I didn’t want to go. But, looking back, what choice did I have? It’s been seventeen years since I somewhat foolishly loaned Rudy Giuliani my copy of ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’ and I’d begun to suspect I’d never get it back. Granted, I no longer have a video player, but it’s the principle of the thing and I’ve learned that Rudy and principle are no longer on speaking terms, so I had to force the issue.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Rudy Giuliani – former mayor of New York and President Trump’s personal lawyer – would have an office somewhere in midtown. But you’d be wrong. What most people don’t get is that Rudy is a humble guy who needs little other than a desk, a window and a conspiracy theory to keep him happy. That’s why his office is in Doncaster, behind a Chinese Restaurant called ‘Kung Food’. There’s ample parking, which is a bonus.
I squeeze past the skip bin and a small group of feral cats scatters as I spot a wooden shingle rocking back and forth to the right hand side of the door that reads ‘R. Giuliani Esquire – World’s Greatest Lawyer’. I knock but there’s no answer. The door’s unlocked so I gently ease my way in. The office is small – a desk covered in papers, a typewriter and a large red phone; a coat rack and, beside it, a wooden perch on which sits a huge multi-coloured Macaw. The bird lets out an almighty shriek and, suddenly, the door to the stationery cupboard opens and a body falls to the floor.
‘Rudy!’ I cry, as a small man picks himself up. ‘Were you sleeping in the stationery cupboard?’ He explained he preferred to sleep at the office and that he took great comfort in being surrounded by highlighters, post-it notes and staplers as he slumbered. The bird – who he called ‘Tootles’ – always told him when visitors arrived. ‘I want my video back,’ I said. His eyes narrowed and he bared his teeth, ‘You can’t prove I have it,’ he snarled. The video was sitting on his desk, right next to his ‘thought of the day’ calendar. I picked it up and waved it around asking, ‘How do you explain this?’ It was then his eyes began to glow a deep, demonic red and he seethed something about a ‘Deep State conspiracy’.
It felt super awkward. I decided to try and make small talk. ‘How’s business?’ I asked. ‘Got many clients?’ Rudy spun around and pointed to a framed picture on the wall. ‘Just one client,’ he said. ‘The President of the United States of America!’ I’ll admit I was a little worried. The picture he was pointing to was not of Donald Trump but, rather, a blonde longhaired guinea pig. Granted, the resemblance was stunning, but a guinea pig doesn’t have access to nuclear launch codes.
‘And what’s the President got you doing? Conveyancing? Wills? The occasional letter of advice?’ The Macaw lets out a shriek as if it’s laughing at my question. Rudy leans forward to the point he nearly falls over again. ‘I can’t say,’ he said. ‘Top secret.’ On the other wall was a map for the Ukraine. ‘Does that giant map of the Ukraine have anything to do with it?’ I asked. Rudy spun his whole body around to face the wall, before spinning back again. ‘There’s no map,’ he said. ‘It’s just a bunch of lines on a page that, taken together, look a lot like the Ukraine.’
I’ll admit I was disappointed – I’ve known Rudy since we spent summers thinning fruit together in Moorooduc back in the 1980s. He’s the kind of guy that’ll tell you all his deepest secrets before you’ve even had a chance to ask. When it came to holding secrets, Rudy was a complete butterfingers. After a moment’s awkward silence, it came tumbling out. ‘I’m doing some back channel work for the President in the Ukraine,’ he admitted. ‘Back channel?’ I queried. ‘What’s wrong with the front channel?’ Silence gripped the room once more and even Tootles the Macaw had nothing to say. ‘Look over there!’ cried Rudy as he pointed to the window. As I turned, I could hear him making a break for the door. Quickly, I tackled him to the ground. ‘Confess!’ I cried.
As we were rolling around on the floor, the large red phone started ringing. The bird went totally berserk and Rudy begged me to let him to answer it. ‘It’s my client!’ he cried. Releasing him from my vice-like grip he scampered across the floorboards on all fours, before snatching the receiver from the cradle. Even though I was on the other side of the room, the caller’s voice was so loud that I could tell straight away that it was Donald Trump. ‘Yes, your majesty,’ said Rudy over and over again.
He hung up and I asked what the Trump-meister wanted. ‘He wants Singapore Noodles and a bucket of crispy pork from Kung Food’, he said, nodding in the direction of the restaurant. ‘And he wants me to head to the Ukraine right away. And that, because of the sensitive nature of my work, I’ll need to avoid catching a plane and stow away on a freighter instead.’ Before I knew it, he was putting on a cape and picking up a Harry Potter wand. ‘Crapius in excelsis!’ he cried before disappearing in a puff of smoke. Tootles shrieked and I grabbed my video, before getting out of there as fast as I could.