Warning: this is political satire!
“Oh, Sir, I just wanted to thank you for this opportunity; I won’t let you down!” Karla pulled at the collar of her brand-new dark blue business suit. She’d been in a hurry this morning to buy it, and by the scratching sensation on the back of her neck, she’d missed a tag.
The Secretary to the President wearily placed his reading glasses down and looked up from his colossal walnut desk, sighing, “Yay for you. Do you have your security pass to enter the oval office?”
“Yes, Sir. Yes, I do.”
The Secretary rustled through his copious notes once more as Karla remained standing to attention.
“You speak seven languages?” enquired The Secretary as he read Karla’s profile.
“Yes, Sir, I speak French, German, Ukrainian, Russian, Mandarin, Japanese and Korean. And may I say I can also get by on eleven other languages and dialects! It’s an honour, Sir, to be chosen to serve the President of the United States in his hour of need.”
For the hundredth time today, ‘The Secretary’ ran his fingers through his thinning grey hair and contemplated his job opportunities in the private sector.
“Just remember,” he sighed, “protecting our wonderful nation is everyone’s job; we must ensure we serve the greater good. Today, young lady, you will be ensuring you serve your nation. You are expected to help the President in a critical phone call with one of our strongest allies. And by doing your job well, world peace will continue.”
‘The Secretary’ lent forwards on folded arms looking straight at the wide-eyed and eager young face of Karla Redford, interpreter to the President of the United States. “I can’t emphasise this enough, Ms Redford, we need this nation kept as one of our strongest allies! So, you, Ms Redford, need to ensure you say exactly the right thing! Don’t let me or your country down!”
‘The Secretary’ put his dark-rimmed reading glasses back on and began attempting to stay on top of his paperwork.
Bowing and walking backwards, Ms Reford smiled broadly as she exclaimed, "You can count on me, sir; I won't let you down; I won't let my country down."
Then as patriotic pride ensconced her soul, Karla demonstrated just how good she was with languages and yelled with vim and vigour, "ADHHAB FARIQ 'AMIRKA!"
She thought the fist pump at the end totally encapsulated her deep love of language and country.
Later, Karla did admit to the seven Secret Service agents who’d run in and jumped on top of ‘The Secretary’, shielding him with their bodies and guns from the threat of her enthusiasm, that maybe shouting “Go Team America” in Arabic probably wasn’t the wisest choice. And as ‘The Secretary’ was carefully loaded onto a stretcher to be taken to the infirmary, the young interpreter explained to the lead officer that she had only begun to learn the language and naturally thought it was so profoundly eloquent and emotive that it simply suited the situation perfectly. On second thought, though, she could see the implications of doing so in the current setting probably wasn’t wise and promised profusely to never use Arabic again at work without warning everyone first.
And now the young up-and-coming interpreter found herself standing in front of the door which, once she walked through, her life would never be the same again. Karla took a deep and steady breath before knocking on the President’s Oval office door.
“No Arabic, no Arabic,” was whispered to herself as the green light above her head on the wall indicated she could enter.
And there her future sat behind a gigantic mahogany desk, his chair facing the windows looking out onto the highly manicured lawns of the White House.
“Sir, my name is Karla Redford, and I have been assigned to be your interpreter during your negotiation with one of our country’s closest allies. I stand here ready to serve my country.”
Karla’s back hurt with how straight she stood, but it didn’t matter; she was here. No one in her family believed she’d been called for service; they all thought it was a colossal joke. One which she would prove wrong with a quick selfie making sure the oval office windows and President’s chair were in the background.
Five minutes ticked by with no movement from the chair, acknowledging her presence.
“Sir, I’m ready to serve!” Karla’s armpits were beginning to let her down.
“Sir, if you just let me know what you’d like me to do.”
Another five minutes went by before a dreadful thought crept across her mind and soul.
‘Maybe the President was dead!’
Then to her shame, the next thought raced up to her forebrain for attention.
‘I, Karla Redford, am about to be the person who discovers the President’s dead body sitting up in his chair.’ Shrugging her shoulders, Karla surmised, ‘and if I try valiantly to rescue him, my name will go down in the history books!’
Karla bounded around the mahogany desk and swung the chair around, “It’s okay, Mr President, I’m here!”
Disappointment rained down upon the young interpreter; the President was not dead. The chair was just empty. “Oh.”
The sound of flushing water echoed from behind one of the walls before a hidden panel popped open, and the President of the United States walked through it… whilst tucking his shirt back into his pants. The newspaper under his arm dropped to his feet as he spied Karla and her hands on his dark leather chair.
“Who the hell are you?” echoed loudly around the room.
“Oh, Sir, I’m here to serve my country and fellow man. I’m here to help you in any way you need, sir. To release any burden. To help you create a happy ending with our allies!” Karla stood up straight, thrusting her pride forwards for her President to see clearly.
“Oh, are you a stripper?”
Karla’s shoulders drooped, hiding her pride under a concaved upper torso. “No,” was murmured with shock colouring her tone.
The President threw her his famous double thumbs-up sign, “Just checking; it always pays to be sure. Okay, young patriot, let’s get down to business.” The President kicked his paper from the floor onto the empty desk and stood politely, encouraging Karla with a waving hand to get onto her side of the desk.
As she circled the monolithic bureau, Karla nervously quaked, “I want to say, Sir, I am fully fluent in seven languages and partially fluent in another eleven. No matter whom you need to speak to, I will be able to translate for you quickly and accurately.”
“Oh, you’re here to help me talk to the Australian guy!” The President sat down behind his chair and swung left and right, brushing off a little bit of invisible dust off his desk.
Karla’s mind wouldn’t engage properly, “Ahh, the Australian guy?
A winning smile plastered on all his political posters was thrown directly as Karla, The President’s twinkling blue eyes glistened in the afternoon light streaming in through his huge bay windows, which in turn, bounced off his luscious and thick light auburn locks.
“Yah, yah, the Aussie guy. You know the guy who is like me but isn’t like me!”
“The Prime Minister of Australia, Sir?” Karla’s heart was beginning to slow down.
“Yah, yah, that’s his name.” The President looked into one of his desk’s draws, hoping his staff had filled it with his favourite peanuts.
“Er, No, Sir, that’s his title. His name is….”
“Don’t care!” The President swung a 360 arch on his chair.
Karla started to find it difficult to swallow as she announced her next question in a monotone voice, “You don’t care what the Prime Minister of Australia’s name is, Sir?”
“Nope. He’s not real, anyway. It’s just a joke the boys in the CIA set up at the same time they did all the filming on the moon set.”
The President looked back into his desk drawer once more, just in case the peanuts had magically turned up. “I mean, really, look at the animals they came up with. Platypus, Kangaroo, Emu’s the Lil cute smiling all the time hoppy thing…. What’s it called?”
“A Quokka, sir.”
“Yah yah, don’t tell me they ain’t stuffed toys. And please,” the President spoke in a whining sarcastic high, pitched voice, “Australia has the most poisonous snakes and spiders in the whole entire world, and Thor just happens to always be taking pictures of these deadly creatures in his house. As if I’d believe that!” The President dropped his tone.
To Karla, the world had somehow become unfathomable and unreal.
“Yeah, Thor. You know the big blond dude.” The draw was checked once more with disappointing results.
“But sir, Australians speak English.”
“Yes and No!” The President nodded his head furiously so the simpleton on the other side of his desk would understand her job, “that’s why I need you to translate for me.”
Karla’s mind was stuck in first gear, “But Sir, you speak English….”
The President of the United States of America laughed so hard that he was glad to have evacuated his bowls prior.
“Oh, my good golly Miss Molly, you crack me up. Ahh…”
After leaning on his desk, catching his breath and wiping tears away from his eyes, the President continued, “Is that a translator’s joke, eh? Americans’ speaking English. We speak American just like Australians speak Australian. And the French speak French. And the Japanese speak Japanese. And the Russians speak Russian. And the Spanish speak Spanish. Need I continue?”
“Well, actually, Sir, Australians speak English, plus there’s about 400 different first nation languages, and as a multicultural country, about a quarter of the population speaks a second language.”
“Or do they?”
The President held up a finger to his translator. “Does Australia really exist?”
Giggling into his hand, the President sniggered, “I’m afraid you’ve fallen for the CIA’s party trick hook, line and sinker. An island nation all by itself, on the upside-down part of the world. Really! Think about it; everyone would fall off into space!”
The President quaffed in his humour as he moved out from behind his desk to pat Karla on the shoulder. “It’s okay; you don’t know these things.”
Shaking his head in patriarchal confidence, the President smiled.
“You don’t have access to the files like I have access. Trust me, Australia is just a made-up place. The Prime Minister is just a guy who runs a small little commune between Canada and us. Thor is actually just an actor who’s paid by the CIA, and all the cute little Australian animals are just CGI or stuffed toys.”
Karla blinked for a couple of minutes whilst her brain rebooted, “So… why are you taking a meeting with the Prime Minister then.”
“Oh, so we can build bases on his commune to stop those darn Canadians from invading us.” The President smiled, engorged with his knowledge.
A loud knock on the door echoed around the President’s sparse office before an aide popped their head through the entrance door, “The Prime Minister of Australia is on the phone, Sir.”
“Good, good. Put him through. You, young miss, will sit next to me. Not on my lap, I must add.” The President lent closer to Karla, who resembled a young female dear caught in the headlights of oncoming traffic. “Unless you want to!” Presidential eyebrows were wiggled up and down.
“No, thank you, Sir, I’ll just stand.”
The President shrugged and happily sat down into his big presidential blue leather chair whilst flicking a button on his phone. “Prime, how are you doing?”
“Mr President, fine, thank you. And yourself?
The President looked up at Karla, then to the phone, then back at Karla, “This is where you come in. You have to tell him what I said, and then you have to tell me what he said!” A worried look settled onto the President’s face, “I can’t have a conversation with him if you don’t translate.”
Karla wondered if she had eaten something or drank something laced with hidden drugs a day or two ago and was having a really wild trip. But just in case, she lent forwards to the phone and cleared her throat. “The ahh, Prime Minister asked how you're doing, Sir.”
“Great, great. I mean, I’m the President of the United States; how much better could it get? How’s my friend Greg, by the way?” The President leant back in his chair and looked at Karla’s puzzled face.
“Ahh, the President wants to know how Greg….” Karla looked at the President for help on who this Greg was. Thankfully he whispered “Norman” in time for Karla to relay the last name to the Prime Minister “is going.”
Silence on the line lasted a little too long as Karla could only dread to think what this leader was thinking; she grimaced at the nodding President.
“He lives in America, I think….” The silence from Australia swamped the telephone line.
“The ahh Prime Minister says that Greg Norman is going fine, sir.”
“Great, great, so ask him why he’s calling me.”
“Ahh, Prime Minister, the ahh President would like to enquire as to why you are phoning him today.” Nerves began to make Karla’s hands shake.
“Oh, ahh, well, I wanted to congratulate you for winning your election, and I’m sure our nations can continue to work closely together.”
Karla repeated quietly and quickly to the President everything the Prime Minister said, hoping dearly the man on the other end of the line would not hear her.
“Oh yeah, we are twinzees!” The President laughed confidently. “But I tell you working here is just so much harder for me than it is for you. It’s just so busy; it’s a crazy busy time. Let me tell you this, it is an evil time too, but a complex time because those Canadians don’t just show up with a ‘Made in Canada’ stamped on their foreheads. Instead, they wear disguises. It’s brutal. This spying stuff is so sneaky. I’m gonna have to devote a whole afternoon to sorting it out. But I think I’m going to be very successful.” The President nodded to Karla to translate as he looked once more into his empty peanut draw.
“Err, the ahh President says thank you, and umm, he’s worried about the relationship between Canada and America.” Karla swallowed, “I think….”
The Prime Minister’s line was filled with quiet whispering on the other end, which made Karla lean in closer. She was sure she could hear and Prime Minister asking if this was the right number or if someone was pulling a joke on him. Unfortunately, one of his aides said it was the right line, and sadly it wasn’t a joke.
“Bloody hell!” came through quite clearly.
The Australian Prime Minister cleared his throat and went straight into politician mode, “I’m just calling Sir to discuss with you the continuation of our agreement to support each other in the “Take ‘Em, So We Can Take Others, Without Taking Too Many, Or Being Swamped Or Looking Like Bad Guys” deal we made with your predecessor.”
Karla could tell the Prime Minister was choosing his words carefully.
“Ahh, the Prime Minister would like to know if you intend on sticking with the migration deal he made with President….”
The President jumped out of his seat and yelled. “Don’t say his name!” A pointed finger wagged dangerously close to Karla’s nose. “No one is allowed to say his name. It upsets me!”
Karla took a step back as the phone crackled loudly.
“Sir, I must insist that you honour the deal your predecessor and his government ratified with my government. It’s a difficult business worldwide, but one we must manage humanly to ensure people’s safety and dignity is maintained.”
“What did he say?” The President lent towards Karla
“He says you must stick to the agreement, Sir and treat refugees with respect. I think I heard an aide say except on Manis Island, but I don’t know too much about…”
“I hate talking to this guy, he’s the worst, and that’s saying something ‘cause I really hated talking to that German chick. I mean, I’ve been talking to Japan and France, and they’ve all had so many complaints. It’s driving me crazy. Just tell him I’ve got no choice but to do what the other guy organised, but he better let me build my forts on his land so that I can keep Canada from invading my country.”
Karla swallowed, “Umm, Prime Minister, the ahh President will agree to keep the prior organised agreement, but ahh, he’d like to talk about umm strengthening our two nations’ strategic strengths….”
“Is this guy for real?” The Prime Minister’s disbelief rang through the telephone speaker loud and clear. “Why the hell is he talking about Canada that way? Is he trying to start World War Three?”
“What did he say? Is he doing what I told him to do?” The president jumped up and down in front of Karla.
“Ahh, Err, Umm”, the poor young woman was caught between a rock and a hard place before her frantic search for a solution arrived clearly in her mind. “
“ADHHAB FARIQ ‘AMIRKA!” “ADHHAB FARIQ ‘AMIRKA!” continued to ring around the room as twelve heavily armed Secret Service agents dressed in black battle gear stormed the room and piled on top of the President.
“Thank you for calling Prime Minister.” Karla had pulled the phone’s receiver out of the way just in time. “The, ahh, President is somewhat detained with an unforeseen issue; I’m sure the, ahh, Vice President will be able to help you further. I’ll just, um, hang up now and pass on the message. Byeee!”