Somewhere in Athens

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Greek PM’s Adviser: Prime Minister, we’re due to make that loan payment today. Have you done it yet?

Greek PM: Which one? So many loans. So many… [buries head in hands and begins to weep]

Adviser: The IMF loan. One point six billion euros. If we don’t pay by midnight today we’ll be in default. We can’t let this happen.

Greek PM: No problem. Let me just do it now. I’m just going onto internet banking now. Oh, wait, there’s a problem. It won’t let me log in. What’s the password again?

Adviser: It’s “drachma.”

Greek PM: Just “drachma?” Upper case or lower case? Doesn’t it normally need a number or a symbol?

Adviser: Lower case, and no numbers or symbols. I guess security doesn’t need to be tight when you’re a Greek bank. They have nothing to steal.

Greek PM: Okay, let me try that… No, still no good.

Adviser: Wait, I know the problem. All our banks are closed.

Greek PM: That’s it, then. We’ll have to default.

Adviser: Not so fast. We have a Swiss bank account too. Try that one.

Greek PM: I’d completely forgotten about that one. Righto, here we are. Oh, what’s the password for this one?

Adviser: Fuck the Troika.

Greek PM: Amen to that, my friend. Now what’s the password?

Adviser: That is the password. It’s “FUCKTHETROIKA.” One word, all caps.

Greek PM: Is there a number? A symbol?

Adviser: Do you mean how many fucks do we give about the Troika? None at all, Prime Minister.

Greek PM: As I thought. Okay, I’m logged in now. Right, where are we? “Transfer Money.” Are the IMF saved as an existing payee?

Adviser: It’s on the payee list there. We saved the payee as “Fuck the IMF.” Just after “Fuck the European Central Bank” and “Fuck the Germans.”

Greek PM: I see it now. So how much do we owe again?

Adviser: One point six billion euros, Prime Minister.

Greek PM: One… six… zero. Hang on, how many zeros is that?

Adviser: Ah, eight, I think. But let me ring the Finance Minister and check.

Greek PM: He’s probably in a crisis meeting with the Troika.

Adviser: Fuck the Troika. [picks up the phone and dials]

Greek PM: There’s no need. I’m already logged in.

Adviser: Hello? Hello, Finance Minister. Sir, this is the Prime Minister’s office. We have an urgent question for you. Can you speak? We need to know how many zeros there are in one point six billion euros. What? One zero? What do you mean? Oh… oh, well played, sir. One zero. As in zero chance of paying the one point six billion euros. But seriously sir…

Greek PM: Tell him to get on with it, before this internet banking site logs me out.

Adviser: [putting his hand over the phone receiver] Prime Minister, he says he’s not sure. Can he ring us back?

Greek PM: Tell him to hurry. The Troika won’t wait forever.

Adviser: Fuck the Troika. [hangs up the call]

Greek PM: You keep saying that, but it’s not helping.

Adviser: No, no, it’s the password. You’ve been timed out due to inactivity. You need to log in again.

Greek PM: Oh, so I do. F…U…C…K…T…H…E…T…R…O…I…K…A… Right, we’re in again. [phone rings] Will you get that for me?

Adviser: [picks up the phone and begins having a conversation with the person on the line. Then he addresses the PM] It’s the Finance Minister. [goes back to the call] Yes, hello sir… Oh, I see. Oh… that is most unfortunate. Isn’t there anyone there who can help? Nobody? They were all laid off? Okay, let me just tell the PM….

[turns back to PM] Excuse me, Prime Minister… there is nobody left at the Finance Ministry. They’ve all been made redundant. Austerity measures, apparently.

Greek PM: For God’s sake, man, won’t the number be on the invoice? Isn’t there an invoice? Count the fucking zeros and hurry up! The deadline is almost upon us!

Adviser: That’s a good idea. I hadn’t thought of that. Where is the invoice? Wait, here’s the letter from the IMF. This might help. Let me see…

[picks a letter off the PM’s desk. It reads:]

Dear Sovereign Nation

As you know, your account with us is currently in negative. As at the 30th of June your account balance with the International Monetary Fund is -€48,100,000,000.01

We remind you that1,600,000,000.00 of this amount is due to be repaid on 30 June 2015.

Please arrange for payment of this instalment by depositing funds into our bank account, or by making payment at your local post office. Our internet banking details are at the bottom of this letter.

If you are having any problems with making payment, or would like to talk to someone in our customer services team about your loan, please do hesitate to contact us. In fact, do not bother at all. Just pay us what you owe, or things will become very difficult for you.

Yours sincerely

Christine Lagarde

Managing Director

International Monetary Fund

[He turns to the PM] Eight zeros, ten if you could the cents.

Greek PM: One…six…zero…zero… zero…zero… zero…zero… zero…zero…point… zero…zero. There, check that for me, will you?

Adviser: Looks right to me. Do we have enough money in the account?

Greek PM: I don’t know. Who cares? We’re Greece. Nobody expects us to check we have enough money before we pay for something. Here goes. I’m pushing “send” now. Done!

Adviser: Huzzah!

Greek PM: What? It didn’t go through! Apparently the daily transfer limit on this bank account is only eight hundred euros.

Adviser: Then pay eight hundred euros now and pay the rest over the next few days.

Greek PM: If we pay only eight hundred euros a day, do you know how long it will take us to pay this instalment?

Adviser: No, but I can ring the Finance Minister.

Greek PM: Don’t bother. I’ll tell you. Two million days. That’s almost five and a half thousand years. To put that in perspective, Socrates was walking the streets of this city two and a half thousand years ago. Something tells me the IMF might not be prepared to wait almost twice that long to get paid.

Adviser: So we’ll ring the bank and get them to increase the daily limit. Let me take care of this. [picks up phone and dials] Yes, hello, this is Greece. We have an account with you. Yes, that Greece. What? What do you mean? Our account is in debit? You’re closing it down? You can’t do that! We are the birthplace of democracy! Philosophy! We gave the world Homer, Aristotle, Plato, Sophocles! Please don’t do this! Hello? Hello? [throws phone down in disgust].

Greek PM: That’s it, then. We’re ruined. We’ll have to default.

Adviser: Fuck the Troika.

Greek PM: Fuck them indeed.

Adviser: They can bankrupt us, but they can never take away our freedom.

Greek PM: I think they probably can.

Adviser: Or the fact that we were the cradle of Western civilisation. Pericles, Aristophanes, Alexander the Great!

Greek PM: Alexander was a Macedonian.

Adviser: Homer, Aristotle, Plato, Sophocles!

Greek PM: Nana Mouskouri.

Adviser: Fuck.

Greek PM: Fuck.

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