Would You Veto a Popcorn Machine?

Once in a while, you have to make a yearly budget. You also have to periodically reflect on your financial priorities because some people can’t be trusted.

“So, bit of a funny story,” England said to the other members of the Security Council sitting in the conference room. “I was looking through the budget proposals when I see something just a little strange.” He slid the thick budget book to the center of the table and with a pen pointed to a particular line on the page. “This says ‘2AM runs to McDonald’s.’ And, it gets better, we’ve got $1000 set aside for that. One-thousand dollars, eight-hundred and ninety-three Euros, six-thousand something yuan–whatever the hell you want.”

He looked around the room. “Now, who wants to take a little guess at which one of us thinks we need one-thousand dollars for McDonald’s?”

“In my defense,” America started, “I do those runs with Japan and we use that time to talk about politics. Including important issues of national security–”

“Cut it,” China said tersely. “Cut if from the budget.”

“Well, if you look in the checkbook,” America said loudly, “you’ll see that last week I bought a little present for us.”

Russia asked, “Is it more stupid t-shirts that you think are funny but are actually very unfunny?”

America threw up his hands. “You guys loved those shirts! Come on. Tell ’em China. You loved the ‘Foxy Grandpa’ shirt. Next time I’ll get you one that says ‘I’m with crazy’ for when you’re out with North Korea.”

“You’re so clever, America,” China said.

“I’ll get one for him that says, ‘If found, return to China,’ and yours can say, ‘I’m not China.'”

“Stop, stop. You’re killing me with your unbridled wit.”

England said, “Why don’t you tell us what the surprise is, America?”

America folded his arms, leaned back in his chair, and smiled. “A popcorn machine.”

“A popcorn machine?” England asked. “Oh, good. A popcorn machine. That’s what the Security Council needs. A bloody popcorn machine.”

“Why are you angry? Popcorn is delicious.”

Russia added softly, “I would have preferred a cotton candy machine.” France nodded toward her in approval.

“You should have taken a vote,” China said, characteristically ruining America’s fun.

“A–A vote? It’s a popcorn machine.” He leaned forward in some show of anger and faux-dominance. “Would you veto a popcorn machine, China?”

“I’ll veto anything.”

“You guys suck,” America said in a tone not dissimilar from that of an angry teen. “I’ll just enjoy it by myself, then. Nay, I’ll invite Japan over and we’ll pop us a batch and then talk about THAADs and naval defense and the Senkaku Islands.”

China was suddenly struck by a coughing fit–purely a coincidence and having nothing at all to do with the mention of the islands, he later assured them–and a concerned Russia tried rubbing his back. It clearly didn’t help, but she continued to do it anyway.

America looked ahead, pretending to talk to an imaginary camera. “See, kids? That’s what heavy industrialization and 500 years of chain-smoking will do to ya.”

In the end, they decided to debate the rest of the budget while enjoying a buttery snack.


I had no idea what to post today. I was gonna do a comic but Windows ruined my drawing tablet with their latest update and I quickly lost motivation. I have about three other stories in the works but none of them are ready to publish. I was frantically looking through my drafts when I see this–a fully written, although short, story about a popcorn maker. Okay, this’ll do.

This has been sitting in my drafts for ages and I honestly have no idea what prompted me to write this in the first place. This definitely takes place before the Trump era. I don’t think Trump’s America would try trolling China that hard re: ocean territory and disputed islands. Or maybe he would, who knows?

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