @samutne.