America walks in wearing a skin-tight, head-to-toe leather cat suit. The others already seated at the table exchange looks of confusion, and Eire decides to speak up.
“Meri, darling, what are you wearing?”
America’s eyes rake down Eire’s plaid pantsuit with a sneer. “Something more suitable to this emergency than you are, Ireland. That’s what you wear to save the world?”
“Everyone! That’s enough. Sit down now.” That’s Russia. No one in the room is really all that patient, but Russia’s a nervous wreck. Japan isn’t even speaking, lips tightly closed behind a paper surgical mask with pictures of smiling cat faces on it.
“Russia’s right. We have things to discuss. We need to begin,” Saudi Arabia says imperiously. “Is everyone here?”
The roll call takes long enough that America’s eyes are rolling, pointy-toed boots tapping impatiently on the floor, and Mexico, unhappy with how close America is sitting with that blasé, “I’ll be fine, I don’t need your silly air masks or bottled water supplies” attitude, is shivering and about to have a nervous breakdown by the time they finally get to New Zealand.
“Can we start already?” America chomps down on a stick of bubble gum and blows a huge, pink bubble. Mexico whimpers when it pops.
“Wait,” Brazil says, looking around the room. “We can’t start yet! Where is Madagascar?”
France, sitting calmly on the other side of Britain, shrugs elegantly. “We sent out invitations to everyone. It is not our fault if they did not respondez sil-vous-plait as we asked.”
America snorts derisively. “As if anyone RSVP’s these days.”
“I did,” Canada says, sounding a bit sulky. France smiles fondly at Canada and blows a kiss. Canada blushes.
No one else has any idea where Madagascar is until South Africa, Madagascar’s closest neighbor, speaks up.
“I think… um. Madagascar is not coming.”
“And why not?” That is Indonesia, as ready as everyone else is to get on with this meeting and find out how to kill this nasty bug that’s been spreading throughout their regions.
“Well, we were getting ready to come in, you know?” Everyone nods, and South Africa fidgets. “Well, um. Greenland sneezed.”
Everyone groans loudly, and there is the sound of heads thumping to the table. Cuba swears creatively, and Peru makes large, sweeping gestures of fury.
“Easy on, mates,” Australia drawls. “If Maddo’s havin’ a wag, well, they’ll just cark it, eh?”
Everyone looks to Britain and America as if they should know what was meant by that, but Britain avoids making eye contact and America just glares.
“Um, right, then,” Canada says. “I got the ‘eh’?”
“Let’s move on,” Germany says practically. “What’s our plan of action?”
“Screw this crap,” America mutters, standing up from the table and cocking out a hip provocatively. “I’m goin’ home. The rest of you motherfuckers can sit around and dither all you want. I’ve got a world—I mean a country—to run.”
After America’s exit, the other countries look at each other warily. “So,” India begins. “We have a vaccine.”
“We’ll take it,” Britain says, hand out demandingly. India glares, clutching the vial protectively.
“Let’s do this like civilized people, please,” Nigeria puts in.
“Yes,” Japan says, voice muffled behind the mask. “Everyone should receive equal distribution of the vaccine.”
“All right. Queue up everyone,” Britain sighs, standing. “Let’s do this alphabetically, shall we?”
“By whose alphabet?” Russia and Saudi Arabia want to know at the same time.
“Oh sod it! Just—queue up wherever you are.”
They’re shuffling into line and India is drawing up syringes of fluid when someone sneezes. They all scatter, looking around at each other suspiciously. Canada sniffles and wipes a rapidly-reddening nose.
“Sorry,” Canada says with a sheepish smile. The others look at each other warily, and Cuba pulls a rope that opens a trap door underneath Canada’s feet. France watches, stricken, as the floor closes back.
“Right then,” Russia says, stepping to the front of the line. “Препятствуйте нам начать.”