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Bratislava Blues

Kristina Pelakova looked at the man sitting in front of her.
"Surely Kristina, surely you understand. Here in Slovakia, we're in a dire financial situation at the moment... and..." the broadcaster for the Slovakian TV channel STV said, looking down at the papers he held in his hand. This was it, the decision that meant Slovakia would not be there with the other countries next year. Would Slovakia really quit Eurovision... just like that? It wasn't a decision to be taken lightly.
"No no, I understand," Kristina said sadly, "We just don't have the money to finance such a thing."
"I'm sorry Kristina, if there was any other way, we would do it. We know how much you enjoyed your time on the Eurovision, and how much you'd like someone else to have that experience too. We're sorry."
"No, it's alright," Kristina said, "It's not your fault. It's just-"
"I know, I know, it's a terrible shame."
"I just wish... you know that all of the other Eurovision entrants are greeting the new ones... a handing over of the baton... and now no one can... I just can't believe we're quitting Eurovision... just like that... it's just..."
"Kristina... I know, I'm sorry," the man looked down, he was almost as upset as Kristina was that Slovakia would not be in the contest next year.
Kristina sighed. There was no use arguing about this. There was simply no way that Slovakia could afford to enter the contest in the current financial climate.
"It's alright," Kristina said, getting up to leave, "There's no way that this could have been prevented."
Kristina then went outside and saw that there were people standing there, waiting outside the building.
The two Slovenian bands, Ansambel Roka Zlindre and Kalamari, were the ones standing there, and they all turned around when she came out.
"What the hell are you guys doing here?!" Kristina asked.
Joze Jez stepped out from the crowd.
"Look," he said, "We heard about the whole... you know... we know that you're not going to be in the Eurovision this year..."
"Oh, right, so you came to gloat about it, did you?" Kristina snapped.
"Well uh... no... we just..."
"Look," Franci said, "What Joze is trying to say is... we want you to come with us, to Slovenia."
"Wha... what do you mean?" Kristina asked.
"As my friends in Kalamari are trying to say, we're inviting you to come to our national final," Rok Zlindra said.
"What..? But why?"
"Because, we want you to come with us. Besides, most people confuse Slovakia with Slovenia anyway, they probably won't even notice," Rok smiled.
Kristina looked back to the window of the building, where the broadcaster was waiting inside, looking out of the window at them. The broadcaster hated the contest, for sure, but was sad that Slovakia had to withdraw like this.
He opened the window.
"Go with them Kristina," he said, "You know that we can't afford to enter it this year, if you want to go and see any national final I suggest you go with them."
"Ah... well... uhm..." Kristina said, as the broadcaster closed his window and went back to checking papers.
"Come on Kristina," Joze said, "You know, we came all this way for you."
"What the hell Joze," Martin said, "You know Slovakia and Slovenia are like right next to each other. It only felt like a long time because the whole of Rok Zlindra's band kept trying to play 'I Spy' while we were on the train."
"Aw come on man," Barbara said, "We know you all loved it really."
"Look," Rok said, "Whether our game of 'I Spy' was good or not is really not the question. So... what do you say Kristina?"
"Ok then, I say, sweet, I'd be honoured to come with you guys," Kristina smiled, "As long as Rok's band doesn't play 'I Spy' during the trip to Slovenia."
"We'll try our hardest," Nejc smiled.
"Then that's that," Kristina smiled too, as they all set off down the road together, beginning their journey to Slovenia.
A little while later, the broadcaster was still checking papers, when a woman ran into the room.
"Wait a second sir," the woman came into the broadcasters room holding a notepad, "I'm afraid we cannot withdraw from the Eurovision like this."
"What? Why ever not?"
"Because we would have to pay to withdraw, and it costs more money to withdraw than to stay in."
"What? The entrance fee is less than the withdrawal fee?! But that's blackmail!"
"I know, but that's the way it is. The only financially viable solution is to stay in. Hey, where's Kristina?"
"Uh oh, I've sent her off with the Slovenians."
"What?!" the woman yelled, "You idiot! Why in the hell did you do that?"
"I don't know I don't know, I wasn't thinking. I didn't want to talk about the whole 'not entering Eurovision' thing, so I told her to go off with the Slovenians."
"Oh great, so they're all off to Slovenia now?!"
"No, I heard the Slovenian band were here to do concerts here or something, and now that's over and they'll all be off to Slovenia when the National Final comes about, which is tomorrow, I think."
"So basically, you have no idea."
"Yeah... hey, shut up."
"Look," the woman said, "If we have a national final it will be much later than that, and since the Slovenian and Slovakian national finals are nowhere near each other, I guess she can do both... hell, our national final will probably be just before the deadline, so there's no problem there. We've got to send someone after her though and tell her that Slovakia is still in the Eurovision."
"Meh, we can do that later," the broadcaster said, looking down at his papers.
"I'm sensing a very apathetic attitude here in regard to the Eurovision. Hell, you just shipped our past entrant off to Slovenia. Why didn't you just mail her there if you don't want her around?"
"Oh wow. Think you're smart, do you?" the broadcaster said, "Well you're not. You're fired. Now get out of my office. I don't need you to lecture me on some moronic contest that no one in Slovakia cares about anyway."
"Gee, someday you will learn that the new hype around Eurovision isn't just because of the contest itself, you remember the PVR-"
"Yes! Yes! As you all keep telling me about it! Now get out!!! I'm sick of you people ramming Eurovision down my throat every five seconds! I never want to hear about Eurovision again!"
"Seriously? I thought you were upset about us having to withdraw from the Eurovision!"
"I was upset because that makes Slovakia look weak if we have to withdraw because of financial difficulties! I hate Eurovision! Hate it so much!"
"Well, I was not aware of your true feelings on this matter. But, we are in it now and our participation has to be organised. So, you haven't said anything about the national final. Are we doing a national final, or-"
"Internal selection! That way I don't have to hear about this shit! Now leave!"
And so the woman left the room, leaving the broadcaster by himself to wonder who could possibly represent Slovakia in the Eurovision Song Contest this year.