or: If you don’t seek help today, America, then you cannot have any contact with any of us; that includes Canada
The mediator can feel the tension, and knows the outcome if the pressure is not released. With a deliberate cough and throat clearing that could have easily been a thunderclap in the silence, he decides to begin. We can distract them long enough until it is time for the guest of honor to arrive, he thinks with a well-established lump in his throat.
“OK, well, while we’re waiting I would like to go over a few things so we are all on the same page and we can present a united front.”
“Sure, that won’t make him nervous, us, a united front, haha.” pipes up one of the more doubtful figures in the room. The mediator knows that this was the sentiment of a lot of the people in the room, doubt. It was confirmed by the flutters of laughter that went up in the room.
“C’mon, Canada, that’s not constructive.”
“Well, Switzerland, what do you think America is going to think when he walks in this room and sees all of us circled up in here, aye? I have got ten bucks says his first instinct is to pull on us and throw bombs, troops, and aircraft carriers at all of us.”
Libya shifts in his chair accompanied by a creak from the floor while he stirs his coffee distractedly.
“I’m sorry, Libya, that was low. I know you’re suffering through that right now.” Canada tentatively puts a supportive hand on his shoulder. “See what is happening here, Switzerland? We are not ready for this. If we are going to talk to America it needs to be one on one during diplomatic visits and in the U.N. like we should. We can form resolutions, take a strong line verbally with America, maybe that will be enough if we just…”
Switzerland cuts him off, taking control of the meeting again. “Hey, you know that is not going to work. America has a history of manipulating all of you in to doing his bidding or bending to his will. Strong words mean nothing to a super power of deception and war-profiteering on the level of America.” Switzerland looks every person in the circle in the eye as he speaks. “This is an intervention, to tell America how much we love him, but to tell him that his love hurts us more and more and we all suffer. We’re an international community, we’ve got a lot of history with America in this room, and we need to tell him exactly how we feel and give him no choice but to get help, or we will never speak to him again.” Everyone shifts with a chorus of creaks and half-coughs as their coffee or glazed donut command all of their attention.
“Vietnam, don’t you want to speak your piece? Tell America how the Agent Orange, the village burnings, the rape of your country, the after effects of use of chemicals, effected you? Don’t you want to express how the change in warfare in Vietnam hurt you?”
Vietnam half-heartedly agrees with a shrug of his shoulders and unintelligible sounds of agreement.
“What about you, Iraq? Afghanistan, you’ve been occupied against your will for nearly ten years, you must have some feelings to express. And you, Japan, Germany, Italy, Mexico? You all have stories of how America’s love of ‘democracy’ and even Manifest Destiny has effected you.” Switzerland looks around the room and smiles. “I see strength in this room, a room united to give America the help it needs so badly. Today, with your bravery and willingness to express how America has hurt you most, we can get America the help it needs and turn America in to an international participant, not the bully that it is now.”
The whole room stops what their doing as a large guffaw sounds from outside, in the driveway. All eyes turn to the front door as a pair of foot steps can be heard on the walkway and a loud and obnoxious voice floats through the wood and glass to be heard by the room’s occupants. Lumps appear in throats as fight-or-flight syndrome begins to hum in the back of the minds of a few of the intervention’s participants.
The British accent of England can be heard between the boisterous words of the other man, America. As the rough sound of wiping feet on the welcome mat can be heard, the silhouettes of the two men fall on the stained-glass in the front door, bathing their forms in a colorful mosaic that was disarming, knowing what both men had been capable of over the years. The door handle signals a grip, and as it swung open slowly, everyone braced for impact.
“HA HA HA HA! That’s a good one, you Limey SOB! I remember the last time I was in the Philippines I had about 1,000 Pesos burning a hole in my pocket and desire rippin’ a hole in my jockeys…” America finally looks in on the group of people in the room as his chiseled jaw goes slack and pupils dilate with the rush of adrenalin. His now gaunt face darts between England on his left, a gentle grip around America’s shoulder giving the impression of ‘you’re not leaving’ while being reassuring, and then back at the group a few times.
“What the hell is this, Limey!? I thought this was a bachelor party you were bringin’ me to. If I didn’t know any better…”
“OK, let’s all take our seats.” Switzerland gets up as everyone sits back down. The confidence is palpable at this point. Switzerland looks to the one person who hasn’t spoken yet, England. England looks back and nods knowingly, it was his turn. Switzerland now sits as England stands and takes a place in front of America from across the semi-circle. America looks a bit hurt now, a little shaky and a little weaker, his rough and prickly exterior replaced by slightly dropped shoulders and arms no longer folded now laying in his lap awkwardly fiddling. His best friend is now about to tell him what-for. This must be tough.
“OK, well, here goes nothing, g’vnor. Listen, America, you know I think you’re great. You’re like my best mate, ya know? Think of all the wars we have fought together, how many times you’ve bailed me out, or how many times I have gotten your back when everyone else was against you…Sorry about that, Iraq.” Iraq nods and waves a hand dismissively. “We go back a long time, I know we don’t like to talk about it, but you know we were once one in the same. You were our most favorite colony. I mean, bloody hell, you were the arm of the queen’s country across the world. We made you, you can’t doubt this. Without us you wouldn’t be. You wouldn’t be the brash, loud, and ridiculously pompous country you are. I’m kinda proud of you, but I am ashamed a bit, too. If it weren’t for you declaring independence you’d sill be ours, and maybe things wouldn’t be how they are, you wouldn’t be the schoolyard bully you are.”
America has sulked visibly as he listens to his best friend call him a monster. Eyes wrapped in cellophane tears, the emotion is only just being held back.
“America, you know I love you, and in the past I would have stood behind you, supporting you with troops and whatever you needed, even if you wanted to invade Australia. If you decided that the world no longer needed France you know we would be right there with you, saying it is the right thing to do and that history will justify the demolition of the Eiffel Tower, pretentious wank, that thing. But you have changed, and you have dragged me in to so many crazy capers and adventures like some insolent Huck FInn, that you can’t even script the kinds of things we have done together. Iraq, Afghanistan, the Gulf War, The Great War, WW II, ‘peacekeeping efforts’ in Africa. Bloody hell, think of all the things we have completely ignored like famine and suffering in the Congo, Darfur, South Africa. I mean we have basically turned our backs on the motherland, mate. But seriously, it has to stop, America. I can’t go out there on the stage anymore and just go along with whatever you say. I can’t be the Sundance to your Butch Cassidy. The days are gone where I can be the Watson to your Sherlock. If you don’t seek help, then I’m afraid you’re going to have to justify your nutty schemes and hilarious capers…on your own, mate.” England’s voice quivered slightly as he neared the end of his letter, and as he sat down he could do little to hold in his emotion behind a monocle and top hat. The tuxedo was now clearly a bit much for an intervention; the cane was really ridiculous.
America quivered now, red-faced and stiff. No one spoke for a minute. You could have heard anthrax drop in the room until America stood up suddenly and took a deep breath. It was a long wind America took in to his breast. He then exhaled slowly and spoke in a thundering tone.
“YOU JUDASES! You turncoat, Benedict Arnold, sons of bitches! Think of everything I have done for you! Afghanistan, who armed you in your fight against the Russians in the eighties? Me. Germany, you know you had that ass kicking coming when you invaded Poland and France. Japan, as I have said, I am sorry about the whole ‘nuclear bombs’ thing. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time. Mexico, you know you would have spent the gold on tequila and whores, which is what we spent it on, so don’t go all high and mighty with me about it being YOUR gold. We won that war fair and square, we occupied Mexico City, deal with it. Iraq, well, yeah, it was BS that got us there, but you can’t tell me you wanted Saddam to stay in power. Sure it was unjustified, but hey, it was our fault he took power in the first place, so we were just finishing what we started.” He turned to England now. “Oh, England. Et tu, Brute? We have gotten so close after the whole revolution thing. F the Queen, and F you. What a load. We have had some great times, and don’t act like I was ‘dragging’ you in to anything. You would all be speaking German if it weren’t for me stepping in after Japan woke the sleeping dragon, baby. I have formed this world as it is, for better or for worse. Japan, who is reaching out in your time of need right now, who is raising money and sending relief workers and the Red Cross your way? I am.”
Japan scoffs, “You’re raising money via text message. You are literally phoning it in.”
“Hey, it’s not my fault it’s all people want to do for you. Pearl Harbor, Mother Fucker, Pearl Harbor. We’re still bent out of shape about that. ‘A day that will live in infamy…’ Remember that!? Dick.”
Switzerland tries to bring order. “OK, it is clear we are all a little heated right now. Let’s take a deep breath and think about what we’re sayin-”
“Oh, shut up you Alps loving bastard. You’re legs are atrophied from your never taking a stand on anything. Would you have liked for WWII to have ended differently? Would you like to have terrorists just run amok all over the world? I’m doing the best I can right now with the shit I’m given. Hitler, Mussolini! That was no easy task, my friend. I have made the tough decisions, made the tough calls. It is me, America, that has kept even the most tenuous grasp on civilization up to this point; it’s my hands that need the washing when order is restored, order you get to enjoy! I will admit, there were some miscalculations, maybe some decisions made on incomplete information that led to unplanned and undesired consequences, but I will not sit here as all you countries who have benefitted in even the slightest, from my supposed ‘malfeasance,’ sit in judgement of me, telling me I need some help. You have all needed my help at some point, and you’d be nowhere without it. You don’t just need me, you WANT me to be the antihero in all of this. Pile it on, go ahead, I am America. I’ve got the biggest stick and I’m one to USE IT. A pox on all your houses you ungrateful bastards!”
There was silent outrage as America took deep and ragged breaths after such a tirade. Everyone looked at one another and back at America, who now buttoned up his suit and slicked his hair back in to place with a return to composure.
Switzerland tries to reason. “America, I can understand your frustration-”
“Oh really? You can get it? Only thing you get is the metric system you Minaret-hating fence-straddler!”
Canada chuckles, but stays silent and puts his hands up in defeat when in the cross hairs of America’s stare for a moment.
Switzerland keeps his composure, now. “That may be your opinion, and you’re entitled to it, but we came here for you to seek help. Are you willing to go to diplomatic rehabilitation? Are you willing to learn to respect UN power and law and act in accordance with the same laws you accuse others of breaking? Are you willing to drop this fruitless war on terror and respect a nation’s sovereignty, delaying war until every other option is exhausted? Are you willing to give diplomacy and open debate a chance before just bombing your problems in to submission, or locking them away in prison without trial? Are you willing to take a course of action in the future that might break the cycle of anti-American sentiment around the world with open arms in place of close fists? Are you willing, America?”
All the countries waited, breath bated, as America searched the faces, the walls, the furniture, for an answer. America knew full well what had become of him, a man embroiled in far more than he could handle. A man so prideful that victory must be snatched from the jaws of defeated, even if such victory was to be desperately pyrrhic in it’s aftermath. So large he had grown that he forgot the weight on his shoulders that the burden of decisiveness bared on him. He felt it now more than before. He was a young country, an adolescent country, forced by his position to mature faster than he would have liked, and should have otherwise been allowed to. No country less than three hundred years old should have been saddled with terms like ‘promised land’ or the ‘land of opportunity’ like he was. So many mistakes, so many lies, he was tired now, aged far beyond his years. He knew he was only able to do his best through great trial and, often times, great error, but to stand by his decisions and convince those around him, as much as himself, that it was the ‘right’ thing to do, whatever that meant to him anymore.
America looked around and then to nowhere in particular, the look of a war-hardened man, the ‘1,000-yard stare,’ they called it. Searching for an answer in anything, everything, nothing, all at once. Everyone waited still, now unsure of what will come from the maw of the most feared and least respected man in the room.
They all still felt hope, mired in doubt, as he pondered his answer that would effect the course of history forever…