W here am I? Who are you? What am I doing here?
You’re in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. I’m Chairman of the National Defense Commission of North Korea, Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army, General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, and Dear Leader Kim Jong-il. As to what you’re doing here, that’s kind of a long story.
The last thing I remember is rehearsing for my comeback tour. I had five thousand sold out shows scheduled at the O2 Arena in London.
Right. My agents drugged you, kidnapped you, and left behind a body surgically altered to resemble you right down to the finest details to throw everyone off the scent. I do that sort of thing. It’s kind of an elaborate prank. I once kidnapped a South Korean movie director and his wife to make a Godzilla movie I had written the screenplay for.
Yes, but why?
I need to name my successor. I’ve got the Big C. Life’s so unfair! But there’s some things even a brutal dictator can’t dictate. I should know—I’ve tortured some of our finest doctors searching for a cure.
But what does that have to do with me?
Michael, do you have any children?
Yes, three of them—Prince Michael, Paris Michael, and the other one who’s also called Prince Michael.
Can any of them sing and dance like you could at their age?
Precisely. Genetics are unreliable. Fortunately, I took after my father, Eternal President of the Republic and Great Leader Kim Il-Sung. But my sons lack the proper dictatorial temperament. One of them likes to play with dolls…
One of them tried to visit Disneyworld in Japan using a forged passport…
I can understand that. Disneyworld is great! I tried to recreate it at Neverland, but ran out of money.
That’s what I mean! He should have built his own Disneyworld right here in North Korea! Call it Stalinworld. We could have had the most amazing rides—the Purge, the Gulag, the Forced Collectivization of the Kulaks…Instead he shamed me by failing to think big.
But didn’t you already name your youngest son, Kim Jong-un, the Cute Leader, as your successor?
Too liberal. He actually used the word “reform” in a sentence. I blame myself for secretly sending him to a private school in Switzerland—the Swiss have funny ideas about Socialism. He has been sentenced to a reeducation camp until he learns the errors of his ways…in about twenty years. Sometimes you gotta show tough love.
My father Joseph would agree with you. But what does this have to do with me?
I’m a big fan of the early 1980s. World culture was at its peak then. It’s been all down hill ever since the Soviet Union collapsed. I was watching some of your old videos—screened for me by the originals MTV VJs—when it suddenly hit me: Those sunglasses! That hair! Those gaudy military uniforms! Those thousands of goose-stepping extras! I was looking at a younger version of myself, give or take a couple of pounds. Even our philosophies match—”juche” roughly translates as “beat it.” I had found my true successor.
But I’m not Korean!
You’re not exactly black, either.
Point taken. But nobody is going to believe I’m your son.
You underestimate the power of ignorance. That’s the great thing about running a country with almost no access to the outside world—Iran envies our isolation. Most North Koreans have never even heard of Michael Jackson, let alone know what you look like. We announce you’re my fourth son—King of Pop and Bad Leader Kim Jacko-il. Believe me, nobody will be the wiser.
But I don’t know anything about running a country!
Neither do I. North Korea is one of the poorest countries in the world. Most of the people are starving to death. Chad and Tobago laugh at our GNP. Meanwhile, me and my cronies live in the lap of luxury. The main thing is to think big militarily—big armies, big parades, big spectacles. Imagine one million soldiers in full dress uniform moon walking simultaneously to “Billie Jean.” It would be fantastic!
I dunno. What about my legions of fans?
They’ll be delighted to learn of your resurrection. They already think you’re divine. They’ll love you even more once they see you’re the absolute ruler of your own country. Even Elvis and the Beatles never did that! We’ll have a giant solid gold statue erected in your honor, just like on the cover of HIStory.
What about my performance commitments? Those shows at the O2 Arena—I’ve got bills to pay. I can’t live off the Beatles’ back catalog forever—Paul McCartney is threatening to b-word slap me the next time he sees my face.
Bills, schmills. You’ll have nukes. If Russia, China, the United States, Japan, and South Korea can’t make us honor our agreements, you won’t have to worry about creditors, lawsuits, and paparazzi. Just fire a missile every now and then in the general direction of Hawaii—it keeps folks guessing.
Well, young Korean boys are cute…
The cutest! Especially those big, sad eyes. And so compliant! You can buy them off with a bowl of rice! Well, what do you say?
What can I say? I’ll be there.