ITEM: British Columbia’s sockeye salmon stocks are so depleted that some local fish stores are turning to Russia for their salmon supply.
SCENE: In a Russian sea, IVAN and BORIS, two mature sockeye salmon, are slowly wending their way from one cave to another.
IVAN: Psst! Hey, Boris!
BORIS: Vat, Ivan, vat? Don’t vake me! I dreaming about spawning, here.
IVAN: Don’t bother vith such dreamings any more, Boris!
BORIS: Vat you mean, my friend? I looking forvard to sex my whole life! What else salmon thinking about? Spawning, eating, spawning, eating, spawning. Maybe sleeping a little. Playing hide-and-seek in seaveeds.
IVAN: No use, Boris. This vat I’m telling you. You fertilizing eggs, bringing babies to life, expecting they vill have chance you had, to growing up in dark and mighty Caspian Sea, so cold, so rough, so beautiful. Maybe vone day your sons and daughters vill live long enough to swim up glorious Russian river and make new babies. Is your dream?
BORIS: Of course, Ivan! Is every salmon’s dream!
IVAN: Correction, my friend – is every Russian salmon’s dream. Other salmon existing, you know!
BORIS: Nyet, Ivan! Only Russian salmon! The rest of the vorld – smelts. Maybe one or two sardine. A few herring, yech. In Russia, vorld’s greatest fish – salmon, like you and me, and sturgeon. Incidentally, I hating those guys. So ugly. But sturgeon girls – eggy as hell! Anyvay, you try to tell me octopus from Mediterranean, puny Atlantic codfish, pitiful flat sole – you try to tell me these losers compete vith us? ! You pulling my tail!
IVAN: Boris, cod and sole and octopus not competing vith us. Vest coast sockeye salmon competing vith us! They hiding and nobody finding them no more! So now the peoples coming over here to get us!
BORIS: Ivan, you crazy fin-ster, what vest coast you thinking about?
IVAN: Boris, I mean vest coast of Canada!
IVAN: Canada! You know, huge country, almost big as Russia, cold like Russia, and full of Ukrainians like Russia, but also stupid fruity vodka cocktails, not like Russia. Vestern Canada! Over Atlantic sea, then overland by train – very, very boring train ride like in Russia – all way to Pacific. That’s vere sockeye salmon all hiding! Nobody finding them!
BORIS: Ach, Ivan, vat have to do with us? I don’t believe you in first place. Ve are only salmon in vorld: Mighty Russian salmon. Canadian “salmon” probably just big, pink fish. Maybe is something to do vith Gay Pride Veek. You telling me Russian salmon svim over from Russia to Canada, maybe setting up dachas there for summertime?
IVAN: Boris, I telling you, sockeye salmon born in Canada! Not so good, maybe – you and I know truth of matter – but they think they good. They sick of being fishinged and so they hiding. And Canadian peoples vant to eat them but they not finding them. So they coming to Russia to get us!
BORIS: Ivan, this should making Vorld Var Three! Ve can’t let Canadians coming over here and stealing us because they running out of pink fish. Vat kind of vorld this is?
IVAN: Boris, do I need telling you vat kind of vorld? Russian magazine Secrets of Stars coming out last veek, all about virility and masculinity of Vladimir Putin -- ‘Virile Vampire!’
FISH both laugh uproariously, sending bubbles upward.
BORIS (shaking off hysterical tears): But, Ivan, we fight Canadians if they coming and taking us away. Da? Remember, Russian salmon are not chicken of sea!
IVAN: Da! Russian salmon lions of sea!
BORIS: Right, comrade! Reminding me, a couple friends just giving lives for Putin. Sergei? Fyodor? They getting smokinged and servinged on blini for Putin family bowling night.
BORIS: They vere old and impotent. No good accordioning. Bad polkaing. But funny guys. I missing them. I tell you story about Sergei ---
IVAN: Hey, Boris! Vat is huge rope thing hitting surface of vater?
BORIS: One with red and vite plastic flags hanging from it?
IVAN: Da! Should ve svimming up and see vat is going on?
BORIS: I smelling dinner coming from it, old chum.
IVAN: Mmm… me, too. Also, tempting odour of vodka from above vater, Da?
BORIS: Da! Maybe open vodka bottle bobbing on surface of sea! I hearing of this, never seeing it.
IVAN: Dare to dream, Boris!
FISH laugh heartily as they swim toward the surface. A huge net scoops them up and hauls them out of the water.
BORIS (flopping): Vat the heck?
IVAN (flopping): Ve caught in net, for Canadian hosers, Boris! You see?
BORIS (fearfully): No spawning for me! I vaste my whole life. (He sobs.) Vat vill happen next, Ivan?
IVAN: Fishermen vill torturing us for information about vere Canadian salmon are hiding. Then, if ve do not tell vat ve know, ve vill be killinged, frozeninged, and shippinged to British Columbia.
BORIS (crying): Then vat, Ivan?
IVAN: Then ve will be cookinged and servinged to out-of-towners on Canada Day.
BORIS (curiously): How, Ivan?
IVAN: Maybe poachinged vith butter and dill, maybe grillinged vith sundried tomato vinaigrette. Maybe turninged into burgers, can you believe? Servinged vith tartar sauce. Mongolian Tartars were invading Russia in 13th century, Boris – this “Tartar” sauce like salt in vound. Canadians, Mongolians, what is difference?
BORIS (bitterly): Is travesty, Ivan.
IVAN: Da, Boris. Vorst thing of all?
BORIS (gasping for air): Vat, Ivan, vat?
IVAN (with final few gasps): Vest Coasters pretending Russian salmon belonging in 100-mile diet.
IVAN expires. BORIS flops on top of IVAN and breathes his last.
Translation of Russian salmon dialogue provided by Olga Anatevka.