Gangsters and Rebels

This is a story of fervor and pain,
of two lovers in political chains.

featured image for the story Gangsters and Rebels

Have you ever found yourself in a terrible situation because of love? Mexico has. With his last breath drawing near, body wracked with pain as he lay dying in a pool of his own blood, he tries to remember the stupid decisions that lead up to this point so he can regret them one last time.

PROLOGUE

The Cold War divided the world harshly,
Ambitious superpowers came to rise,
Two blocs, two kings, two ideologies,
seeking total dominance as their prize.
The United States had an obsession:
full control of the Western Hemisphere,
While the USSR sought possession
of Eastern Europe and everyone near.
Many were caught in this raging feud,
Some of them were willing, fueled by rancor,
while others were victims of turpitude,
manipulated, used in proxy wars.
This is a story of fervor and pain,
of two lovers in political chains.

SCENE I. Some ambiguous public place, 1978.

Enter North Korea and Vietnam, armed with guns and the spirit of socialism

North Korea
Vietnam, if jealousy was not beneath me, I might envy you.

Vietnam
Did my victory over the American devil not inspire you?

North Korea
Oh, it did. I am well into making plans for the reunification of Korea.

Vietnam
That is fine, but I’m not sure I would rush into another war if I were you.

North Korea
Do you think I’m rash? I’m not. I’m in full control of my emotions 100% of the time.

Enter South Korea and Australia

Vietnam
Korea, why are you reaching for your gun? Don’t create a needless provocation, please.

North Korea
I’ll just make a gesture at them, then. Hmmm, this one?

He makes an O with his thumb and index finger then slides his other index finger into the hole.

Vietnam
I don’t think that means what you think it means.

North Korea
Argh.

He gives up and raises his middle finger at them

South Korea
Hey, nerd, did you just flip us off?

North Korea
No, no, I was directing it at those trees behind you. Sister, how is your health? I imagine that the constant bowing to American dominance must strain your back.

Australia
Oi, why don’t come over here and try that again, ya little wombat?

Vietnam
Watch your tongue, bourgeois trash.

South Korea
Does an ironic air of superiority come with the whole Marxism thing? Is that part of the packaged deal together with breadlines and rampant poverty?

They fight

Enter many countries of both groups who join in, sparking an all-out brawl

Some Capitalist
How are you real communists if you buy things?

Some Communist
Nice praxis, whitey.

Enter England and China

England
Alright, alright, enough of this! Fighting in the streets like thugs . . . Have some dignity, people.

China
For once, the bastard is right. This is no way to conduct yourselves.

England
Oh, listen to you! You acted like a hero because you played for the winning team, then turned right around and crawled into bed with some hoax of an ideology.

China
The only hoax is the belief that you are still a relevant world power.

They fight

Exeunt all, still brawling

SCENE II. The Western Bloc HQ.

Enter Colombia

Colombia
Mexico? Is that you staggering around?

Enter Mexico

Mexico
Is it destiny, or is it just a game . . . ?

Colombia
Something tells me you’re not well.

Mexico
How about that? Something is right.

Colombia
What troubles you, cousin?

Mexico
I’ve been trying to get with Cuba for years, but ever since America messed everything up, they hate each other so much that I can’t even look at her without him losin’ his mind.

Colombia
I think he wants you all to himself.

Mexico
Yeah, me and everyone south of me. You know that includes you, right? God, what time is it?

Colombia
Nine in the morning.

Mexico
Is it really only nine?

Colombia
Has your aching heart stretched out the hours?

Mexico
No, but my hangover has.

Colombia
I think I know what might make you feel better.

Mexico
Bottoms up.

Colombia
Put the tequila down. I know a secret, okay? The communists are throwing a party tonight. What do you say we crash it?

Mexico
You wanna die?

Colombia
I’m serious. This gives you the perfect excuse to see Cuba, yeah? We’ll go the party, we’ll drink alcohol we don’t have to pay for, we’ll overhear things we shouldn’t overhear, and we’ll tell America that we spied on the dirty Reds for his benefit.

Mexico
You’re alright sometimes.

Exeunt

SCENE III. Communist Bloc HQ, Cuba’s office.

Enter Cuba and Russia.

Russia
Don’t be difficult, dear. You’re thinking of this as a big engagement, but that’s no true. All I’m asking is that you marry Angola.

Cuba
He’s a good man, but . . .

Russia
Oh, could there be someone else? Cuba! Surely they aren’t someone you have no business pursuing?  Surely that someone can’t possibly be my beautiful, virginal son who you know is completely unavailable and–

Cuba
Alright, I get it! Does nothing escape you? Anyway, what if I marry someone from the other side so that I can persuade them to join our cause? What about Mexico? He has potential. I can use the history of bad blood between him and the United States to our advantage.

Russia
Oh, absolutely not! I admire your scheming, but you can’t possibly marry one of them. But Angola, you see, is a lovely, blossoming socialist state who would benefit greatly from your continued support and guidance.

Cuba
I’m not ready for this level of commitment, Russia. Let me think about it, alright?

Exeunt

SCENE IV. The Communist party club.

Enter Colombia and Mexico

Colombia
See? We’re not dead.

Mexico
So far.

Enter North Korea

North Korea
You brazen pigs.

Mexico
Okay, here we go.

North Korea
I should eviscerate both of you where you stand.

Mexico
Go ahead. Do me a favor.

Enter Russia

Russia
Ahh, and what do we have here? Two little spies in our midst?

Colombia
We’re just here for the booze.

Russia
I tease, of course. You are welcome here, for my home and heart are open to all who wish to embrace communism and enter into my loving Union.

Colombia
We’ll think about it, thanks.

North Korea
Russia, these jackals can’t be trusted.

Russia
Someone’s a saucy boy tonight! Come, let our guests enjoy the party.

Exeunt Russia and North Korea

Mexico
Are you uncomfortable too?

Colombia
This is where we part ways so you can work your charm on poor Cuba and I can schmooze until I find out which ones are the coffee drinkers.

Exit

Mexico
Hey, don’t leave me alone with these freaks!

Enter Cuba

Cuba
I didn’t expect to see the floor fill up with trash this early.

Mexico
Ouch.

Cuba
Thin-skinned?

Mexico
Insults hurt more when they come from a beautiful mouth.

Cuba
You’re bad at this, Mexico.

Mexico
I’m barely trying.

Cuba
I’ll give you some advice. The garden in the back, it’s beautiful this time of year. Everything is in bloom.

Exit

Mexico
Garden, huh?

Exit

SCENE V. The garden.

Enter Colombia and Mexico

Colombia
Where do you think you’re going? Let’s leave before the jittery guy finds us again.

Mexico
I have a mission, cousin, a higher calling.

Colombia
You’re thirsty.

Mexico
Yeah, very.

Colombia
Don’t do anything stupid, alright? If you’re not back by tomorrow afternoon, I’m coming to rescue you.

Exit

Mexico
No promises.

Enter Cuba, daydreaming about marrying someone who isn’t Angola

Mexico
Cuba? Hey, is that you? If you’re not Cuba, then ignore this. I’m just a friendly ghost.

Cuba
Argh, what’s wrong with you? It was just starting to get interesting.

Mexico
You’re the one who led me back here! Now, is there a reason for this secret rendezvous, or did you just want to see if I’d come?

 Cuba
Don’t get ahead of yourself. You open to the idea of marriage?

Mexico
Holy hell.

Cuba
Let me break this down for you. I’m in love with someone who doesn’t love me. Russia wants me to marry someone I don’t want to marry. I like you more than I think I should, and you like me more than anyone wants you to. So, let’s do ourselves a favor.

Mexico
Okay, that’s a lot to unpack.

Cuba
Take your time, handsome. Go slow if you need to.

Mexico
How would we get away with this? Supreme Asshole might just kill us both.

Cuba
I’d like to see him try.

Mexico
And what about Russia? You’re telling me she’d just shrug it off? I’ve heard she’s very particular about people falling in line.

Cuba
I’m not afraid of Russia, I’m not afraid of America, and if we play our cards right neither of them will have to find out. We’ll say our vows where no else can hear them and we’ll keep quiet about the alliance. When all of this is over and my side wins, then we will share the good news. During the ceremony, you can denounce your loyalty to the United States, beg for forgiveness, and pledge yourself to the revolution. I might even kiss you.

Mexico
I can’t wait.

Cuba
There’s a fire escape nearby. Climb it and you’re a short jump away from the balcony. Convenient, isn’t it?

Mexico
You got drinks up there?

Cuba
Yeah, among other things.

Exeunt Mexico and Cuba

SCENE VI. Outside the club.

Enter Mexico, walking along with a pep in his step

Mexico
Summer lovin’, had me a blast . . . Summer lovin’, happened so fast . . .

Enter Colombia

Colombia
You’re alive!

Mexico
The darkness has been lifted.

Colombia
I think I understand what you’re saying.

Mexico
Last night I was able to gather some intel on Cuba.

Colombia
Such as?

Mexico
Her sense of “leadership” is very authoritative. Direct, aggressive, commanding. Very commanding.

Colombia
Of course it is, she’s a communist. You’ll have to do better than that if you want to impress America.

Mexico
You ever think about how we wouldn’t even be in this ass-backward Shakespearean shitshow if it weren’t for him?

Colombia
Yes, always. Now, let’s head back . . .

They hear rowdiness and gunshots in the distance

Mexico
Ah, the sounds of strife.

Exeunt

Scene VII. The town plaza

Enter a horde of capitalists and communists engaged in yet another brawl

Some Capitalist
Does being poor and constantly bitter ever get exhausting?

Some Communist
Careful, or we’ll come for your toothbrushes.

Enter Mexico and Colombia

Colombia
Shall we dance?

Mexico
Don’t have much of a choice.

Enter Angola

Angola
Mexico! You heinous rat bastard.

Mexico
Rat bastard? That’s a good one.

Colombia
I like it.

Angola
I know what you did to Cuba last night.

Mexico
Cuba who?

Angola
You seduced her so you could steal her secrets while she was emotionally vulnerable and susceptible to persuasion.

Mexico
Wait, wait wait, is that what she said? What else did she tell you?

Angola
She hasn’t said a word, but Russia found out.

Mexico
Funny, I was specifically told that wouldn’t happen.

Angola brandishes a knife

Colombia
Whoa, whoa. You’re picking the wrong fight, friend. Maybe you should direct that anger at your convictions if one of your own was so willing to fraternize with the enemy.

Mexico
Angola, I hate to break it to you, but Cuba is just not into you.

Angola
Lying comes so easily to you, doesn’t it? One of you will die, I promise you this. Our secrets will not reach America’s ears.

He makes a wild stab and the knife plunges into Colombia’s stomach

Colombia
Oh, this doesn’t feel great.

He falls

Mexico
You bastard!

He takes out his own knife and pierces Angola

Angola
Ahh, I am slain.

He falls

Colombia
Mexico, I think this is it.

Mexico
You’re gonna quit on me, just like that?

Colombia
I’ll be back to haunt you, don’t you worry.

Mexico
You better.

Colombia
Listen, I need you to promise something, okay? I know all this fighting may seem senseless, but do you really want a future where the whole world is a USSR?

Mexico
Oh, god.

Colombia
Exactly. You have a complicated history with America, I get that, but please keep fighting for democracy, or whatever he’s calling it now. . . Please, Mexico . . . If anything, fight for an end to all of this . . .

He dies

Mexico
Shit shit shit shit shit shit . . . !

Enter Cuba

Cuba
Die, fascist pigs!

She unleashes a spray of lead upon the enemy

Mexico
Cuba!

He ducks under the gunfire and crawls over to her

Cuba
Mexico? Stand back! Can’t you see we’re trying to bash the fash?

Mexico
Angola killed Colombia.

Cuba
He did? Heh, nice.

Mexico
Then I killed Angola.

Cuba
Son of a bitch.

Mexico
We’re dying because we can’t agree on which power-hungry sociopath trying to rule the world is the right one. Look around, Cuba. America and Russia aren’t here. This is their fight, but they’re not the ones dying for it.

Cuba
Don’t be so stupid. This was never about them. Everything that’s happened since 1917 has been a struggle between the future and the past, a fight to challenge a way of life based upon greed and theft and war and inequality. You tell us that our people are starving while we get fat off their suffering? Open your eyes and see that your people starve too. The only difference is that you capitalists think they deserve it. You say that it’s just how the market works, that maybe if the people had just been a little more ambitious, a little more entrepreneurial, they wouldn’t have died in the streets like animals. Meanwhile, your billionaires erect casinos and tell their underpaid workers to make sure there are no windows facing the homeless shelters, for fear that may lower the property value. But do you know what I say? To hell with your double standard.

Mexico
Cuba, look at everything you’ve done–everything you’re doing. You really think you’re on the right side of history?

Cuba
I know that I am, but are you? The United States is a criminal and you’re complicit. The blood on his hands trickles down and stains you too. I thought you were different, but–

Mexico
Watch out!

He jumps in front of her then crumples to the ground

Cuba
Did you just take a bullet for me?

Mexico
Judging by all this blood, yeah.

Cuba
Why?

Mexico
Love, probably?

Cuba
Even after everything I said?

Mexico
I must be crazy, right?

Enter North Korea

North Korea
Cuba, are you okay?

Mexico
Thanks to me. By the way, you might wanna duck.

North Korea
Oh?

Cuba
Korea!

She jumps in front of North Korea to block a bullet, then crumples to the ground

North Korea
Cuba, you saved me . . .

Cuba
That’s what comrades are for.

North Korea drops to his knees beside her

North Korea
Stay strong, I’ll get help–

Cuba
It’s too late for me . . . Korea, you have so much passion and vigor . . . I know that you’ll do great things for the revolution . . . Give the American bastard hell for me, okay?

Mexico
Hello?

Cuba
Right. I should probably spend my last moments with you.

Mexico
I mean, it’d be nice.

Cuba
Korea, give us a minute?

North Korea leaves to jump back into the fight

Mexico
You ever imagine you’d die this way? I’ve been alive for centuries and, yet, this still feels like it’s too soon.

Cuba
Maybe in another life, one where you stand up for the right beliefs, this could have worked, things could have been different.

Mexico
I was going to say maybe in another life where we weren’t torn apart by ideological differences and pitted against each other by opposing superpowers, but sure.

Cuba
Heh . . . You’re not too bad for a heartless capitalist.

She reaches out for him

Mexico
And you’re not too bad for a dirty commie.

He takes her hand and they die together

Enter America and Russia, and the fighting freezes

America
So what’s the deal? We winnin’ or what?

Russia
I felt as though a piece of my soul was ripped from me just now. Did something happen to one of my beautiful children?

North Korea
Someone attempted to take my life, but Cuba sacrificed herself to block the bull–

Russia
Oh, thank goodness you’re okay!

She wraps him in a crushing hug

England
(Aside to America) Well, Mexico’s gone and died. Colombia too–

America
Mexico? Mexico’s dead? Aww, goddamnit, I liked him! There was still so much I wanted to tell him, so many socialist uprisings we could have crushed together . . .

Russia
It pains me deeply to see my beloved family hurt on the battlefield this day.

America
Russia, this is our fault. For the past thirty years, all we’ve really been doing is encouraging violence and hatred, and for what? Ideological differences? In trying to become the super-est superpower, we light ourselves on fire and forget that it burns everyone around us–foes and friends alike.

Russia
You are uncharacteristically speaking with intelligence and this stirs my heart, as well as my loins.

America
If it weren’t for our petty power struggle, for our senseless feuding, Mexico and Cuba would be alive right now.

Russia
Perhaps this “war” has gone on far too long and the world has suffered far too much.

America
There’s still a chance to make this right, to make sure our allies don’t die in vain. If we give up our ambitions–if we say to hell with our selfish, blood-soaked conquest to become the most powerful being in the world, and if we choose peace, give detente a chance, we can end this right, right now. No more death, no more fear, no more teetering on the brink of apocalypse and nuclear annihilation for the sake of dominance and greed. What do you say?

Russia
America . . .

America
Nah, just kidding. I’m gonna fuckin’ destroy you.

Russia
Not if I bury you first!

Notes

Writing in this style was pretty fun, but I am never attempting another sonnet ever again.

Don’t read too much into this stuff because a lot of it was fictional BS. This story was inspired, however, by the Mexico-Cuba Wikipedia article and how it was written in such a way that made the relationship sound a lot like Romeo and Juliet.

Author: Allison Black

Allison is an author, nerd, and international relations major who loves bad political jokes. When she's not writing or gushing about global affairs, she's playing video games. One day she will have a Ph.D., speak Korean fluently, and command an army of chihuahuas.

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