The Trump Bobblehead

“Usually, college kids like you vote Democrat—but this house is full-on Republican, and I don't want any flag-burners or Colin Kaepernick-kneeling sonsofbitches living here."

Finding a place to live in Philly on a part-time income took much work. And at one point, I told my best friend, Bryan, that I’d probably stay at my parents’ house until I finished my English degree. The available spaces were either too expensive or in an undesirable neighborhood where I felt nervous walking at night. 

After a two-month search, however, I found a room by the creek in the northern part of the city. It was a house-share in an old Victorian. The room was on the second floor, and I’d share the kitchen and living room with the landlady and another boarder. But when I saw a Trump bobblehead doll staring at me on the coffee table, I was about to turn around and walk out. But it was reasonably priced and close to public transportation.

“My name is Eric Fingerling,” I told the landlady. “I’m a graduate student at Temple.” 

   “I’m Mrs. Bonnie Lindsay, the property owner, thrift shop employee, and a VFW member.”

I looked around the room and saw several black-and-white pictures of a man in uniform.

“My husband was a lifelong military man,” she said. “He died five years ago after being hit by a SEPTA bus.”

Mrs. Lindsay was a tall, white-haired woman with a good figure. She looked me up and down and asked, “You’re not one of those anti-religious left-wingers, are you? The ones that bring over illegal immigrants who sell out Americans to the communists?” 

I answered the way I thought she wanted. “No, ma’am.”

“Usually, college kids like you vote Democrat—but this house is full-on Republican, and I don’t want any flag-burners or Colin Kaepernick-kneeling sonsofbitches living here.”

“You don’t have to worry about me,” I said, pulling down my sleeve to cover my Om tattoo. “I’m very patriotic. I collect Ronald Reagan commemorative coins. I view Memorial Day as a sacred holiday. And whenever I see our country’s flag, I stand and salute.”

She studied me for any leftist flaws, from my Adidas sneakers to my bucket hat. “Are you one of those tree huggers? All they talk about is how the world will collapse if we don’t save the trees—it makes me sick.”

“Oh, no,” I lied. “I only like palm trees in Florida. Other than that—they’re a nuisance. I feel a sense of satisfaction every time I see a bunch of trees cut down, and a shopping mall goes up—it’s the beauty of capitalism.”

   “And I hope you go to church? I’m a Catholic and don’t believe in those funny-time religions like Buddhism and Swahili.”

“Oh, yes, Mrs. Lindsay. Catholicism had the most followers and was probably the first religion. Most of the other ones are cults.”

She smiled and found me acceptable.

   “Okay, I guess you’re all right then,” she said. “You seem like a fine Conservative young man. Let’s talk about the house rules.”

    My ass-kissing seemed to be paying off, but I had planned not to take the room, given how nutty she was. 

   “Don’t leave dishes in the sink, or we’ll have ants,” Mrs. Lindsay said. “If you see any bugs, sprinkle some kosher salt over them—it’s the old-fashioned way.”

I nodded and visualized a Red Army of ants taking over her fascist kitchen, holding bayonets and little Communist flags.

“We share the refrigerator,” she said while opening the door of the old Frigidaire with an assortment of MAGA and old Nixon and Barry Goldwater magnets. “This section is yours. That’s mine, and Charles has the middle shelf with all the baloney. Don’t keep the freezer door open too long, or you’ll run up the electricity bill.”

“Who’s Charles?” I asked.
“He’s the other boarder. He’s been with me for five years. He’s a canvasser for Trump and a member of QAnon. He was involved in the insurrection and set fire to Bernie Sanders’ swivel chair.”

Scary, I thought. There was no way I would get a room in this nuthouse.

“He seems like a good American,” I lied.

She smiled. “You’re my type of person. You should fit in just fine.” 

   “Thank you, Mrs. Lindsay. I intend to take care of my living space and be a good American, too.” 

“That’s what I like to hear. But I’m warning you, Eric. If you’re noisy and throw loud parties—you’re out! Got that? And if I catch you bringing home any non-Christian baby killers, especially the ones wearing Pro-Choice buttons, you’ll be gone quicker than Gloria Steinem.” 

I told Mrs. Lindsay I didn’t do drugs and that all my friends contributed monthly to the 700 Club. I told her that Steve Bannon got shafted along with our nation’s police departments. And that Fauci invented Covid to destroy the Republican party. 

Mrs. Lindsay hugged me and said, “Welcome to the Lindsay household.”

   The sexy way she hugged me, gripping my ass, made me wonder if I should take the room.


We walked up the creaky steps to the bedrooms. I thought the rooms would be outdated and reek of fascist ideology. But when I saw the room, I had to pinch myself. The room was spacious, with plenty of new windows overlooking large oak trees with a sparking creek. Sunlight shone through the vertical blinds. A newer mattress bed with a clean sheet, a large pine desk, a dresser, and several comfortable chairs were perfectly placed in the room. I expected to see patriotic pictures on the walls, but there were beautiful black-and-white photos of Big Sur. This was precisely what I was looking for, and all I had to do was pretend to be a right-winger who hated flag burners and hippies.

Charles’s room, however, was decorated in the dictatorship style. He had a room at the far end of the hallway with a Federal Order of Police sticker on his door. He was a plumber’s apprentice, a Mason, and hoped to be a Shriner one day. When we met, he wanted to know if I supported White Lives Matter. I measured my words carefully, assuming he was a mole for Mrs. Lindsay. I told him I was studying to be a high school shop teacher instead of telling the truth that I was an English major who planned to do my master’s thesis on the Existentialism of Franz Kafka.

“Charles is very quiet,” Mrs. Lindsay said. “He comes home from work, watches Mixed Martial Arts on TV, drinks a beer, prays to Mother Theresa, and goes to bed early. On the weekends, he and his brothers go hunting for bears in the Poconos. Charles has not caused one bit of trouble in five years and has been rewarded by no rent increases. You’d be smart to learn from him, Eric.” 

I nodded, thinking Yeah if I have aspirations of becoming an SS officer.

“Try not to hog the bathroom since we only have one. We do our business, clean up, and get right out—no reading the newspaper on the toilet. Got that?”

I nodded as I saw a picture of Jesus Christ nailed to the cross over the toilet tank, thinking it to be an odd place to put a savior where someone’s taking a bowel movement.

I agreed to the terms and put down a security deposit. My expectation was simple. I would have a quiet room to read and do my work. I’d use the kitchen for simple meals and refrigerate my pre-made salads and Snapple. And I’d sit in the living room only to watch the evening news and drink coffee. I prefer tea, but Mrs. Lindsay might think that green tea was for liberals who were afraid of getting cancer.

My first week went according to plan. I attended all my classes, studied at the school library, and worked part-time at a local bookstore. My best friend, Bryan, who is also into literature, supported my goal of becoming a writer and helped to edit my fiction. I was content. My short stories were published in our college literary magazine, the City Gleaner, and the Trump bobblehead doll on the dining room table didn’t scare me as much. However, it did have a creepy smile, almost like a Chucky doll.


It was Tuesday, and after a productive day, I was sitting in my room re-reading Kafka’s The Castle when the doorbell rang. I assumed it was a classmate dropping off a borrowed textbook. But as I walked down the steps, I noticed Mrs. Lindsay was stark naked on the sofa and painting her toenails. 

“Oh, that’s some lunatic trying to sell us something. It’s probably one of those Jehovah’s Witness characters,” she said. “I told him last time I was Catholic and didn’t want to read that bullshit.”

I turned bright red while staring at Mrs. Lindsay’s naked body. She was in her middle sixties but had a twenty-year-old figure. I smiled awkwardly, staring at her small, slightly saggy breasts and grayish bush, then continued upstairs.  

“Sorry about being naked,” she said. “But my clothes are in the wash. I’m sure you’ve seen a naked woman before.”

I smiled awkwardly and went to my room. 

Her naked body burned into my consciousness in every fleshy detail. I tried to finish Kafka’s novel but couldn’t. I thought she hated liberals. Well, she acted liberally, not wearing any clothes. Everyone has secrets; maybe Mrs. Lindsay’s secret is that she enjoys being an exhibitionist. 

Later, I knocked on Charles’ door.

“Can I talk to you for a second?” I asked.

He towered over me as I looked inside his room. There were posters of Rambo and Dale Earnhardt. He had a giant white Mother Mary statue on his dresser and a picture of him and other men bearing rifles in a woodsy background. And on the wall facing his bed was a gun rack with two shotguns. I quickly looked away.

“Sure, but only for a minute,” he said. “I’m going to the Masonic Temple tonight. If you want to join, I can get you in. It’s a very prestigious organization—all the important people in America are members?”

   “It sounds like fun,” I lied. “But I’m swamped with school.” 

I was reluctant to ask, but I asked anyway. “Earlier today, I went downstairs, and Mrs. Lindsay was naked. What’s that about?”

“I wouldn’t worry, Eric. She does that all the time. It’s not unusual for her to be naked during laundry day. She likes to put all her clothes in the washer and wait for them to get clean.”

“You don’t find that strange?”

“Listen, we were all naked in the Garden of Eden—it’s no big deal. It’s the Democrats I worry about. All their orgies in the White House, snorting coke, spending taxpayer’s money on hookers and underage girls.”  

I nodded.

“I’ll let you go. Have fun at the meeting tonight.”

  I kept thinking about Mrs. Lindsay’s pleasantly sagging boobs and the two shotguns on Charles’ gun rack.




Over the weekend, I hiked the grounds of Burholme Park with Bryan and watched golfers hit balls on the driving range. We found a bench, and I read Bryan my latest short story, and Bryan recited one of his Beat poems he was sending off to a magazine. But Bryan was curious about my new living arrangements, and when I told him, he freaked out.

“Your landlady’s a what?” 

“Yep, she’s a fascist. She believes the insurrection was good for the country, and they should have occupied the White House until Trump was reinstated and Pelosi was burned at the stake just like Joan of Arc.” 

Bryan was mortified. “And you agreed to rent from this lunatic?”

“I had no choice. It was the most beautiful room I had ever seen—straight out of Interior Design magazine. Plus, I couldn’t beat the price.”

“You don’t know what she’s up to, Eric. For all we know, she could be working for a white supremacist group—and you’re helping her fund it with your rent money.”

“I don’t think that’s happening, Bryan.”
“So far, you haven’t told me the real deal, Eric. You wouldn’t stay there

unless something else was in it for you.”

   “There is one thing.”

Bryan gave me his complete attention.

    “She walks around the house naked every Tuesday while she does laundry.” 

“But you said she’s old?”

“Yeah, but she has a hot body.”

   “Eric. Maybe you should go out more. You’re sexually frustrated to the point where grannies are turning you on—fascist grannies, no less.”

“I can’t help what I’m attracted to, Bryan.”

   “When can I see this sexy Hitler granny?”

   “I don’t think that’s a good idea, Bryan. You don’t exactly look like you’re a member of the John Birch Society. Your hair is down to your shoulders, and you wear Birkenstock.”

“Maybe you’re afraid I might steal your lady.”

“No, I’m afraid you’ll get me kicked out.”


When I arrived home, I heard the clothes dryer spinning. I walked past the Trump bobblehead doll and noticed a bit of blood on its lips. God, now it’s a damn vampire, I thought. Then I looked around, hoping to see Mrs. Lindsay naked in the house. But when I saw she wasn’t there, I felt disappointed. I guess Bryan was right— I am hard-up. Maybe I should date more.

“Eric?” Mrs. Lindsay’s raspy voice called from the kitchen.

I turned, hoping she would be in the buff. But she was wearing a floral housedress, barefoot with painted toenails, and a face full of makeup. 

“Do you like homemade apple pie?” she asked.

“Sure,” I said. Who doesn’t?”

“They’re made with Granny Smith apples.”

“The best kind.”

“I’ll bring a slice to your room later. I’m leaving it cool.”

I went upstairs and plopped on the bed. I was so exhausted that I fell asleep once I hit the mattress. A while later, there was a knock on the door. I drowsily said, “Come in.” 

The door opened, and a naked Mrs. Lindsay was holding a piece of apple pie.

I thought I was dreaming. I rubbed my blurry eyes.

“I made it from scratch,” she said softly, yearningly.

“Oh, it looks delicious,” peering at her two ripe breasts.

She put down the pie and sat on the bed. She smiled and said, “Do you like my legs? Not a bruise or blemish on them. My mother had nice legs, too. God rest her soul. She died in prison.”

I stared at her nakedness without saying a word. She rubbed my chest and caressed my face as the ceiling fan slowly turned. Her shadow moved up and down across the walls. Despite having the fragrance of my Aunt Minnie’s perfume, I enjoyed her body. Her skin was smooth, with very few wrinkles. And for the next hour, we made love to the cycles of the washer and the sounds of a dryer spinning. Sex was like laundry, I thought. You always come out clean, no matter how dirty or disgusting you are. 

And once the sex was over, she got up. 

I smiled, thanked her for the apple pie, and watched her flat ass leave the room. 




The following day, Mrs. Lindsay said, “Just to let you know, I’ll be gone for a few days. I’m visiting my sister in Scranton. And while I’m away my granddaughter, Julie, will be watching the place. She’s also a college student. If there’s anything you need, ask her.”

“Okay, no problem.”

“I’ll see you when I come back, honey,” she said. And she gave me a wet, sticky kiss that reminded me of my grandmother.

Later, I left to meet Bryan at Dunkin’ Donuts. We were going to edit each other’s short stories, but first, Bryan wanted to know more about my housemate, the Nazi plumber.

“I rarely see him. He’s either at a QAnon meeting or the Masonic temple.”

“Does he have a flag on his truck?”

“Yeah, three. He has a Phillies flag, a Confederate flag, and a Proud Boys sticker on his tailgate.”

“How about a gun? Does he pack a 16-gauge shotgun?”

“Oh, yeah. He gets mail from the NRA and a gun rack in his bedroom with two rifles. He also has a dartboard with a George Clooney bullseye.” 

Bryan looked at me like I was the most pathetic liberal on the planet.
“Eric, I’m worried about you. You gotta get out of that Proud Boys hornet’s nest. Listen, my housemate is moving out at the end of the week. If you want the room—it’s yours.”

I paused. The thought of missing a laundry day nixed that idea. I didn’t want to give up her apple pie, either. The Granny Smith apples really gave the pie some flavor.

“Thanks for the offer, Bryan—but I want to stay.”

On my way home, I realized that Mrs. Lindsay’s granddaughter would be there. I assumed she was a right-wing clone, a Marjorie Taylor Greene look-a-like with a moose face. But I didn’t expect her to remind me of Goldie Hawn in Butterflies Are Free. She had that dizzy blond look, a free-spirited vibe, and long slender legs. 

“Hi, my name is Eric Pinder,” I said. 

“Julie,” she said as she put down a bowl of cereal and shook my hand.

 My staring must have been obvious because she looked self-conscious. I didn’t expect my Nazi landlady to have a granddaughter wearing flair-bottom jeans, a Grateful Dead T-shirt, and love beads around her neck. 

“Your grandma says you’re going to school in the city.”

“Yeah, the University of the Arts.”

“Wow, that’s cool. Are you a painter?”

“No, a photographer.”

I was so attracted to Julie that I didn’t want to leave the kitchen. She kept talking about artists and photographers she was studying, and I could feel her passion. And when I told her that I was doing my dissertation on Kafka, she said, “I just finished reading Letters to Father. It was a shame that Kafka’s old man didn’t recognize what a wonderful writer he was.”

“He didn’t value him as a person.”

“Yeah, I know how that feels,” she said. “My father and grandmother think I should be a nurse or teacher and not go to art school. They think that only dirty hippies go to art school.”

I didn’t say anything terrible about Mrs. Lindsay. Who was I to disparage anybody when I was banging the old gal? While Julie fixed a bowl of Mesa Sunrise, I grabbed a Snapple and salad and followed Julie into the living room. We ended up spending the whole evening watching Bette Davis movies on TCM. 

  At about 8 p.m., Charles came home and saw us watching TCM. He looked at us disapprovingly as if we were watching some liberal crap. 

“You guys like old movies?”

“No,” I said. “We’re just making fun of Ben Mankiewicz and his communist grandfather. These liberals are so full of crap.”

   Charles shook his head. “I never watch those old movies. I’m more of a Van Damme kind of guy.”

“I’m with you, Charles. I like any movie with a guy cracking open someone’s skull.”

“Nah, movies with gory serial killers are the bomb,” said Julie, getting into the act.

Charles went to the fridge for a beer and went upstairs to his room, never suspecting a thing.

“What’s with that guy?” I asked Julie.

“He’s a psycho—but grandma thinks he’s a sweet guy.”

“Is he dangerous?” I asked.

   “He hasn’t killed anyone I know of, although he talks a lot about blowing some politician’s head off.”

   That wasn’t reassuring, but my concern was to know Julie better.

“It’s hard to believe you are Mrs. Lindsay’s granddaughter. You don’t share the same political beliefs, do you?”

She laughed. 

   “Grandma thinks I should be a lunatic like her, believing in lame conspiracy theories and denying our country’s problems. She thinks Biden and his wife have orgies every night at the White House, and Vice President Harris practices witchcraft. All those hours of watching Fox News must have gone to her head.”

   “Do me a big favor, Julie.”

“What’s that?”

   “Don’t tell your grandma that I’m a liberal. I’m posing as a hardcore conservative.”

   “I already knew that,” she smiled.


I doodled Julie’s face on my notebook during class. And by the middle of the week, we had made love. She came to my room, and we lost track of our priorities. Julie had a peace sign and flower tattoos on her body. And each time we made love, it was better than the last. We had become so connected in such a short period that we wanted to be like John and Yoko, never leave the bed. We only wanted to have sex while Grateful Dead was playing on my old-school record player.

   “I never thought I’d find you here?”

“Me, either,” said Julie. “She only rents to dorky, uptight conservatives.
“Shush. I think someone’s knocking on the door,” I said.
I quickly took the needle off the record.

We hoped that whomever it was would go away. We assumed it was Charles, but then the door creaked open, and there in the doorway stood Mrs. Lindsay in all her naked glory. At first, she had a smile on her face, holding an enamel plate with a large slice of homemade apple pie. But when she saw us in bed, Mrs. Lindsay’s mood quickly soured. Her eyebrows came together in one rude awakening. Julie pulled the cover over her bare breasts. The room reeked of weed, and Grateful Dead’s American Beauty spun on the turntable without playing. Mrs. Lindsay put down the slice of apple pie and slapped me several times. Then she yanked Julie out of bed.

“Go to your room and put some clothes on, Julie. I’ll talk to you later!”

“But you’re naked, too!” cried Julie.

“Never mind!” said Mrs. Lindsay, giving Julie a stinky eye. Julie gathered her clothes and scurried out of the room.

“So, this is how you treat me after I’ve been so kind to you.”

“I’m sorry, but things just happened.”

“Things happened? Like hell they did. I was a fool for buying into your bullshit about being a good Catholic. You’re nothing but a pot-smoking pervert.”

   She looked around the room. She picked up the cover of American Beauty, opened the window, and tossed it. Then the record player followed, and finally, the bag of weed. 

   “You’re no American—you’re a fuckin’ unpatriotic hippie!”

Still naked, she walked down the hall and knocked on Charles’ door. I could hear them talking. The next thing I know, Charles was at my bedroom door holding a shotgun—the gun he probably takes to Klan rallies. 

“If you’re not out of here in ten minutes, I’m going to fill your Commie ass with lead.”

“But I’m paid up for the month?”

He looked at his watch. “Now you have nine minutes.”

I pulled up my pants and put a T-shirt on. I gathered as many things as possible and put everything by the curb. I didn’t have a car, so I called Bryan to pick me up.

   “Bryan. I need help, man. The old lady kicked me out. No, she didn’t give me any notice. Yes, I know I can sue her. Listen. It’s a long story. Please pick me up right away and take me to my parent’s house. Please.” 

   “The room is still available at my place,” said Bryan.

“Good. Hurry.”

Twenty minutes later, Bryan arrived. He helped me put everything in the trunk.

“Who gave you that?” asked Bryan, pointing to a piece of apple pie.

   “A memento,” I said. “And I didn’t want to waste it.”

   And just as we were about to pull away, Julie knocked on the car window. She was carrying her backpack and the Trump bobblehead. I unlocked the door, and Julie jumped in the backseat.

   “Who’s this?” asked Bryan.

“I’ll tell you later. Hurry.”

As we drove off, I turned to Julie. “Why did you bring the Orange Führer?”  

“I exchanged it for another bobblehead doll.”

“Which one?”

“Hillary Clinton.”

   “Your grandmother’s going to have a fit,” I said.

   “That’s the point.”  

Mark Tulin
Mark Tulin
Mark Tulin is a former therapist who lives in Long Beach, California. Mark’s books include Magical Yogis, Awkward Grace, The Asthmatic Kid and Other Stories, Junkyard Souls, Rain on Cabrillo, and Uncommon Love Poems. Mark has been featured in Oddball Magazine, The Junction, Daily Drunk Magazine, MuddyUm, Sex and Satire, Fleas on the Dog, Defenestration, R U Joking, and others. Follow Mark at and Twitter: @Crow_writer.