“Fidel? Fidel?? It’s morning, Fidel. Time for all communist despots to rise and shine.”

“Uh? Oh, it’s you, Diego. And I was having such a wonderful dream. A magnificent dream, my little toady. I dreamed that Ozzfest was playing in Havana. Black Sabbath was pounding out their dark, enchanting style of heavy metal, and Ozzy had just dedicated ‘Paranoid’ to yours truly. “

“Yes, of course, Fidel. But now I must bring you some sad news.”

“What’s that, Diego? Sad news? But what news could be sadder than the continuation of the concert embargo that has enslaved our island paradise for over 40 years? Styx, The Moody Blues, even Pearl Jam has yet to play our sun-kissed shores. What could be sadder than that?”

“It’s Project X, Fidel.”

“Project X? Our plan to subvert the capitalistic spirit of our Yanquee neighbors to the north? I, myself conceived that plan, Diego. What could possible go wrong with Project X?”

“Project X has failed, Fidel.”

“What? Are you saying that our plan to goad the Americans into rising up and revolting against the bourgeois class has fizzled out, Diego? Are you saying that the American spirit is too strong to withstand my best plan yet? A plan born out of 40 years of subterfuge and plotting against those who hold us in their iron grip by prohibiting Green Day and The Ditty Bops from playing in our stadiums and arenas has failed? Oh, please, Diego. Say it isn’t so.”

“It is so, Fidel.”

“Oh, well. That’s the way the revolution crumbles, Diego. Tomorrow is another day.”

“You seem to be taking the failure of Project X in stride, Fidel. There was a time not too long ago when you would have kicked, screamed, and given one of your marathon 12 hour speeches when such a plan failed.”

“That was a younger dictator and a different time, Diego. A time when my words struck fear in the hearts of the ruling class. A time of JFK, Khruschev and secret missiles. A time when the entire world feared the socialist upstart from Cuba. A time when The Beach Boys sang about catching a wave, and that one should always be true to one’s school. But, alas, Diego. Like the days when a Bruce Springsteen record was an instant add on rock radio playlists, those times are no more. Sigh…

“This melancholia is no good for you, Fidel. It brings you down to a level so low, a spirit so down, that even listening to your favorite Eddie Money songs cannot lift you up from your doldrums. You must remember the people of Cuba, and how they look up to you.”

“They look up to me because I always wear lifts, Diego. But what have the people done for me, lately? I’ve ruled them with an iron, yet gentle fist for these past forty years, and what do I have to show for it? Don’t talk to me about the people, Diego. If given half the chance, the people would all be on a leaky rowboat paddling their way to Miami. Such is the life of a has-been.”

“Don’t say that, Fidel. There are still good years ahead.”

“Bah! What good years? Is U2 coming to Cuba? Will I live to hear John Fogerty belt out a rousing rendition of ‘Fortunate Son?’ Will I live long enough to hear Loggins & Messina recreate the magic of ‘Your Mamma Don’t Dance?’ I fear not, Diego. My cult of personality has already peaked, and unlike Senor McCartney, I do not believe in ‘yesterday.'”

“And I do not believe it’s you, Fidel. The Fidel I knew would never accept defeat. The Fidel I knew would taunt and tease the North with his convoluted rhetoric until they could stand it no more. The Fidel I knew -“

“Enough, Diego! I hear you, my little subservient fool. Let the word go forth, that just like Motley Crue, I will rise again. I will terrorize the Western Hemisphere with my own special brand of rock ‘n roll Marxism. I will remind the world that, just as the poet, Sammy Hagar, once wrote, ‘RED is the ‘expensive spread!'”

“Now, that is the Fidel I remember. But what about Project X?”

“Back in business, Diego. Go down to the dungeon, grab a prisoner and prepare another package. Then, send a communiqué to our operative in California. Tell him Project X is alive. Tell him Fidel says it is so. Tell him that all of Cuba awaits word of his success!”

“I will do so at once, Fidel.”

“Oh, and Diego?”

“Yes, Fidel?”

“This time, tell our operative in California to forget about Wendy’s, and that he should place the amputated finger in a Whopper. That should show that bourgeois Burger King that communism is alive and well in Cuba.”

“As you wish, Fidel. Have it your way.”