The following is a short story I wrote. It is Speculative Fiction, yes, but I feel it is inevitable unless we do something about it (the problem).
This is fully copyrighted by me (©2017 by The Lucky Craftsman), and may not be reused in any way without my express permission.
In the meantime, please enjoy...
When the Debt Comes Due
A depressing pall hung over the oval office on that fateful day.
The walls no longer glowed with life; the furniture, once soft, plush, and welcoming, now seemed hard and cold.
State flags that used to fly happily in the breeze from the open window now hung limp and lifeless from their poles.
In front of these last stood the immense wooden desk; now a dark, gelid behemoth.
Behind it sat a shriveled man in a majestic chair, head in hands as his elbows rested on the desk’s mahogany face.
Across the room, a door opened, and a soldier stepped smartly in and saluted, announcing “Sir, the Ambassadors have arrived with the documents for your signing.”
The man behind the desk, the President of the United States of America, looked up with reddened eyes and straightened his navy blue tie. “Thank you, general. Show them in.”
The officer saluted, turned on a heel, and disappeared through the elegantly gilded door.
A few moments passed, then he reappeared, announcing the Ambassadors as they stepped over the threshold.
First to arrive was a small, sallow-skinned man.
“The Ambassador of China.”
Next was a tall, willowy man ensconced in a great-coat.
“The Ambassador of Great Britain.”
Another man stepped in, gray, weathered face stoic.
“The Ambassador of Russia.”
Another short figure arrived, thin arms encircling a large manila folder.
“The Ambassador of Japan.”
And lastly to appear was a brawny figure, Wearing the red outfit common of the USA’s neighbor.
“The Ambassador of Canada.”
With this final pronouncement, the officer saluted again and left the room, closing the massive oaken door with an ominous, foreboding thud.
Silence pervaded the room for a few moments as the six men surveyed one another. At last the president stood and offered the men seats before the desk. The squeaking leather of the chairs was loud in the large room as they all sat.
The Japanese man set his folder on the desk and settled back in his chair, nodding from the president to the folder.
“That is Japan’s terms of agreement for you to sign.”
The President slid it toward himself and flipped it open. In it was a pile of papers- translated into English for his convenience- describing the terms of the deal:
“I, ________, President of the United States of America, do hereby sign over, to the ownership of the Emperor of Japan, the following states, to reconcile debt accumulated via manufacturing...”
And on it went for several pages. At last, he took a pen out of the mug on his desk that bore the inscription ‘world’s greatest dad’, and pressed the tip to the creamy white pages. He hesitated briefly, then quickly signed his name where necessary.
Ten states gone.
The ambassador of China pulled a similar folder from his briefcase and placed it on the desk. The president opened it:
“I, the President of the United States of America, hereby sell to the Emperor of China, these states to cancel debt stemming from...”
Twenty states gone.
Russia’s ambassador stood, withdrew a maroon folder from his fur-lined jacket, and placed it open on top of the two previous contracts before sitting down.
“I, president of the United States of America, do release ownership of the following states to the President of Russia to relieve the debt incurred from borrowing...”
Again the pen touched paper.
Thirty states gone.
Canada’s representative reached into his red flannel shirt, took out a dark green folder, and handed it to the president.
“We, the United States of America, do succeed these states to the Prime Minister of Canada, as compensation for unpardonable debts incurred...”
Ink again stained white.
The willowy man, representing Great Britain, smiled as he handed over a gray folder. “Great America has, at last, fallen.”
The president snatched the folder with a sudden flash of anger, but it quickly died.
“We, the American People, do give up the following states to pay the debt due to Great Britain...”
Another black line curved across the paper.
Fifty states gone.
A nation divided.
Each ambassador retrieved their folders with restrained relish and mockingly bowed to the man behind the desk. The President of nothing.
They filed out, and the door closed again with a far more melancholy sound.
The man withdrew from a desk drawer a sheet of paper and took up the pen again, and addressed the letter to the American people:
“Brethren and sisters:
At last, our country has come to an end. We, once a great and prosperous nation, are now divided up between the world’s five great powers: Russia, Canada, Japan, China, and Great Britain.
It is was only with bitter tears that I signed the documents selling our fair land.
We, the people, lost touch with our roots. We chose the path of pleasure, not thinking about what future we were leaving our children. We ignored problems that should have been dealt with when they first reared their ugly heads.
Instead, we hid it; buried it with all the other 'maybe later's we are infamous for.
We lost sight of what should have been most important.
Now, it has cost us everything.
And now, it has come to this.
I did what I did in your best interest; WW III would be the only other alternative.
Please understand this: though we may be divided, the spirit shall remain; though we are enslaved, our hearts will be free;
We are still one.
After laying down the pen, he turned to look out the window at the overcast sky outside, and his chair caught the ‘World's Best Dad’ mug, sending it crashing to the floor. He turned and stared at the fragments of the once priceless mug;
He laid his head in his hands and wept.