Flight of the Dictator

By Jirair Tutunjian, Toronto, 20 June 2024

Ace Wall Street denizens who double the value of their clients’ investments are bush league compared to the financial genius who heads a remote country called  Azerbaijan. His name is Ilham Heydar oglu Aliyev. The country (established in 1918) he rules with corrupt and bloody hands is younger than Coca-Cola. Dictator Aliyev’s wealth is estimated at $11 billion. His salary? $104,612. The Midas of Baku hasn’t attended investment classes but whatever he touches turns into gold. In fact, his whole family (wife, two daughters, and son) boast a similar golden touch. The Azeris handed dictator Pinocchio 94.49% of their forced votes in 2010 and improved on that dismal statistic by upping it to a resonant 96.7 % in the 2015 sham elections. Because the Aliyevs are a close-knit family, father Aliyev appointed wife Mehriban Aliyeva vice-president and deputy chair of the ruling New Azeri Party. In case nasty minds hinted nepotism, Mehriban proved she was not just a Woman of Thousand Facelifts by founding the Azerbaijan Heritage magazine although she had zip journalism background. The fact that Azerbaijan has no heritage other than looting Armenians and oppressing other ethnic minorities is a challenge which does not faze the woman who is frequently confused with her two daughters thanks to her annual plastic surgery facelifts. Following in her mother’s glorious path, daughter Leyla edits Baku magazine. But all things come to an end.

                                                      ~~~~~~~~~~~

Today, the Aliyevs and hangers-on are huddled in the lounge of a remote military airport. One can cut the tension in the air with a yataghan sword.

Ilham: We don’t have much time. The Azeri rebels have defeated the army and taken Baku. They’re headed here. We thought we would fly an hour ago, but the pilot of the Super Hercules says it’s too heavy for take-off. We have to remove some of the goods we were hoping to take with us. Tell me which one of your possessions you want removed. The number-one items are the cars because they’re heavy.

Heydar Jr.: I want my Maserati Ghibli and Ferrari GTC4Lusso to stay on board. Let Leyla remove her Alfa Romeo Giulia and Maserati Gran Turismo. They are wasted on her: She can drive only automatic shift.

Leyla: Mind your own business. Had you been a real brother, you would have taught me to drive standard shift. You haven’t worked a day in your life.

Mehriban: Stop it, children. Each takes one car. I’ll take the Lamborghini Huracan and the Ferrari Testarossa.

Ilham:  All the cars except that of Mother’s will be removed.

Heydar Jr.: Father, what about the big crates you put on board?

Ilham: Mind your own business, kid.

(The pilot walks in.)

Pilot: When we remove five cars, the two crates, the two Arabian horses, and fifty of the 200 Louis Vuitton luggage, we should be able to take off.

Ilham: The crates stay. I know you’ve heard the gossip that they’re packed with pornography. Actually…they contain $11 billion worth of 99 % pure gold bars.

Mehriban: Most of the pieces of luggage are mine. I will not remove a single one of them. Ilham, where are we flying to? I don’t want to go to Eastern Europe. It’s so boring. They don’t even have a single decent plastic surgeon.

Leyla: Why don’t we go to Turkey?

Ilham: To get to fly to Turkey we have to fly over Armenia or Georgia. The pilot and I are against that route because Armenians could shoot us. Georgians, who are genetically unreliable, might shoot us down and steal our wealth. Turkey is not possible: while Erdogan is a close personal friend, Turks hate us because of our close relationship with the Chosen People.

Mehriban: Pro-Armenian France is a no-no. Germany and the Scandinavian countries are too cold. Switzerland, Austria, and Italy are anti-Muslim. The only safe place is Britain. I think we own two or three mansions there. I also own a chic café in the exclusive Belgravia district of London.

Aliyev: We will stay out of every country which hosts racist, Islamaphobe NGOs such as Christian Solidarity International. These Christian fanatics accuse me of committing genocide of Armenians.

Arzu: (the youngest Aliyev) I’ve got it. I know several places which are safe and attractive. There are these Pacific atolls which are friendly with Israel. They would welcome us because of our money and because we are allied with Tel Aviv.

Ilham: What are you muttering about?

Arzu: We can fly to Palau, Nauru, Tonga. They have a total population of 40,000.

Mehriban: Don’t be silly, child.

Ilham: Listen you all. I am the only person who decides things here. For years, British scandal sheets published false articles about my so-called dictatorial rule and corruption. They would make life difficult for us. We should go to Dubai. I have properties there worth tens of millions.

Mehriban: Ilham, you forgot something: all Arabs hate us because of our alliance with Israel.

Ilham: Yes, dear. You’re right, dear. I forgot.

Pilot: Hurry. Madam Mehriban, we removed all the cars and the two freezers.

Mehriban. Damn you. The freezer contains two tons of caviar. It was intended to bribe Western government officials to leave us alone. Put them back.

Ilham Jr.: I could have seduced a thousand European women with that much caviar.

Leyla: What a loser.

Ilham: Shut up, both of you. Let’s go.

(The pilot is nervously pacing next to the Hercules.)

Pilot: Damn, damn, damn. When you deal with a crooked dictator, this is what happens.

Ilham: What are you muttering? Why are you not in the cockpit?

Pilot: I am not in the cockpit because the engines will not start. They will not start because the jet fuel in the plane’s tanks are contaminated or diluted. What do you expect in a country run by a dictator?

Ilham: Watch your language, mister.

Pilot: Will you jail me like you have jailed thousands of your people?

Ilham: Damned traitor. Are you in the pay of the Armenians?  Now let’s get on board (he pulls a Glock pistol.)

The Ilham entourage climbs the Hercules. A few minutes later, the aircraft races down the runway. Just as it begins to lift its tires, the Hercules explodes and disintegrates.

Billions of dollars, some singed to the crisp, flutter in the air and land on the burning Italian cars. Suddenly, out of nowhere, countless birds blacken the sky as they swoop on the runway to gorge on Mehriban’s precious caviar which litters the runway.

An hour later an urgent message to Zurich bank.

“Herr Schmaltz, we have just received news that we have another $4.4 billion in funds that will no longer be accounted for. Shall transfer the money to the usual ‘Dead dictator/Dead Drug Lord’ account? Danke.”

*****

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