America, having spent Valentine's Day 2016 alone, was searching for a soulmate.
America's been talking to Russia online, exchanging emails, keeping things on the down low, and it's been looking pretty good. Russia is manly. Russia is strong. Russia has plans for global expansion. We heard Russia beat up the Crimea, and it made us America hot.
So, America got one of those spray tans, and dyed its hair orange. America put on some Ivanka Trump sleaze heels and a blouse that shows off quite a bit of the Rocky Mountains, and went on a first date with big, strong Russia.
Russia was SO hip. Bought America vodka and caviar. The vodka wasn't cold enough, so Russia had the waiter tortured to death by one of his henchmen.
"OMG!" America squealed. "He has HENCHMEN! Totes adorbs!"
They both told their stories, like you do on first dates.
Russia? The Czar. Stalin. The Gulags. Sooo much snow!
America? Valley Forge. Freedom. Fundamentalist Christianity. The Klan. Evil stepmom Hillary.
"We have a high incarceration rate," America sighed.
"So do we, dahlink," Russia said. "It would be much higher than yours, but we kill a lot of people before they get to jail."
"You're sooo decisive," America said.
"We got creamed in Afghanistan," Russia said.
"So did we!" America said.
We got Muslim terrorists. They got Muslim terrorists. They got people marching through the streets demanding democracy. We got people marching through the streets demanding democracy. They got despised ethnic minorities. We got despised ethnic minorities.
We like vodka. They like vodka. Our poor people are obese. Their poor people are obese. We got meth heads with no teeth. They got drugs that make your skin fall off.
"We're handing our government over to cash-bloated oligarchs," Russia purred.
"Oh, God, show U.S. how to do that," America giggled.
It was getting hot. America could hear the screams of the dying waiter in the basement.
"We tried Britain and France," America sighed. "They're such pansies. Not like you. We hate them now."
"What about NATO?" Russia said. "You're still involved with them, aren't you, my little bowl of borscht?"
"I was sooo drunk when I got in bed with NATO," America said. "I don't even know why I did it. I promise I'll never see them again."
After dinner, it was a blur of clubs, totalitarianism and gypsy music. They danced until dawn.
"In my country, all the buildings are made of concrete," Russia said. "They are gray. They are 50 shades of gray."
"Will you call me?" America said, bosom heaving, mascara smeared with tears of submission.
"First, the election," Russia said.
Finally, after so many years leading the world alone, America has a boyfriend, and he's big and strong and foreign. All the other democratic republics say America is a slut, but they're just jealous. They don't know what love is, not really.
I saw America the other day. She was walking along a beach on the east coast, swaddled in Russian sable, smiling, hair blown by a strong wind from Moscow, a wind that smelled of surrender.
And she pointed towards the sea, pointed at a big gray ship just off the coast.
"That's what my boyfriend drives," she said. "Isn't it cool?"
It's a wonderful love story, isn't it? I just wish my country wasn't the girl.
To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com