“Last week’s unveiling of the John Lennon statue has filled me with creative urges, Diego. Urges that I can no longer ignore.”

“Bit what is that… that… thing?”

“It’s a mosaic, Diego. It is meant to show my frustration with the concert embargo that has cursed our island nation for forty years. Like John and Yoko throwing random pieces of recording tape together to come up with ‘Revolution Number Nine,’ I am arranging various bits and pieces representing our beloved Cuba. I call it, ‘Revolución Número Diez.'”

“What is that hanging from the bottom, Fidel?”

“Jellyfish. It symbolizes the past eight years of dealing with Bill Clinton. I pleaded with him for Luka Bloom, Diego. I even begged him for Everlast, but he would not part with a single date. Bah! He spent more time with that intern than he ever did with me. Now I truly understand that yankee saying, ‘trailer trash.'”

“What is that bare spot in the middle?”

“That represents my hope that the imperialists’ new president, Señor Bush, will bring an enlightened viewpoint to the concert table. I am hoping he will open the way for Amen and Biohazard to bring their joyous music to Havana. I have only to wait for delivery of the special material I need in which to fill the void. Then my mosaic will be complete.”

“They say he did not win the popular vote, Fidel. That his presidency will not have legitimacy.”

“We are communists, Diego. What do we care about legitimacy when shotguns and the promise of choice seats for Mother Hips is the true voice of change? But enough of that. You said you brought mail?”

“Si, Fidel.”

“Let’s see. Occupant, occupant, dictator, resident, despot… Hmmm, same old, same old… Wait a minute.”

“Good news, Fidel?”

“Excellent news, Diego. The Manic Street Preachers have accepted my offer to play Havana on February 17th at the Karl Marx Theatre.”

“That is good news, Fidel. But how did you arrange it?”

“It wasn’t easy, my friend. Negotiating with their agent was like the Missile Crisis on acid. It wasn’t until I offered cases upon cases of our finest cigars and rum that we finally sealed a deal.”

“Is that how it’s usually done, Fidel? By promising rum and cigars for the band?”

“No, Diego, that was for the road crew. The band insisted on 50 percent up front in U.S. dollars, plus a percentage of the door. Now, if you will excuse me, I must get back to work if the mosaic is to be finished in time. I will hang it in the theatre and show the world that Cuba can be a major market for the concert industry, worthy of booking Sting, Backstreet Boys and Reel Big Fish.”

“But that bare spot, Fidel, the one representing El Presidente-elect Bush, what are you going to fill it with?”

“That, Diego, is reserved for a very special material. I can only hope that our secret operatives in Miami can complete their mission before February and bring me the final ingredient needed to complete this work of art.”

“And that is?”

“Tell me, Diego, are you familiar with the yankee phrase, ‘hanging chads?'”