—Gentlemen, the people are restless; we need someone to blame.
—How about the Jews? They’ve served this purpose well in the past.
—We’ve blamed them so often that if we do it again it will seem automatic, contrived. We need someone else.
—I like that. They are disgusting creatures, sticking themselves into vile places. Sergei, I did not mean to insult you.
—Quite alright, comrade.
—I have told you not to call me that. If we do it in private it will slip out in public. We need to appear to have modernized, you understand?
—Yes, Mr. President, I am sorry.
—It is alright. You do not object to us using your people for this purpose?
—Not at all, Mr. President. In fact, I would be happy to lead this initiative if you like.
—That will not be necessary. I know this is a sacrifice for you and as always I appreciate your dedication.
—It is my pleasure, sir.
—What shall we do to these people, the gays? Alexei, you want to say something?
—Yes, Mr. President. What if we oppose gay marriage—pass a law against it?
—Tell me more.
—Well, the church would back it, obviously. And, western governments would attack us, naturally, which would leverage support for us domestically.
—Very good, Alexei. Sergei, were you intending on marrying?
—No, Mr. President. I tire of lovers long before it would come to marrying one of them.
—You will not be upset if we made a law forbidding your people from marrying?
—Of course not, Mr. President.
—Well then, it is settled. Alexei, draft an action plan. I want to put this in motion as early as next week.
—Yes, Mr. President.
—Have we considered the Gypsies?
—There are still Gypsies? I thought we got rid of them long ago.
—Some remain in isolated pockets.
—They look different, you can spot them in a crowd. How do you identify the gays? Look at Sergei, we would never know of his deviance if we saw him in the streets—I am sorry, Sergei, I meant nothing by that.
—It is alright my friend, water under the bridge.
—They walk funny.
—What was that, Dimitri?
—The gays—they walk like they’re holding an orange between their cheeks.
—I’ve never noticed that. Sergei, would you mind walking around the room?
—Not at all, Mr. President.
—He looks normal to me. Let’s get back to the Gypsies. If they exist only in isolated pockets are they really a threat?
—We can always make them appear to be, Mr. President. We could say they are planning a series of bombings or we could plant reports that they are raping women in the countryside.
—I am not convinced they are enough to spark fear. They travel in caravans for God’s sake.
—I find caravans plenty creepy.
—Of course, don’t we all, but sinister creepy, not malevolently so. Piotr, you have said nothing so far, what do you think?
—I know I bring them up a lot but the Islamists are always a good choice.
—Yes, you bring this up too much. We need to save them for when it really counts. They are our ace in the hole.
—Mr. President, what about lesbians?
—Don’t be ridiculous. Everyone loves lesbians or wants to be with one.
—We have no Blacks.
—We could import some. Say we need them to work the oil rigs.
—Blacks don’t like water.
—I meant the rigs on land.
—Those are called wells and, no, I do not want them here. They are too loud, will cause too many problems.
—Have we considered the Mongols?
—They certainly look different—dark skin, slanting eyes—they play that game on horseback where they steal a carcass from the other team.
—Yes, I have always found that to be a suspicious sport.
—Their land is desolate, it is of no use to us in case they rebel.
—It is easy terrain to fight in. Send a few tank regiments and, poof, they’re gone.
—Hmm, they might work.
—Mr. President, may I raise an objection?
—Of course, Dimitri, you are not of Mongol blood, I assume?
—No, no, absolutely not.
—Ah, very good.
—Yes, in any case, the Mongols are close to the Chinese. Not only in resemblance but also in geography. The Chinese may become angry.
—Very good point, Dimitri, we need to keep the Chinese happy or at least not turn them into antagonists.
—How about the poor?
—Why the poor?
—They are defenseless, have no voice—who will speak for them?
—But they are so numerous.
—Precisely, they are everywhere and so fear would be everywhere.
—The new Pope is putting them into the spotlight, we should leave them alone.
—Who cares about the Pope?
—No one here cares about the Pope, wait, Alexei, were your parents Catholic?
—My grandfather was, Mr. President, but he renounced the faith when he was young. My parents are agnostic; as for me, I attend services at the cathedral every now and again.
—Good to hear, we need to keep up appearances.
—That was my thinking, Mr. President.
—We still have not resolved the question of the poor.
—I have lingering concerns over their number. Gather enough people together and even if they are armed with butter knives they still make for a formidable force.
—That is true but our military is strong.
—We can not mow down millions of our citizens. Think of the global outcry.
—But we can set an example. Once blood starts to flow, the crowds disburse. If there was an uprising, we could dispatch it quickly enough.
—I do not like it. Too many unknowns.
—I respect your wisdom, Mr. President.
—What about women, the feminists?
—I have enough trouble as it is between my wife and my mistresses and now you want to add more?
—I did not think of that.
—It is because you are a bachelor. I would recommend you stay that way.
—Yes, Mr. President.
—What about the disabled?
—One of my sons has Down’s Syndrome.
—My deepest apologies, Mr. President. I had no idea.
—We do not publicize it. He has never been photographed.
—What about the pacifists?
—The conscientious objectors.
—I know what a pacifist is.
—Of course, Mr. President.
—What have the pacifists done?
—Nothing. That’s the point.
—I don’t follow.
—They put our security at risk. If everyone adopted their stance we’d have no military, we’d have no security, the entire country would be overrun.
—No rational person is a pacifist.
—Exactly. If they convince everyone to be irrational we would have an emergency on our hands.
—Do you think about what you are going to say before you open your mouth? I mean, do you filter yourself at all?
—I am sorry, Mr. President, it obviously was not a good idea.
—That is putting it generously.
—What about the Christians?
—The Church would eat us for lunch.
—And implicate everyone around this table?
—Mr. President, I think the gays are our best option.
—Let us vote on it with a show of hands. Sergei, you must abstain.
—It would be my honor to vote in favor of the proposal, Mr. President.
—No, Sergei, I respect you too much for that. Now then, who is in favor of blaming the gays? One, two, three, four, five…it is unanimous. The gays it is.
Charles Halton is managing editor of Marginalia. He's writing a novel about the obliteration of Seattle. Be his comrade by following him on Twitter @charleshalton or visiting his website charleshalton.com.