Canada stood on a rusted helipad and stared down into the ugly green waters of the North Sea. Its placid dreariness reminded her of the Hudson, and suddenly she felt very disappointed.

Sealand sat beside her, legs swinging lightly over the edge of the helipad. “So?” She asked, looking to Canada with expectant eyes. “What advice have you got for me? Oh, please tell me it’s better than America’s advice.” She lowered her voice, exaggerating both her tone and hand gestures. “If you want to be taken seriously, you could always do what North Korea does and threaten to blow shit up.” Canada smiled and shook her head.

“Here’s the thing,” she started, smile fading as she looked to the young micronation. “Everyone’s an asshole.”

Sealand nodded. “I realize that more and more every day.”

Canada continued. “History is made up of assholes. But so is the present, and the future will be too.” She paused, pursing her lips. “People hurt each other. We do it all the time. It’s not always on purpose. Sometimes it’s just…” Eyes narrowed as she pondered her words. “Sometimes treating people badly is considered an ‘oh well, can’t be helped.’ Like… a necessary evil in the conquest for power.”

“Power,” Sealand said quietly. “Makes the world go ‘round, doesn’t it?”

“Yeah. It seems that way. Not everyone wants to chase it, but… most do. Can’t really blame them, eh?” A pause. “You know, I used to wonder. Why will we do terrible things for money or resources or an advantage over someone else? I think that–I think that we try to be the strongest and richest and most influential so we can live as safely and as comfortably for as long as possible. We want to enjoy life to the fullest even if that means making questionable decisions. Because we’re all too aware that we won’t last forever. You know what they say. Even Rome–”

“Even Rome fell,” Sealand said along with her and Canada nodded.

“When we fight and lie and hurt each other, when we do anything and everything for power, we’re really just buying time–just a few more minutes to enjoy temporary glory. I’ve wondered… what good does that do? In the end, we all end up stories in history books. But… I guess some people don’t want to die as just a memory. They want a legacy.” She shook her head. “I dunno. Maybe there’s more to it than that. Maybe I just don’t get it. I might never be able to think about power the way America does.”

Quiet settled between them as they both stared at the green-grey water now gently splashing beneath them. After some time, Sealand cocked her head toward the other. “Are you an asshole too, Canada?” The North American looked to Sealand and tucked wind-whipped bangs behind an ear while shrugging.

“Only during hockey season.”

Read Behind the Scenes for a fun explanation of this story’s historical and political references.

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