Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and the Sultan of Brunei, seated around a massive table in a luxury office on the top floor of the Trump Tower, New York City
Date: June 4, 2012
Trump on the telephone: “…I don’t care how you do it, just get me this Orlando Vily-zone guy on the phone—now!
Zuckerberg: I thought his name was “RONALDO Vilo-zone.”
Bill Gates: Try “Rolando Villazón,” geniuses.
Trump: Shut up! Details! Details! Boys, can’t you see that we are sitting on a gold mine here! You think we’re rich now? What we’ve got is peanuts compared to what this guy can score for us!
Zuckerberg: But we need to act fast, before he signs with someone else. Can you imagine? T-shirts, keychains, coffee mugs… The sky’s the limit!
Trump: Zucky, you always did think small. I’m talking big—really big. This guy’s a commodity. Think of it! Crude oil, gold, pork bellies… and Villazón! He’s right up there! He’ll become a name brand. Get me the patent office, pronto! We’ll be trading Villazón shares on the stock exchange, and I promise we’ll do way better than Facebook stock did.
Zuckerberg glares at Trump.
Trump: All we have to do is get him to sign on the dotted line.
Trump (his eyes on fire with the prospect of unimaginable profit): I can see it now! We’ll set him up with a gig in Vegas! What the hell! I’ll buy him Las Vegas!
Sultan of Brunei: I’ll give him an oil rig if he signs with us. I’ll give him a yacht the size of Mexico. OK, I’ll buy him Mexico.
Trump: Good idea. He’s totally into the Mexico thing.
Gates: I’ll name my new version of Windows after him! “Windows Villazón”! But this time it will actually work.
Trump: Quiet, guys, I’ve got him on the line!
Trump puts RV on speakerphone: “Rolando, old buddy, old pal, how are you? So how’s the world of opera and all that artsy stuff? We hear you’ve had a huge success with…
Trump mutes the phone and looks at Zuckerberg: Oh, what the hell was it called? “El elixirio del Armadillo”? “L’excelente di Armageddon”?
Zuckerberg: No, stupid! It’s “El elixo-mundo da amoretto,” Geez, am I the only person with any culture around here?
Trump to Zuckerberg: I guess you’re worth something after all.
Trump unmutes the phone: …uh, your new opera production!
Rolando: I’m very excited about how it went! It was a dream of mine to…
Trump: Yah, Rolando, yadda yadda, we don’t have all day. Let’s get to the point: we’re here to help you sell, uh, I mean SHARE your magnificent production with the rest of the world.
Rolando: Hmmm, what did you have in mind?
Trump: You need more visibility! What would you think of having your name on the New York Stock Exchange, traded throughout the world? You’ll become part of the worldwide financial scene!
Rolando: Well, that’s nice, I appreciate it, but all I really want is to create beautiful productions and share them with people who are like family to me….
All look at each other and roll their eyes.
Trump: Well, of course you do! And we want that for you, right guys?
All: Yah, sure, whatever!
Trump: But, look, there are a few things you’ll have to fix about the show. First of all, for your curtain call. You need to spend at least a half hour to let the audience worship you. What’s wrong with that? Come on, you’re the boss! And we hear there’s a big solo for you at the end, “Forty lagunas,” or something. Yah, forty! Hey, that’s how many times you should sing it!
Rolando: No, no, that’s just not how I see it…
Trump: Rolando, you need to think big! What if we buy you that high-class record label you make buckets of money for—what’s it called? Something about somebody’s grandmother. That’s it! Doo-chee Grandma-phone! And what about bringing the show to London or here to New York City? It would be great! The opening act could be the Rockettes! Or what about ladies’ championship mud-wrestling? Roller derby? Something to jazz it up a little. But high class all the way. And all that little stuff about the stock exchange—we’ll take care of that! Don’t you worry. All you have to do is sign on the little dotted line, that’s all.
Rolando: Um, thanks and all, but I don’t think that’s what I really want. Sorry, I have to go now…I think I might have missed signing an autograph for someone who travelled all the way from Rochester, New York for the performance, and I don’t want to disappoint her.
All stare at each other in disbelief.
Trump mutes the phone: What is it with this guy? I think singing all those high notes has killed his brain, and he’s not thinking straight. Either that…or…I don’t know—maybe this guy will never sell out.
Zuckerberg: Everybody sells out eventually. Fine, let’s just buy him the Met. He’d like that. He would become the Mighty and Most Feared Overlord of Opera-dom and make everyone bow before him.
Trump: Sure! It’s worth a shot! He’ll be a tough nut to crack, but we can do it…we can do it…we can do it….
- Joanna from New York-