Putin: Donald, hi, I’m so glad you answered, this is Vladimir. How is everything? Donald, I’m going nuts, I can’t eat, can’t sleep, it’s awful …
Trump: Vladimir, whoa, hold on, slow down …
Putin: Donald, I’m not doing too well, and I just had an idea …
Trump: OK, buddy, calm down and start from the beginning …
Putin: It’s horrible, my people are idiots, total idiots, everyone! They can’t get anything right, they have gotten me into such a mess …
Trump: But, Vladimir, you just took Bahkmut? Great job, buddy, you should be happy!
Putin: Really, Donald, don’t try to make me happy with Bahkmut. We just won that crappy town after months. Now my army is trashed, my missiles are shot down, even the prisoners that we pulled into the army are all gone. Who am I going to get now, nursing home residents? Everything is just a mess, a disaster … I need your help, Donald.
Trump: Sure, buddy, name it, what can I do to help?
Putin: I remember your show, The Apprentice, you know to assess people and fire the bad ones. I need someone like you. I’ve never been good at that. I want you to help me sort out the good from the bad and then fire the idiots.
Trump: Vladimir, I would love to do that but I’m running for president at the moment and the optics wouldn’t be great, you know what I mean?
Putin: Well, but why not do it on Zoom? Who would know, and it would be such a great help to me. I’m finished in this business if things continue like this. I’ll do anything, just let me know what you want, anything.
Trump: Zoom, hmm, that may work, so you could gather your people and have them do a project like I had my people do on The Apprentice?
Putin: Of course, my whole staff, everyone, generals, state officials, advisors, cronies, oligarchs, everyone. Just like you did in the old days. I loved that show.
Trump: So a commando operation, for instance …
Putin: Of course, like that.
Trump: Have you talked with Jinping about all this? What does he think?
Putin: I don’t know. I call, I text. He never gets back to me. I realize he’s busy but who else can I talk with about these things? Jong Un is just a kid, what does he know? And you know how much I trust your judgement, Donald.
Trump: Oh, thanks, Vladimir, and I admire you too. So your people screwed up, they lied to you, whatever, you have to think about yourself, take care of yourself. You meditate, right?
Putin: No, I’m a mess right now, Donald, I can barely function at work anymore, everyday some new embarrassment, and who gets the blame? I go out and see people looking at me and smirking. Of course, they don’t say anything, because they don’t want to be imprisoned and tortured. But I know what they’re thinking. And the Americans, not you, of course, but others who just gloat. They invite that Zelensky to their meetings and applaud him. Ooh, it gets me so mad.
Trump: I understand, that’s terrible, just shameful. I really do want to help you, Vladimir. I’ll talk to my people to get it set up.
Putin: Oh, that’s so great, Donald!
Trump: Of course, I’d like something in return. You know that I’ve wanted to build the Trump brand in Russia. I’m thinking a Trump hotel casino in every city in Russia. Financed by your friends. Would 70–30 work for you?
Putin: Oh, yes, yes, my friend. We can do that. What a great boon for Russia!
Trump: Great, then my people will be in touch with your people. And, Vladimir, relax, you’re a great man and Russia loves you just like my people love me!
Putin: Oh, thank you, thank you, Donald, I’m so lucky to have a friend like you. We will talk again soon, my friend.
Trump: Yes, take care, Vladimir.
Putin: Thank you, you too, Donald.