Holiday aftermath

A continuation of this July 4th story.

North Korea was idly watching the city below from the balcony when China found him. He didn’t move or look back when he spoke in something of a distracted voice. “Enjoy the party?”

China leaned against the railing and talked to the back of the other’s head. “I give him the same present every year,” he said. “A framed dollar bill. Written on it is the current, up to the day, US debt to China. It’s all in good nature,” he assured. “He smiles and swears he loves it, but I know he burns it in the fire pit later that night. Not just the bill, but the frame. too.” North Korea made a small noise, which might have been a laugh. China stepped forward. “I brought you something.”

This made the Korean turn around finally, but then he scowled at the paper plate in China’s hand and the tin foiled wrapped over it. “I don’t want dirty, American, sympathy cake.”

China raised an eyebrow and gave him a knowing look, and for a moment they were locked in a stare. The fire in the Korean’s eyes, the sweat beginning to bead on his brow, and the intensity of his scowl told of a raging internal war that was tearing apart every fiber of his psyche. Through perseverance China did not look away–did not falter. At last, after immense metaphorical bloodshed, the conflicted soldier caved in and asked in a quiet voice, “What kind of cake?”


“How much frosting?”


North Korea reached out, slowly taking the dessert. “You didn’t see this.”

“See what?”

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