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Calling Moscow - 10

by Lana V Lynx about a month ago in satire
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Two friends talking about bunkers and such

By Ukrainian political cartoonist Oleh Smal

This conversation happened on Sunday, October 16, 2022.

“Hello, Vlad?”

Click, automatic female voice with a Russian accent, “Your call is being directed, please wait.”

“That’s new,” drumming his fingers on the table nervously. “Ok, I’ll wait.”

3 minutes later, “Hello?”

Same automatic voice, “Your call is being rerouted, please wait.”

Puzzled, “Rerouted? Where?”

The automatic voice, “Rerouting might take some time. Would you like to receive a callback when we are ready to connect your call? If yes, press 1 to leave your number; if you would like to hold, simply stay on the line.”

Puzzled even more, “Leave my number?? No thank you, I’d rather wait.”

Automatic voice, “Please hold while your call is being rerouted.”

“What the fuck? Did he change his number without telling me?” drumming his fingers on the table with fury, listening to Russian folk music on the line.

10 minutes later, automatic voice, “We are ready to connect your call. Are you ready to start the conversation?”

“I was ready an hour ago!” frustrated.

“I didn’t quite understand your response. Please say yes or no.”

“Yes!” shouting in frustration.

Automatic voice, “No need to shout. Your call has been connected. Please start speaking.”

“Is she for real? Hello, Vlad?”

“Yes, Donnie,” tired subdued voice, as if from the underground.

“Was that your secretary? What’s all this business with redirecting and rerouting my call, Vlad? That never happened before.”

“I have to be extra careful now, Donnie. A lot of people and lines have ears now, so we bounce the calls around the world to confuse whoever might be listening.”

“Even on super-duper secured lines like this one?”

“Even on secured lines, Donnie. I cannot trust anyone these days.”

“I know how you feel, Vlad. A lot of traitors around me too, turning their backs on me. A lot of traitors.”

“Exactly. They only love you when you are strong and powerful but once they sniff the smallest weakness, they start turning coats.”

“Right! So, are you in hiding?”

“Of course not!” Indignantly, “I never hide! Why would I hide?”

“Well, I don’t know, because there are so many enemies around you, and you are at war?”

“I’m not at war, Donnie, I’m doing a special military operation in the Ukraine!”

“Still? I thought it was a war already. And you told me so last time we talked. Anyway, are you in Moscow then?”

“No, I only go there when I need to be seen on TV. I am at a very secure location where Americans can’t get to me.”

“Americans? What do we have to do with this?”

“Not you, Donnie. Biden, NATO, and CIA. I am at war with them now.”

“Really? I heard nothing about it.”

“I’m telling you, Donnie, they want to kill me and destroy our great Russia. That’s why they are giving weapons to the fucking Ukraine. They are cowards, can’t fight me directly and use the Ukraine as a proxy for their war on me.”

“Oh, I see. Believe me, Vlad, none of this would have happened had I been president. None of this.”

“I know, Donnie. It would have been so much simpler if you were the president.”

“Right, I keep telling everyone that if I were still the president, this war wouldn’t have happened. Wouldn’t have happened at all.”

“The war, Donnie, that’s correct. I would have simply finished my special operation quickly, took the parts of the Ukraine I like, and it would have been over with months ago, like in early March at the latest.”

“Oh, really? So, you did want to take Ukraine?”

“Of course. At least the parts of it that always belonged to Russia. We called them Little Russia or New Russia, and it was all that southern and eastern belt that my troops are in now, but also Odessa. I want to see how the Ukraine would survive when they have no black soil to plant wheat and no access to the Azov and Black Seas. I want it to be a tiny shriveled landlocked country that the Ukraine used to be before it voluntarily joined Russia.”

“Oh wow, I never knew any of that… Voluntarily, ah? You keep saying ‘the’ Ukraine, Vlad. Isn’t it just ‘Ukraine,’ like a proper name of the country, like Russia?”

“They would want you to think so, Donnie. They would also tell you that the name of their country comes from their word ‘kraina,’ which means ‘motherland, country’ in Ukrainian. But in fact, the name comes from the Russian word ‘okraina,’ which is simply a periphery, last place on the maps of Russia. We, Russians, gave them that name. They did not even exist as an independent state before they became a part of Russia. They are nothing but the periphery of Russia, last place before the west starts. And I want it to be that way forever.”

“Oh, I see. So, should I say ‘the Ukraine’ or ‘Ukraine’ then? I’m still confused.”

“It’s up to you, Donnie, I guess it will depend on who you are talking to.”

“Ok, I’ll try to remember that. Other than that, how are you?”

“I’m splendid, Donnie. Just absolutely fucking amazing!” with a forceful laugh.

“Sometimes I can’t tell if you are joking or not, Vlad.”

“I am at war, Donnie. That should tell you everything.”

“So, not alright then? Are you at least safe? I’m worried about you. Are you in a bunker? Everyone tells me you moved to some secret underground bunker.”

“I am not in a bunker, Donnie.”

“And even if you are, Vlad, I’m sure it’s the most beautiful, most tremendous bunker in the world.”

“Again, I’m not in a bunker, Donnie.”

“Can you tell me where you are then, just so that I am sure you are safe. You are my friend, so I worry. I worry so much about you.”

“No need to worry, Donnie. I’m safe. As I said, I am in a very secure location.”

“A bunker?”

“What is it with you and bunkers, Donnie? Don’t you have one of your own?”

“No, I only have Mar-A-Lago and my many beautiful golf clubs. Do you think I should build a bunker?”

“I don’t know, what are you afraid of? Why would you want to go underground?”

“I don’t know. What if they drop a nuclear bomb on us?”

“Who ‘they,’ Donnie?”

“I don’t know. Chinese?”

“Why would they wanna do that? America owes them a lot of money, why would they destroy someone who has not paid their debt to them?”

“Good point. Iranians?”

“They don’t have nuclear weapons, Donnie, and you know it.”

“Umm, I wouldn’t bet on that. Biden is letting them get away with a lot of things. So many things!”

“I know for a fact they still have no nuclear weapon. They’ve been asking me to help for years, but I don’t want to create another competition. Too many nukes on earth as it is.”

“All right, I’ll take your word for it. Then Russians?”

“I AM Russians, Donnie. Do you think I’ll drop a nuclear bomb on you?”

“Well, don’t you keep mentioning nuclear option, Vlad? That you still have it for the war?”

“If I drop a nuke, Donnie, it will be on the Ukraine and a small, tactical bomb.”

“I see. So, you won’t drop the bomb on us?”

“I’m not a kamikaze, Donnie.”

“Cami… who?”

“Kamikaze, Donnie. Look it up.”

“Ok. And you are not in a bunker?”

“There you go again. What is it with you and bunkers, Donnie?”

“I just wanna go into a bunker. Just to look around, how it is inside. I’m fascinated by them.”

“Didn’t you go into the bunker under the White House once, to hide from the protestors?”

“No, I didn’t. I wasn’t hiding, my Secret Service made me go there! And it wasn’t a bunker! Just some small panic room in the basement.”

“That’s a bunker by definition, Donnie.”

“No, but I wanna go to a full-scale bunker, where you can live in hiding for months or years even and no one will find you.”

“Well, I hear Hitler’s bunker museum is open.”

“Really? Where?”

“In Berlin.”

“Really? I’ve never heard of it. Have you been?”

“Can’t tell you that I have, Donnie.”

“Hmm, maybe I should go one day. But don’t you have a bunker, Vlad?”

“Of course. I do, and not one.”

“Wow! More than one?”

“Of course, I have a big country, and lots of places I can go to.”

“Vlad, Vlad, Vlad, please, please, take me to one of them. I won’t be a burden, and won’t tell anyone, I promise!”

“I’m thinking you are a little obsessed with bunkers, Donnie. Where does this come from?”

“I don’t know… Sometimes, I guess, I just wanna hide from the whole world.”

“What’s going on, Donnie? Why do you want to hide?”

“Didn’t you hear about the Unselect Committee’s subpoena for me, Vlad?”

“I did, but why does it matter?”

“What do you mean? It’s a subpoena!”

“Yeah, but it’s not a court subpoena. They can’t put you in jail.”

“I’m told they can, for contempt, if I don’t show up.”

“Well, just stall it the way you always do and after the midterms have the new GOP majority cancel it.”

“That’s my only hope, Vlad. But that’s not all…”

“What else, Donnie?”

“The Supreme Court wouldn’t give me back my personal documents.”

“Which documents, Donnie? Anything connecting us?”

“Oh, no, Vlad. Just some mementos the Sleepy Joe’s FBI raided from my beautiful Mar-A-Lago.”

“That’s just a mild annoyance, Donnie.”

“Not for me, Vlad. There’s a lot of stuff there that I want back.”

“I wish I had your problems, Donnie.”

“I know you have bigger problems, Vlad. But my problems are big too. I’m kinda tired of my rallies, they don’t inspire me anymore. Still can’t get on Twitter…”

“Don’t you have your own Twitter now?”

“Truth Social you mean? I’d be the first to say it’s just a joke compared to the real thing. I hope when Elon finally buys Twitter, he will let me back on. By the way, I heard you talk to him now?”

“Who told you so?”

“I don’t know. Some people say…”

“You listen to some people too much, Donnie.”

“So, you didn’t speak to Elon? Why did he change his position on Ukraine then?”

“I have no idea. Maybe he just wants peace, to send his spaceships to Mars. Besides, he just tweeted today that he will continue servicing Starlinks in the Ukraine. Traitor!”

“How is he a traitor to you, if you never spoke to him?”

“Never mind, Donnie. Some of my people talked to him. Alright?” menacingly.

“Alright, I get it, Vlad. I’m just so tired. I wish I could go someplace. Are you going to G20 in November?”

“I don’t know yet. Zelya said he won’t go if I go and I’m pretty sure everyone will side with him.”

“Ze..? Who?”

“Zelenskyy. The guy who got you impeached the first time.”

“Oh, don’t remind me, Vlad. Such a nasty little man. I hate him so much!”

“Not as much as I do, Donnie.”

“And he is so short! Who would have thought…”

“Let’s not talk about him, Donnie. I’m so fed up with him!”

“Ok, Vlad. Let’s talk about something else. Is it true that you give shelter to former presidents?”

“Well, yeah, a couple of them asked for asylum and I granted it to them. Why are you asking?”

“I don’t know. Maybe for a friend?”

“Sure, for a friend. Well, tell your friend that he can always come here. We’ll form our own little club and call it ‘Dictator Central,’ like ‘Central Casting,’ as you call it.”

“Dictator Central? I like it, but isn’t it too obvious, Vlad? Won’t people laugh at it?”

“Not at all, Donnie. No one will laugh at you if you get ahead and use the word first. It’s what moving the Overton window is all about.”

“Overton window, yes, I remember, you told me. So, if my friend comes to Russia would you take him to your bunker?”

“And there you go again with the bunker! Bye, Donnie!”

Automatic voice, “Your call has been disconnected. Good-bye!”

Trump, looking at the phone, “Is it something I said? I hope he calls me back.”

satire

About the author

Lana V Lynx

Avid reader and occasional writer of satire and dystopia under a pen name of my favorite wild cat.

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