Like My War

by Alex Kirtland


From:      General A. Haigsboro



President Zuckerberg,

It can no longer be considered conjecture but fact. The US of A is in a cash crunch of epic proportions. As evidence:

a) Cash on hand at the US Treasury is so low I can’t even pay my secretary. She refuses to leave the office and has invited her boyfriend to move in. Every morning I have to chase them out from underneath my desk.

b) The sale of our entire nuclear arsenal to Donald Trump generated less than $5. He is a skilled negotiator, after all.

c) A recent penny drive by the US Army to raise funds for our needy government raised less than $24. And most of that came from behind my couch.

I could go on.

Even the most facile central banker would agree, our beloved government is swirling the shit hole. And now a little bird tells me you want to flee to Tahiti with your secret bank accounts and your beautiful wife.

Sir … Big Z. Come on now.

This is not the time to run away. We need to address our problems head on, with courage and foreign adventures, the American way. If you have run out of ideas, consider mine.

Which is …? you ask.

Yes, Mr. President. Attack Zimbabwe.

Before you write it off, here’s the vision.

First, name it something grand, like Operation Crocodile Hunt. Then we’ll have attack and awe, overwhelming Zimbabwe within days. At most a week. Think of the news coverage. Heroism, moral outrage, the beatific faces of diarrhetic grunts.

But — and most important — think of the beaucoup bucks that will appear in our national bank accounts, amongst others, from licensing the war to gaming companies.


I’ve never seen a more compelling villain than Mugabe.

It’s an easy choice.



*  *  *  *  *


From:      POTUS

To:   General A. Haigsboro



In order to improve my personal efficiency I only focus on one issue at a time. Right now I am in delicate negotiations to sell the midwest — all the people, pigs, and land from Winnipeg to Wichita — to Vladimir Putin. He has an innate and irrepressible obsession with standing arms akimbo in fields of virile wheat. I am happy to oblige him. Not to mention, to your point, we could use the bitcoin.

But, I’m alarmed to hear you know about my secret bank accounts. My normal procedure would be to ignore you, but since you know about them I feel I must respond.

Let me begin by assuring you I have no plans to “flee,” as you so crudely put it. Without my wife — who now is enjoying herself in China, last I heard — it would be a dull escape.

Secondly, no one must find out about my secret bank accounts. It’s not that I need the money for myself, you understand, but my wife demands so much from me. Shoes, cocaine, yet another purebred schnauzer. There’s not a request from her I can resist. When she’s around, that is.

So, let’s make a deal. You promise not to squeal about my bank accounts and I’ll let you have your little dance with Zimbabwe.


*  *  *  *  *


From:      General A. Haigsboro



I promise.


*  *  *  *  *


The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release


Executive Order — Like My War


By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution, and by continued popular demand for fresh content,

I, THE BIG Z, President of the United States of America, find the situation in Zimbabwe, which has been marked by the killing of innocent civilians, unrest, the incitement of violence, political repression, and most heinous torture, and which threatens the peace, security, and stability of Zimbabwe, constitutes an extraordinary content generation opportunity and a means to provide for the national security of the United States.

Thereby, I hereby order:


  1. In accordance with the universal laws of humanity and game theory, we make the first move.
    a) Rain bombs down upon them.
    b) Send in elite squadrons of Green Beret, Navy SEALS, and other brand name attack units with marketable value. They will fight in the cities street by street, lay waste to the countryside, defuse landmines with nifty little robots, and hand out candy to small children even though they may be duped into suicidal martyrdom.
    c) Media access to all arenas in the theater of war shall be permitted, especially to those gathering compelling visuals for more robust gameplay.

I also hereby order:

2. My wife
a) To return home from China, or wherever she is.


I’ll take no questions from the press.


*  *  *  *  *


From:      Robert Mugabe



Dearest Z,

Felicities and felicitations!

I hug you from afar!

Like the man, unlike the war.

But no matter. As you no doubt have discovered upon sending your dread forces into my country, we have already left!

Zimbabwe is now a country that exists entirely in space, as we have connected together via various means all abandoned space stations plus a flotilla of our own satellites. This gives us ample room for all 345 proud citizens of Zimbabwe. In fact, expect us to successfully petition the IOC to host the Winter Games. I know all the right people to bribe, after all.


But there is one small matter we must address. It is unavoidable. And perhaps a bit sensitive. I appear to have fallen in love with your wife. Thankfully, she is not gay. Now, we could have run away like two young monkeys high from sniffing petrol, but I must admit I am a man with strong feelings of justice and fairness, and I hate to see people in pain, especially important people. So, I ask for your permission — your permission, you understand — to abduct your wife into space with me.

Take a moment if you need it.



Think how we will laugh when we all sit together at the next Winter Olympics. I’ll build a special space arena and name it after you. The Mark Zuckerberg Space Stadium for Athletics and Special Security Situations. You may use it any time you like. There will be silk covered presidential seats for all of us to sit together and drink lemonade. We’ll have special gold buttons which, when we press, can electrocute to death any person we like sitting in any seat in the stadium. If you’ve never tried this kind of sport it is more fun than you can imagine. Little heads popping and sparking. It will be as if nothing in the world had come between us, not even your wife, who I suspect you still love a little bit. Eh?

But no matter. She is mine now!



*  *  *  *  *


From:      General A. Haigsboro



President Zuckerberg,


Big Z.

The US Army apologizes most profusely.

Shooting Zimbabwe out of the sky was the right thing to do, but — hand on my heart sir! — we had no idea your wife was up there. We were just following your original orders. Fog of war! If only you hadn’t been so deeply focused on finishing negotiations with Putin, you might have told us she was up there with mister crocodile shoes!

I can only say as recompense that I will never, nor will anyone else in the armed forces, reveal the existence of your secret bank accounts. Promise.

The real tragedy in all this is we were unable to generate enough content for licensing. The gaming companies are demanding it — contracts have been signed after all — so we must find a new country to invade. Already there is a five star gold plated top secret panel to consider the problem. Early betting is on the midwest, now that it’s been sold to Putin. And think of the money saved with shortened supply lines.

If the midwest doesn’t strike your fancy, we can always invade Mexico, that old whipping post. In a nice twist we can assemble legions of soldiers with Mexican ancestry. We’ll sell the invasion as a homeland reclamation story. I already have the designs for celebratory piñatas, which look remarkably like Ricardo Montalban. We can sell them on Facebook for $29.99 apiece.



Alex is a Brooklyn based writer of speculative fiction. He’s at work on several short stories and a novel. He’s been previously published in Kaleidocast, a podcast of speculative fiction, and is a proud member of the Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writer’s Group. He prays infrequently, generally pay his taxes, and once sold an alligator to a Norwegian politician (and greatly regrets it).