Cover Photo: Princess Melania Trump Rocks Out by Caleb Garling

Princess Melania Trump Rocks Out

Once upon a time there was a princess named Melania Trump who lived in a gold tower on an island and spent her day staring in the mirror because she was working up the courage to leave her prince. He was one of those daft tyrants that doesn’t need much explaining, but you know the type from other stories — like that parable where the king keeps shitting himself because he has no control over his body and he only stays in power because his disciples have been hypnotized into believing shit is gold. Don’t know that one? It’s definitely a story.

Anyway, Melania. The problem was they had a son. She didn’t give a crap how leaving the prince would affect his ability to rule or the nation; she just knew the prince would find ways to hurt her through her boy. She had no idea how, but no doubt it’d be awful and eventually bring everyone down. The prince was next level.

He’d also outlawed art. Of any kind. Because he wasn’t good at it. And one day, that gave Melania an idea.

Like any princess who finds herself locked in a tower, metaphorically or otherwise, Melania hailed from Europe, but the eastern part, and accordingly had a thing for heavy metal. Blistering guitar, double kicks and crushing vocals. The real intense kind with screaming about devils and gore. When she wanted to tune out the prince, which was always, the princess would get this stone-cold look on her face dreaming about metal shows in dark clubs, old warehouses, out in a field — anywhere, just not near the prince.

And so one afternoon as she’s rocking her stone-cold look, while the prince yelled at the nation, she laughed. The prince turned. What? This was the first time in twelve years he’d asked her a question. I just remembered a funny song, she said. The prince didn’t care she was breaking the law by thinking about art, but he did care she was thinking about something besides him. I command you to only think about me, he said. Melania smiled. Sure. A few minutes later she laughed again. Have you disobeyed me? the prince snarled. Not at all, I was thinking of you singing the funny song. And she seemed genuine about it.

That really twisted up the prince. He couldn’t sing worth a hot shit. But here was his beautiful princess imagining him performing the most marvelous tune. And he’d never heard Melania laugh before. It was addicting, the prince found, that feeling of making someone laugh. I will make an exception for the ban on art, the prince said, and learn to sing this song for you. May I hear it?

The princess pressed play on a dusty CD player in the gold tower on an island. This is a very loud song, the prince remarked. What’s it called? The princess batted her gorgeous lashes. The Dismembered Corpses Of 83 Bulls Strewn Across A Bloody Hellscape Outside Chicago––do you like it? Oh yes, said the prince, But I think it will take time for me to learn the melody; it sounds as if the singer’s screaming while being eaten by dogs.

The princess pretended not to hear him, cupped her breasts and laughed uproariously at the song. This was the only song the prince had ever heard, besides the anthems he’d made the nation write about him so he couldn’t know the princess’s behavior was pretty weird.

A month later the prince came to the princess. I’ve learned it, he said in a sad-triumph that would make any shrink say Mommy Issues. The princess had become a pro at faking excitement. Give it to me, my prince! But as the prince bellowed lyrics about blood and torching livestock, laugh the princess did not. You are close my love, she said, But the singer really lets go, like your brilliant observation that he’s being eaten by dogs, he really screams––that is the essence of my laughter.

A week later he returned, but again nothing. He just wasn’t letting his screaming muscles go — and back he went to practice. This went on for some time. (Sidebar: with the prince in total seclusion, all the nation’s economic and happiness indexes were going through the roof.) Until finally the princess said, Perhaps you need inspiration — maybe you should let a dog bite you while you sing? That made a lot of sense to the prince. What should they bite? he asked. Probably your left hand, the princess suggested, You’re so important to our nation, you don’t need your hands anyway.

She was right. And soon the prince, face boiling with sweat, voice rattling and red-lining, was screaming the terrible scary song while a pitbull chomped on his thumb. You’re so close! the princess said, Maybe add another dog? And soon a rottweiler was gnawing the prince’s right hand while he strained his neck bellowing about axes and slaughter. Harder! the princess said sorta to the dogs. More! Really give it to me! The prince’s voice was finding new levels of screech and fury about broken skulls and bull testicles smashed to smithereens. The princess screamed, More, more! I’m so close! The prince straaaaaiiiined his voice as faaaaar as it would gooooo. Oh my God, the princess wailed, I’m going to lauuuuuaghhhh — and BLAM, the prince’s vocal chords came sailing out of his body.

Melania kicked them to the dogs and walked over to the prince. I’m leaving you, she said, and taking our son. And since you can’t talk and your hands are totally chewed off, you can’t stop me — much less rule this nation anymore. And she walked out.

[Originally posted on Shorter Letter]

Caleb Garling has worked as a staff writer for Wired and The San Francisco Chronicle, and has published in The Atlantic, MIT Technology Review, Matter, Backchannel, Modern Farmer and Vice, reporting feature length stories and writing opinion pieces about the effect of technology on society. Prior to journalism he worked in both business strategy and a molecular biology lab where he spent a lot of time convincing smart people to do stuff.