Screenplays, anyone?

By Ellen Snortland


Gazing into my crystal ball, I ask it, “How am I supposed to write a relevant column today, when it’s a week before the inauguration — but readers will receive it the day after?!” The ball answers, “Ya can’t because you have no idea what an organized and armed mob will do, nor those leading them.” The ball and I commiserate: “We’ve never seen anything like this!” We both agree we need a new synonym for the now-overused “unprecedented.”

When thinking about how all this will play out, it helps to think of many possible outcomes, not just one or two. The best are outcomes that give us something to look forward to — an actual ending. I hereby conjure up four adapted screenplay pitches for inauguration week, all with satisfying endings. You call your agent; I’ll call mine.

• “An Inauguration Carol”: Drumpf is visited by the ghosts of presidents’ past, future and present after a White House butler slips peyote into his Big Mac.

“Hey Donald, Wake Up!” Richard Nixon has appeared next to Drumpf’s bed in the Lincoln Bedroom; the Orange Menace has barricaded himself in with piled-up furniture.

“How’d you get in here, tricky Dick?”

Waving his arms while holding his fingers in the V symbol for peace, Nixon taunts, “You’re not going to win. Pull yourself together, man — there’s a helicopter waiting for you.” Drumpf thinks it’s the same one that took him to Walter Reed for his feverish COVID-19 soap opera.

“I got the ‘rona, but the ‘rona didn’t get me! The ‘rona got Trumped. Hah! Neener, neener, neener,” Drumpf says to no one in particular.

Stacey Abrams, the future president, suddenly appears and pushes Drumpf over her knee, saying, “I will spank you for every electoral vote you’ve tried to deny until you say,  ‘Auntie Stacey, I give up.’ … I call Auntie! Meanwhile, I’m washing your mouth out with soap and then giving you truth serum.”

“I’ll never give up, never!” Drumpf brays.

“Apparently, you not only can’t read, you never learned how to count,” President Abrams says.

“I’ll be good, I promise!” Donald screams.

Another “poof!” and Joe Biden, our present president, materializes and says, “Will you just shut up, man!”

Donald may be a little Dickens but betting on the real one will probably not get a greenlight.

• “Simpering Shogun”: The big orange anti-Samurai, also known as “The Donald,” has an agitated epiphany and realizes that he needs to do one epic, honorable thing in his miserable life. He asks the Smithsonian curator to borrow the antique Japanese swords and short knives used for seppuku, aka hara-kiri. He asks Stephen Miller to be his second. “The Donald” kneels in front of the resolute desk on a plastic sheet that he’s uncharacteristically asked for to protect the carpet in the Oval Office and literally spills his guts. Stephen Miller chops his head off. One and done. The end. Yeah, no.

• “The Trumbo Ending — Donny Got His Gunners”: Militias storm the White House intent on martyring Drumpf. If he can’t be emperor, they will make him a permanent fixture in the American landscape. The warped logic of incapacitating Drumpf so he can rule America forever is accepted because there’s never been anything logical about these conspiracy freaks. Drumpf loses his opposable thumbs, face, ability to speak and is placed in a hospital bed at Walter Reed. His niece, Mary Trump, is put in charge of his mental rehabilitation. Attempts to teach him how to write by blinking his eyes fail. They feed him liquified Big Macs and fries intravenously until he dies from an errant beef chunk that gets stuck in his veins.

• “The Bunker — To Russia With Love”: The joint chiefs of staff who all denounced the coup are summoned to the White House bunker. Ivanka walks in, Vanna White-style, and proffers a selection of capsules on a silver tray. One capsule has cyanide; one is powdered sugar; another is strychnine. Drumpf blathers on about the Russian Roulette aspect of the capsules while the generals roll their eyes because they know he’s been a Russian patsy all along. Drumpf goes first and of course selects the placebo. A bold general then creates and implements a plan where they strip Drumpf, stuff him into a puppet-dummy outfit, and drop him into Moscow’s center to fare on his own.

If you don’t like my film ideas, blame my crystal ball. The actual predictions are far more ominous. Armed nutjobs have said they will surround D.C. and mob all 50 state Capitols on inauguration day, and I can’t help but wonder what it must be like at the White House right now. Instead of trying to stop this insanity, are they instead ripping up paintings? Making prank calls? Mooning members of the press from the windows?

So many of us were looking forward to calm and a return to “normal.” That prospect seems to be … “Gone With the Wind.” n

Ellen Snortland has written “Consider This…” for a heckuva long time, and she also coaches first-time book authors! Contact her at