I was recently re-reading The Art of Questioning: Thirty Maxims of Cross-Examination by Peter Megargee Brown, former President of the Federal Bar Council and Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. (It’s an old book, published in 1987. I bought it on 29 January 1992 while I was working on my novel An Absence of Light.) In it Brown quotes the following question/answer routine often performed by the famed Minsky family burlesque team. It sounds very much like Donald Trump answering a reporter’s question: “Why are fire engines red?”


Why are fire engines painted red? I’ll tell ya. Fire engines are painted red because newspapers are read, too. Two and two is four. Four and Four is eight. Eight and four is twelve. Twelve inches is a ruler. Queen Mary was a ruler. Queen Mary was a ship that sailed the sea. There are fish in the sea. The fish have fins. The Finns fought the Russians. The Russians are red. Fire engines are always rushin’. That’s why fire engines are red.