I, Don Arrup, placed a “thimble pinch” bugging devise purchased decades earlier at the Spy Shop on First Avenue across from the United Nations where I was a waiter to bug my roommate and former girlfriend Donna W---. Fortunately, I came to my senses before installation and decided to save it in case a TV star billionaire took over the country in the next millennium.
Watching Donald T rise like a boil out of the pack of Republican presidential candidates called me to action. I contacted the catering director at Trump Tower who I had worked with at the UN years before and asked to be put their on call list for executive room service.
For months they had no need for a fill in until a heavy snowfall on March 10 of the election year shut down the MTA and I was called as the closest on the list to Trump Towers. Super Tuesday and the New York State primaries were still ahead but I sensed that Donald Towers was unstoppable.
After walking forty blocks through heavy un-shoveled snow I reported in to a closet office in the back of the kitchen on the Grand Ballroom Annex level. My UN alum shook my hand and fit me for a short waisted, chain button, extreme peaked lapeled, coffee and cream colored jack and bow tie.
There were fourteen lunch requests and six rum runs which I caught up with just before three. Then the call came. I was stacking plate covers for the dinner round when I heard the service phone ring and I knew from the first chime it was Donald.
A ham and ham sandwich on toasted Christian rye, white mustard, mayo aioli mommy and horseradish cream. In the Midtown delis the combo had for two decades been known as a “Realtor’s blowjob” regular Coke, Mesquite Barbecue Dirty Chips and double dill pickle quartered length wise.
I jotted the initials DT slash RBJ on the order and nothing else. In six minutes the Chef, Executive Chef, Kitchen Manager, Floor Manager, Head of Security and Secret Service were bent over my cart. Go time. Elevator waiting we rolled top floor. I had to make a quick calculation. This was a simple drop off lunch. There was no need for me to stay and serve the sandwich and pour the Coke so Donald would probably wave me off.
I figured I could probably just go immediately to checking his Coke bar. Donald famously doesn’t drink alcohol. Just check up on his sodas, waters and snacks. I had the thimble pinch in my right pants pocket, I could only hope he had his refreshments near a phone.
I had been practicing taking the bottoms off of phones at my other catering gigs. Security took my Leatherman when I entered the building. I was down to a wine key, my apartment key and pen. I held the thimble pinch in a little marijuana dime bag in my mouth until I got to the kitchen. I had considered holding it in the other end.
Big D was on the phone when I entered. The service elevator opens a little to the right of the huge doors his secretary lets guests and clients through so I rolled right into the liar. Without ever turning to me the boss waved me over to his table. He was turned in his chair looking out the window and placating a client or official. I placed the lunch plate and Coke behind him and was looking for his dry bar and other phone. Just as I saw it was just to the right of the service elevator I came through Donald turned to me and asked if I could stay a minute.
I nodded affirmative.
He was mostly listening. Like all really powerful people he is a good listener. When he finally signed off he turned and apologized and asked if I minded his asking me a few personal questions.
Again, I nodded in the affirmative.
He asked me if I was a registered voter but not who I was voting for. He wanted to know if I had ever waited on the other Republican candidates. I named four of his rivals. What did I think of Ted Cruz’s haircut? I thought the Texas Jellyroll suited the shape of his face. Were Jeb Bush’s hands smaller than his? Yes, and noticeably so even from across a room. Did Marco Rubio wear shoes at formal dinners? Never, black Cuban slippers with a wingtip design in silver.
Then he wanted to know about Hillary. He didn’t ask if I had waited on her or knew her. Every cater waiter in New York knew their former senator. What did I think of her do? An insult to scissors and peroxide. Pants suits? Worse than Merkel’s if that was possible. Handling of the Middle East crises? She screwed it up about the same as everyone else who goes there.
Finally, he got to Bernie and asked if he sounded too much like him. Bernie is selling ice cream to kids while you’re selling yesterday to people who don’t have a future. He liked that answer. He said the past is the great untapped resource in American politics and that only Reagan and himself understood that.
He asked me if there was anything I could do for him and I told him that I had a problem making out what he ordered and since he has such a clear and articulate voice it must be the service phone and would he mind if I took a look at it. He said certainly and turned back to the widow and picked up his outside line and asked his secretary to get him the mayor.
I was able to place the devise quickly under the plastic molding after attaching the wires. Though I rarely listened to the intercepts after the first month since I don’t speak Russian or Farsi and stopped recording after the CIA was bought out by People’s Republic of China, I will, on occasion, open the line in the background for my friends to enjoy at lunch time. No one orders sandwiches for his guests like Donald.