Mexico was not North Korea.
In fact, they probably didn’t even look the same naked.
But Cuba wouldn’t know because she’d never seen what was underneath North Korea’s perfectly pressed, gray suits. If she had, she wouldn’t be sitting next to Mexico then, sticky leather seats beneath them and an expanse of constellations above.
She didn’t make eye contact when she said, “We’re dating. North Korea and me.”
There was a pause before Mexico said, “Where’s the punchline?”
“Go to hell.” She tossed back the rest of the tequila, swallowing hard. “This isn’t a joke. I love him.”
“What’s the sex like?”
“You’re a pig.”
From the corner of her eye, she saw him watching her expectantly. Her brow furrowed, lip curled just a little. A beat of silence. Now two beats. Three.
“It hasn’t… gotten physical yet.”
Mexico cracked a smile. “Sounds about right.” Leaning back, and set his drink in his lap. “So, you drove me all the way out here just to update me about your love life, huh?”
“A mistake, I’m starting to realize.”
“A status update would’a worked.”
She grit her teeth. “You got free booze out of this, didn’t you?”
“No, I get it, I get it.” He faced her. “You asked me here to satisfy you in his place. Guess I can, since you’re such a good friend.”
She yanked the flask from between his legs. “Seriously, go to hell.”
She met him at the Embassy, 5pm sharp.
He tenderly placed his hand over hers–not touching skin but letting it hover just above–and smiled.
“Of course we can have sex,” North Korea said in a voice dripping with faux sympathy, “as long as our body parts don’t touch and our fluids don’t mix.”
Cuba gave her cigar three quick puffs.
“You see,” he went on, “I must preserve my virginal purity.” He wasn’t a virgin, but she knew better than to say that.
“Excellent.” He slid a stack of papers across the table. “Please read thoroughly and sign the bottom of each. When you’ve agreed to the terms in full, we will officially be in a partnership.”
Cuba skimmed it.
Never tarnish his dignity by making advances on him.
Never touch him unless hands had been washed within 30 seconds of the touch.
Never take pictures or film of him without his spoken consent.
Never keep a record of anything he says or does, lest that information one day fall into the hands of his enemies.
Never this, never that.
She signed the document, slid it back, and puffed, puffed, puffed.
It was romantic, the two of them sharing a candlelit dinner as an American flag crackled in the fireplace. The smell of burning polyester complimented the aroma of the cold noodles.
“Do you know what I love about you?” Cuba asked just above a whisper, leaning in closer to him and gazing into those big, beautiful eyes. “I love that you’ve never once been afraid to fight for what you believe in.”
He too leaned in, and her heart skipped a beat.
“Cuba, I see that same strength and courage in you.” Another flutter! “1961 was your defining moment. You looked so radiant when you emerged victorious, soaked in America’s blood, thrusting your fist proudly into the air and waving forth his severed head on a pike, shouting, ‘Burn the imperialist invaders! Burn the fascists! Burn them all!”
North Korea remembered the Bay of Pigs Invasion very differently than she did, but that didn’t matter. Suddenly they were so close– she could almost feel his soft lips upon her own. She closed her eyes, opened her mouth, let her tongue flicker out–
“Cuba,” North Korea said in a voice rich and smoky like a good coffee, “have you ever considered the properties of black holes?”
Her eyes flew open.
He sat back in his chair and said, “Black holes.”
Oh. Right. Of course.
“I find them beautiful,” he went on. “They are destructive, yet in the most merciful way. You see, they don’t actively seek out victims. Anything that drifts close is naturally pulled into its demise. Torn apart, swallowed, devoured. Yet, the black hole takes no pleasure in causing this suffering and cannot be blamed for it, because it’s simply doing the only thing it can do.”
Cuba started to get it, for there was now a black hole in her chest right where she swore her heart used to be.
She stopped him as he was walking out of the UN and she pulled him aside.
She told it to him straight. She couldn’t do this anymore. It was over.
“I understand,” North Korea said. He noted the look on her face and elaborated. “I cherish you, Cuba, so if you’re unhappy with our arrangement… Well, then we really should end it.” He smiled that smile again–pearly, pretty, fake.
She felt blood rush to her face.
North Korea–who would spew the wildest insults at someone for just looking at him wrong–couldn’t muster even one goddamn shred of rage at being dumped by his own girlfriend?
After they parted, Cuba flicked her cigarette to the ground and smashed it hard between her boot and the concrete.
She gravitated to him even after it was over. Even when she knew she shouldn’t.
They were talking in the parking lot just as the sun started to set. Venezuela was there too, but she hardly cared.
“Oh, look at this,” cooed the ugliest voice to ever grate against their ears. “It’s my three favorite failing socialist states all in one place. What a treat.”
Cuba greeted America with not one but two middle fingers as he approached.
“Please,” he said, “tell me I made it in time for the Juche study group!”
“You insect,” North Korea snapped, surprising everyone. “Not a second goes by that I am not keenly aware of the magnitude of grotesque destruction I can inflict upon you and your sniveling clan of gangsters. It is because of my mercy that you are able to stand before us now, spitting your filth and your provocations. Turn around and crawl away like the insignificant parasite that you are.”
As America burst into laughter, Cuba grabbed her chest.
The car radio was playing on low volume. Mars was looking down on them with fury, but it probably had nothing to do with how vigorously Cuba was throwing back liquor.
“I still love him, Mexico,” she slurred.
“I wish I could reach into my chest and rip all these stupid feelings out and fill them with bullets.”
“Do you know what was supposed to be the love of my life? The revolution. But then I realized that nothing embodies the revolution better than he does.”
Mexico’s eyebrows shot up. “Power in the hands of the people? Crush the government? Down with the state? That’s what North Korea embodies?”
“Of course you don’t get it.”
“He hates America. That’s why you like him. That’s the only reason why anyone likes him.”
She shut her eyes tightly as her forehead hit the steering wheel. “Just shut it. My opinion of you sinks lower and lower with each stupid word.”
“That right? You’re lucky my opinion of you hasn’t changed even after knowing you tried to bone North Korea. He’s got a bowl cut, Cuba.”
It’s not a bowl cut, she wanted to argue. Instead, she tried to block Mexico out by focusing on the music as she sat there with her lovesick head on the wheel.
Just as she was about to call it a night and joke that she was kicking Mexico out so he’d have to walk home, the horn blared. They jumped, looked at each other, and laughed.
Before anyone starts to think that North Korea is some jokey, all-bark-no-bite character, I would just like to reiterate something. The actual DPRK has nuclear weapons and even without them could inflict massive destruction through conventional warfare. Nothing he said in this is an exaggeration of reality. America may have been laughing, but in his mind, he found it much less funny.
Photoshop Brushes by <a href=”https://www.brusheezy.com”>Brusheezy</a>