As the Aeroflot jet passed into international airspace, Donald Trump realized that he had been holding his breath. There had been no air pursuit, no warning shots, no flybys.
He was free. Finally, finally free.
The people around him – his family, a few aides, the Russian Ambassador – were cheering. Backslaps, laughter, and high-fives mixed with the sound of champagne corks popping.
“You did it, darling,” said Ivanka, kissing him on the cheek. “Congratulations.”
“Like no one could have ever imagined!” said another voice behind them. They turned, to see the grinning visage of Vladimir Vladimirovitch Putin looking down at them over the seat tops.
“Good morning, Vlad,” said Trump. “I didn’t expect to see you here on the plane.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t want to miss the moment of your greatest triumph, my friend,” said the Russian. “Ivanka, dear – would you mind if I sat with your father for a few minutes? Lyudmila requests the pleasure of your company in the aft cabin…?” Wordlessly, she nodded, and undid her seat belt.
“Well, Donald,” said Putin, as he settled into the seat, “how does it feel to have stolen a country?”
“Damn good,” said Donald. “Pretty damn good. Better than Stormy’s -“
“Ah, yes,” said Putin. “You have such a way with words, Donald. Such a way with words… You will pleased to know that, as expected, the streets of Washington DC are filled with chaos, as everyone tries to figure out which side is which. Your – what did you call them, “Proud Boys”? – have broken into the Capitol and set it aflame. The nation is waking to the news of your surrender, and your disappearance. Mr. Pence is even now on top of the Washington Monument, attempting to persuade the Almighty to smite his enemies. As per the surrender agreement, the Chinese forces – I’m sorry, ‘peacekeepers’ – will be landing in California soon… greetings from the Secretary, by the way; he sends his best wishes.”
“Yeah, tell him I said ‘Hi.'”
“Of course. The stock market has crashed, and the American dollar is nearly worthless – so it was very painless to have your debts marked ‘paid’… not that anyone is about to send collection agents after you!”
The two men shared a hearty laugh. Trump realized it had been a while since he had laughed. Quite a while.
“So,” said Putin, slapping the former President on the knee, “you must be very tired. I don’t believe you’ve been able to sleep, for what, forty-eight hours now?”
“Fifty-two,” said Trump. It occurred to him that in all the chaos, he may have forgotten some of his meds.
“Of course,” said Putin. He gestured to someone standing in the aisle a few meters away. Within moments, a well-dressed flight attendant – Trump noted with pleasure the way the woman’s uniform presented her decolletage – appeared with a mug and a small carafe.
“Here,” said Putin, “have some tea. My favorite blend. It will… relax you.”
A few minutes later, the doctor confirmed that there was no pulse.
“Чертов предатель идиот,” said Putin. He regarded the surprised expression on the dead man’s face. “Get him out of here. Get them all out of here.”
The plane flew low, very low, over the Greenland tundra. Like a bird relieving itself in flight, it released a series of dark bundles from its tail end, tumbling end-over-end to the not-so-frigid waters below.