Larry Moore | A Cautionary Tale

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

This is dedicated to all of you sitting at home with I-told-you-so smirks on your faces.  

(Somewhere in Russia. Vladimir Putin is sitting in a small, nondescript room with two chairs. A man about Putin’s age enters.) 

Putin: Ah, Valeri, sit down. 

Valeri: (Nervous) Thank you, President Putin. 

Putin: Just call me Vlad … and not The Impaler …that is just some not very funny nickname made up by imperialistic Fox News. 

Valeri: (Still nervous) I will keep that in mind. I was wondering …Vlad … why I was called into your presence today. 

Putin: (Proudly) Valeri, you have been chosen for a great honor, probably the greatest of your life. 

Valeri: (Suspicious) But I am just a minor government bureaucrat. Surely you have the wrong man. 

Putin: You have been selected for the very fact that you are an unknown. But that won’t be for long.  

Valeri: Are you sending me to the International Space Station? 

Putin: Better than that. You have been selected to run against me in the 2024 presidential election. 

Valeri: I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but didn’t you win the last election by 99%? 

Putin: Yes, and we’re still looking into that 1%. But, do not worry. We have the whole election process mapped out. We need to give the people the illusion that they have two viable choices in the election. You will be the radical whose platform includes ending the war in Ukraine and granting Taylor Swift the right to perform her Eras Tour concert in Moscow. 

Valeri: What if the people support those ideas? I mean … 

Putin: (Shushes Valeri) Don’t worry about that. Once the election begins and your name is known, you will be arrested on 34 felony counts and be required to attend your trial every day.  

Valeri: But how will I campaign if I’m in court every day? 

Putin: (Smiles) That’s the beauty of it. You won’t be able to campaign. 

Valeri: What am I being charged with? 

Putin: Smuggling illegal Chinese caviar into Russia.  

Valeri: But I don’t even like caviar. And 34 counts? How can there be 34 different violations of smuggling caviar? 

Putin: We need 34 counts so we can confuse the jury. 

Valeri: (Amazed) We have juries in Russia? 

Putin: Let’s just say that we have ways of manipulating them … if you know what I mean. 

Valeri: No offense, Vlad, but this whole idea seems a little corrupt. (Wishing he hadn’t said it.) 

Putin: (Puts his arm around Valeri’s shoulder) Valeri, my comrade, just be happy you are not being tried in America. Their system of justice is completely corrupt. They even tried their former president on charges that nobody understood. That would never happen in Russia.  

Valeri: Thank you, Vlad, for setting my mind at ease. When do we begin?   

Larry Moore 


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