Petrograd, 24th October 1917.
Russia is in chaos as the Provisional Government, formed after the February Revolution and the abdication of the Tsar*, tries to stop the German military machine with a rapidly disintegrating army and the Women’s Battalion of Total Death**.
The central committee of the Russian Social Democratic Party (Bolshevik) are meeting in a clandestine location, planning for the final push against the Kerensky Government when there’s a screeching of car tyres, followed by a squealing of adolescent girls.
Nikolai Bukharin stirs. “Trotsky’s arrived.”
Josif Vissarionovich Stalin is less than impressed
“Oh, fuckin’ great. Trotsky’s here. Whoop-de-fuckin-do, Trotsky’s here. I mean, why are we hiding here in this God-forsaken shithole when all the police have to do is look for the swarm of girls who follow Trotsky around? Jesus!”
Lenin tries to smooth things over.
“You shouldn’t let these things bother you, Josif Vissarionovich. It’s the beard. Chicks dig beards.”
Stalin takes a closer look at Lenin’s beard and grunts – unconvinced.
“It’s not just that Vladimir Ilyich. He keeps calling me ‘sweetie’. I mean, what sort of Marxist calls people ‘sweetie’?”
The door to the room bangs open and Lev Davidovich Trotsky himself bursts in, looking astonishingly like Johnny Depp, and starts glad-handing the assembled revolutionaries.
“Comrades, comrades, what a splendid day to overthrow a corrupt bourgeois republic. Grigorii Ovseyevish Zinoviev, how’s it going? Have you finished that letter yet? Josif Vissarionovich! Sweetie! How’s the new pseudonym going – it’s ‘Stallin’, isn’t it?”
Stalin grunts again.
“It’s Stalin, Lev Davidovich. You know it’s Stalin. And don’t fuckin’ call me ‘sweetie’.”
“Whatever, whatever. Anyway, I can’t hang around here, I’ve got governments to overthrow” and with that he’s gone.
In the silence that follows, Stalin mutters “if he calls me sweetie again, he’s fuckin’ dead”.
* And possibly the Czar as well.
** I’m not making this up.