The 45 slipped off the turntable as Kim Jong Il strode through the front door. He was wearing an outrageous outfit: white blazer, dark shirt unbuttoned to his navel betraying a huge medallion. It glinted into the eyes of everyone in the room. He dangled golden keys from a puffy hand.
China was lying lethargically in an over-stuffed chair. America was chewing on a role talking to England. France was wiping down the bar as Russia slipped down the hall with a woman under each arm. India and Pakistan were sitting, coldly on opposite ends of the couch.
Bush stepped forward, visibly upset. "Who invited him? No one invited him." he said, moving his left hand dangerously close to the revolver at his side. An eerie tension spread over the room but Kim John Il smiled, and walked to the bar.
“This must be the place!” he said, a wide smile breaking out across his face, seemingly oblivious to what Bush had just said. “We all know our friend here has an itchy trigger finger, but there will be no blood tonight. You see, now I too own a weapon."
He thrust his hand into an ice bucket and produced a bottle of champagne. "We must celebrate," he declared. "I am one of you now, and we will deal with each other as equals, right? No more veiled threats, no more disrespect."
But Bush walked over, uncomfortably close, and summoning all of his contemptuous fury said, "China, tell Kim Jong here that there's going to be trouble over this."
Hu blinked and sat up in his chair. He looked around for a moment, slightly amused now, and repeated, "Kim Jong, the sheriff says there's going to be trouble.”
Bush was a little buzzed by being referred to as ‘sheriff' and he reiterated,"Yeah, "big trouble." And then he added, "Tell him he'd better get out of town, and leave the keys at the door."
Somewhere, outside, a dog barked.
"The sheriff says you'd better leave town...and...oh, for godsake, why don't you just tell him yourself? We're all right here!!"
"You know I don't talk to people like him: rogues, terrorists, outlaws..." Bush explained. And then, in a voice just above a whisper, "Come on, Hu, we practiced this...remember?"
Then Bush wheeled to address the room. In dramatic and fiery prose he let everyone know, "This is the Nuqulur Club, a solemn and sacred club that demands the highest standards for entrance. Nu-qu-ler Club!” he repeated, impatiently. “Doesn't that mean anything to you guys?"
But the only reply was the echoing of his own words down the hall...nu-qu-ler....nu-qu-ler...
At this Hu rose from his chair, walked across the room and examined the record collection on the wall. Blair met him on the other side. "Listen, we all know George gets a little wrinkled over…unexpected events. We all know he’s given this a considerable amount of…....ah, yes, well, we need you to talk to Kim Jong...please. We...we have a policy."
Meanwhile, on the other side of the room, Kim Jong had passed into rapture. "Wow, look at this place," he said, walking around the room, "You guys have everything... a fully stocked bar, chambermaids, the complete James Bond collection? How'd you guys know I love James Bond?"
"There's even freshly stocked caviar in the fridge," Chirac beamed. Bush flashed him an icy glare.
Kim Jong pulled From Russia with Love off the shelf. "Hey, Putin, what do you say? Hey, where'd he go?"
"Put that down," Bush said. You're not staying!
But Kim Jong’s eyes were now boggling, "Hey, wow, a ping pong table and giant screen TV? A steam room? Are you kidding me? This place is incredible!"
"Someone tell this guy to get out of here!" said Bush, stomping his foot on the floor impatiently. "Before...before he finds the whiskey..."
But no one seemed to notice, the floor was Kim Jong’s. "For thousands of years, my people have struggled, against the Chinese, the Japanese, the Mongols, the Russians....we have labored and toiled and sacrificed...millions of us all, to arrive at this moment today,” he declared. “But now let's get this party started!"
Dejected, Bush walked over to the front window. Staring out into the darkness he was surprised to see a bearded face staring right back. It flashed him a smile and waved. "Hey, is that Iran? You brought Iran?" Bush said, clenching his fists.
"Hey, he can't get in...yet. But he's...how do you Americans put it? He's in the green room,” Kim Jong winked.
India was transfixed working on a Rubex cube. "I can never get these damn colors to line up! Curse this thing!"
Pakistan, the newest member of the club left the couch and walked up to the bar and tried to offer some perspective. "You know, I can remember the look on your faces when I walked in. You were all stunned. Those golden keys,” he laughed. “You guys had no idea did you? Bush you were playing darts. Blair, you were polishing your polo mallet? Chirac, you were behind the bar. You haven't moved, have you? Putin, well, who knows what he's up to. But India was my favorite. That was priceless. He still won’t talk to me. Yes, keep working on your little cube. But I'm here now, and I'll say this, it was worth the wait."
He punctuated this last fragment by cracking a peanut open between his thumb and forefinger and vaulting it into his mouth. "It was worth the wait," he repeated, surveying the room. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take a steam."
Bush, utterly crushed, moved his eyes from person to person, "Blair? Chirac? Hu? You, on the couch, whatever your name is...with the cube, India...Makaka? You're going to let this madman stay?"
But by now Hu and Kim Jong were engrossed in the opening scenes of From Russia with Love. On the television James Bond admires a special suitcase which has a safety mechanism that detonates a magnetically attached tear gas bomb if it is improperly opened. Watching this causes Kim Jong to giggle with delight.
"What's so funny about that?" Hu asks.
"I own one of those," he smiles proudly. "George sure doesn't look happy to see me. Well, don't just stand there, George, have a glass of champagne! If that doesn’t cheer you up maybe you can call the UN to throw me out?" At this absurd notion everyone started laughing.
Bush finds a lonely spot at the end bar, he knows there's nothing he can do. His peacemaker is all out of bullets. He stirs a glass of whiskey with a thin straw and watches the ice complete it circuits. Blair sidles up to console his old friend. "Don't worry George, Pakistan got in and they haven't blown anyone up yet. I'm sure this will all be fine."
But just then Bush's pager goes off, he unclips it from his belt and reads the words scrolling across the tiny console. “Oh, shit,” he says. “It’s Rumsfeld.”