Riding the F*cktrain

A illustration of Russia and America

It’s November 30, 2016. The US presidential election has roiled tensions between America and Russia. In the wake of a nuclear weapon test, the Security Council seeks to slam North Korea with some of the toughest sanctions yet.


“See,” Canada explained to Australia as they strolled through the Conference Building, “America and Russia have a complicated relationship. Diplomacy is like a high stakes game. You know, they’re both trying to outdo each other, there’s subversion, there’s mind games. It’s like two chess masters at work, like Moriarty and Sherlock–”

She was interrupted by the sounds of arguing ahead.

It was America, hung over the railing and shouting down at someone below.

“You’re really in the shit now, baby. You really dicked yourself hard this time, bud.”

A harsh laugh traveled up. Russia’s voice was unmistakable.

“Oh, what, more sanctions?! Do you know what your sanctions feel like to me? Wet noodles! Slap me again and again and I feel nothing.”

“Eat my ass, Russia.”

“Oh, I will.”

Canada turned to Australia, smiled sheepishly, and then excused herself.

***

China tapped on the car window. The glass so heavily tinted that if it weren’t for the booming K-pop, it’d be impossible to tell if anyone was inside.

He knew his tapping, which at that point bordered excessively, was being ignored. But he also knew that with this particular person, diligence was necessary.

And it paid off when slowly the window rolled down. North Korea sat looking forward, expression hidden behind thick sunglasses. He made no move, uttered no sound. All the while, a female popstar rapped fervidly through expensive woofers.

Finally, after a long and deliberate pause, he cut the music.

“China,” he said with a small and purposeful hint of annoyance, “can’t you see I was in the middle of something very important–”

“2321 passed.”

“You jackals!” North Korea shrieked, jerking forward. He paused to straighten his glasses and pat down his heavily moussed hair. “Of course,” he said coolly, “you won’t follow through.”

China lifted an eyebrow. “If you’re referring to the sanctions, I’m afraid I’ll have to disappoint you.”

“China, if you, at all, cared about disappointing me, our history would look very different.”

***

On the way to dinner, America crossed paths with England.

“How ya livin’, Brexit boy?”

England didn’t bother looking back. “Much better than you right now, I’m sure.”

“Oh, no, we’re riding this fucktrain together.”

“Then remind me to murder the conductor.”

In a nearby office, South Korea had her laptop open and a half-empty box of wine at her side.

It was actually her second box of wine, but, she told herself, the first one didn’t really count because she’d shared some with Cuba.

(Actually, it wasn’t that she even willingly shared.  Cuba, both looking like and acting like a sleep-deprived, neurotic mess,  walked in, saw the wine, said, “Hey, let me have some of that shit?” drank directly from the tap, and then walked off like nothing had happened.)

A notification popped on the computer.

“Oh, good, an email from my brother,” South Korea said to herself, and maybe any hidden surveillance nearby. “And it’s got an audio file. Cool. Ninety-nine percent chance this is a virus,” she said, clicking it anyway.

Upon opening the file, the room filled with the melodious voice of Pat Benatar.

We belong to the light, we belong to the thunder
We belong to the sound of the words we’ve both fallen under
Whatever we deny or embrace for worse or for better
We belong, we belong, we belong together

After sitting there listening to the song, which could not have been about anything other than reunification, and wondering if this was a threat, a promise, a plea, or something else entirely, the only words that she could utter to truly capture her emotional state were:

“Oh, no.”

***

“I’m scared, Switzerland.”

They sat across from each other in a small booth tucked into the corner of a small restaurant. Switzerland was staring directly into a cup of coffee that he was stirring with a stick of lemon almond biscotti.

“You have to stir carefully,” he said, ignoring America’s presence altogether. “Slowly… gently.. tender, very tender…”

“Switzerland, come on, I’m trying to be serious here. Cut that biscotti shit out.”

Switzerland froze, so completely that he could have passed for a mannequin. America sat there with growing unease until he couldn’t take it any longer.

“Fine. Keep going.”

“You’ll have to forgive me, America,” Switzerland said, resuming the stirring. “When I think of the almond I sometimes, ah, get lost in the sauce, as they say.  Please continue, though I cannot promise that I won’t succumb to the sauce once again.”

“Okay…” America shifted in his chair. “Well, this kinda thing never really happens with me but I’m worried about the future and what I’m about to become.”

Switzerland then lifted the biscotti out of the coffee and begin to inspect it like it were a handcrafted work of art.  He said, “What people become is usually a reflection of what they have been, and what they are.  You know, you should really think about how your own weaknesses allowed this to happen. Get it? Spend less time worrying about what’s going to happen and more time confronting your flaws so that it doesn’t have to happen again.”

“But–”

“Creamy, so creamy…”

America got up and grabbed his coat. “Thanks. I actually feel worse now.”

“We have to feel worse in order to feel better.” Then Switzerland lifted something up to America. “Biscotti?”

“Not from you.”


Notes

Fidel Castro died on November 25th.

At this point in 2016, both South Korea (and Brazil) was experiencing turmoil due to political scandals, hence the urge to drink. People of both countries sought to oust their corrupted leaders and succeeded. Interesting contrast; while the American democracy was being brutalized, South Korea and Brazil experienced democratic triumphs. Read more about it here: South Korea / Brazil

In June 2016, the UK experienced political uncertainty and strife following the Brexit Referendum, which decided that the UK was going to leave the EU. Whether or not they’ll still want to by the time they’re supposed to leave in 2019, I dunno. Either way, the decision sent a wave of upset throughout Europe. There’s a lot written on this so I will just point you to the BBC, which explains it better than I can.

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