The Reluctant Townie: Stephen Miller: White House survivor

The Reluctant Townie: Stephen Miller: White House survivor

Senior national policy adviser Stephen Miller had grown to think of the White House's ventilation system as a second home. This was out of necessity.

After the new chief of staff, retired Gen. John Kelly, asked the Secret Service to deactivate Miller's building ID and clearance, he had been unable to leave the premises for fear of permanent exile.

That meant no bed, no big-screen TV, no showers. Luckily, Stephen Miller didn't mind skipping showers. He was, and had always been, decidedly "not a people person," and in a way, his accumulating body odor took care of the tiring business of constantly keeping people at arm's length, so he considered it a personal boon.

It did, however, make him easier to detect within the walls.

Ever since his elder sire, the vampire Stephen K. Bannon, had been fired by Kelly (or had given the general a "real piece of his mind" as well as his resignation, depending on whom you asked), Miller's survival instincts had been at DEFCON 2.

A short time later, his fellow presidential advising peer and brother-in-white-nationalist-arms Sebastian Gorka had been shown the door. (Miller tried to talk Gorka into fleeing into the woodwork of the building, but Gorka had been proudly thick-headed and eager to collect Kelly's bootprint on the seat of his pants.)

Miller knew his days were numbered, but he would not give up without a fight. His primary method of fighting was to retreat and weasel into the nooks and crannies of the White House to make himself invisible.

After all, Kelly could not fire someone he could not find.

So one day, armed only with his cellphone and his wits, Stephen Miller pried the grate off the central air duct and crawled deep into the bowels of its framework, never to return.

It was actually not such a bad life. His ability to move from room to room allowed him a certain omniscience when it came to palace intrigue. Unfortunately, things had been kind of quiet on that front. Many of the butting heads had already been cowed or eliminated entirely, and no one was beating down the door willing to take their places.

He scavenged for his meals, robbing spilled curly fries or half-eaten taco bowls from the president's desk as if he were some sooty-faced urchin from a Dickens novel. He used the bathroom at night, under the cloak of darkness. And in emergencies (such as after consuming a half-eaten taco bowl), there were decorative plants throughout the building which served the dual purpose of concealment and a receptacle. (Why should he have to worry about his mess if the White House had janitors?)

He still had the president's ear. He found whispering ethereally from within the ductwork during the president's sleep to be an effective method of furthering his white-nationalist agenda, provided he followed up in the morning with a well-timed retweet or corresponding Sean Hannity clip.

"End DACA ... Deport the Dreamers ... Expel the Muslims ... Build the wall ..."

During the three-week White House remodeling that the president had scheduled to coincide with Congress' August recess, it had become increasingly difficult to move about the premises undetected. The security sweeps had become more frequent and intense. He couldn't rely on "Fox and Friends" blaring from the president's Oval Office television to conceal his movements.

But Miller had a number of other places to hide besides the ductwork. There were broom closets, blind corners; in one fit of desperation, he had placed a lamp shade on his head and blended in to the wallpaper.

These moments of silence gave him time to reflect; time to compose his ongoing screed of racial anxiety, to codify the animosity by which the president would govern.

All of these illegal immigrants and radical Muslim terrorists thought they had it bad? Try being a white male of privilege for a day. The pressure, the persecution.

At his Santa Monica high school, the other kids had called Miller "Captain Forehead"; did they know how that made him feel? Did they even consider for a moment that his family was here legally, paying taxes, and that he was a third-generation American? It wasn't his fault that his superior genetics had given him a double-decker forehead and male pattern baldness by the seventh grade, rendering him in the image of a cartoon villain's sidekick.

All of the extra cranium space was used to store his superior American brain. A speechwriting brain. A policy-advising brain.

He would show them. He knew that one day he would have his revenge; he would round up and deport them all.

The workers had done a light remodeling to most of the White House — installing marble flooring and gold-plated wall and ceiling accents more to the president's personal taste — but there was a second group of workers who spoke only Russian and had locked themselves in the Oval Office for days on end.

From the sounds that emanated from within, they had done some serious demolition work. At one point, Miller could hear the sounds of a jackhammer, which continued unabated for over a day.

When the contractors finally left, the day before the president and his staff were set to return, Miller snuck into the Oval Office to preview the renovations.

He was surprised to find it looked exactly the same as the president had left it. He sat down in the president's chair, kicked off his shoes and threw his unwashed feet onto the president's desk.

It felt nice to sit on actual furniture again. Miller closed his eyes and breathed in the smell of his own body odor. It was soon after that his finger brushed across a small button hidden under the arm of the president's chair.

Miller was intrigued. He had never met a button he didn't want to push.

He pressed the button until it clicked. Suddenly, the chair shot upright, locking into place, and the floor beneath him opened. Before he knew what was going on, the chair plunged through the earth, careening down a hidden track.

When the chair came to a stop, he could see that he was in the sewers below D.C.

"Stephen, we've been waiting for you," said the vampire Steve Bannon, baring his yellow fangs.

"Where am I?" asked Miller.

"You're with friends," said Bannon.

Slowly, from out of the shadows, emerged familiar faces: Paul Manafort, Carter Page, Michael Flynn, Sebastian Gorka, the Mooch.

"We may not live above ground, but we've built a direct conduit to the president. The Oval Office will never be far away with the Orange One in power."

Ryan Jackson crafts speculative fiction from observable fact, and he can be reached at

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