It’s no secret that the Ukranian war planned by Vlad “The Mad” Putin to last two days is now about a year old with no end in sight. You may recall that when the Russian Tsar sent a couple hundred thousand soldiers marching toward Kyiv last year, he figured he could quickly depose their government and sweep the country back into the Soviet fold.

He was wrong. Much to his surprise, those plucky Ukranians fought back. And they haven’t stopped. Nor are they likely to in the coming months. Despite the setbacks, Putin continues to put forth the propaganda that all will be well in the end. But don’t you have to wonder what his strategy meetings for victory are like these days? Maybe the conversations around a Kremlin conference table are going something like this.

VLAD: Comrades, victory is at hand!

GENERAL 1: Uh, I think that was last year’s slogan, Your Tsarness.

VLAD: And whose fault is that?

LOYAL AIDE: Not yours, Mr. President. You had the right idea all along.

VLAD: I agree.

GENERAL 2: I would say there were several things that prevented us from completing our objective immediately. The Ukranians, the Americans, and pretty much the rest of the free world.

VLAD: You told me they wouldn’t care about Ukraine.

GENERAL 1: Yeah, we kind of misjudged that. Turns out the world needs Ukraine and the wheat it grows. And people seem to like bread to eat. Plus, there’s that whole independent nation and freedom of choice thing those other nations seem so big on.

VLAD: Well why didn’t that campaign to call Ukranians Nazis I wanted to use last year work? The rest of the world should have hated them for that.

GENERAL 1: Nobody actually bought the idea that Ukranians were Nazis nor even just plain old bullies beating up fellow citizens.

VLAD: What about that mosquito Zelenskyy? You said he was weak. So far, it’s not playing out that way.

AIDE: I’ve ordered more fly swatters like you asked, sir.

GENERAL 2: Zelenskyy is very popular. He’s kind of the Winston Churchill of Ukraine.

VLAD: And what’s with his wardrobe? Does he only own one shirt?

AIDE: It’s an ugly color, sir.

GENERAL 1: He definitely knows how to rally the troops in a war.

VLAD: It’s not a war. It’s a “special military operation.”

AIDE: And a darned good one too.

GENERAL 2: Yeah, whatever. The 13 million refugees might disagree.

VLAD: So, what are we going to do about this prolonged “special military operation?” Do I have to call up more reserve soldiers to fight?

GENERAL 1: Uh, not really a good idea. Men who might be eligible to serve seem to be leaving the country. And we’ve already offered prisoners a chance to fight in exchange for springing them from jail.

VLAD: How’s that going?

GENERAL 2: It seems the prisoners’ life expectancy is reduced considerably when they take the deal, so they’re opting to stay in their cells.

AIDE: Let ’em rot, I say.

VLAD: What about the Chinese? I know my buddy Xi will help us end this thing.

GENERAL 1: He will, sure. But you know Beijing really likes to operate on a quid pro quo basis. And your buddy is going to demand a whole lot of quo for his quid.

VLAD: Is that even a thing?

GENERAL 1: I don’t know, but his support is definitely going to cost us.

VLAD: How much?

GENERAL 2: How well do you speak Mandarin?

VLAD: Hmmm. Okay, so let’s figure out how to blame the United States.

AIDE: Now you’re talking!

GENERAL 1: Already in motion. At your direction, your Tsarness, we’ve already pulled out of one nuclear treaty.

VLAD: That ought to shake ’em up.

GENERAL 2: Actually, the U.S. just offered more tanks and ammo to the Ukrainian army.

VLAD: The Americans know we’ve got nukes and aren’t afraid to use them, right?

GENERAL 1: They are aware of that, yes. But we have to remember that they have nukes too.

VLAD: We need to seize more cities whose names nobody can pronounce. And can’t we get some Ukranian somewhere to make a sign saying, “Welcome! We’re glad you’re here!” when our Russian troops march into town?

AIDE: I’ll make one, sir!

VLAD: Why can’t you all be more like AIDE?

GENERAL 2: It’s possible we might have to look at another scenario.

VLAD: Such as?

GENERAL 1: We take over Moldova.

VLAD: Well, that’s next on the list, of course. But what about Ukraine?

GENERAL 2: We figure if we march into Moldova, everybody will forget about Ukraine. And while the West is trying to locate Moldova on a map, express outrage, and turn their attention to that country, we finish what we started in Kyiv and other cities.

VLAD: (PAUSE) I like this plan. Make it happen.

GENERAL 1: We’re working on it now.

VLAD: Work harder.

©MMXXIII. William J. Lewis, III – Freelance Writer