Yesterday, two Current TV journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, were sentenced to twelve years of hard labor in North Korea. Reports indicate that President Obama is considering sending well-respected statesman and owner of Current TV, Al Gore, to North Korea to try to negotiate their release. The following is a dramatic pre-enactment of how that negotiating will go.
Al Gore stands on the Chinese side of the Yalu River. Eyes narrowed, he stares through the fog at the lifeless, unforgiving North Korean wasteland in the distance. He’s tired of being pushed around by the Supreme Court, by climate-change skeptics, and now, by North Korea’s maddeningly unreasonable autocracy. President Obama may have sent him here on a diplomatic mission, but he’s no longer willing to be a pawn in North Korea’s international power plays. No, to bring his reporters home, he’ll need to take matters into his own hands.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” asks Rahm Emanuel, standing beside Gore on the banks of the Yalu.
“You know I do,” Gore responds, taking a puff of what may very well be his last cigarette.
“Then take this.” Emanuel reaches into his back pocket and hands Gore a steak knife, the one he carries with him at all times. “You may need it.”
Gore takes the knife, his eyes still fixed on his destination across the river.
“I knew that if anyone would support me on this, it would be you,” he says. He flicks his cigarette butt on the grass and steps on it, then picks it back up.
“Throw this out for me on your way home, will you?” he says, handing the butt to Emanuel. And with that, Gore steps into the murky waters and disappears.
Once on the other side, Gore gets his bearings and takes off running. Using his watch to coordinate an array of his personal satellites, he triangulates the position of the jungle prison where Ling and Lee are being held by locating the chips implanted in the shoulder of every Current TV employee. Gore moves swiftly, stealthily, toward his destination — his destiny.
At last, Gore spots the jail in the distance. It’s guarded by at least 40 men, maybe 50. Gore is tired from running continuously for two straight days, but there’s little time to waste. Hiding behind a conveniently placed drum of oil, he plots his next move. Suddenly, he spots a lone North Korean soldier walking nearby, and gets an idea. He leaps from behind the drum and, in one fell swoop, stabs the soldier in the jugular while simultaneously covering his mouth.
“Thanks, Rahm,” he says as he wipes the steak knife on his pants, then places it back in his pocket. Gore quickly puts on the soldier’s uniform and heads toward the prison’s entrance, his preternatural calm and stoic demeanor allowing him to pass by without inviting attention from the other guards.
Once inside, Gore keeps his head down and follows the beacon on his watch. After a number of twists and turns, he’s made it to the cell. He reaches into the uniform pocket of the soldier he recently killed with his bare hands, pulls out a key, and pushes open the creaky cell door. In the corner, still shrouded in the shadows, comes a voice — an American voice.
“Please, no,” she says. “Please don’t make us watch any more of Kim Jong Il’s one-man reproductions of classic Hollywood musicals. We beg of you.”
Gore takes a slow step forward, but his soldier’s uniform disguises his identity.
“Are you Laura Ling and Euna Lee?” he asks.
“Yes … ” they respond warily.
“I’m Al Gore,” he says. “And I’m here to take you home.”