By Mark Adam Harold
A story of rebellion, the letter “H”, and the smell of toilets on airplanes.
For entertainment purposes only. This is satire and none of it actually happened.
Visi šiame literatūriniame kūrinyje sutinkami personažai, minimi asmenys, pavadinimai ir įvykiai yra išgalvoti. Bet koks jų sutapimas su realybe yra atsitiktinis. Šis literatūrinis kūrinys yra išimtinai pramoginio pobūdžio satyra.
Photos: “Large bonfire” by Fir0002, “Kauno Rotušė” by Creative
At 23:45 on December 12th, 2015, Dalia Mushroom, the President of Lithuania, closed her bedroom door and went to sleep on the last night of peace before war ripped her country apart. Safe in her bed in Vilnius, she couldn’t hear the engines of hundreds of cars and buses gathering in a long convoy on the motorway just outside the capital city. At the head of the line, self-appointed leader of the separatist forces Ziggy Mauritz pulled himself through the sunroof of his BMW and unfurled an ominous black-and-red banner. He held it high with both hands and the breeze carried it back above his head, flicking it up and down slowly in the moonlight. He smiled and began to speak into the tiny skin-coloured conference microphone that had been carefully stuck onto his cheek by a blonde assistant, his voice relayed to every car by a small FM radio transmitter on the back seat of his car. His moment had come.
“Friends, Lituanians, countrymen!” he began, being careful not to use the letter ‘H’ which was the reason for the bloody conflict he was about to initiate. “We are the future of Lituania! We leave the past behind and march into the twenty-first century! Finally, we will be able to pronounce the English version of our country’s name properly! Finally, investment and tourism will come pouring in, because every foreign newspaper will write about us, which is like free advertising! Free advertising is good, because it’s free, and it’s advertising!”
Mauritz paused, to let the awesome weight of his opening statement settle down in the minds of every member of his audience. The trail of steam from the warm breath of the word “advertising” floated into the cold air, hovering like a transport helicopter, clinging briefly to the felt of his beret, lit from behind by a thousand headlights. His supporters, eyes wide with hope and admiration, sat in their cars and trucks, waiting obediently for the first command from their new Leader.
“Let us ride. Let us ride into a brave tomorrow for our children. Let us ride to a place where we can finally be world-famous and increase our GDP. Let us ride to a land of hope and opportunity, where everything is easy to pronounce. Let us ride,” Mauritz took a deep breath and prepared his chest to amplify the last two words of his speech, “to Kaunas!”
At the sound of the name of their beloved new capital city, the pro-Lituanian separatists revved their engines and beeped their horns, creating a deafening roar which gentle air-currents carried back to Vilnius, past the EMSI petrol station, towards Savanorių Norfa Bazė and on to Krasnuxos Maxima. Mauritz climbed back down into his car, pulled his banner inside, closed his sunroof against the night air and high-fived his driver. The convoy began its star-crossed journey north.
That same night, high above Denmark, a Wizz Air Boeing 737 was carrying a hundred souls from Luton to Vilnius. Flight attendant Andrew Overhill, wearing a bright purple jacket, picked up the intercom handset and dialled the pilot’s number.
“Can I get you anything, Captain? Maybe a sandwich or some fruit juice? Anything?” he asked with a fluttering voice, as if calling his teenage crush for the first time.
“I’m fine, Andrew,” said the Captain, tired of the constant attention.
Andrew replaced the handset slowly and then adjusted his jacket, which was too small.
The Captain continued to talk into the intercom, but this time for all passengers. “We apologise once again for the delay leaving Luton. We are currently leaving Danish airspace and will be landing in Vilnius two hours later than expected. The temperature there is -3 degrees, the sky is clear, we shouldn’t be experiencing any more problems. On behalf of Wizz Air, we wish you a pleasant remainder of the flight.”
The separatists’ convoy left the motorway before MEGA, and started a procession down the other Savanorių avenue, which was as empty as a Councillor’s brain at the end of a long meeting. Mauritz put his beer in the cup-holder of his BMW and smiled to his driver. “I can’t believe we’re actually going to do this,” he said, like a child lighting a small firework.
After a few turns, they were near the Swan. Mauritz opened the glovebox and took out a corporate-branded handkerchief which was supposed to be a gift at a stupid conference his company organised for foreign people. As the driver stopped the BMW, Mauritz jumped out and signalled to the people in the car behind. “Give me the bottle. Where’s Batciulis?” he shouted.
Another BMW pulled up in front of the Swan while the rest of the convoy stayed behind, waiting patiently for the action to begin. A man got out of the second BMW, holding an empty champagne bottle.
“Where’s Batciulis?” asked Mauritz again.
“He had an accident. I think he was drunk,” replied the man with the bottle. “He crashed into a bus stop just after we left the motorway,” said Bottleman, shrugging his shoulders. “He normally drives a Multipla but his mother needs it tomorrow so we gave him a BMW. I don’t think he understands rear-wheel drive.”
“Fuck it,” replied Mauritz, “we go on without him. Where’s the petrol?”
Another man got out of the second BMW and went to the back of the car to open the boot. He pulled out a can of petrol, closed the boot, and marched towards the champagne-bottle guy, shoes clicking on the cobblestones of the town square.
“OK fill the bottle,” shouted Mauritz. Bottleguy tried to hold the bottle while Petrolman poured petrol into it. The fuel splashed over Bottleguy’s hands, cascading onto the cobbles, making the same sound you would make if you really needed a piss and you thought it would be OK to go behind a tree to avoid the security cameras.
“Enough!” shouted Mauritz, losing his patience, but also because he thought it sounded really cool to shout “Enough!” like he was in a movie. Bottleguy passed the half-filled bottle to Mauritz, mumbling something about having petrol on his trousers. Petrolman laughed at Bottleguy.
“Ha ha, Algi, you look like you pissed yourself,” he said, “and we haven’t even started yet!”
Bottleguy looked at Petrolman. “Shut up Rimai,” he said, because he couldn’t think of anything else to say. If he had known that these would be his last words, he might have chosen something more poetic, but it’s too late now.
Mauritz took his corporate-branded handkerchief and stuffed it into the bottle, leaving part of it hanging out. “Who’s got a lighter?” he shouted.
Bottleguy pulled out a lighter and gave it to Mauritz. Mauritz struck the lighter and held it to the “a” of the word “Nordea”, which had been printed on the handkerchief by a method cheaper than silkscreening. The handkerchief immediately burst into flames, because it was 100% artificial fibres.
“For Lituania, gentlemen!!” screamed Mauritz as he swung the bottle towards the door of the Swan, making his body’s shadow spin and shimmer on the ground as the flame passed by his head. The force of his throw pushed petrol towards the burning handkerchief, igniting the whole cocktail in his hands. “Fuck!” screamed Mauritz as he dropped the bottle on the ground, where the petrol spread and set fire to Bottleguy’s trousers.
Bottleguy’s screams of death were not heard because, as his testicles were being cooked, Batciulis swerved onto the town square in a severely damaged BMW, swept Petrolman off his feet, and smashed into the main door of the Swan.
“Door’s open,” said Mauritz into his microphone, wiping his burnt hand on his expensive suit as twelve separatists jumped out of a minibus and ran towards the entrance. “Here,” said Mauritz, giving one of them the black-and-red banner of the Lituanian People’s Republic, “you know what to do.”
Petrolman eventually landed, head first, but nobody paid any attention. Already the convoy was splitting up and spreading out across the city, taking control of the most important strategic buildings such as Spurginė and Blue Orange. Mauritz ordered his men to set up a wi-fi hotspot while the red-and-black banner was wrapped around the neck of the Swan like a scarf.
The President’s phone began to ring. Swearing, she picked up the receiver.
“Ms President,” said a trembing voice, “we have a problem in Kaunas.”
“I know. It’s a shithole,” said the President, “but technically it’s part of Lithuania and there’s nothing I can do about that. Go back to sleep.”
“Not any more, Dalia, they’ve taken the Swan, and Blue Orange is nearly in their hands. It’s already too late to save Spurginė,” said the voice, “and nearly 45% of the kebab shops have been looted.”
“Who’s taken the Swan?” asked the President, waking up.
“The separatists. They’re everywhere.”
“But… that’s almost 4500 kebab shops,” said the President, realising the seriousness of the situation.
Onboard Wizz Air 8006, Diana Nerasistė MP emerged from the toilet.
“I’m not being racist,” she said to Flight Attendant Andrew Overhill, “but that toilet smells like a gentleman of colour.”
“Tell me about it,” replied Andrew, “yesterday we had a muslim on the plane and I thought I would just die from lack of oxygen.”
“LOL!” laughed the ugly old female Member of Parliament.
From the bell-tower of the Swan, Mauritz surveyed his newly-won territory. Kebab-shop fires lit up the landscape, making Kaunas look like somebody had dropped Christmas lights in a graveyard on Halloween. Women were running in the streets carrying babies, while men cooked stolen kebab meat with the heat of burning cars.
Mauritz smiled. Soon, the letter “H” would be a distant memory, and the international media would be publishing articles about Lituania. What fools the others were, when they told him this would never work!
A man brought Mauritz another beer. He took it, and threw it from the bell-tower. It spun through the air and accelerated towards the ground, killing Andrew Tapinas instantly.
“That beer is warm!” said Mauritz, staring at the man who brought it.
“Sorry Mister Mauritz, Sir, it was in Batciulis’s car, which as you know is now…”
“On fire. Yes, I know. He was a good soldier. The Lituanian People’s Republic will long remember his bravery. But I can’t forgive wasting good beer. Go and kill him again.”
“Yes Sir!” said the man, already running down the stairs.
“And bring me another beer. I actually wanted a beer. I just threw that one out because I thought it would make me look badass.”
The man’s voice echoed up the staircase of the bell-tower. “Yes Sir!”
Mauritz smiled and touched himself on the arse. “Epic,” he said to himself, “simply epic. This is the best taking over of Kaunas since 1941! No wait… I’m better than Itler, and this is more awesome than the Olocaust!”
“Angela, sorry to call you in the middle of the night.”
“Oh that’s no problem, Dalia, you know you’re welcome to call any time. So… the usual?”
“No, there’s no time for that. The city which used to be the capital of my country has been occupied by separatists demanding the removal of the letter H from the word Lithuania”
“Slow down, Dalia, I have no idea what you are talking about.”
“Lithuania. You know. The country I am President of.”
“Lithuania? Is that near Russia?”
“No. Lithuania. It’s near… Estonia.”
“Litooayneea? Is that a country? Do you have your own language?”
“Look, Angela, shut the fuck up and listen. My second city is on fire.”
“Oh, you mean Litauen? Near Memel?”
“Yes. Litauen near Memel, for the love of Jesus Christ. My people are dying.”
“I heard you have strange pink soup. Do you have a football stadium?”
“We’re finished, Angela. It’s over.”
“Don’t go! I love Latvia! How can I help?”
President of Lithuania Dalia Mushroom smashed her iPhone on her fake-baroque glass-topped table. The tabletop also smashed, making it look like an iPhone screen. The phone connection died, like so many inhabitants of Kaunas in so many different decades.
User “myliuvisaspanas69” uploaded his video to YouTube. He clicked “play”, because he couldn’t believe what he had just seen, and he only believed stuff he saw on YouTube.
In the sodium-orange light of the A5 near Garliava, he had recorded a huge truck carrying what looked like four rockets, or like one of those books of matches you get in posh bars when you haven’t got a lighter. The truck disappeared behind some trees, and then appeared again, turning off the road into a field.
Myliuvisaspanas69 thought it looked pretty cool, because rockets are cool. He opened Facebook and found his friend Paskolos Kaune. There was a message waiting in the chat window.
- Dude. Kaunas is burning.
“Seen 01:37,” said Myliuvisaspanas69.
The pilot lit the “wear seatbelt” warning and switched on the intercom.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, we will shortly be arriving in Vilnius. Once again on behalf of Wizz Air I would like to apologise for the delay, and for the absolutely disgusting smell of some of the passengers of various ethnic backgrounds. In future, we will automatically upgrade all Members of Parliament to first class, so that they can sit at the front on a slightly bigger seat behind a little curtain which does nothing.”
“Thank fuck for that,” said Diana Nerasistė, “I was going to go and sit in the toilet, because after several hours of experimentation, I have come to the conclusion that toilets smell better than negroes.”
“I know what you mean, girl!” said Flight Attendant Andrew Overhill, winking at her as he packed plastic-wrapped sandwiches back in their aluminium box. “And these sandwiches are shit! Probably made by a gypsy!”
At that moment, a large explosion removed the Captain from the cockpit, and both Captain and cockpit fell from the sky as shrapnel flew through the rest of the plane, killing everybody in first class instantly.
Yellow oxygen masks fell from their positions next to the “wear seatbelt” light which all Lithuanians traditionally ignore as soon as the plane lands. But this plane wasn’t going to land, it was going to crash. A warning alarm sounded, but nobody could hear it, because of the high-speed winds ripping through the cabin. A wing started to detatch from the fuselage as two people were sucked out of the emergency exit, still strapped to their seats.
“Fuck you, Hungary!” screamed Councillor Markadamas Aroldas in seat 24D, regretting his decision to chose a racist country’s airline instead of the drug-legalising gay-marriage paradise of Ireland.
A deadly fire grew from a spark into a huge cloud, quickly consuming the passengers one after another, like a fat restaurant reviewer eats burgers.
In the bell-tower, Mauritz was sitting with a packet of sunflower seeds, watching smoke rise from the collapsed car-park of Akropolis, thinking about renaming Kaunas to Nemengrad. A man ran in with an oldskool phone, the green monochrome screen shining brightly in the darkness. “Sir!” the man said, “…Phone!”
“Ahh,” said Mauritz, spitting out the shell of a seed he had expertly removed with his teeth. “It’s probably the international media. My plan worked. Now everyone will know about Lituania.”