The Trump Stone

 

PALEOGRAPHERS at the University of Nova Bento today announced a major development in their ongoing attempt to decipher the so-called “Trump Stone,” an enigmatic series of seemingly unrelated and context-free messages inscribed on magnetic media encased in a steel housing. The ancient container was discovered among other relics at an underwater site previously thought to have been a prison of some kind, largely due to the shoddiness of its construction and its apparent indifference to aesthetics. However, recent scholarship posits that the structure was probably used as ordinary (rather than punitive) housing, though by what species is still a contentious issue. Most agree that the inhabitants were likely small-brained hominids with bright orange skin sparsely decorated with dully-colored synthetic hair. For lack of a better term, these creatures have been termed “Trumps.” Both the species name and the name of the storage device on which their language was first encountered derive from a large plasticine stele found proximate to the underwater site, which has yielded thus far only the meaningless phrase “Trump Tower.” While some argue that the stele in fact belongs to a nearby temple, C(u)tibank, others point to a similar stele found almost two hundred kilomeasures south at another underwater site. The stele at that site reads “Trump Plaza”. The temple nearest to that site is called J(i)pm(a)rgn, and is thought to be unaffiliated to C(u)tibank. The relationship between the two sites likewise has yet to be established, though clearly both were, at least in part, places of worship.

For several years scholars have attempted without success to translate the obscure variant of Uropi, called “Ameng,” found on the Trump Stone. Following the conclusion by Klai Warnixx that the stone offers two versions of the same text, one in standard binary and the other in (apparently) demotic Ameng, there has been until now very little progress in the study of the Trump Stone. That has now changed, with of the unearthing at Temple Dysnei of what the Nova Bento scholars are calling the Jackshow Stone, after the avatar at the head of each sequence of demotic Ameng on the new find. According to Professor Dhul-Nun al-Misri, chair of the Paleography Department, the text on the Jackshow Stone, with minor discrepancies, matches very closely the text on the Trump Stone.

“We are very pleased to announce today the preliminary results of our comparison of the Trump and Jackshow Stones,” said Dhul-Nun al-Misri at a press conference this morning. “These results, while incomplete and certainly not fully understood, nevertheless advance our understanding of demotic Ameng and the whole of Trump civilization far beyond what we have been able to deduce previously.”

Professor Dhul-Nun al-Misri went on to say that while his team was still struggling with the historical context and with some of the apparently religious and political jargon contained on both stones, his confidence in the partial translations (examples below) is “very strong.” He added that it’s “only a matter of time” before the secrets of the orange-skinned hominids “spilled like so many fracklings and reveal themselves to us as clearly as our two cherry moons.”

A side-by-side comparison of sample translations on the Trump and Jackshow Stones:

 

Trump Stone:

“This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy.”

Jackshow Stone:

“I can’t stop crying. America died.”

 

Trump Stone:

“Lets fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice! The world is laughing at us.”

Jackshow Stone:

“I can’t stop crying.”

 

Trump Stone:

“More votes equals a loss…revolution!”

 

Jackshow Stone:

“America died.”

 

Brief yet compelling, these messages retain a sense of urgency that calls to us over the chasm of centuries. Although it’s now impossible accurately to date the Trump and Jackshow Stones, judging from their tone and lack of sophistication we are looking at evidence of a primitive culture dealing with some kind of unprecedented disaster. From the advanced statistical models developed, also at Nova Bento, by Professor Natt Argent and her robot cadre, we are able to surmise that Trump Culture must have flourished before the Great Sundering of the late Coolpix era, somewhere between the Instigrin and Appol dynasties. Though we have no way of knowing what “America died” means, the author of the Jackshow Stone was clearly expressing deep grief at the death of someone or something very close to himherit, possibly a trained mammal not unlike a unicorn, which were commonly kept in even less-affluent households under the Appol oligarchs. Similarly, the Trump Stone author’s reference to a “world” that is “laughing at us” and consequently or at least subsequently calling for a “revolution” (possibly a type of pre-teletransport vehicle?) puts one in mind of the Ropacs of Ganymede, who had a habit of anthropomorphizing simple rock formations, with what to a modern eye often seems ludicrous results.

Though we know little about these Trumps, even after this breakthrough, it’s easy enough to imagine that both authors were prophets of their era, voices of reason, crying out to their fellow Trumps about the dangers of the climate change that would within a scant few hundred years completely alter the face of their planet. Scholars at Nova Bento now theorize that Trump Tower may have been a research center hosting hundreds of similarly-minded scientists dedicated to studying and counter-acting the effects of the fateful accumulation of carbon-related gases in the atmosphere, and that both the Trump Stone and the Jackshow Stone were either warnings or laments about the catastrophe that would soon destroy all but the merest traces of their proud, if curiously colored, species.

It is a truth long-acknowledged by our own poets (the work of Champollion comes readily to mind) that most prophets go without honor in their own country, at their own time; and so, too, it seems with the anonymous authors of the Trump and Jackshow Stones. Nevertheless with the exciting news presented today by Professor Dhul-Nun al-Misri, himself a third generation replicant hailing from the exoplanet Krypton, and thus a survivor of environmental horrors of his own (explaining, in part, his devotion to the Trump project), we can look forward to a series of revelations about this fascinating epoch in our planet’s twelve billion year history.

First among these, we hope, is a full explanation of just what the term “democracy” might mean. Best guess, for now, according to the experts, is a kind of shellfish. Delicious!

 

James Greer

About James Greer

James Greer is the author of the novels Artificial Light(LHotB/Akashic 2006) and The Failure (Akashic 2010), and the non-fiction book Guided By Voices: A Brief History, a biography of a band for which he played bass guitar. He’s written or co-written movies for Lindsay Lohan, Jackie Chan, and Steven Soderbergh, among others. He is a Contributing Editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books.
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