The red phone on the President's desk in the White House Oval Office rings, early on a late March morning. U.S. President Barack Obama picks up the phone:
Obama : Hello, Barack Obama here.
Putin: Hello, Barack. It's your old friend Vladimir calling from the Kremlin. How are things going there?
Obama: Probably better, before your call, Vlad. How are things going for you, particularly in free Crimea?
Putin: All is well in Russian Crimea, Barack. We expect the referendum there to endorse unification with the Russian motherland so overwhelmingly, that we do not even need to actually count those votes! But I am not calling you about Crimea or even Ukraine. I am actually calling you about Russian Alaska!
Obama: RUSSIAN ALASKA! You have to be joking, Vlad -- and this joke is not at all funny. Your nation sold Alaska to us well over a century ago -- you and your country have zero claim to American Alaska. Although we might cede Sarah Palin to you if you ask for her.
Putin: That was then, this is now, Barack. That was done by the Czar, this claim is made by me, Vladimir Putin, ruler of Russia, named after that worthy former ruler Vlad the Impaler. Did you know that your popular American vampire movies are based on the true tales of my namesake in Transylvania?
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Obama: Do not try to intimidate me, Vlad! As the leader of the Free World, I am not scared by your tactics!
Putin: Really, Barack? Well those same tactics work very well with nations in the European Union which must have Russian oil and gas in order to meet their immense energy needs. Even Germany's Angela Merkel is scared of me -- and I know personally that when she says that I am mentally deranged, that is just her idea of foreplay.
Obama: Just to humor you, Vladimir, upon what do you base your ridiculous claim to Alaska?
Putin: We here in the Kremlin have received appeals for our assistance from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula, from the Russian villages of Soldatna, Nikiski, Ninilchik -- and even the town of Kasilof. Our ethnic Russian countrymen and countrywomen there, some of whom still speak their native language, demand our protection from rapacious Americans! There is also evidence of considerable oil and gas reserves in the Kenai region, which we seek to liberate!
Obama: Vladimir, it seems that the charming Angela Merkel is quite correct about you: you are indeed crazy!
Putin: Perhaps, Barack, but we have a Russian saying: Crazy like a bear! And I am that bear, Barack. This is merely a courtesy call, before our pending liberation of, first, Kenai, and then on to the rest of Alaska!
Obama: Really, Vladimir, you have gone way too far by claiming Alaska! We Americans would never let you Russians carry out your silly threats.
Putin: Why not, Barack? You let us take Crimea while you and the European Union leaders just made silly noises. The United Nations did nothing. The so-called Free World's record shows that we can get away with anything we wish. I am just calling to have a bit of fun with you and with America, Barack. Leader of the Free World -- HA!
Obama: Now, you are starting to sound like Adolf Hitler -- and you know just what happened to him and his plans!
Putin: Yes, and I also know that Hitler lost the War on the Russian
Front. We are not to be trifled with, Barack. See you in Alaska!
Eugene Elander has been a progressive social and political activist for decades. As an author, he won the Young Poets Award at 16 from the Dayton Poets Guild for his poem, The Vision. He was chosen Poet Laureate of (more...)