Before nine eleven

a bit of oddness from the 80s…

“Comrades,” began Ivan, “we have a problem. This puppet of American imperialism, this monster Sadam, is making a mockery of our plan to become the laughing stock of the Middle East. He must be stopped!”

 “But how?” asked Popoff, a man of infinite eagerness.  “President Reagan has sent that Tidy Bowl Man Rumsfeld to personally insure Sadam’s longevity. And our intel indicates that he has a special relation with Vice President, what’s his name…”

 “Bush!” interjected Carnack smartly, causing general merriment among the plotters.

 “I know Sadam’s their man,” continued Ivan, “but these are desperate times, and I have a bold idea.”

 And his voice dropped, and there was no other sound.

 “No more boring from within. No more creeping socialism for us. We will bring our A material, overthrow this bulbous clown and install a government whose sense of humor mirrors ours.

 Gasps led to questions.

 “Aren’t you afraid of bombing?” thought Popoff and asked Carnack.

 “Nonsense,” replied Ivan, smartly. “Their military can’t take a joke. Their standing army is a standing joke. Even our B material will kill. Have you ever noticed…”

 “But how will we justify this unilateral invasion; this direct overthrowing of a government?” asked his writers, smirks wiped off their collective faces.

 “It’s what we do,” replied Ivan, in mock mincing tones. And as Comrade Stalin said, ‘to make an joke, you crack some yokels.’

 “And once we are victorious, we will demand that the imperialist countries lighten up, as we seize control of the editorial cartoonists and the world’s second largest supply of face paint.

 “Oh, we will prevail!” concluded Ivan shaking like Kramer in Seinfeld, “We will prevail!”

 At which Popoff literally peed in his pants, thus ensuring his future.

 “But we need a hook. A grabber. We know that the US sold them laughing gas, but that scenery-eater Sadam used it all on his own audience—he ain’t even got the chops to reach the Borsch belt.

 “Gotta have a hook,” agreed Popoff, not for the first time.

 “Well,” continued Ivan, “say we pretend to know where the gas is. It’s a sellable threat, it’ll fit on any flagpole; and here’s the payoff,” smiled Ivan, turning even redder. “Once we win, we say, laughing gas? It is to laugh!

 “The old red bait and switch—international peek-a-boo. The essence of humor. This could be our funniest outing since Hungry,” crowed Ivan.

 “Which wasn’t as funny as it was Crakowed up to be” ventured a gag order writer. 

 His last such venture.

 “But seriously, folks,” Ivan said, “timing is everything. Round up a couple of the cutest little allies we can find, and tell them to pack light.

 “And hurry! We must act before the French beat us to the punch line.”