Pavilion Of Dreams

An Unnecessary Remake Of Kevin Costner’s 1989 Big Screen Classic

MELANIA
I’m fifty years old and I’m about to return to being a regular American citizen. I have my husband, I have my son, but I’ll miss the White House Rose Garden. And until I heard the voice… I’d never done a controversial thing in my entire four years as First Lady.

THE VOICE
(Almost chokes) Wait, what?!  How could you forget the Christmas trees you replaced with giant car wash brushes in horror-movie red? Or the slogan painted on the back of your jacket? In answer to your question, I do care, yes. And shall I mention plagiarism? Because Michelle Obama called and she wants you to return her convention speech.

MELANIA
Sshh. Stay in your lane. You only have one line.

FOURTEEN MONTHS PREVIOUSLY…

THE VOICE
If you build it, they will come.

MELANIA
At first I thought it was my husband talking. Sometimes he likes to creep up on me and whisper real estate plans into my ear when I least expect it. But I was in the White House Gardens and there was no one around for miles. Well, apart from some peaceful protesters on Capitol Hill, but they don’t really count.

The voice woke me in the early hours of the morning. “If you build it, they will come.” I looked out the window, towards the south lawn. “Build what?” I said, “For who?” My husband thought I was crazy. “It’s okay,” I said. “Go back to tweeting, honey. I’m talking to the lawn.” This, he understood. One of Donald’s closest confidantes is the golf course.

The voice continued to stalk me just like my husband had done with Hillary during those long, hazy debates of 2016. When I turned around. Nothing. Just the empty grounds of the White House, and at the far end of the south lawn, the tennis courts. Who did the voice belong to? What exactly did they want me to build? I didn’t understand anything. But then an image flared up in front of that ugly excuse of a shed. A shimmering tennis pavilion. In the middle distance I could just make out the figure of a man. In his arms was a whole bunch of files, and in his hand, a pen. Before I could get any closer, the image disappeared. I ran inside to tell my husband but when I got to the part about my plans for a new pavilion, Donald wasn’t listening. He patted me on the backside, said, “Go get yourself something pretty.” I didn’t bother telling him about the apparition, or that I thought it might be the ghost of Jimmy Carter trying to give me a message.

THE VOICE
Jimmy Carter, the 39th American President? But he’s not dead. He’s alive and well and living in Georgia.

MELANIA
One line. Nothing more. Nothing less.

THE VOICE
If you build…

MELANIA
I thought that if I built the pavilion, Jimmy Carter would get to come back and tell me why tennis is important.

THE VOICE
(Under their breath). You cannot be serious.

MELANIA
Jimmy was my favorite president. After Donald, of course. Like me, he came from humble beginnings. He started out with peanuts.

THE VOICE
Literally, yes. But not in the metaphorical sense.

MELANIA
I think he was trying to tell me that if I could just build the pavilion, my legacy would mean something. The renovations were approved in the summer of 2019 and the craftsman got to work. Months went by. All I could do was wait and stare forlornly out the window like a character from the The Crown. I love that show. The producers totally understand the hardship that comes with marrying into a brand. Anyway, this December, the completion of my pavilion was publicly announced. I waited and waited for Jimmy, but he never showed up.

THE VOICE
Did it ever to occur to you that if Jimmy Carter had wanted to send you a message –which he didn’t – it might have been this. That you should have learnt from his mistakes and stayed away from the tennis area? That his attention to trivial details like personally signing off the tennis schedule meant he lost sight of the bigger picture? That the American people didn’t give a shit about who showed up on the tennis court – and even less shits if it had a pavilion. And do you know why? Because they had more pressing things to worry about like affordable healthcare or finding a job during an era of recession. Sound familiar?

MELANIA
You’re fired.

THE VOICE
You can’t fire me. You’d have to uncover my identity first and no-one’s been able to do that since 1989. I’m off grid, like Hillary’s missing emails, and you will never find me.

MELANIA
One line and you just couldn’t do it.

THE VOICE
It was community.

MELANIA
What?

THE VOICE
If you build community…

MELANIA
They’ll come to the Pavilion? They can’t do that. It’s a private club, members only.

THE VOICE
I give up.

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