Upon returning from work, Madison opened her front door and was shocked to see stacks of cardboard boxes lining the foyer. The stacks nearly reached the ceiling and snaked through the corridor toward the kitchen. What on Earth was going on? Without bothering to take off her coat, she walked into her now-smaller kitchen and found her husband Jeff sitting at the table with one box partially opened.
“You’re home already,” Madison asked, still in a state of confusion.
“Oh yes,” her husband replied, “I didn’t go to work today. I had to stay home to sign for the shipment. I’m sorry I didn’t say anything but I wanted it to be a surprise.”
“Surprise? You mean all these boxes? What are all these for?”
Jeff suddenly leaped out of his wooden chair and opened the box on table, revealing its contents.
“This is our ticket to financial freedom! This is the end of our dead-end jobs! We’re going to start our own business, and we’re going to be rich!”
Madison was a bit concerned, but she managed to maintain her composure.
“What kind of business is this,” she asked, hoping with all her might that he hadn’t fallen for some kind of pyramid scheme.
“T-shirts, hats, and bumper stickers,” said Jeff. “We’re going to sell ’em!”
“But why would we get rich selling those things?”
Jeff looked as if he were talking to a complete idiot.
“Alright let me explain. So I was browsing the internet and I saw this news item about how in Russia, they’re selling all these anti-American souvenirs. They’re selling t-shirts about the sanctions…”
“What sanctions,” Madison asked, cutting him off.
“I was thinking the same thing, but then I Googled it and found out that our government has put sanctions on Russia. Something about a place called Dumbass in Ukraine and annexing their cream I think. Anyway it’s not important. The important thing is that there are sanctions on Russia.”
“What do we get from Russia?”
“I don’t know, probably vodka or something. The thing is, in this story I saw online, it shows how Russians are selling all these anti-American t-shirts making fun of the sanctions. A lot of people are putting anti-American stickers on their cars too. Apparently it’s a big business over there.”
Madison was just as confused as ever.
“Okay, but how does that help us start a business here?”
Jeff wagged his finger like a madman and slapped the box on the table.
“Think about it! All the pundits say it’s a new Cold War! If the Russians are making all this anti-American merchandise, Americans will want to answer back as soon as possible. Tit-for-tat! There’s going to be a boom in anti-Russian merchandise, and I’m getting in on the ground floor! As soon as Joe Sixpack has had enough of Russia’s bullshit and decides he’s going to show his patriotism, I’m going to be there to sell him an anti-Russian t-shirt or bumper sticker! Just look at this one!”
Jeff held up a t-shirt depicting a bald eagle sodomizing a bear. The text on the shirt read, “How do you like those sanctions?” Madison gasped in horror.
“That’s disgusting! Nobody’s going to buy that!”
“But it’s just like those anti-American memes from Russia! Americans will want to hit back! No matter, I’ve got plenty of more family friendly designs!”
“Jeff, stop for a second. Are you sure Americans even care enough about Russia to buy any merchandise, let alone buy enough within a short enough amount of time so as to make us rich?”
“Of course they will! Did I mention this is a new Cold War? Come on, honey! You do watch the news, right?”
“Well I do, and there are a lot of stories about Russia. It’s just that I don’t think anyone really cares. Nobody I know ever talks about it. What about at your office? What about your friends.”
At that Jeff became completely silent.
“Hmmm…To be honest, I can’t remember anyone talking about Russia at work. But I’m sure that’s going to change in the next few days. I’m sure if I just casually bring up Russia in a conversation, everyone will be talking about it. New Cold War!”
He shook his head, as though he were shaking off any doubts Madison’s question might have raised.
“Trust me. This is going to work. Americans are going to buy my anti-Russian merchandise like hot cakes. These shirts will be flying off the shelves. Our whole life is going to change!”
Madison sighed, and then managed achieve a nervous but genuine smile.
“Okay,” she said. “Just tell me how much you spent on this.”
“Honey,” Jeff started as he took her in his arms, “I’ve spent most of our savings on this. But don’t worry, we’re going to make that back tenfold. Americans are going to want anti-Russian propaganda, and I’m going to be the first guy out there, feeding that demand. Monday morning I’m going to hand my boss my letter of resignation. From then on, I’m going to be a full-time businessman, dealing anti-Russian merchandise! Our whole lives are about to change.”
ONE MONTH LATER…