"The Tiny Land that God Forgot"
No, it's not a World Wrestling main event, this is a fictional-satire story about the struggle for survival being faced by Gorzuklestan, the smallest and poorest former Soviet republic. (Gorzuklestan translates as The Tiny Land that God Forgot.) With the disintegration of the USSR, Gorzuklestan suddenly found itself independent and unsupported when Moscow decided it wasn't worth the petrol to send any troops to the country, and secretly glad to be rid of it, called home its three bureaucrats stationed there.
In a desperate attempt to obtain financing to bring their isolated mountainous state from the 15th century into the 21st century (or at least the 19th or 20th) the Gorzuklestan Tribal Council, on behalf of the 15,000 Gorzuklestanians, spent years petitioning the International Monetary Fund for an audit to analyze their resources and propose possible sectors for development. It took over a decade to complete the study as the IMF could not find anyone who would go there, and when it was finally finished, contained no good news for Gorzuklestan.
In evaluating the potential of its people as a modern labor force, the IMF report noted that "the Gorzuklestanians have the lowest IQ, most awful hygiene, poorest work ethic, and the rudest manners of any ethnic group on the planet. Plus, they are inherently lazy and clumsy and so uniformly ugly it is virtually impossible for outsiders to tell the women from the men even when naked; indeed, even the natives often face the same predicament."
The IMF concluded that "Gorzuklestan is the only nation in the world that has absolutely no natural resources of any exploitative value. With no indigenous wealth or assets available as collateral for the IMF to confiscate after Gorzuklestan defaults on its loans - our primary agenda in lending money to underdeveloped countries - we cannot therefore offer any financial assistance."
What the report failed to mention was Gorzuklestan's sole distinction as being the only habitat of the Squirrelious Horriblus, the academic name for the world's largest squirrel. A full-grown healthy male Squirrelious Horriblus, or SH for short, can grow to be five feet tall and live up to forty years.
When Gorzuklestan gained its unsought independence, Squirrelious Horriblus was placed in one corner of the country's new flag and proclaimed the national animal, making it illegal to hunt or trap them. What no one foresaw, though, was that when younger generations of the hefty rodents grasped that humans were no longer a threat to them, they lost the fear of man their predecessors had been constrained by. Soon, the younger SH became as ill mannered as the people themselves. Instead of foraging in the dead of night raiding gardens and tipping over garbage cans as quietly as possible as their elders had, they now brazenly pound on doors in broad daylight demanding tribute, which if not forthcoming leads to a pack of them gnashing one's hearth and home into kibble. The situation is threatening to spiral out of control.
A top undercover FBI animal control operative was deployed to infiltrate the SH by posing as a squirrel. His report paints a nightmarish scenario. He claims the SH have organized themselves with a chain of command like the Mafia - Don Squirrelious? - and have gnawed their way into the regional drug trade and have long-range plans to take over all the rackets in neighboring countries while maintaining Gorzuklestan as their safe haven.
"The young Turks running the Squirrelious crime family are not only dealing drugs but using them. Have you ever seen a five-foot, two hundred pound squirrel blasted on meth crystal or crack? Pray you never do. Their initiation rites to become a "made squirrel' if you will, is to use their buckteeth - which they hone down to razor sharp edges - to chew a live goat in half in thirty seconds. I've dealt with them all - Sicilians, Colombians, Russians, Albanians, the Chinese Triad, the Mexican cartels - but this group scares the nogushkak [Gorzuklestanian for poo poo] out of me. With their population exploding and protected status," he warns, "if not soon curtailed they'll become unstoppable and completely takeover Gorzuklestan and dominate organized crime in the region and beyond."
Save Gorzuklestan! Kill the Squirrel!
At present, a struggle is raging across this Tiny Land that God Forgot between those who would keep Squirrelious Horriblus as the national animal - Save the Squirrel! - and those demanding the humongous obnoxious critters be removed from the protected species list, their slogan being Save Gorzuklestan! Kill the Squirrel!
Gorzuklestan is one of the few societies on Earth which has never developed a written language or literature, music, dance or any other art forms, and the country has no electricity, phone service, or indoor plumbing. Advances, however, are being made. The zipper was recently introduced and is a big hit and the first Chinese takeout restaurant just opened, certainly a harbinger of better days to come. Soap and toothpaste were brought in along with the first candy bars but the Gorzuklestanians kept mixing them up which led to bizarre anecdotes from the amusing to the revolting. The greatest impact on improving the quality of life for the average Gorzuklestanian, however, has been the importation of the shovel which has significantly lowered the number of people losing digits when digging by hand during winter, the only season.
The singular cultural event on the Gorzuklestanian calendar is the Festival of Phlegm, the highlight of which is Competitive Spitting, the national pastime. Contests include: spitting for distance, accuracy, and speed, spitting against the wind, and whose spit will stick to someone's face the longest. There is no prize for the winner, but the esteem that comes with the mantle of Champion of Phlegm has led to countless marriage proposals and year long drunken binges.
There is no beauty pageant.
So what does the future portend for The Tiny Land that God Forgot? Many intriguing possibilities are in the air. The US Department of Defense has conducted a viability study on using Squirrelious Horriblus as combat assets. US Army General Gomer Bendover reported "The younger SH are innately aggressive and in IQ, aptitude, and field tests matched and even surpassed their human counterparts, an impressive performance, but also troubling as apparently some of our youth are dumber than squirrels. On the plus side, we'd save money not having to supply them with uniforms, boots, or C rations as long as we maintained a steady supply of acorns. At present, the SH are foreign nationals and not eligible for military service but we could buy the whole country for less than it costs to employ Blackwater for six months."
MacDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and other fast food chains are looking into the Squirrelious Horriblus as an inexpensive food source, but whether or not the American pubic can be enticed to scarf squirrel burgers remains unknown. Newell Froth of the American Meat Board said at the AMB's quarterly convention, "Given their cutesy image - the bushy tail, buckteeth, sitting up on their hind legs - we don't think the average American consumer will feel comfortable eating squirrel. Never mind that a squirrel's just a rat that lives in trees, but that doesn't help us because who in the world is going to eat a rat?"
And that is where the Chinese come in. The People's Ministry of Meat has already held private talks with Gorzuklestan and has shipped back several dozen SH to find out how their countrymen take to the flavor of squirrel. An anonymous source has informed us that the Gorzuklestan Tribal Council has offered to trade the Chinese the entire country for a new homeland where the weather is moderate and seasonal and there are no squirrels or anything that even looks like a squirrel. The Chinese purportedly said that in a few years a portion of Taiwan will be available to them for relocation.
Squirrel pate, anyone?