The Diary Entries of Jim Mattis from the Three Days Leading Up to His Resignation
By Peter Kremidas
December 17th, 2018
I arrived promptly, 10:58am to the oval office to deliver my report on the situation in Syria to The President. He was yelling at his secretary again. This time it was for getting the wrong flavor of Go-gurt. Luckily, I’d had the foresight to stuff my briefcase with pizza lunchables before leaving for work. I distracted the president with a lunchable, making eye contact with the secretary to let her know it was safe to run. He grabbed the package and sat with it. I took my seat. The president happily sucked down the sauce first before moving on to finishing each ingredient one by one.
“Sir,” I said, “I must advise you, withdrawing our troops would be seen as a betrayal by our allies, and severely weaken the international interests of both ourselves and those same allies.”
“Uh,” the president replied, “Okay. But can you show me a picture of that?”
Confused, I asked him what exactly he wanted a picture of.
“Of, you know, I mean how do you know, without a picture, how can you tell our allies will be upset, you know, if you don’t even have a picture of it?” He stuffed three pizza crusts at once through his puckered lips and bit, flinging half a pizza crust’s worth of crumbs onto the same desk upon which the emancipation proclamation was signed.
The President of The United States pushed them together into a little crumb hill as I spoke. “So, okay,” I replied, “just so we are clear, sir, are you suggesting that I provide you with a photograph of how our allies feel about us—”
“In the future.” he interrupted, his eyes painted with a senile, almost innocent glaze.
“In the future,” I echoed.
“I don’t appreciate the tone, Jim Jim.” I have asked The President so many times to please not call me “Jim Jim”. He pinched some crumbs off the top of his little crumb pile and rubbed them on his gums with his index finger, “but yeth, that ith exthactly what I’m thaying.”
So many thoughts and yet no capacity to speak. My tongue trapped between questions as to where to even fucking begin with that, and which room full of monkeys and typewriters is writing his lines. All the while terrified that an honest answer, to any of them, would be a blast rocket cocaine electric guitar squeal fuck machine straight to madness. Dare I ask? I realize I should say ‘no’, but just hear me out.
The war for control over my speech powers raged. Meanwhile, I made two interrogative grunts.
The president was waving me before I reached any conclusions.
“Jim. I mean ‘Jim Jim’. Jim Jim, I’m a very busy man and it is time for nap time. Do me a favor and come back tomorrow with some actual ideas, you…cuck.”
The president measured my response, “That’s right,” he said, satisfied, “What am I paying you for anyway?” He slammed the door on his way out.
Before bed I checked my fact-a-day calendar. A group of pugs is called a “grumble”.
December 18th, 2018
The president enthusiastically greeted me into The Oval Office this morning. “Jim Jim!” he breathed, “have a seat.” He put a book down in front of me, pushing his index finger into the cover, “Have you seen this shit? Man, is this Amelia Bedelia a fuck up or what? It’s just a book. Have you read it? Yeah, that’s just something I do. I read. I was actually born with a reading brain, you know. I can definitely read. A lot of people say to me, they say, let me tell ya, here’s what they say, they tell me that I’m the most impressive person they know, at reading. Have you heard back about suing NBC yet?”
“Mr. President, need I remind you that not your attorney. I am here to advise regarding the situation in Syr—.”
“I gotta say, I’m not a fan of this back talk and insubmarineation, Jim Jim.”
I sought clarity, “Do you mean “insubordination”, sir?”
“There he goes again,” he said, “Well, what do you have for me? Keep talking, I’m just transitioning into criss cross applesauce.”
“Well, Mr. President,” I began, “according to this data we may be leaving potentially tens of thousands of civilians in harms way if we abdicate our responsibilities in the region—”
The president fell out of his chair trying to cross his legs. He laid on the floor, pretending it was purpose. “Wow, carpets are soft.”
“—additionally we would effectively be handing power over the country to Basar Al-Assad.”
The president practically leapt off the floor and upright into his chair. He seemed winded. “You mean the guy from is is? I hate is is. Very bad people. The worst.”
“No, sir,” I learned years ago not to correct the president on his pronunciation of ISIS. “But, to your point, we would be ceding power to them as well.”
“To IS—, uh, to is is. Sir.”
“Uh-huh,” he dug into his desk and started rifling through several tubes of Go-gurt. I noticed they were all banana flavored. He buzzed his secretary, “Denise, how many times do I have to tell you that fake banana never tastes like real banana?”
“I can’t talk right now, Jim Jim. My secretary is being a real Amelia Bedelia right now. That’s a literary reference. Come back tomorrow.”
“Same time, sir?”
But he had already stormed out, ranting about grapes.
Today the calendar says that it takes, on average, 364 licks to get to the center of a tootsie pop. I need to remember that.
December 19th, 2018
The president was not in the oval office this morning. After several inquires with the secret service, who seemed indifferent, I eventually found him in the Roosevelt conference room arguing with a 6 year old Girl Scout national essay winner over a game of Connect Four.
“Mr. President,” I interrupted.
He ignored me, “No, Amber, that’s a bullshit move. It doesn’t count if you connect five.”
“Excuse me, Mr. President,” I attempted.
“Who are you? Whatever. Sit down. I’m almost done crushing this loser.”
“You have a loud mouth and a great big pumpkin head,” said the little girl, in fairness.
“...How...dare…” his face was reddening.
“Mr. President!” I interrupted “It’s Jim Mattis, sir. I’m here regarding the meeting we scheduled yesterday.”
“What? Oh. Hey, Jim Jim. Give me the latest on is is.” The President waved a hand and an aid led Amber out by the hand. She turned around and defiantly stuck out her tongue towards the back of The President’s head. I gave her a small nod.
“Mr. President, I must insist that you rethink this strategy. The long term implications could prove—”
He cut me off. “Uh-huh. Jim Jim, let me ask you something. Would pulling out of Syria be helpful to Russia? I’m asking for a friend.”
I explained that it would create a power vacuum in the region that the Russian government would likely fill in, thereby expanding Vladimir Putin’s influence over the middle east, and thus his power to continue to destabilize western governments.
“Wow. Well, okay, Jim Jim. You’ve convinced me. I will remove all our troops from Syria. And I will do it today.”
“Sir,” I snapped back, losing my composure for a moment, “Sir. To be clear, I have repeatedly advised against removing our troops out from the region.”
“I’m not removing them, I’m pulling them out. Duh-doy. Stop being such an Amelia Bedelia.”
I let me head hang down to mask my sigh.
“It’s a literary reference.”
“I am aware, Mr. President,” I surrendered, “Will there be anything else, sir?”
“Would you like to play a round of Connect Three with me?”
Even though I knew his need for companionship was the only pill that could wake up his humanity, I also knew that it would just disappear into a hole that even becoming the most powerful man in the world wasn’t able to fill. I also knew that same said lack is a function of his toxicity. The strongest element of his character, unknown to him, was how suddenly, how severely he repulsed immediately upon inspection closer than a television screen. This blustering, loveless son who grew up to be a loveless father, having only ever known attachment in the context of business and never family. The monkey in Harlow’s experiment that only ever knew the mother made of metal wire. I would pity him if weren’t for the uncomfortable lingering suspicion laying undigested in my gut that he wanted me to feel that way. That it was, in fact, his whole angle.
“...No thank you, sir. I will simply take my leave with your permission,” I said
“Suit yourself. I didn’t want to play with you anyway,” is all he left me with.
According to the calendar, on this day in 1776, Thomas Paine published the first of his “American Crisis” essays. It began, “These are the times that try men’s souls.”