On a rainy day in Moscow, Russia, a shadowy figure emerged from the floors of Putin’s Palace. The lights in the room dimmed and the outline of a hooded figure floating a couple feet above the floor was barely visible. In his right hand, the figure held a scythe. In his left, a book.
“Putiiiiinnnnnnnnnnn!” the figure bellowed.
From the corner of the room, macho man Putin rose up and took his thumb out of his mouth. “Yes, it is I,” Putin spoke, “supreme leader of Russia and winner of fifty consecutive most manly man of the world awards! What am I gracing you with my presence for, peasant?”
Death was taken aback. Never in his life had he been addressed in such a disrespectful manner. “Uh Putin, do you know who I am?”
Putin opened his bag of chips and sat back down on his throne. “No not really, but you obviously know who I am. God, I’m awesome,” Putin stated as crumbs flew from his lips. “Hey, mysterious cloak dude, do you mind turning the lights back on? I was reading this article written by the completely independent and uncontrolled press about how great and amazing I am and how my body is the perfect beach bod.”
Death was beginning to get frustrated. “I am Death. The Taker of Life. The Bringer of Doom. The Destroyer –”
Death stopped as Putin slurped loudly from his 32 oz. glass of soda. As the lights came back on, Death noticed that Putin’s shirt read, “Putin sexiest man alive” with an image of him flexing in a speedo and a hat that stated, “Putin #1!”
“Ah, you finallllllllyyyyyyyyy stopped talking,” Putin said, exasperated. “Bringer of blah. Taker of ugh. Blah blah blah. You’re boring. Let’s talk about me and the amazing life I’ve had. After all, I am the most macho man alive. That’s a lot more than you can say. Your cloak is barely clinging to that skinny frame!”
“Ah yes, let’s talk about your life.” Death was beginning to get excited. “More specifically, let’s talk about its end! The end that will be brought about by me! For I am Death, and no human will ever have any power over me!”
A burst of laughter filled the room. Death looked over towards Putin and saw him keeled back in his throne swinging his legs as he chortled.
Wiping tears from his eyes, Putin spoke between breaths, “A skinny (pant) wimpy man (pant) like you?”
Putin laughed again. Death looked down at his arms and noticed how his muscles were completely gone. He hadn’t been to a gym in eternity.
Downtrodden, Death mumbled, “It’s not easy to go to the gym when you have to take the lives of millions every day you know.”
“Actually, I do know,” Putin said menacingly.
Death noticed the cold glare Putin was suddenly giving him. Realizing that he would not be able to take the life of macho man Putin, he retreated back into the ground as Putin’s laughter filled the palace.
“Control the media and you control everything,” Putin said to his teddy bears lining the shelves around him. “You control what the people say, what the people think, what the people do; you control their entire world. And no one can ever speak out, because you control their voice. And when you get to the level that I’m at, you can even control Death! Now come on, Mr. Cuddles it’s time for bed, and I need you to keep me safe again. I just wish he would leave my closet already!”
As Death fled back to his own realm, the day grew darker. Perhaps one day, someone will strip Putin of his power and return freedom of speech and freedom of the press into Russia. Hopefully it’s done soon. Without it, without the checks and balances to keep an eye on Putin and make him honest, no one will ever be able to challenge him, and no one will ever truly be free in Russia.