While walking around downtown taking care of several errands I noticed a man up the street with a big blond pompadour a couple of times. Then as I turned a corner, there he was. The afternoon sun glinting off his hair almost blinded me. Then he spoke, and I realized it was Mulenga Harangua.
"How do you like The Wig," he said with a big smile. He pointed to it the way presidential candidate Donald Trump waves his index finger around.
"Mulenga," I gasped, "what the hell are you doing walking around in a blond wig?"
"This isn't just 'a wig,' it is 'The Wig,'" he declared. 'It's like an antenna through which I can receive transmissions that no one else has. I figure that's why Trump can see things that no one else does, like those thousands of Muslims cheering on New Jersey rooftops after 9/11, or that letter from the National Football League about the debates, or that plane dropping off the $400 million in cash to the Iranians."
"You know he took back the Iranian thing, don't you," I retorted, putting on my sunglasses so I wouldn't go blind from the glint off the golden hairs.
"His problem is he wears that Make America Great Again hat too much and it interferes with the transmissions," Mulenga said. "It may be too tight and cut off the blood flow to his brain. I don't know. He's got some kind of interference going on, because when you have a wig like this, you can never be wrong."
"So tell me, what is this all about?"
Mulenga turned and gazed toward the horizon. He stroked his hand along the contours of his golden locks. "I'm preparing for the future," he said. "Trump might just be the beginning of this separatist movement. I need to be able to blend in among the Aryans."
"Can't they just look a little lower and see that you're not one of them?" I asked. "I mean, you ain't changed colors."
Mulenga wiggled his head around and the sun penetrated my shades so I couldn't see very clearly who he was.
"You get it?" he said.
"I guess I do." I was feeling a little out of my body in a Ta-Nehisi Coates kinds of way.
"It's my insurance policy," Mulenga said. "You hear all that Trump talk about a rigged election, an illegitimate government, and blood in the streets. I don't take it lightly. You know, I walked two miles along Michigan Avenue in Dearborn and not one police officer even looked at me. When I get out in the open like that, I usually get cops circling me, asking what the hell I'm doing."
"You know that Economic Club speech Trump gave the other day at Cobo? I usually can't even get inside the doors there. I walked right in there like I belonged and nobody challenged my right to be there. One of those rich guys bumped into me and he apologized. That never happens when I'm not wearing this. Trump even looked my way and gave me a wink. He knew I was in on the scam.
"You know, I just might run for political office as a law-and-order candidate." Mulenga said. "My motto will be 'I'm gonna make Detroit safe again.' Maybe I'll spread it out to Wayne County or even Michigan. I could run for governor."
He gave me his tough guy look. His nose wrinkled up and his lips pulled back in a grimace, revealing his crooked, yellow teeth. But in the glow of his hair, they seemed to turn pearly white.
"What about Attorney General Bill Schuette?" I asked. "I don't think you can get the corner on law-and-order with him in the race."
"He'll seem like a little puppy dog next to me," Mulenga declared. "You know, that might be my thing. I'll put his face on a little dog with a broom sweeping him away. The motto will be 'Shoo, shoo, Schuette.'"
"I gotta say, that's a good one," I said, imagining it on a bumper sticker.
"I thought of it because sometimes I get treated like a dog," Mulenga said. "But that doesn't happen with The Wig. I been the bottom dog, now I'm gonna be the top dog. As they say, every dog has his day. If Gov. Snyder had one of these rather than that gray mop, he would be way more popular. He tried the deny reality thing with the Flint water but it doesn't work without the golden wig. Everybody liked him when he had some color in his hair. Now they treat him like a mangy cur.
"Look at Brooks Patterson — when he was blond he ruled the roost. Now he's just a mean old man with declining influence. The same thing goes for Bill Clinton. When he had that golden crown, he was president. Now Hillary's got it going on and Bill is just the potential first gentleman who gets dragged out when he's useful and stands in the shadows the rest of the time."
"You know what Mulenga," I said, "you may have something going there. Where can I get a wig?"
"It won't work for you," he said. "You can't get all those dreadlocks under a wig. Besides, you have to have the ability to tells lies and believe them. When you lie you know you're lying. It's got to come from the heart."
"Don't you know when you're lying?" I asked.
"Everything that transmits through The Wig is the truth," he said. "I don't know nothing."
"Well what if I dye the dreadlocks blond? Would that work?" I was almost pleading.
"Man, that would just look stupid," he sneered. "You can't make a pompadour out of that. Somebody will think you're Rapunzel or something, wanting to be climbing up on your 'golden stair.' That's right; they'll be staring at you."
I dropped my head. When I looked up Mulenga was gone, invisible man that he is. All that was left was the smell of pomade and a yellowish tint to the air around me. I took a deep breath, a lungful of hope.
That's about as close as I'll ever get to Donald Trump's world.
Any resemblance to The Wig by novelist Charles Wright is purely intentional.