I Once Shared a Cigarette With Kim Jong-un

kim_jong-un_cig

He took my lighter, which still riles me. I mean, as rich as he is, and he stole it. Anyway, I was at a conference for superhero crime-fighters, in disguise as a reporter covering superhero crime-fighting conferences, in Interlaken. It’s a quiet and scenic town in Switzerland, between two lakes. (That’s what the inter-laken means.) Kim was in town to visit old friends and stock up on Raclette, one of those luxury habits he picked up while going to private school there. Like the rest of the family, they were too good to go to school in North Korea.

Cooks who did not melt and scrape the Raclette cheese just right onto the roast potatoes were shot. To go with the dish he preferred the Swiss, French and Italian wines closest in color to the blood of the chefs that ran onto the carpet. He had stepped outside his hotel suite for a cigarette, just as I was making my way down a secret restricted hallway. He respected the size of the handgun on my belt, and didn’t lift an eyebrow, except to say, “Got a light?” in clumsy Chinese, his way of hiding his identity. We shared a few puffs, for me sweetened by the knowledge that this didn’t happen very often with “Jongie.” If your lighter is solid gold, the gift of a king whose life you saved, since modified to shoot a laser and fire pin-sized darts, you don’t decide to offer it to others lightly. But I recognized him and played along. Just at that moment his sister appeared and hissed “Who’s that?” in Korean. Behind her were journalists thundering our way, plus security people and hotel managers I didn’t wish to socialize with, so I looked at him expectantly and held my hand out. He looked back with a “Screw you” smile knowing perfectly well he could have had me filled with holes, like Swiss cheese. (The Swiss don’t eat the crap we call Swiss cheese. They are too smart.) I cursed in Gaelic and flew away down the hall, right before the first bullets hit behind me. I knew I would never see that lighter again. With any luck he would shoot himself with a dart or a laser beam. Serve the little bastard right.

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