An Excerpt from the Letter of King-Expectant Andrew of Poland to Queen-Possibly Sophia
When it comes to America, if you have not made it after three generations, there is no reason to stay. Return to your homeland – or be adventurous and find a new one. A generation or two later, you can return and be considered a pioneer, a homesteader; be considered that most venerable of all Americans – an immigrant, a success-story-in-the-making. Just be sure to keep speaking English at home and passing it down, but do not make it just English because Americans eat that bilingual shit up, and accents are a surefire way of getting positive attention.
I am fourth-generation and still middle-class, so backtracking across the Atlantic it is. The last king of Poland was installed by a German princess who, via a coup of her orchestration, became Empress of Russia. Stalin was Georgian. Hitler an Austrian. Napoleon was from Corsica. Rurik was a Varangian. There’s the Obama Question. Precedents everywhere – so, why are people quick to dismiss my designs on a restored Polish kingdom because I am an American with a ridiculously Scottish name?
Potato-based, cabbage-garnished dishes constitute my cuisine of choice. By baptism and habit, I am Catholic. In the spirit of full disclosure – which, of course, may be amended over my reign – there is something of a hurdle in terms of my legitimacy to the crown. Though I spent a semester in Prague, a weekend of which I spent in Kraków, I never made my way to Częstochowa – optioning instead to visit Auschwitz, where I frowned at a girl getting her picture taken next to a cattle car at Birkenau. A true King of Poland would have crawled along the highway and up the nave to kiss the Black Madonna, but, then again, there will be plenty of time for that at my coronation and subsequent state ceremonies.
My plans for Poland are simple. First, I would like to re-prioritize agricultural production and turn Poland into the foremost grower of peanuts and use them to turn Poland into the world’s foremost producer and exporter of peanut butter. Nutella’s monopoly on creamy spreads pained my soul while I was in Europe. Who would compete with a peanut butter-rich Poland? The Czech Republic? Ukraine? Hungary?
Let’s be honest, though. To think that I am interested exclusively in Poland is foolish. Of course, that’s what I’ll say, but with all these planned peanut farms – will Poland have enough room? We cannot just shift overnight to fifty-percent peanut farms and expect to feed the peasants the same amount. I mean, Poland used to be bigger, and reclaiming lands for the expansion of peanut butter industrial interests would benefit a little bit of Lithuania here and a little bit of Ukraine there. Okay – actually a big bit of Ukraine. Hungary would just be a really nice addition because Budapest is a great city.
Slovakia is a given. Last Thanksgiving, I went hiking in the Vysoké Tatry, and, at a peak, I shouted my name down into the valley, down into Poland, where, to this day, it may be echoing off rocks and tree trunks and in crevices. To still hear my name being whispered throughout Lesser Poland may even be more legitimizing than a selfie of me making out with a painting of the Mother of God.
Second, the capital question. Warsaw? Absolutely not. Too much history there that works against the idea of a new Poland, a fresh Poland, a Poland where there are never delays at the airport. Gdańsk is a possibility, but I favor Kraków. A cultural capital. An older capital. All the kings of Poland are buried there, so it’s natural that my office would be just down the street from their tombs. Food there is excellent, but I will bring my mother. Architecture is decent, so I will bring some sketches. Disappointingly, none of the postcards I sent home from there have arrived – and we are nearly a year out from the day I dropped them into what I am seventy-five percent sure was a mailbox.
Let us not be short-sighted, though. Kraków would be a temporary capital, a gesture of goodwill, a nod to the glorious past, a signal of this new and fresh and on-the-rise-for-reals-this-time Kingdom of Poland. With new territories added to the kingdom, I would a) get to call myself emperor, which would be totally badass (how many territories has my brother conquered and subjugated? exactly) and b) be tempted to move the capital. Again – Budapest is a kickass city. I would like to just go straight after Hungary and rile up wounds from the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Treaty of Trianon, but that would be too belligerent and too suspect. Poland would be a nice, quiet way to enter into the region, and the acquisition and expansion of Hungary would be a grand second act. Let’s leave the third act undetermined for now. I want to enjoy myself for a few years before I start going Ivan Grozny-batshit-crazy and end up getting dragged out of a hole in the ground and shot by revolutionaries.