by Jim Harris

I was in the checkout line at the co-op when I looked out the front window and saw a young man with a clipboard. “Uh-oh,” I thought, “Those kids from Save The Earth are back. Make eye contact, and you’re dead.” “Hi!” they chirp. “Will you please sign our petition to Governor Corbett asking him to stop raping the environment? Oh, and if you could just donate $5 or more to protect the habitat of the endangered North American Tweety Bird, we would REALLY appreciate it.”

Now, I’m all for Tweety Birds and not raping the environment, but I just have a natural aversion to salesmen and panhandlers, so as I stepped out the door with my groceries, I looked straight ahead and tried to do an end run around the kid to my car, but he was too quick for me. What he said next, though, shocked me.

“Good Mornink, Comra… er, sir. My name is Yuri. I am tryink for to get signatures of peoples who wish Chestnut Hill to become part of New Soviet Union. You sign, please?”

I was flabbergasted. “What? Are you allowed to be here? I’m not even sure I should be talking to you. Someone might be watching — or listening. Like the NSA.”

“Oh, don’t worry, everything okey-dokey. I have green card, see? I am even sign up for Obamacare. Took five minutes. I log on, hack in, sign up. What’s the big problem? All Americans know how to do on computer is play games, post selfies and look for sushi bars. You come to Russia, we teach you good. Just sign here.”

“Yeah, I’d love to, really, but I’ve got a gallon of tofu ice cream here, and I need to get it home to my son’s birthday party before it melts.”

“Yeah, yeah. You like co-op, no?”


“Well, in Russia, we know co-ops. We invented co-ops. Everything in Russia is better than in USA. In USA, everyone hates everyone else. In Russia we love one another. One big family. Russia was recently voted “Best place to live” by Crimea Magazine. United States came in twelfth. In fact, New Soviet Union just annexed Crimea. Latest poll shows that 100% of Crimeans love new government.”

“Yes, but that land belonged to the Ukrainians.”

“Uh-huh, and before that it belong to wooly mammoths. You don’t hear THEM whining and complaining, do you?”“But you signed a treaty to recognize Ukraine’s borders and sovereignty.”

“Oh, did we? Hold on a sec, my phone’s ringing. Hello. Yes, he’s right here. It’s for you — American Indians calling. They want their continent back. Come on, just sign the petition. It will cost you nothing, and once you become part of new U.S.S.R., you get free Putin T-shirt, free Russian cable TV, PLUS guaranteed protection of world’s only nuclear power with fully functioning space program.

“Consider this, we are only country in world capable of turning United States into pile of radioactive ash, and believe me, you don’t want to be around radioactive ash. Just ask folks who used to live in Chernobyl. Look, we know that Chestnut Hill wanted to become part of Montgomery County a while back. It’s all strip malls and business parks! Are you out of your minds? They should be asking to join YOU, not other way around.

“You think too small my friend. Think big. Think Russia. Act now, we include a free years subscription to Tundra Magazine. You like snow? Pretty pictures, eh? And you can wear all the fur you like, year ‘round, without guilt. PETA will not bother you. Trust me. Putin will see to that!”

“All right, all right, I’ll sign, just to get rid of you. Hey, wait a minute. This is a petition asking Governor Corbett to clean up the environment in Pennsylvania. You’re not Russian! You’re from Save The Earth!”

“Okay, ya got me pal. You’re right, but it was the only way I could get your attention. Now look, if you’ll just sign here, here and here, you can save the earth and be on your way. Thanks. Oh, and if you could donate $5 or more, we would REALLY appreciate it.”