I missed this yesterday but the NY Times asked five best-selling thriller authors to write fictional endings to the Trump-Russia story (h/t @UrbanAchievr). Only one of them could be described as neutral or positive toward the president and most involve his impeachment. But one of the stories is actually assassination p*rn. Here’s a sample of “How it ends” by Zoë Sharp:

The Russian landed at Dulles after 48 hours of traveling. Of necessity, he came from Moscow by a circuitous route. A long way with a very specific task. There would be no return flight…

Around 11 p.m., his contact arrived. The man had been in deep cover for decades. In his briefcase was a bottle of Stolichnaya and a 9-millimeter Makarov semiautomatic pistol…

The Russian waited until they were a few steps past before he drew the gun. He sighted on the center of the president’s back, and squeezed the trigger.

The Makarov misfired.

The Secret Service agent at the president’s shoulder heard the click, spun into a crouch. He registered the scene instantly, drawing his own weapon with razor-edge reflexes.

The Russian tasted failure. He closed his eyes and waited to pay the cost.

It did not come.

He opened his eyes. The Secret Service agent stood before him, presenting his Glock, butt first.

“Here,” the agent said politely. “Use mine. …”

So the O’Henry twist here is that the Secret Service wants the president dead too and offers the Russian agent his gun. That’s just lovely.

Americans should be free to read and write whatever the hell they want but why would the NY Times publish something like this? There are no comments on the page which is probably a smart move. You don’t want the world to see how many of your readers are cheering on the president’s assassin. And, to be fair, I think there are quite a few Times readers who may not care for Trump but aren’t at the point of taking pleasure in the thought of his death. I wonder if they’ll send letters?

The timing is also a bit awkward. Today we have some nut sending pipe bombs to several prominent Democrats. After weeks of winking at mobs and angry confrontations, the left is suddenly very concerned about civility and toning down the rhetoric. Would the Times still publish this story after today?

By the way, most of the other stories are also substantially Trump deranged. The one by Scott Turow is about Trump resigning from office to allow VP Pence run in 2020. The story by Laura Lippman is about a former spy who receives a sex tape featuring Trump and two hookers and then worries if he’ll be murdered for revealing it. The twist is that Trump was being blackmailed by Putin to run for President in the first place:

And as much as Trump tried to tank it, he simply couldn’t. That’s how incompetent he is, how little he understands about the voters whose hatred he courted and stoked, the so-called deplorables whom he secretly considers losers. The joke was on the United States. Russia chose our president and they chose a fool. Because he made fun of a room at the Moscow Ritz-Carlton.

The last one by Joseph Finder envisions a near future where Trump survived an attempted impeachment, but now Putin there is fresh evidence of money laundering in Russia which will lead to a 2nd impeachment. In a call to Putin, Trump complains about the leak of his illegal behavior and Putin laughs and hangs up on him.

All of this is in striking contrast to a story Politico recently published suggesting Trump’s critics should prepare themselves for disappointment with the conclusion of the Mueller probe. It’s not likely to end in shocking revelations or impeachment, much less a bullet in the back.