Word games

“If you could eat anyone here, who would it be?”

Security Council meetings weren’t always productive. Nor were they usually fun. America decided to change that.

England looked up from his notes after a pause to bore a narrow, scrutinizing gaze into the American.

What?”

“If you could–no, if you had to–eat someone in this room, like in a survival situation, who would it be?”

England promptly went back to looking through his notes.  “Nobody dignify his question with an answer.” But Russia did.

“China,” she said. “Then England. Then France. Then America.” Nobody felt like telling her she’d broken the rules because they knew she wouldn’t care.

“I wouldn’t eat any of you,” scoffed France.

England scoffed right back. “And what makes you think anyone would eat you?”

China had been quietly struggling with himself about whether or not he’d participate in the game. Then he gave up. “Russia.”  

At this, the Russian nodded a few times knowingly. “Because I stand in the way of his world domination.”

“For me it’s easy,” America said, swiveling his chair obnoxiously. “China. Don’t have to pay him back if he’s dead.” The groans from around the table weren’t going to bring him down, and he flung forward in his seat. “Hey, hey, hey,” he shot off rapidly. “Let’s play FMK.”

Continue reading “Word games”

Realism

Canada stood on a rusted helipad and stared down into the ugly green waters of the North Sea. Its placid dreariness reminded her of the Hudson, and suddenly she felt very disappointed.

Sealand sat beside her, legs swinging lightly over the edge of the helipad. “So?” She asked, looking to Canada with expectant eyes. “What advice have you got for me? Oh, please tell me it’s better than America’s advice.” She lowered her voice, exaggerating both her tone and hand gestures. “If you want to be taken seriously, you could always do what North Korea does and threaten to blow shit up.” Canada smiled and shook her head.

“Here’s the thing,” she started, smile fading as she looked to the young micronation. “Everyone’s an asshole.”

Sealand nodded. “I realize that more and more every day.”

Canada continued. “History is made up of assholes. But so is the present, and the future will be too.” She paused, pursing her lips. “People hurt each other. We do it all the time. It’s not always on purpose. Sometimes it’s just…” Eyes narrowed as she pondered her words. “Sometimes treating people badly is considered an ‘oh well, can’t be helped.’ Like… a necessary evil in the conquest for power.”

“Power,” Sealand said quietly. “Makes the world go ‘round, doesn’t it?”

“Yeah. It seems that way. Not everyone wants to chase it, but… most do. Can’t really blame them, eh?” A pause. “You know, I used to wonder. Why will we do terrible things for money or resources or an advantage over someone else? I think that–I think that we try to be the strongest and richest and most influential so we can live as safely and as comfortably for as long as possible. We want to enjoy life to the fullest even if that means making questionable decisions. Because we’re all too aware that we won’t last forever. You know what they say. Even Rome–”

“Even Rome fell,” Sealand said along with her and Canada nodded.

“When we fight and lie and hurt each other, when we do anything and everything for power, we’re really just buying time–just a few more minutes to enjoy temporary glory. I’ve wondered… what good does that do? In the end, we all end up stories in history books. But… I guess some people don’t want to die as just a memory. They want a legacy.” She shook her head. “I dunno. Maybe there’s more to it than that. Maybe I just don’t get it. I might never be able to think about power the way America does.”

Quiet settled between them as they both stared at the green-grey water now gently splashing beneath them. After some time, Sealand cocked her head toward the other. “Are you an asshole too, Canada?” The North American looked to Sealand and tucked wind-whipped bangs behind an ear while shrugging.

“Only during hockey season.”

Read Behind the Scenes for a fun explanation of this story’s historical and political references.

Political Debrief no. 3

Tired of reading about politics? The ironically named Political Debrief brings you a different kind of news: countries doing things that are totally and completely human.

This week around the world:

– On Monday, Greece ominously stated in a Tweet that he would have a big announcement by the end of the week. On Saturday, he officially declared that he never once cried during Titanic. This was shocking to many, as everyone expected the announcement to be about bankruptcy.

– Iraq has officially been kicked out the Axis of Evil by his two counterparts and is no longer invited to group sleepovers.

– A flame war sparked between the United States and Denmark over which region, North America vs. Europe, was better at popular online game League of Legends. South Korea diffused the tension by assuring them that they both sucked.

tweet conversation between US, Japan, and South Korea

– Romania marathoned a bunch of 80s slasher films Friday night and told Poland that she “hadn’t laughed that much in years.”

– North Korea took an online quiz and discovered that he was a “Type A” person. Feeling violated and angry at the inaccurate diagnosis, he begrudgingly left his computer to get work done because wasting time is stupid and horribly inefficient.

– Mexico decided to liven up his domestic life by naming his trash can. Painted on the side are the words “United States of America.”

trash can named United States of America

Continue reading “Political Debrief no. 3”

Political Debrief no. 2

Tired of reading about politics? The ironically named Political Debrief brings you a different kind of news: countries doing things that are totally and completely human.

This week around the world:

– France had a minor existential crisis when he realized that the artwork in his home doesn’t awe him the way it did two hundred years ago.

– China began stockpiling headache medicine and herbal remedies. When Singapore asked why, she was told to “look at a map.”

– The United States and Canada had a heated argument about whether or not peanut butter should be refrigerated. Though the argument ended in a draw, both swear they’re the winner. (This was not dissimilar to their bagged milk argument from last month.)

peanut butter in fridge

– Mexico invested in a brand new pair of binoculars. They’re really nice binoculars.

– On Friday night Russia’s scarf got caught in a door and she tried to play it off, but Belarus’s cackling made it clear she hadn’t succeeded.

–  New Zealand’s Kiwi gave birth on Wednesday, but he is refusing to give Australia one of the babies until the Rugby World Cup is over.

kiwi bird

– North Korea finally sat down and tried to give the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album a listen. He had to stop three songs in, however, because the music was too hedonistic and embodied everything wrong with a free, capitalist society.

–  Switzerland has officially announced that he is holding a funeral for his desire to give a shit. It is, he says, long overdue.

– Japan considered decorating or painting her WiiU as a metaphorical way of masking her disappoint in it.

WiiU

Continue reading “Political Debrief no. 2”

It’s complicated

“America and Russia are friends with benefits. By benefits, I mean that they drive each other crazy and in this, they can enjoy utter insanity together.”

– China

When America stepped into Russia’s office he felt the same exact thing he’d felt in the ’60s–nausea. It was as ugly as it had been before, with its green carpet and paneled, beige walls. Nothing changed; not the bookshelves (probably) lined with discourse on socialist thought, not the sturdy oak desk, and not even the way it made him feel dead inside.

Russia looked no different either, her clothes just as black and her lips just as red. At her desk, she’d set up several yarn dolls dressed up to look like different countries and sporting the same soulless smile; there was Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and others.

America stared at her from the other side of the desk in a green leather chair that was as dated as the rest of the office. She said nothing as he watched–half memorized and half horrified–her as she gently fiddled with the dolls, straightening their clothes or fixing their hair.

It wasn’t until then that he noticed the marks on the desk. The little nicks and faint condensation rings were joined by long scratch marks that didn’t look like they were made by a human.

Finally he cleared his throat. Slowly Russia looked up at him, moving only her eyes. “Hello, America. These are my friends. They will be joining us for the meeting today.”

The nausea worsened. He shifted uncomfortably and wet his lips.

“Uh, Russia? I… look, I know the ’90s were hard on you, but…”

“Hm?”

“Those aren’t… those are dolls.”

Her eyes widened and there was something resembling guileless innocence on her face. It was awful.

She asked, “What do you mean? This is Romania, and this is Bulgaria, and this is–I know they’re just dolls!” Her sudden yelling made America jump. “I was testing you!”

He stared at her with big eyes, leaning back in his seat and gripping the arms of his chair tightly–like a slightly deranged cat staring down its enemy.

Russia threw her hands up and continued, “You come here so we can try to make friends, but we can’t do that if you think I’m crazy!”

America relaxed, just a little. “You realize this little thing you’re doing right now is making my suspicions that much stronger? And, whatever. I might think you’re crazy but you think I’m an idiot.”

“You are an idiot.”

After that, they both stared at their laps silently like the awkward frenimies they were. The sound of a ticking clock was just starting to get annoying when Russia finally spoke.

“Let’s start over,” she suggested.

America straightened his posture. “Alright. Hello, Russia. How are you?” He spoke slowly, painfully squeezing out feigned politeness.

Russia mirrored this. “I am fine, America. Thank you for asking. Did you happen to receive the pastila I sent you earlier this week?”

America’s eyebrows shot up. “I… I did. And I, I,” he stumbled, “definitely did not throw them away. They were… very delicious. Thank you.” When he took his eyes off her for just a second, he caught sight of the yarn dolls in his peripheral and a chill ran up his spine. He couldn’t decide which was worse to look at–them or her.

She forced a smile. “Oh. Please, it was my pleasure. I love sharing pieces of my culture with my friends.”

America’s jaw tightened. His fists clenched. The corner of his mouth twitched. His tongue fought with his brain, and if Russia would have looked hard enough she’d see sweat begin to form on his brow.

Don’t do it. Don’t say anything just–just keep it cool.

“Yeah?” He smiled, but it wasn’t the kind that someone would be happy to see. “You share other things with your friends? Like… like your authoritarian government and military oppression and failing ideology and–”

“America…”

“and–damn it!”

America scrambled for an apology, or at least something that could kind of resemble one, but Russia was already getting started with a rant of her own.

Later that day, the little whiteboard on the ugly beige wall would show that there have been 0 meetings since the last incident.

Pastila is Russian dessert, kind of like Turkish Delights.

Read this post’s Behind the Scenes to learn about the history that influences Russia’s and America’s behavior.

Political Debrief no. 1

Tired of reading news about politics? Political Debrief brings you a different kind of news: countries doing things that are totally and completely human. Fun pictures included.

This week around the world:

– The Nordic countries started their own heavy metal band. While they can’t decide on a name, they have told Finland that Weeping Swans of Eternal Carnage won’t work, probably because swans aren’t evil enough.

– The United States of America watched Sharknado 3 and mildly regretted his life choices.

– A kitchen fire Wednesday evening stirred up trouble in the United Kingdom. Scotland and England argued who was responsible while the stove immolated to death. Wales offered to pick up take-away, but found it difficult to hear the others tell her what they wanted over the fire alarm. Northern Ireland returned home only to be disappointed as usual.

pan on stove catches fire

– Australia admitted that even she has no idea what she’s saying sometimes.

– India spent thirty minutes looking for his glasses, only to realize they were on his head the whole time. Switzerland assured him that it “happens to the best of us.”

– In an amazing turn of events, Brazil beat South Korea at a real-time strategy game. The latter blamed it on “the lag.”

– Israel killed a really big spider and felt like a badass, but the triumph was quickly ended by that ‘omg it’s crawling on me’ feeling that haunted her for the next two hours.

1-2

– Egypt was caught dancing to Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off. He insisted that it “wasn’t what it looks like,” which confirmed that it was exactly what it looked like.

– On Tuesday, North Korea came into contact with a United States flag. He claims he still can’t feel his face. Where he got the flag, we don’t know.

– South Africa was put on the spot yesterday when a friend asked her what gift she’d gotten Kenya’s dog for the birthday party she had no idea it was having.

1-3

Stay tuned for another enthralling wrap up next Saturday.

Continue reading “Political Debrief no. 1”

MAD 5: Get yours, get mine

yellow grunge banner featuring radiation warning icon

“To the United States of America,

This is a formal declaration of war. Your insistence on shutting down my nuclear program threatens the peace and well-being of my country in the face of US and South Korean threat. Moreover, your false and aggressive accusations against me harm the stability of our relationship–which you seem to care little about. Rather than settle these disputes through diplomacy, you have chosen the violent path. If I have to fight to protect my sovereignty, I will.

P.S. Eat shit.”

China set the paper down and gave North Korea a deadpan look.  “I don’t think he’ll appreciate that.”

At China’s disapproval North Korea shrugged his shoulders lightly. “It’s a working draft.”

They were alone in a small office with an oak desk and a wall of bookshelves lined with novels and works by famous academics.They sat across from each other as they engineered the beginnings of a world war.

“I’ve talked with America,” China said. “He isn’t going to war until he knows exactly how much of a threat you pose.” He looked his friend in the eyes. “Do you really have a nuclear stockpile?”

“Yes.”

“How many?”

“Enough to kick his ass.”

“That’s not a number.”

North Korea paused and a quietness began to settle in. The longer he was silent, the more anxious China became and the more anxious China became, the harder he tried to hide it. Finally, the Korean smiled. It stirred a chilling terror in China’s chest and formed a knot in his stomach, wiping that stiff frown right off his face and causing his eyes to widen slowly.

“How many nuclear warheads do you have, North Korea?”

No response, just that smile.

“North Korea, how many nukes do you have?”

When North Korea said nothing again, China decided that World War 3 must absolutely never happen.

Continue reading “MAD 5: Get yours, get mine”