“If you could eat anyone here, who would it be?”
Security Council meetings weren’t always productive. Nor were they usually fun. America decided to change that.
England looked up from his notes after a pause to bore a narrow, scrutinizing gaze into the American.
“If you could–no, if you had to–eat someone in this room, like in a survival situation, who would it be?”
England promptly went back to looking through his notes. “Nobody dignify his question with an answer.” But Russia did.
“China,” she said. “Then England. Then France. Then America.” Nobody felt like telling her she’d broken the rules because they knew she wouldn’t care.
“I wouldn’t eat any of you,” scoffed France.
England scoffed right back. “And what makes you think anyone would eat you?”
China had been quietly struggling with himself about whether or not he’d participate in the game. Then he gave up. “Russia.”
At this, the Russian nodded a few times knowingly. “Because I stand in the way of his world domination.”
“For me it’s easy,” America said, swiveling his chair obnoxiously. “China. Don’t have to pay him back if he’s dead.” The groans from around the table weren’t going to bring him down, and he flung forward in his seat. “Hey, hey, hey,” he shot off rapidly. “Let’s play FMK.”
There was a beat of silence. England protested first. “We are not going to play FMK, you twit.”
“No, no, I’m modifying the rules. It’ll be… who you would join with, in like a hypothetical Austria-Hungary kinda way, who you would go to war with, and who you would kick off the Security Council.”
Everybody knew that was a bad idea, but they also knew that they would rather play along than debate environmental safety.
To help encourage them, America took his turn. “Join–or absorb, rather–England and the rest of the UK, because–let’s be real. I’ll go to war with Russia so I can beat her again, and, uh, kick China off the Council. Nothing personal, I just don’t like people who disagree with me.”
China merely shrugged, knowing that it was absolutely personal. “I’ll partner with France, go to war with America, and remove Britain from the Security Council.”
There was a heavy sigh when England realized he was up. “Oh, for the love of… Join America, I guess–look, there aren’t really any better options, alright? Go to war with France because–don’t look at me like that–because a war with China or Russia sounds like one enormous headache. And kick Russia off the Council because… well, do I really even have to explain that one?”
Russia was practically bouncing in her seat when it came her turn. “One, I’ll marry all of you. Two, I’ll go to war with all of you. Three, I’ll kick all of you off the Security Council. But not in that order, of course. Kick, war, marry. That’s how I would do it.”
“I knew she was going to say that,” England said, bringing a fist down on the table as the others mumbled in agreement.
France sat there with a turmoil-stricken expression when his turn came. It was as if he were struggling with something inside him, like the past–or maybe heartburn. “I’ll join with Britain… for real, this time,” he said, tone abashed. “And then… kick Russia out of here, and… go to war with myself.” Nobody was surprised.
“Alright,” said England, brows furrowing. “Now that that’s over with… can we get serious?”
America scoffed. “No way. I’m actually having fun.” By then, the American had already turned his chair around to sit in it backwards while facing the other four. Clearly, the morning coffee was doing him a favor. “How about… Oh! Oooh, this is good. If this building caught on fire during an actual UN meeting and you could only save one person, who would it be?”
England folded his arms. “That’s rather morbid.”
America shot him a look. “Oh, come on. This is the kind of moral dilemma shit we’ve gotta be prepared for! Here, I’ll make it easier: Let’s say we can choose from any UN member state. Not just the us that’s here right now.”
“Alright, fine,” huffed the defeated Brit. “I’ll go first, then. This should be easy enough. I’d save Switzerland, because God knows he’s one of the only sane people in Europe.”
France smiled nervously. “Sane might be a small overestimation. You see, he… he once….” Suddenly all eyes turned to France. “It was during the annual European Peace Picnic. I saw him… eating bullets. Actual lead bullets! He said nobody would believe me.”
“You’re right,” England said. “We don’t believe you.”
“Of course you don’t! He’s never wrong!”
America gave a low whistle. “You guys are actually all crazy.”
“Whatever,” France said with a pout. “I’m not mad.” Even though his tone made it obvious he was. “I don’t even care anymore.” Even though he very much did. “I’ll answer the stupid question. Canada! I’d save Canada. She has a soul, unlike any of you.”
“Yeah, but it’s filled with repressed anger and maple syrup,” America said. “Anyway, I’d save Japan because we’re basically bros for life. I made sure of that.”
“I would save Belarus,” Russia said next. “Sometimes, I just…” There was a sigh. “Sometimes I feel that she’s the only person who understands me.”
“Oh my god,” America groaned. “Stop. Just stop.”
Before his turn, China asked, “So we’re making a personal decision, not a political one?”
America hummed, resting his chin on the head of his chair. “Yeah, I guess we are. Does that change your answer?”
“No,” China said after a pause that wasn’t convincing anyone. “Regardless of the context, I would save the United States. He won’t be able to pay me back if he’s dead.”
“Alright, are we done here?” England asked, trying once again to be the voice of reason (i.e., wet blanket). “Or perhaps you’ve brought a Monopoly board with you, America? You don’t happen to have some die and playing cards on you? Oh, I know, let’s play Scrabble!”
Suddenly the door opened, which was strange because nobody else had any business being there that day. It was so strange that it caused them all to immediately shut up and turn their heads in unison toward the doorway, which they discovered to be occupied by a certain Swiss gentleman.
“Hey,” Switzerland said with that familiar stoicism. “Anyone have the keys to the storage room?” Five pairs of eyes stared at him and not a sound was made. “Is that no? That’s a no, isn’t it? Okay, then.”
As soon as the door shut, the Security Council all immediately hunched forward in their seats, leaning in close.
“You know,” America said to the others in a hushed voice. “Now that I think about it? I might actually believe you, France.”
Nobody disagreed that time.
Read Behind the Scenes for a fun explanation of this story’s historical and political references.
I personify the UK as four individual characters (England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland) but I usually have England “representing” the UK in instances like these to avoid narrative clutter (i.e. too many characters in one scene.)