Alaska was cold at this time of year.
But then again, when was it not?
Senator Bubble stood up, raised his finger in the ear, and immediately commenced to rant and rave.
“We are sick and tired,” he roared, “of weak enemies trying to act tough and push us around!”
Roarsome, rough approval.
Bubble picked up a delicate Russian doll (specially crafted to be as shattersome as possible for this highly memorable act of radical political performance theatre) and hurled it to the groud.
A pin’s drop or two of awestruck silence.
All of a sudden, a roar so deafening many a television viewer jumped for shock, to hear the myriad voices. Like a thousand-cattle slaughterhouse on a San Martín festival more fit for pigs than men, the shrieks and squeals and hideous, frightful bellows threatened to turn the universe.
Saul Friedman finally found the graveyard. This dyspraxia was a real frickin’ bummer! Now where in the fuck-damn shitty little…
Saul gaped in horror.
Big Xian’s grave had been desecrated! An ugly Dharmo-Nazi Swastika had been sprayed all over the tombstone. Some rotten Dim Sums had been mocking scattered around the grave, and various soiled and shredded pictures of Fun Manchu, Charlie Chan and Ho Chi Minh (did they not even have the decency to know the difference?!) had been stapled to a crude effigy of Saul’s intellectual namesake, a Milton without ‘a Paradise to be gained,’ but certainly not without ‘a hell to be shunned.’
Saul raised his eyes to the steaming heaven and roared.
Marcus Bubble’s aide tried once more in vain to get the Senator’s attention.
The raving demagogue didn’t even satisfy him with a glance in his direction.
We all hate all these pathetic losers and cowards who dishonour our nation! Nobody has any idea what these Russian morons are trying to achieve. But I tell you what! For what it’s worth, I am NOT gonna tolerate this, this utter crap any longer! They want their trade war? Mr Stoliniev wants his trade war? Ah, Mr Kirilliev? Whatever! You want your fuckin’ trade War, Kirri boy? Well, you’re gonna get your trade war! Be careful what you fuckin’ wish for, asshole!
Pause for effect.
One minute or so.
Does ‘em good!
Alright everybody! Gives us a Da Komrad, if you think we’re gonna put with this utter hateful, unpatriotic CRAP any longer? What’s that! Hey! I CAN’T HEAR YOU! Where are all the unpatriotic Russkiebots!
Oh, what’s that? Oh, be careful you don’t end up with some bad conseq… Oh well hey! That guy is getting beaten! C’mon, stop hitting him. He’s suffered enough. The CIA will find out later what he’s been doing.
Where are all my Da, Komrads? Hey hey hey! Naaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!
Alright! So where are all my ‘Bankrupt Moscows?’
Woo-hooooooooooooooo! That’s it, baby! Do this shit now!
I am GOING TO BANKRUPT Moscow, and aaalll the Russians are GONNA COME DOWN TO US ON BENDED KNEE…
And BEG FOR FORGIVENESS!
That’s right! BEG!
Should we let ‘em off?
Gales of horrible, hideous laughter.
“Let ‘em starve!” shrieks one.
Let ‘em starve! WOOOOOOOOO!
Let’s go with that one!
Can I make ‘em starve, people?
YES I CAN! YES I CAN! YES I CAN!
Are you gonna Bankrupt Moscow, Baby?
The only reply possible, really…?
“YES WE WILL! YES WE WILL! YES WE WILL!” the morons roared.
“You have beheld the melting of the snowflakes: this is the day our economy surges, and our Republic begins to roar! You can see that I am the one you are hoping for!”
The crowd shrieked like goblins.
“YES WE DO! YES WE DO! YES WE DO!” they dinned.
An ambitious young girl clutched her heart. She saw herself enthroned upon the White House, with the riches of the Holy House of Peron around her neck, and a shining crown of blood upon her golden hair. ‘The Mansion of the Common Good,’ she breathed. ‘The Spiritual Economy will be restored. Wisdom, Wisdom, Jnana, Gnosis. The Global Village is my Father, Our Common Humanity is my Mother. And when I return to my rightful abode, it shall be said that Justice will be the father of a daughter glorious. From Peking to Paris, the flight of Justice shall finally descend upon the beauty of my head. Beware ye then, of the wounds of the innocent!’
Bubble still had not even finished. But she was lost to the world.
Honest Adolph blinked. ‘Really, Deborah?’ he said. ‘The Chinese Communist Party have decided to embrace the Socialist Humanism Reconstruction Project? Well, at this rate, they will soon overtake us, as we really do seem to be on a little bit of a backward trend.’
‘How the mighty have fallen,’ she sighed.
‘Well… I trust at least we may be found worthy to cling on,’ he murmured.
Willow looked down and furrowed her brow.
They fell into silence.
‘I feel like I’m falling,’ she whispered in her heart, ‘and I don’t know how far I have to fall. Perhaps forever.’
Adolph’s mind was drawn to Saul.
Those precious moments sat around the campfire in Yunnan province, the land of eternal spring.
So long, Marianne.
And of course, greatest and most grand and majestic, as gorgeous, gleaming, glorious as the ship Uncle Len brought before our eyes in the song itself:
That was the one song Saul had refused to sing.
Willow, half delirious with joy, had pressed Saul to her, and in unbelieving wonder, Adolph was fit to swear she was about to melt his heart once and for all.
After a brief pause, Saul had angrily (if almost wondrous tenderly, after a fashion) swiped her hand away.
She was there now.
Willow’s flushed cheeks faded.
She gawped open mouth at Saul, as he stood quivering, quivering, shaking, struggling to contain himself before the fire.
Adolph gently intoned, ‘Saul.’
Saul kicked over his Qingdao and ran into the night, too furious to speak.
Willow was inconsolable.
From that month onward and evermore, she never had a period again.
Bubble held up a giant ballot paper, which he doused with some curious-smelling liquid and set alight.
‘Throw the Czar down the well!’ he shouted, as the crowd collapsed in laughter.
In not-so-perfect union, Deadbeat Lynton and the Saville Twins struck up a rousing rendition of ‘This ballot papers sets bears on fire!’
The glimmer of the fire was mirrored in the eyes of little Deirdre.
One day, she swore, she would be the liberator of Our Common Humanity, and the final, fatal bane of those who so deeply callously, cruelly, indifferently, robbed the All of her rightful praise and property.