Around one forty-five on Thursday afternoon, while concluding a consultation with a Slovakian economic analyst, I heard my desktop computer chime softly announcing an IM from Gretchen. It said that a “Mr. Kim” wished to speak with me immediately. Seeing that, I turned to my guest and made a polite excuse concerning a request for an unexpected emergency consultation. Since he would use my advice to keep participation of the Národná Banka Slovenska in the Euro afloat another eight to twelve weeks, and both of us knew it, all he could do was thank me and leave a quarter hour early. Because the Mr. Kim to whom Gretchen referred was none other than Kim Jong Un, Glorious and Infallible Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea.
Kim: Tom? Is that you?
Tom: Hi, J.T., whattup? How’s that satellite phone of yours working these days?
Kim: This piece of [expletive]? Are you [expletive] kidding me? I had to slip a smuggler three hundred and fifty thousand dollars in counterfeit one hundred dollar bills for a new battery! The old one got to where it couldn’t hold a charge that would last more than five minutes! [Expletive], ancient [expletive] Japanese [expletive], that’s what it is.
Tom: What you need is a good solid Samsung satellite phone. I hear their new Model B250 is the bomb, bro.
Kim: Very funny. As if I could get one – without them finding out!
Kim: Yeah, you know – the usual suspects: Kim Yong-chun, Ri Yong-mu, Jang Sung-taek, O Kuk-ryol, Pak To-chun, Kim Won-hong, Kim Jong-gak…
Tom: Dude, those are the North Korean Army generals who work for you.
Kim: Sh’yeah, right! Like that’s how they see it – Not!
Tom: No way!
Tom: So, your “valet” is still keeping an eye on you for them, then?
Kim: An eye? [Expletive]! That mother-[expletive] has his nose halfway up my [expletive] for about sixteen hours a day!
Tom: Well, I guess he’s got to sleep sometime.
Kim: Yeah, he does – so the rest of the time, they’ve assigned this North Korean Army captain to me for “night security.” Tom, it’s total hell – I’m afraid the guy’s a fruit!
Tom: Now, now, it’s not nice to call gay people that.
Kim: It’s not so nice to have a North Korean Army captain popping a big, stiff [expletive] every time he sees you in your pajamas, either!
Tom: That’s probably just his fascination with you as a power figure, as opposed to an object of carnal desire. Remember, after all, that power is the strongest aphrodisiac. Maybe realizing that he is in the presence of someone that – let’s face it, guy, his culture more or less worships as a god – gets him thinking about how excited his girlfriend or wife is about it, and what that’s going to be like.
Kim: You mean, that raging bulge of his doesn’t necessarily mean he’s… attracted to me?
Tom: No, no, given the circumstances, of course not. Marines in the White House… um… tumesce… in the presence of the President all the time. That doesn’t mean they have… erotic designs… on him, all it means is that being in the presence of such awesome power makes them feel extra potent.
Kim: Huh. That’s strange… now that you’ve pointed that out… um… I don’t know whether to be happy or disappointed.
Tom: Ah… well… I’d say don’t dwell on it, okay? By the way, how’s Comrade Ri Sol Ju?
Kim: My wife?
Tom: Yeah, her.
Kim: Tom, I’m in love with Hyon Song-wol. We’ve known each other since we were teenagers. But my father… um… disapproved of the relationship. So we… er… broke it off.
Tom: So I’ve heard. Aren’t you… ah… happy with Comrade Ri Sol Ju?
Kim: Uh… well, she’s incredibly hot… especially for a girl your father picked out for you, if you know what I mean. Great body, pretty face, exceptionally good hair – and she knows how to dress, definitely. Every head in the room turns when she walks in, Tom, without exception. She’s got charisma to burn, no question. But when we’re… in bed…
Tom: She’s… unreceptive?
Kim: No, no, not that… it’s completely the opposite, actually. All I have to do is give her a little kiss, and bang! She goes off like firecracker; she’s all over me, taking of her clothes, taking off mine. You know, it’s kind of…. scary sometimes, actually.
Tom: Then perhaps, despite her… obvious enthusiasm, she’s a bit naive or inexperienced?
Kim: Inexperienced? Hell, no, Tom! Half the stuff I know about…
Tom: Amorous pursuits?
Kim: Uh, yeah. Half of what I know about… uh… amorous pursuits… I learned from her.
Tom: And there aren’t any issues about… ahem… variety?
Kim: No, as a matter of fact, she really seems to prefer… um… ah…
Tom: She prefers, shall we say, your visits to the other two amusement parks less frequented by the unsophisticated?
Kim: Yeah, we shall. Hey, you know, talking about [expletive] using all those euphemisms, allusions, double entendres, puns and figures of speech, like you do – that’s actually more interesting than just talking about [expletive], [expletive], [expletive] and [expletive] – and more… uh… let’s see here… ah… how about… provocative to the energies of the lower chakras.
Tom: Okay, right, nice job – evoking the kundalini force with emphasis, as it were.
Kim: Oh, yeah, exactly. Got to try taking that approach more often. The problem is, Tom, that nuance, euphemism, allusion… all that stuff, Tom, it doesn’t really exist in Korean. I have to call someone like you and speak English or French so I can practice.
Tom: Call whenever you’d like, J.T. It’s always a pleasure to have a conversation with you.
Kim: Yeah, thanks, so like I was saying, when we’re… um… riding the swing… in the, um… primary playground… I notice some… uh, major discrepancies between what I remember with Hyon Song-wol and what I… ah… feel… down there… with Comrade Ri Sol Ju.
Kim: Yeah – with Song-wol, there was like, I donno, some kind of structure going on. I could feel different… um… things, like what you see in those drawings from an anatomy book. But with Sol Ju, it’s just like… a sack, sort of; a little bag that Mr. Glorious Infallible Leader Junior kinda slides into.
Tom: I see. Well… there are two primary explanations which, in over ninety percent of such cases, would account for your observations. The first one is that, for some reason or another, Comrade Ri Sol Ju has had a hysterectomy.
Kim: But isn’t she way too young for that? And besides, my father knew everything about everybody in North Korea, so why would he hook me up with… and… oh, [expletive]! Tom, what’s the other [expletive] alternative?
Tom: That… um… Comrade Ri Sol Ju… ah… possesses… the Y chromosome.
Kim: [Expletive]! She’s a guy? She had an operation?
Tom: Sitting here on the other side of the planet, I can’t be absolutely sure, of course, but…
Kim: [Expletive], [expletive], mother-[expletive] [expletive]! Can you [expletive] believe what those [expletive] [expletive] are [expletive] doing to me here?
Tom: Yes, unfortunately, I can. And I sympathize.
Kim: No, no, I mean really – they write these speeches for me, and I have to read them – in public, Tom, like the one I read for New Years. It was a total pig-[expletive] to read that piece of [expletive] they wrote for me, Tom, I had say stuff like, “Our missile launch was a great event which inspired all the service personnel and people with confidence in sure victory and courage and clearly showed that the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of North Korea does what it is determined to do.” Who the [expletive] talks like that, Tom? Not me, that’s for [expletive] sure! And what’s more, they make me give speeches about other creepy [expletive] like this uranium enrichment program – what the [expletive] is up with that [expletive], anyhow?
Tom: It’s an engineering decision, basically. As opposed to plutonium bombs, enriched fissile uranium bombs are much simpler and more reliable central components for missile warheads. And, of course, there’s the strategic consideration – remote detection of a uranium enrichment centrifuge facility is much more difficult than locating a plutonium reactor.
Kim: See what I mean? I have to call you – from inside my [expletive] closet at [expletive] three in the morning after I slip the captain a double dose of Sol Ju’s Ambien, for [expletive]’s sake – to get a [expletive] explanation, that’s how [expletive] I am! At least now, I know why we have all these [expletive] Iranian technicians running around here, doing who knows [expletive] what.
Tom: So these Unha rocket launches from the Tangachai-ri Space Center, the nuclear bomb tests at Punggye-Ri, the denunciations of the Chinese as traitors for backing a UN resolution calling for sanctions on North Korea, labeling the United States the sworn enemy of the North Korean people, and saying that the bombs and the rockets are targeted at the United States – none of those things are your idea?
Kim: [Expletive] no, Tom! All I want to do is play [expletive] basketball and dance, you know that! And I can’t even get a decent pick-up game going, or bust a Gangnam Style move around here – do you have any idea how frustrating that is? And oh, [expletive], Tom, by the way, dude, just thinking about what you said – about Comrade Ri Sol Ju actually being a man – I’m totally freaked out by the entire concept!
Tom: Well… does it really matter, as long as Comrade Ri Sol Ju… um… provides… for your various… needs?
Kim: [Expletive], I donno, maybe not, but… why would my father do something like that? Hook me up with… oh, [expletive]!
Tom: Oh, that… yeah… well, I think he probably did it so that your… ah… subordinates could raise a number of… candidates… to replace you… when the time comes, of course, and not have to worry about your… um… consort… producing any… offspring who might claim first rights to the throne, as it were.
Kim: [Expletive], [expletive], [expletive]! Those [expletive] dinosaurs – [expletive], man, every [expletive] one of them is over seventy years old! You mean they want to create the Perfect Socialist Leader, and…
Tom: You are aware, I assume, that they have copious samples of Stalin’s DNA, not to mention your grandfather’s?
Kim: They have [expletive] what?
Tom: It’s certainly common knowledge here in Washington – among members of the right circles, that is.
Kim: You mean… I’m nothing but a [expletive] place holder until they can perfect a clone of Stalin and my grandfather that looks Korean and then tell the world it’s my son?
Tom: Produce several of them, actually, and then select the one that best exemplifies their aspirations.
Kim: Aspirations for what?
Tom: Leadership of North Korea by someone of whom they approve.
Tom: Someone like themselves. That’s why they’re holding you captive until…
Kim: [Expletive]! I think the captain’s waking up! Talk to you later!
Tom: Sure. Anytime.