The G7 watched nervously as China and North Korea made off for the hallway to discuss nuclear weapons in private. When the two disappeared behind the door, an antsy America waited only a few seconds before zipping over to Russia and plopping down in an empty seat.
“Hey,” he whispered, leaning in close but not too close. “Are we cool?”
A confused Russia could only offer him a smile. “What?”
“I need to make sure we’re cool. Shit just got real and I really want–no, need–to know that you’re not gonna screw me.”
“America, you know that I hate screwing you.”
America snapped with his right hand before making a reinforcing shooting motion with his fingers in the shape of a gun. “That’s what I like to hear.” He paused, barely long enough to contemplate his words, before giving Russia a deadpan albeit earnest look. “I’ll be real with you. I know you have a soft spot for North Korea, or… something? But you and me? I feel like we’ve made really good progress in our political,” he almost stumbled on the word, “relationship.” He leaned in as he tried to fight the nausea setting in his stomach. “You feel the same way, right? So I’d really hate for the,” another stumble, “good thing we have to change just because North Korea finally got big kid toys.”
“I care about him because I’m a good mother,” Russia told America with a taut smile and folded hands. For a moment she didn’t say anything, but then she nodded her head. “I have some advice for you. If you don’t want to get ‘screwed,’ I’m not the one you should be worrying about.”
“Well, that’s not ominous.”
“We both want the same thing, America,” she said, words rolling out in a lull. “The sooner you find out what that is, the easier this will be.”
While America chewed on those words, Germany headed over to the row of desks designated for Central Europe.
“Switzerland,” he called as he approached the other, tired voice devoid of patience.
“Oh. Hello, Germany,” answered the stoic as he turned his head toward the other.
Germany cleared his throat, as if that might enable him to take control of the situation. “I think you know why I’m here.”
Switzerland began looking around, turning his head from one side to the other theatrically before asking, “Does someone here need a bailout?”
“No, Switzerland,” Germany pressed. “I’m here because you brought your gun into the conference room again and that is clearly a violation of the safety rules.”
“Oh, sorry,” he answered in his usual monotone, bringing a hand back to touch the rifle slung over his shoulder.
“Sorry! That’s all you have to say?”
“The hell you did.”
“God, this is so embarrassing,” said Switzerland with a straight face.
“Switzerland,” Germany almost groaned, “I just don’t understand how–!”
“Hey!” A somewhat spunky voice interrupted from behind Germany. “Switz, is he giving you trouble?”
When Germany turned around the strongest urge to sigh hit him immediately. “Hello, Liechtenstein.”
“No, I’m fine.” Switzerland assured, leaning forward to look past Germany. “He was just trying to get me to lend him money.”
Liechtenstein eyed up Germany accusingly. “Trying to take advantage of Switzerland, huh?” Something about the Liechtenstein’s attitude made him always sound so ready to throw a punch, despite his small stature.
“He’s trying his best not to be an economic disappointment,” Switzerland explained softly. “Bless his soul.”
Germany knew that some things were best left alone. This was one of those things. Luckily, he was saved by the cry of a haughty voice.
On the other side of Switzerland stood a woman with high cheekbones, trim eyebrows, and full lips despite their being usually pursed–like in the moment, for example. Her crossed arms and straight back suggested a supercilious demeanor, but her unnecessarily classy black gloves really topped off the whole gaudy look. Two narrow eyes pierced whoever was unfortunate enough to deserve their glare–like Germany, for example.
“Austria,” Germany acknowledged with a nod and flat tone.
“Austria,” Liechtenstein echoed, straightening his posture.
“Austria,” Switzerland added, not wanting to feel left out.
She demanded, “What’s all this fuss about North Korea and nuclear weapons?”
“Oh, speaking of…” said Germany, scrambling for an escape, “I need to get back to work.”
Austria grimaced, somewhat. “This is a critical situation. I highly suggest important European powers sit down and have a very serious discussion about this.”
Liechtenstein said, “France and England ran off to meet with the rest of the Security Council, didn’t they?”
“She said important,” Switzerland reminded him.
“Fine. We’ll connect with those two after they’ve had their fun fooling around,” Austria suggested. “Meanwhile, we need to find others to bring into this meeting. Let’s see…” She brought a gloved hand to her chin in thought. “Hungary, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Poland, Romania…. Perhaps Turkey,” but then added quickly, “if we’re feeling generous. I suppose we’ll have to include Russia even though I wouldn’t trust her one bit.” When she paused her hurried instructions, the two listening felt only relief.
Austria looked between Switzerland and Liechtenstein expectantly. “Well? What are you two still sitting there for? We have work to do!” Then she jerked her head from one side to the other, as if in search of something. “Where did Germany go? Germany? Germany! Get back here immediately and do something about Switzerland’s gun!”
North Korea and China entered the room with no discernible emotion on their faces and no words to greet their five expectant watchers. Even as the two took their seats, not a single word was spoken. But then North Korea leaned forward slightly, straightened his back, and folded his hands. Coolly, he looked between the five others sitting across the long desk. His firm gaze met the American directly in front of him. When he spoke his tone was agreeable, but the look in his eyes was not one of defeat.
But before any real progress, or lack of progress, could be made, an announcement from the moderator demanded the world’s attention.
From the podium, Germany boomed over the fierce clatter of diplomacy. “Everyone, I’d like to present the follow-up scenario now.” He cleared his throat, this time for effect. “The United States of America has just been destroyed by an all-out nuclear attack.”