NOVGRZLI, Freedonia. Miskta Forka is a 52-year-old single woman who frequently sits by her phone on Friday nights in the hope that Likwo Kwirksz, her on-again-off-again boyfriend, will call. “He is very faithful,” she says with a look of amused resignation. “He always rings me up right after his money runs out.”
But tonight Forka is waiting for a different kind of call. “I have been assigned the 9:30 to ten p.m. shift,” she says, referring to a nationwide effort in Freedonia to monitor the nation’s 2,374 land lines on the off chance that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump will call one of them. “He did it for Taiwan, which has been an international donut hole since 1979,” according to Deputy Minister of State Vlez Iokwlini, referring to the year the U.S. ended diplomatic relations with the island nation off the coast of China. “We are better than them, because we are an island surrounded by land.”
The nation’s hopes soared Friday when Trump spoke by telephone with Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen, a major departure from prior U.S. policy sure to anger China. “We had a great conversation,” Trump told reporters “They throw in a side of white rice on all orders over $10, and they deliver, which has been a problem with Beijing.”
Freedonia was formed after World War I from parts of Albania and Armenia, an abandoned skate park and two above-ground swimming pools. The last American president to call the non-aligned nation was Jimmy Carter, who in 1978 dialed an 800 number with a question on a hand-held hair dryer, a cosmetic appliance that came to prominence during his term in office. Carter withdrew the nation’s ambassador when he was told he would have to bring the product to Freedonia for repair.
A phone call from a foreign king is foretold in Freedonian folklore, according to Envlo Morakil, professor of ethnic studies at the University of Glozks. “It is in our creation myth,” he says as he opens a copy of “The Song of Likaoick, Reluctant Tyrant,” an epic poem that recounts the beginnings of the Freedonian people. “There will come a message from a great orange one from beyond the waters,” Morakil intones in a deeply resonant voice. “If it is a collect call, do not accept the charges.”