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Russian Spring Break Ends: Debt Not Forgiven
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia Vladimir Putin, Jacques Ch-iraq, and Gerhard Schroeder awoke in their hotel suite in St. Petersburg to the news that the US-led Coalition forces had toppled Saddam Hussein and that the trio's hotel bill for the past week needed to be settled.
A groggy Putin spoke, squinting through bloodshot eyes at reporters who'd been waiting in the hotel hallway for the three to issue a declaration on the events in Iraq. The hotel manager, also on hand, gave Putin an important-looking envelope marked 'BILL' before being pushed aside by eager journalists.
"What's this? There's no 'Bill' here! What are you all talking about?" said Putin, straining into the multitude of cameras and spotlights. "Look, no one liked the regime of Saddam Hussein. We must never mix notions. And, we must never mix hard liquor and champagne again. Jacques! Gerry! Get out here!"
The French President and German Chancellor, unshaven, disheveled and disoriented, joined Putin in the doorway of their luxury suite. Several reporters noted a stale odor as the door was held open, and a great deal of furniture in the room appeared to have been overturned.
"The Americans have defeated Saddam," Putin told his roommates. "And we have been given an important communiqué." Putin then handed the envelope to Ch-iraq, who held it close to his face, struggling visibly as a disinterested Schroeder asked the members of the press if "anyone had a spare American cigarette."
A sudden shriek from the French President cut Schroeder off. "Mon Dieu! This cannot be! Who ordered all these shrimp cocktails? Gerhard, there are charges here for two kegs of Lowenbrau and a pair of lederhosen, size XXL! Did you order this?"
Schroeder took the document from Ch-iraq, holding it at arm's length. "Nein," he said, shoving the paper back at Ch-iraq. "I know nothing."
Putin, visibly upset and unsteady on his feet, pointed to the hotel bill that Ch-iraq was holding. "The task of restoring the political, economic and social system of Iraq is enormous. And I say to you, the charges detailed in this poorly fabricated document are ludicrous. However, let me tell you that Russia, France and Germany could contribute to the rebuilding of Iraq by agreeing that Iraq need not repay the tens of billions in loans taken out by Saddam, provided the management of this hotel willingly and completely destroys this falsely constructed document."