Though America had known this was coming, he didn’t feel the least bit prepared.
For a few seconds, all he could do was stare in horror at the Presidential limo and all of the cars that held Secret Service members. The doors to all these cars opened, leaving America and Canada with barely enough time to slip out of sight before the occupants emerged. Gathering outside, along with dozens of these agents, were Donald Trump and Connor. Russia was there, too, his innocent smile contrasting with the chains that held him. None of them seemed to see the brothers, but America was still nervous. He didn’t want to be taken away; he had only just figured out what he was going to do with his life now!
“Hey, old man!” Connor shouted, rattling the end of a chain that he was using to restrain Russia like a dog on a leash. “I know you’re in there! Get your rear end out here, and I might consider letting the White House staff add heating to your room!”
Right then and there, America came up with a plan.
“Canada,” America said, “I need you to buy me some time. Go out there and talk to those guys for fifteen minutes. For once, they should know you’re not me because they know I’m on crutches. Try to distract them.”
“What?” Canada blurted out. “America, I can’t do that. You know I’m not good at asserting myself; these guys will just plow right past me and storm in to find you.”
“I know,” America replied. “But I have a plan and I need to do some minimal prep work before I can pull it off. Please, Canada. Fifteen minutes: that’s all I ask.” On top of the plea, America tried to make his face look as pathetic as possible, hoping to persuade his brother to do this one last thing to protect him from Trump’s wrath.
After several long seconds, Canada looked away and mumbled, “Ah, well, I’ll try.”
“Perfect. See you there,” America said. As Canada walked out through the back door to meet the evil men, America headed as fast as he could to Canada’s computer. It didn’t take long; the computer was just in the living room, the next room over from the dining room. After taking a second to ease himself into the chair, America found the writing software and pulled it up. He was going with the one form of attack that Trump would never see coming: writing a contract.
America’s fingers flew across the keys as if his life depended on it, which it probably did. He didn’t know much about contract writing, but he knew the basics of what a contract was. He phrased what he had in mind as best as he could, checking and double-checking his work as he went, leaving no room for loopholes in the agreement. He wasn’t familiar with too many fancy legal terms, but that part didn’t worry him. After all, the whole plan hinged on Trump not bothering to read the contract before he signed it.
As America typed, he was able to hear conversation between Canada and Trump and his goons through the broken window. At first, things seemed to be going smoothly enough; Canada asked about generic topics like the weather, as well as inquiring how Connor had been all this time. After a while, though, Trump began to suspect something was up and began asking where America was. Canada made up a bunch of excuses, slipping from one to another as each was disproved under the pretense of having a faulty memory. As America went to print the document, however, it was plain to see that poor Canada couldn’t handle it anymore; he was on his knees, clutching his head, and every word he spoke cracked with restrained tears. Trump was now yelling at him to reveal what he really knew, and America felt sorry that he had ever asked Canada to stall for time. Fortunately, the document didn’t take very long to print, and America strapped it to a clipboard, gathered it under his arm, threw off the blanket, replaced it with a jacket, and hobbled outside a minute earlier than he said he would be there.
The words caused all the shouting to cease. All eyes fixed on America as he made his way across the yard, his crutches slowing his progress more than he would have liked. Once he had reached his brother’s side, America glared at the forces that had gathered to capture him. All was quiet, with tension thick enough to cut with a chainsaw.
After an eternity of speechlessness, Connor was the first to compose himself. “Well, well, well,” Connor sneered. “It seems Mr. Hero has finally given up the fight. It took us forever to track you down, but it was worth it.”
“I helped,” Russia offered.
“Quiet, you,” Connor snapped, smacking Russia upside the head.
“If you know what’s good for you, America,” Trump snarled, “you’ll come back quietly.”
“And so I will,” America lied. Canada looked at him, more horrified than ever, but America gave him a look that he hoped said, “Chill, bro. I know what I’m doing.” “But, first, I need you to sign something. If you do, I’ll never run away again.”
To America’s relief, Trump didn’t question this. Instead, he relaxed and said, “Is that all? Maybe you’re as smart as I am after all, America. Where’s the form?”
“Right here.” America presented Trump with the clipboard, the contract still attached to it. Trump, being the idiot he was, didn’t take a second look at the words; he just grabbed a pen from one of the Secret Service members and signed his name on the line. He then looked at America expectantly, waiting for him to cooperate. Seeing such stupidity in his former boss, America couldn’t help but laugh.
“What? What’s so funny?” Trump asked, sounding a bit nervous.
“Dude, are you for real?” America taunted. “You’d think a businessman, of all people, would think to read a contract before he signed it.”
“Why would I do that?” Trump challenged.
“You just signed the worst document you could possibly have put your name on,” America explained. “You didn’t secure me; you released me!”
“What?” Trump demanded.
“That’s right. I’m free,” America outlined, sticking the clipboard into his jacket. “I’m sick and tired of the way you treat me, Trump. Remember how you told me you knew from Day 1 I’d be trouble? Well, the feeling’s mutual. You’re gonna drive my people into the ground if you’re allowed to succeed in your administration and I, for one, will not stand for it.”
Trump looked shocked. “What are you saying?”
“I’m saying that, like millions of my people, I will not accept you as my boss,” America stated, plain and simple. “I’ll join the Democrats who have teamed up to fight you. I’ll protest your every move by asking the Congressmen not to listen to you. In general, I’ll stop you from letting you have your way.”
Trump’s orange face turned as red as a fire hydrant. “This is outrageous! You can’t do this to me! Who’s gonna work for me?”
“Someone who actually wants to work with you,” America said, his mood turning serious. As he turned to Connor, he remembered the all-too-brief time they’d spent together as father and son. He knew in his heart that he would never get those days back, but he still wanted his little boy to be happy. And that’s why what he was about to say to Connor made perfect sense. He walked toward his son, his gaze solemn.
“Uh, old man?” Connor muttered. “What are you doing?”
America came to a stop right in front of Connor. “My son,” he said, “the day you were born, I’d hoped our love would last forever. When you turned against me and seceded from me, my heart ached as only a parent’s can. When I thought you had died at the end of the Civil War, my heart ached even worse. Now, as I stand before you, I know I can never reclaim what is lost, that you will always hate me. I don’t hold that against you.
“Looking back on it, it seems obvious that we were destined to always be opposites. You loved slavery; I never approved of it. I think nature is cool; you couldn’t care less about it. I tried to make friends with Japan’s whales; you would hunt them to extinction if you could. The only thing we have in common is that we both want everyone to see things our way. But our viewpoints are too different; like fire and ice, they can never be reconciled.
“I see it all so clearly now. I’m the liberal part of our country, and you’re the conservative part. I guess that’s how it was meant to be from the beginning. But know this: even though we’re on separate sides, and will probably continue to be for all eternity, I love you. I know it’s irrational, but when has a lack of reason ever stopped me from doing anything? I know you’ll never return the feeling, but I love you, now and forever.” With that, America brought his son into a one-armed hug, not caring what anyone else thought about it. After all, Canada was right; if it were a crime for a father to love an evil son, all such parents would be guilty.
After being stunned for a couple of seconds, Connor struggled out of his father’s grip. “Keep your paws off me, old man!” he snapped. “I don’t care what you say! You’re a loser and I hate you! Nothing you ever say will be right and nothing I ever say will be wrong and that’s all there is to it! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be heading back to the White House with Trump and-” He stopped short, and everyone was surprised to discover that the chains that Russia had been wrapped in now lay in a heap on the ground. “Hey, where’s Russia?”
“He probably actually read the contract before Trump signed it,” America explained. “It also said that he was free to go and that he had to tell his boss what you did to him. Gotta go. Bye!” With that, he hobbled away, wanting to put as much distance between himself and Trump as possible before the latter really blew his stack. He knew he had won a major victory by openly defying his boss and siding himself with the very people who were fighting against him. But the pain of losing Connor was once again fresh in America’s heart, tearing open old wounds that he thought had long since healed. Victory tainted by pain, joy tainted by sadness, happiness tainted by gloom: he had known such sensations only a few times in his life, and he never thought he would feel them again. But, now, he knew that, like so many superheroes in so many of the movies he’d watched, he would feel this strange joy-pain again many times before his life was over.
America heard something beside him and turned to see that Canada was walking next to him, looking curious. “So, this is what being a hero really feels like,” America summarized his thoughts. “Guess I’d better get used to it.”
“I’m proud of you, America,” Canada said. “And I can’t wait until the other nations learn about this.”
“Oh, I plan on telling them,” America replied. “But, first, I’m heading home. Tonny’s been house-sitting for way too long, and I’m worried he might have messed with my action figures.”
“Don’t worry, America,” Canada said with a reassuring smile. “I have a feeling that everything’s gonna be just fine.”