I mix vodka with orange juice and call it breakfast. The alcohol will help me forget that I didn’t sleep last night. Or the night before. Is it nighttime right now? I can’t tell because I never open the curtains because if I do they will watch me and I’m afraid.
The Darien expedition to a mosquito-blighted swamp overlooked by forbidding mountains that separated the Pacific and Atlantic coasts was an utter disaster for Scotland.
This a guest post by fellow blogger babbitman, a funny English guy who writes brilliant short stories, among other cool things, on his blog. Check him out, show him some love.
The British Isles, 1690
Wales closed the door quietly behind her and walked across the oak-panelled room to the table where England sat brooding over a map of Europe. He looked up and, although her presence was acknowledged, declined to offer her a seat. It was good for her to know her place as the junior partner in their shared enterprise. He jabbed at the map.
“France has just raided again. Gave our fleet a bloody nose then sacked a port in Devon. And the Gallic swine is now trying to persuade Ireland to join in on his side, all while our Dutch allies are desperate for us to commit against France on the continent. And that’s ignoring the conflicts sparking off in the colonies.”
Wales cocked her head, knowing he hadn’t yet finished. “But there’s something else that’s bothering you?”
On a clear night like that, millions of stars speckled the inky canvas above. Snow crunched beneath America’s boots as he walked to the edge of Little Diomede island. He looked out across expanse of the Bering Strait and felt small. The world was silent. No waves lapping, no boats or birds. There was just ice, in sheets and chunks, hiding in the dark.
He was just about to exhale into the frigid night air to pretend that he was vaping when his cellphone rang.
“Hey, Russia,” he said before she could make a sound, “I know this is supposed to be like, a beautiful moment–and don’t get me wrong, it is–but I’m freezing my balls off over here.”
Imagine sharing a ride to Disneyland in a granny van with the Koreas, Japan, and China. Now, imagine wanting to shoot yourself. Those are basically the same two experiences.
Japan sat in the back, content with blocking out the world via sound-canceling earbuds and techno-pop. North Korea and South Korea shared the middle row of seats. (“I’m not sitting by him.” “Well, do you want to sit by Japan?” “Ugh.”). China was in the passenger seat because he’d been drinking in preparation for this. Taiwan manned the wheel, because she was the only sane one. According to her.
It wasn’t too long before the Koreas started fighting. North Korea’s cell battery drained faster than he’d expected, leaving him without anything to distract from his general displeasure with the world and everyone in it.
England and America sat at opposite ends of the couch, beers bottles and a pizza box between them. The thing was, you couldn’t ever look away from America when there was pizza. You’d grab two slices and there’d be six left. Look away for a second. Now there’s two slices left and he’s already eaten half of his share. How is that possible? England stopped asking fifty years ago.
America turned and asked, “How you been, man?”
“Oh, I mean…” England caught a funny look.
“Uh, right, okay. So I, uh, haven’t heard from you guys in a while, ‘cept a few business calls here and there. How’s everyone after the whole Brexit disaster? How’s Scotland? He okay?”
“Uhhhhh…” England stared into his glass. “You could say that.”
Scotland threw the curled newspaper at England. It nailed him in the chest before dropping to the ground. A headline screamed up at them: WE’RE OUT!
“You fucked me! You fucked me, you fucked me, you–“
“Come on, Scotland–“
“Do you know where you fucked me, England?”
“Please don’ say–“
“Right in the ass!”
“There it is.”
In the kitchen, Northern Ireland plopped a bottle of something down on the counter.
England had to squint. “Is that bleach?”
“It is,” Northern Ireland said. He poured two glasses. “Cheers.”