With nothing to hide, France and the UK were the first to stand. India and Pakistan followed without a problem. Then there was a lull of silence and everyone held their breath expectantly. Eyes glanced around the silent room nervously. After a long enough pause, Switzerland was about to open his mouth, when suddenly there was movement in Asia. Cautiously, South Korea stood up. Japan, tight-lipped and even more hesitant than her neighbor, followed.
As more and more reluctant countries stood, it was abundantly clear that the world had just become a very dangerous place.
After seeing that both his sister and Japan were dangerously armed, North Korea whipped his head in America’s direction. “You bastard!”
“I’m the bastard? You’re doing the same thing! How else did Iran and Syria get them?”
“Oops,” Russia said. “Syria was me.”
America’s jaw dropped. “You bastard!”
“W-wait!” Canada cried, looking between Japan and South Korea. “Guys? I thought we stood for peace! What was that stuff about neutrality? About being too good for war? What are we?!”
“Yeah, I mean,” South Korea started, “peace is great. But dying without being able to defend myself is not.”
With a sigh, Canada turned to her brother. “Well, if they get nukes, can I get some too?” She shrugged her shoulders. “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”
“Who else did you supply?” North Korea demanded of the United States.
“Just those two! And maybe I gave a few to France and Britain because they didn’t have a whole lot.” Then he mirrored North Korea’s accusatory tone. “What about you?”
“Iran. And India.”
China, who had resorted to doodling cute animals on his notes, said impassively, “I gave some to Pakistan.” From the corner of his eye, he saw India glower at him judgmentally.
Austria raised a hand. “If we’re having a confessional, I would just like to say that France attempted to trade me a small fraction of his stockpile. I refused, of course.”
Before France could make a fuss, Australia jumped up. “Might be a good idea to say that I got my hands on some nuclear weapons from… none other than… the United Kingdom!” And with that, she pointed wildly to the cluster of Europeans. “And then I shared ‘em with South Africa!”
Liechtenstein gasped. “You bastards!”
North Korea suddenly laughed. “This is an interesting situation. Was siding with the two-legged imperialist wolf really worth it now, Russia?”
America scrunched up his face. “Again with the wolf thing?”
“Poor Russia,” North Korea continued, shaking his head slowly. “So sweet, so naive. It’s a shame that such potential was wasted. Isn’t it a shame, China?”
“Don’t drag me into this.”
Russia’s jaw clenched. “Are you talking down to me? I raised you. I watched you grow up under the guidance of my ideology.”
North Korea said, “Then you also watched me outlive the Soviet Union.”
Russia laughed sharply. “I like this. I’m seething–but I like this!”
“Hey Russia,” America said darkly, “if you’re gonna switch sides you probably should now. Because little do you know…” He took a dramatic pause, then announced even more dramatically, “…that I have missiles pointed straight at Moscow!”
Russia jerked back in her seat. “You–”
“Don’t say bastard.”
“–idiot! Little do you know, I have missiles set for Washington, ready to launch at my command!”
“I have missiles pointed at Moscow and Washington!” North Korea shouted (because everyone else was). “And Tokyo! And Seoul!”
“Try anything,” South Korea warned in a calm voice, “and I’ll destroy you. I’ll literally just destroy you.”
“Well, shit,” Australia said, rubbing the back of her neck. “I’m gonna feel a bit left out if I don’t go around threatening people too. Ahh, okay, let’s see…” She closed her eyes and held up a finger. “I’ll just go to war with whoever I land on…” She blindly pointed around the room for a little before stopping. “Hi, Brazil!”
This sparked somewhat of a chain reaction. Within minutes, the world was threatening to annihilate each other in a global war.
To show just how serious he was, North Korea whipped out the button. It was a big, shiny red button in the center of a small box–like something from a game show.
America cocked his head to the side. “The hell did you get that?”
“Supply closet–it’s not important.” Then North Korea put on his serious face (which wasn’t too different from his not-serious face). “All I have to do is press this,” he threatened, “and you’re all finished.”
An eruption of noise broke out around the room as everyone started to spit threats of their own. Above the noise, a voice cried out.
“Stop! Everyone, stop!”
From the chaos emerged Madagascar. With all eyes on her, she walked to the center of the room and gently pushed Germany away from the podium.
“I have a confession,” she said, voice booming throughout the conference room. “I… I was the one who launched that missile at the United States.” When chatter rose up, she struggled to quiet everyone down. “Listen! Don’t you all see what’s happening? I know this isn’t a real UN meeting, but, damn! Some of you know first-hand what how terrible bombs can be, but you’re still so eager to just throw everything away. And for what? Whatever grudges or prejudices you may have aren’t worth what you’re threatening to do to each other. Pride and hatred are poisons. Just look at yourselfs! You’re all scared and angry and delusional! This is how war tears people down and destroys relationships. This is cruel! You people need to see just how horrible you are to each other. I want you to be more afraid of what you’re willing to do to other people than you are afraid of what other people will do to you! That’s why I launched the missile. I knew that’s what we needed to see the truth.”
“Wait,” said North Korea in a tone that foreshadowed a dangerous emotional explosion–like a tea kettle just beginning to hiss or a dog with the rattle of a growl in its throat. “You’re saying that the United States almost killed me over a misunderstanding because you wanted to prove a useless point?”
“It’s not useless! And yes, that’s exactly it.”
North Korea stared blankly at Madagascar. A shitstorm began silently brewing and the air in the room got heavy with impending doom. “I’m done,” he said slowly and quiet at first. “I’m done!”
Everyone’s eyes shot open and they sprang forward, arms out as if to plea. No! Wait! Stop! They all cried out at once. A horror-stricken China scrambled to stop his Korean ally as seconds ticked by in slow motion. But, alas.
North Korea’s fist smashed into the red button and (metaphorical) bomb sirens rang out in a piercing chorus to greet the oncoming apocalypse. It was over; all around the world, missiles would be deployed. Within the hour, the entire world would become a desolate wasteland of radiation. No one would surivi–
“Oh, hold on,” Germany said, flipping through his notebook. “There’s actually a scenario for when North Korea inevitably blows up the world. Okay, here it is.” He cleared his throat. “North Korea’s large-scale missile launch is a failure. He ends up completely obliterating himself in the accident.”
North Korea screamed. “Are you fucking kidding me?!”
And that is the story of how the world avoided a hypothetical nuclear apocalypse.