by Grant Miller
The 45th President of the United States and I Went to the Gym
The 45th President of the United States and I went to the gym. Are you gonna wear your suit? I asked him. Sure, he said. Why not? We went upstairs to the cardio room and each stood on a treadmill. How does this thing work? He asked me. I’m not sure, I said. He pushed random buttons and the treadmill started rolling. The 45th President began to walk faster and faster until he broke out into a jog. You got it? I asked him. You okay? He gave me the thumbs up and kept jogging. After a few minutes, he started to groan. Beads of sweat bulged out of his forehead and started to drip down his nose. A single bead fell to the ground and a pink rose sprouted up from the wet spot where it had landed. The rose bloomed, then wilted, then died, its brown crusted petals blowing onto the neighboring treadmills. The 45th President of the United States lurched his head forward and a few more drops slung to the ground. With each bead of sweat a different flower grew—a geranium, a peony, a tulip, other flowers I had seen but didn’t know the names of—and each sprang up flush and beautiful, then wilted and died within seconds. The 45th President kept jogging on the treadmill, faster and faster. He shook his head furiously from side to side. I stopped my treadmill and watched as a small forest bloomed and blossomed and died there on the gym floor. The 45th President hit the Cool Down function on the treadmill. He took his suit jacket off and wrung it out. A thick stream of sweat poured onto the ground. A group of other runners gathered around in the cardio room and we patted ourselves with our towels and held hands and watched as a tiny globe sprouted trees and small beaches stretched between blue slabs of water and toy-sized mountains popped up and eroded away and everything encapsulated on that green and blue globe began to languish and shrivel. The 45th President of the United States put his arm around my waist and squeezed as we stood in awe, gasping, clapping, some of us cheering, watching that entire world grow there and then wither and then die.