For All Nails #128: _En Vivo de Martinica_
Viola: Disguise, I see thou art a wickedness
Wherein the pregnant enemy does much.
-- _Twelfth Night_
Act II, Scene 2
Gran Hotel "Volcan" 
Fuerte-Mexico, Martinica, USM
26 October 1974
Lupe Sanpietro knew that he was a lucky man. Oh, his
talent was a big part of why he was here, with a semi-regular
gig on Mexico's hottest Spanish-language vita program. He
_was_ good -- his combination of slapstick comedy in two
languages, weight lifting, and juggling had made him one
of the stars of the Alaskan saloon-hall circuit. But if
hadn't been for the vagaries of foreign politics, the producers
of _Sabado Gigante_ would never have plucked him from provincial
obscurity to portray a particular foreign leader. And he would
never have had the services of writers clever enough to somehow
render that leader's convoluted English into equally convoluted
Spanish -- writers who could make him a national star. He would
never have invented the new Spanish verb _hornsuaglar_ himself,
for example -- but now after he'd appeared only three times on
_Sabado Gigante_, it was well on its way to entering the Mexican
The vagaries of Mexican politics might have an equally major
effect on tonight's guest host, Lupe thought. He had no idea
whether the President could survive the current impeachment
proceedings, and establish his power to fire the Secretary of War.
The Estadio Calles speech  had helped him a lot (talk about
saloon-hall theatre with a rowdy crowd) and it seemed he had a
good chance of prevailing in the upcoming elections. What would
Mercator do in retirement? Would he stay with _Sabado Gigante_,
or pursue a dignified retreat from public life? Lupe thought the
writers were secretly rooting for El Popo to come out on top, actually.
Political awkwardness had led over the years to an unofficial ban
on any mention of the President on the show. If the situation
resolved itself, some other actor could be plucked from obscurity to
portray "the man with two second languages" . "We are the world",
Here was the makeup girl, Anita. Since the show was on the road
this week in Las Antillas, they had picked up a temporary worker, but
she seemed to be qualified and she was certainly charming.
"Call me Lupe, honey, please."
The girl giggled and brandished a strange object. "Here's the
cone for the fantascience sketch. I checked, we've got _seven_
minutes after you come off from the bit with the pig. I'd like to
have two or three to make sure we've got this thing glued on securely,
so change fast! I'll be right here. It's a very good sketch,
Lupe, I mean, you're really funny in it."
"Thank you dear, it's mostly the writers--" A shrill male voice
interrupted from the hallway.
"Makeup! Anita, dear, the Secretary needs you right now!"
"Got it! See you soon, Lupe, break a leg!" She blew him a kiss
and darted out the door. Cute girl, Lupe thought, and once again
began mentally rehearsing himself through his first sketch.
"I'm Makeup, Mr. Secretary, how can I help?"
"Ah yes, Anita, is it? I am not entirely confident of the highlights
on my forehead, I would like an expert opinion." She had heard that
voice hundreds of times. In person it reminded her even more of fine
leatherwork, smooth and dark. She bent to examine the suspect forehead,
and set to work adjusting it.
"I can fix this, Mr. Secretary, it'll just take a moment."
"Thank you, my dear girl. You are from this island, are you not?
And from New Granada before that, I believe, from your accent?"
"Why yes, Mr. Secretary, I grew up in Medellin until my father came
here to work building the hotels. I'm a Mexican now." The nose
wasn't quite balanced, he needed more powder on the left...
"A citizen?" He could see her nod in the mirror. "Are you ready to
vote next week?"
"For delegate ? I suppose so, I've seen all the signs for Morrison in
the streets -- do you have any advice?"
"Ah, James Morrison, another joiner of our common profession of the stage
with the world of politics. As is his patroness, Secretary del Rey. My
dear, I would never advise you how to vote -- as a military man I try to
remain above politics though of course it embroils me from time to time.
But I would not have you overlook Senor Manzarek because he has not so
many signs to his name as does Mr. Morrison. They are both good men,
either would serve Mexico and Las Antillas well. But I served with
Manzarek many years ago, I have, shall we say, a sentimental feeling
"Well, I guess I should vote for _him_, then, I'm sure you know best."
"I would like to think so, my dear, but I am never sure. How much more
pleasant to take the stage, where we all have our roles and our lines,
and we all work for the pleasure of the audience and for our pride in
each other. There are times in public life when the audience does not
love us..." The voice trailed off into thought, thoughts to which Anita
left him as she finished his face.
Corinthian, Anita thought, that was the word they used for his voice and
style. Elegant, full of detail, like the curly things and tiny leaves at
the top of the columns El Jefe had established as the style for public
buildings. She drew the application pad away from the face and gave
the actor a vigorous and silent nod. An answering smile from under the
thin, neatly trimmed moustache, and she was off to her next task.
Felipe Jackson watched as the croupier drew his third card from the shoe and
turned it face up. Ha! A five, giving him seven, an almost sure win. His
opponent took his own useless third card and watched as the croupier swept
his chips into Felipe's pile, gracefully removing the house cut. Felipe
put out his next bank.
"_Un banco de vingt mille dolars_."
"_Banco_." The new guy, next in line to bet, wanted to play for the whole
stake. A tough guy? He didn't look it, more like a reproducer salesman
dressed up for the occasion, with a Mexican lack of fashion sense. (As
Mexican as he was in truth himself, Felipe in his current role as the wealthy
Tory "Phil Jackson" was of course dressed impeccably in a tuxedo.)
This was truly a stupid game, Felipe reflected. The local version
allowed for some player decisions, unlike the European game with its
third card rules, but those decisions seldom mattered. (In chemin-de-fer's
Mexican cousin Vientiuno, a shoe that was rich or poor in face cards could
affect the odds noticably enough to make card-counting worthwhile, but that
effect was negligible here.)
The problem was that David Flin played chemin-de-fer in his films, usually
in someplace like Minorca... The cards came out. The salesman casually
flipped his over and said "_Huit_" with an atrocious French accent. It
was a natural, beating Felipe's six with no need for a third card.
He opted to go double-or-nothing. "_Suivi_."
The salesman nodded. The croupier announced "_Un banco de quarante mille
dolars_." At least this game was the one place on this island you could
still hear some French . Who was this salesman? He looked familiar
somehow, but Felipe couldn't place him. Of course when someone bancoed
David Flin in a film, or vice versa, it always turned out to be someone
like the sinister Dragan Antulov or one of his minions. This man didn't
_seem_ to be the mad villain type, though, more like one of the throngs of
ordinary men around the world who dreamed of being David Flin. Jesus, he
was even drinking a _pomme de terre_, shaken not stirred! The fierce
potato liquor from the benighted Tory dependency of Nova Scotia, with a
bit of vermouth. The illegally produced raw version of the liquor, he'd
heard, was something of a challenge to one's _machismo_, but the blander
stuff the Nova Scotians exported commercially was merely unpleasant. It
was Mount Gay rum punch for him -- why drink alcohol _imported_ to the
Caribbean when they made the best right here?
The cards came out. Four for him. Shit. Well, five ways to help and only
four to hurt. "_Carte_." An eight, giving him two. The salesman, or mad
villain, or whoever he was, flipped over a ten and a three and claimed the
bank. Staying with the four might have won. Enough of this, he was still
somewhat ahead for the whole evening, he had a vita program to catch, and
later he could probably find some people who didn't know how to play poker.
Felipe offered a winning smile to the man who had bested him.
"I am afraid I must pass the shoe. I congratulate you, Senor--"
"Gordon. Lawrence Gordon."
"I hope we meet again, Senor Gordon. My name is Jackson, Philip Jackson."
There, that ought to be enough Flinnish dialogue to make this guy's night,
especially if he was smart enough to hang on to the forty bills he'd just
Felipe surrendered his seat at the table to a fairly good-looking nortena
in a backless blue evening dress and maneuvered himself closer to the
two-meter-wide large-viewer vita receiver opposite the bar. This was not a
program to miss, even if it weren't being broadcast _en vivo_ from the
packed ballroom upstairs.
"_En vivo del Gran Hotel Volcano in la ciudad de Fuerte-Mexico in la isla
de Martinica, es la noche de Sabado Gigante!_" Don Francisco beamed out at
his audience, both in the ballroom and on vitavision receivers across the
nation. After the usual unctious banter, he welcomed tonight's guest host,
"the beloved Secretary of War of our great nation, Don Vicente Mercator!"
Excerpts from _Sabado Gigante_ final script, 26 October 1974
[With handwritten annotations from senior production staff.]
[Translated from Spanish.]
Opening Title: "Levantando Pesas Con Hans y Franz"
[Scene is the usual weight room with barbells, etc., lying
around, but the usual alpine backdrop has been replaced with
an equally fake tropical-island one. HANS and FRANZ are both
already onstage, wearing their usual singlets, weight belts,
and spiked headgear but also carrying garish beach towels.]
HANS: Guten abend everyone! I am Hans!
FRANZ: And I am Franz!
HANS: And we are here to pump [clap] you up! But first,
before we can pump you up, we welcome you to the
island of Martinica, where there are many beaches!
FRANZ: Ja, Hans, today we have been on these beaches to
display our firm manly bodies, and we have found
a new friend who is also having the firm manly body,
and we have been inviting him to visit us on our show!
HANS: So please welcome to "Levantando Pesas Con Hans y Franz"
our new friend, Lennie!
[Enter LENNIE, also in singlet and weight belt that show Lupe's
real muscles to advantage (in contrast to H&F's obvious padding).
Lennie's singlet is blue denim, modeled after Skinner's trademark
LENNIE: I'm real happy to be here, happier than a pig in shit.
FRANZ: Lennie has a firm body, but he speaks a very strange
language, ja, Hans?
HANS: Ja, Franz, but I think it is a very pumped language, not like
all those other little North American girlie-men!
LENNIE: I was just saying that a big old black bear can't lay eggs.
HANS: But maybe it is a big _flabby_ girlie bear. Ja! You want
us to lay the egg? I turn your insides out and reach in and
grab the egg and then maybe I eat it for my breakfast! Ja!
Franz, how do you like your eggs?
FRANZ: Oh, I like them scrambled, ja.
HANS: Hear me now and believe me later, Franz; only a girlie
man eats scrambled eggs. You must eat them raw like
Sylvester Balboa, ja. But that is beside the point
because we are here to pump [clap] you up! Lennie,
are you ready to be pumped up?
LENNIE: Well, I usually start off lifting six months to get myself
in the mood a little, then go up to a year, how's that sound?
FRANZ: Hans, are you understanding what Lennie is talking about?
HANS: Nein, Franz, I am not understanding, but I am thinking--
[An officious knock on the weight room door UR, fitted into the
backdrop. Enter MAJOR DIETER through that door, wearing German
Army tropical field uniform. Seeing him, HANS and FRANZ come to
HANS: It is our good German friend Major Dieter! Guten abend,
DIETER: Guten abend, Hans. Guten abend, Franz. [Suddenly
suspicious on seeing Lennie] What is _this_ man
FRANZ: This is our new friend Lennie with his firm body, ja?
DIETER: Guten abend, Lennie. Would you like to touch my revolver?
LENNIE: Why, I purely don't think so.
DIETER: You are beautiful and angular, in addition to being, um,
pump-ed. You are indeed most bizarre. And from _where_
are you coming, to visit our German weight room? Touch
LENNIE: Why, I'm from beautiful old Georgia!
DIETER: Ah, Georgia, where our German armies are always having
the great victories over the disorganized bandits, ja?
It is near Persia, nicht war?
FRANZ: Ja, the flabby girlie country where the men wear dresses and
they make the little rugs!
DIETER: [Calm but menacing] Silence. You are beginning to become
tiresome. [FRANZ shuts up immediately, glancing around
nervously for Dieter's guards.]
LENNIE: Why, are you trying to hornswoggle me? I've never seen
no German armies in Georgia.
HANS: I think perhaps you are mistaken, Herr Major, Lennie has
said that he comes from the part of Toryland that is over
that way [gesturing], on the other side of Boricua!
DIETER: Boricua, ja, this is the place where a hundred German
army clerks are also having the great victories over the
disorganized bandits , ja? [He nudges LENNIE in the ribs.]
LENNIE: [Clearly taking umbrage] Disorganized bandits? Why you
muskrat-kissing chicken-plucker, those were good Tory
soldiers, and that battle was a sister-kisser! You think
you're the goat's pajamas, let's see you lift -- I bet
you couldn't get six months off the ground!
DIETER: Your agony is gorgeous. I must be slapped. I would like to
see your firm pump-ed body covered completely in sores. Touch
[LENNIE is even more offended, and HANS and FRANZ become concerned
that the jovial mood of their show is being broken. HANS takes DIETER
aside and brings him toward the door UR, where they begin to talk
FRANZ: Here, Lennie, mein freund, I will show you how a German lifts--
[He starts toward a heavy-looking but completely fake barbell. LENNIE,
not yet mollified, siezes it before FRANZ can and easily tosses it
offstage R, where we here a loud CRASH including breaking glass. FRANZ
goes off R momentarily to inspect the damage. HANS and DIETER both
angrily approach LENNIE.]
HANS: Hear me now and believe me later, Lennie, we are going to grab
your jockstrap and give you the wedgie of your life?
FRANZ [off L]: This Tory pig has destroyed our mirror which we are using
for looking at our pumped bodies!
LENNIE: Pig? I'll show you a pig! In Georgia we don't lift no
loco-mo-bile axles. We lift _livestock_. [Calling
offstage L] Arnold! Soo-ee!
[Enter ARNOLD, a pig, trotting. He sits like a dog next to LENNIE.]
[Handwritten note: "Bill, I'm still not comfortable with a live pig on
the set." "De nada, Miguel, Lupe says Arnold's as obedient as any dog,
and it's worked fine in rehearsal all week."]
LENNIE: Now Arnold here is two and a half years, and a better specimen
of _prime_ hog flesh you'll never see in a month of Sundays.
Arnold, assume the position!
[ARNOLD stands on four feet in front of LENNIE, who grabs him with an
arm under each pair of legs and executes a neat clean-and-jerk, raising
ARNOLD completely over his head. HANS, FRANZ, and DIETER are struck
dumb. As LENNIE puts ARNOLD down, MERCATOR enters DL.]
[Handwritten notes: "You got an ad lib planned for when he drops the
damn pig and it starts running around?" "Yeah, yeah, de nada."]
MERCATOR: Excuse me, Hans, Franz, Major Dieter. I ask your pardon, my
German friends, but I would like to speak with your guest
for a moment. Major, is it not perhaps the time when you
DIETER: Jawohl, Herr Secretary! [He executes a parade-ground turn and
exits goose-stepping through the door UR, taking part of the
backdrop with him.]
MERCATOR: Gentleman, your guest has a great gift.
[Handwritten notes: "You're _damn sure_ the Secretary is ok with this?"
"Yeah, yeah, he thinks it's really funny, stop squeezing my eggs."]
HANS: Ja, Herr Secretary! Of course you may speak to Lennie, ja,
he has a firm pumped body, no?
MERCATOR: Yes, of course, but the gift of which I speak is his use of
_language_. Here, Lennie, is it? Would you please read
this for me? [Hands him a crumpled paper.]
LENNIE [First reading, then increasingly improvising]: "The impeachment
power over all officials of the United States of Mexico is
vested by the Constitution of the United States of Mexico
solely in the Assembly of the United States of Mexico."
And impeachment is like when the he-coon walks before the
light of dawn. When the cuckoo twitters, the green beans
better get some cover on 'em. You just have to judge a man
by the color of his pig, and by how high he can lift it.
MERCATOR: This is marvelous. Lennie, I would like you to come with me
to be my new press spokesman. [They exit together DL.]
FRANZ: Well, Hans, it is certainly good that we could help the
HANS: That is good, Franz, but another thing is not so good. He
has given us something to hear now, and something to think
FRANZ: And what is that, Hans?
HANS: If our new friend Lennie is going to be on the vita all
the time and all the time lifting the porkers, _we_ are
going to have to be showing our audience how to be lifting
the porkers too.
FRANZ: Ach, Hans, I am not thinking about that.
HANS: No, Franz, you flabby dummkopf, you are not thinking about
anything. But now you better start thinking about how to
pump up our manly bodies some more so we can lift the porkers!
FRANZ: Ja, Hans, I start by saying "auf wiedersehn" to the audience!
Auf wiedersehn, my friends, and come back next week, when I will
HANS: And I will be Hans,
BOTH: And we will be here to pump [clap] you up!
Closing Title: (crudely altered from opening title):
"Levantando Puercos Con Hans y Franz"
Aboard Private Yacht _Jonquille_, in harbor
Fuerte-Mexico, Martinica, USM
27 October 1974
Evolution, Felipe had read, had endowed the human male with a
taste for variety in sexual partners. In the wild, females chose
their mates carefully before investing years of their lives in a
child, while males fared best by impregnating as many different
females as possible . The Turnerites claimed that their
practice of plural marriage accepted this reality while still
supporting stable family units for raising children.
Felipe had willingly accepted fidelity to Astrid as part of the
marriage package. Like her, he was free to stray for professional
reasons, but these were rarer than you might think, certainly rarer
than in David Flin films. (Since most intelligence targets were
male, seducing them tended to be a female prerogative .) But it
seemed to have a profound effect on _his_ unconscious mind that the
woman who had returned from the hotel to the yacht (by a circuitous
route) on this early morning did not _look like_ Astrid at all. He had
made love to this giggly, sultry New Granadan party girl with particular
enthusiasm, feeling the forbidden thrill of adultery as at the same time
(at the _very_ back of his mind) he knew that he was making love to his
devoted Scandinavian wife, the center of his existence. Perhaps he
was now a sort of Turnerite himself, married to all the different women
contained within Astrid. At any rate, they were now, in the afterglow,
ready to discuss what each had learned at the Volcan the night before.
"So you met the Secretary himself."
"I met the man that everyone called the Secretary, and that most
everyone seemed to _think_ was the Secretary. But he wasn't."
"Felipe, I was all over the man's _skin_. He's South Asian, northern
Indian if I had to guess. _Not_ the mostly _blanco_ Mexican everyone
knows Vincent Mercator to be. He _does_ look just like the pictures,
and the voice is dead perfect, but this guy was a double. An actor ."
"Hmm. The Mapmaker hired a bunch of doubles back in the sixties, when
he really thought Kramer was gunning for him. Whenever he moved, there
were a bunch of other Mercators moving to different places. But I never
heard of anyone taking over for him in _public appearances_. You really
think he could get away with it on _live vitavision_?"
"The man I made up in that room was _not_ Vincent Mercator."
"Ok, Astrid, so he wasn't Vincent Mercator. But he talked _right to the
camera_, in close up! We recorded the program, right? I want to see
the opening again."
"Sure." Astrid, always more physically energetic at such moments, popped
off the bunk and went to the vitarecorder. After a second at the controls
 she turned around and faced him. Damn, Felipe thought, enjoying the
view. "Anita" really _does_ have bigger breasts than Astrid. How the hell
does she _do_ that, stark naked? Something with muscles in the shoulders?
The vitatape automatically rewound, stopped, and began with the opening
of _Sabado Gigante_. Don Francisco once again unctuously greeted his
audience in the ballroom and across Mexico, he introduced Mercator, Mercator
spoke to the audience, the camera went into closeup--
"Astrid, stop the tape!"
"You just want to watch me walk across the room again."
"No, I'm serious, do it, please!" She shrugged (affecting Felipe's
concentration yet again), got up, and went to the controls. Mercator
began speaking rapidly backwards in closeup, jumped to full-body view,
embraced Don Francisco, and left the stage in a silly sped-up backwards
walk. Astrid hit a button and he walked on normally once again, embraced
Don Francisco, began to speak, jumped into closeup--
"There! Freeze it!" She complied, catching Mercator with his mouth open.
"Look at the curtain behind him. It's not even quite the same color. And
that _is_ Mercator's face, I've met the man. But you're right too, he's
_not_ in the hotel ballroom!"
"You're saying they taped the closeup, then fed it to the broadcast while
the double was still talking on stage?"
"It's gotta be. We'll have to look, but I don't think he was in closeup
much at all. And a good actor can fool a live audience, and even a vita
audience as long as they don't get a good look at him."
"So if he's on vitatape, the real Mercator could be anywhere in the world!"
"Aha!" Felipe's voice suddenly took on a higher, shriller, pitch, in his not
terribly good impersonation of the English actor Ruthven Basildon .
"Not just anywhere. Run the tape forward, please, my good Doctor, yes,...
freeze! What do you see?"
Astrid was willing to play along, adopting Wat Johnson's perpetually
confused 'Dr. Bruce' voice. "I see nothing, Jeremy."
"On the contrary, my darling beautiful sexy Doctor, you see as well as
I! You _observe_ nothing! Note the electrical port _there_, to the left,
at the base of the curtain. Sloppy of them to leave it in shot like that."
"Eight sides ... Felipe, he's in New Granada! Or Europe, but he can't
be in Europe -- New Granada!" She returned to the Dr. Bruce voice. "Brett,
this is amazing!"
"Elementary, my dear Doctor!" He resumed his normal voice. "I wonder
how long he's been there -- he doesn't make many public appearances, and
people just _assume_ he's in Coyoacan--"
Astrid thought for a moment. "There was the beauty pageant in Tampico
on the 28th . There were a lot of celebrities there, I'll bet _that_
was really him."
"Wait a minute, celebrities, does this mean _Don Francisco_ was in on
the switch here?"
Astrid nodded. "Wouldn't surprise me, he and Mercator are old friends -- if
Mercator said it was national security of course he'd help. You wouldn't
need to have too many people to pull this off, Felipe, really you wouldn't.
The director, stage manager, the host, a couple others -- a whole lot of
the backstage people were temporaries like me anyway, who'd never _seen_
the real Mercator."
"New Granada. Now what would the Secretary of War of the United States
of Mexico be doing there? I wonder..."
 In both timelines, the island of Martinique was devastated
by an eruption of the volcano Mt. Pelee in 1902. The capital
of St. Pierre was abandoned, replaced by Fort-de-France (renamed
Fuerte-Mexico when the USM acquired the island from France after
the Hundred Day War). Important as a military base, Martinica
has become a tourist and gaming mecca not unlike OTL's Las Vegas.
OTL entrepreneurs would be unlikely to try attracting tourists to
a hotel by naming it after a dangerous local natural feature, but
the Mexicans are different from us.
 See FAN #121, "October Surprise".
 In OTL this appellation belongs to Canadian Prime Minister Jean
 Las Antillas (Martinica, Guadalupe, and a few other islands) has
a non-voting delegate in the Assembly, as does the Kincaid Canal Zone.
A significant movement for statehood has arisen in Las Antillas, but
it is going nowhere as long as the War Department prefers to operate in
a venue with a more legally ambiguous status.
 Felipe is exaggerating. While the French language on Martinica (spoken
mostly in a creole form) has lost its primacy to immigration and
assimililation, it is still the mother tongue of about 20% of the
population. (Some 30% are English speakers and the remaining 50%
Spanish, many of the latter immigrants from New Granada like Anita's
 Major Dieter is referring to the January 1973 battle of Moca
in the Jeffersonist Republic of Boricua (on the island formerly
known as "Puerto Rico"). This battle is described in FAN #45.
 While the view Felipe expounds here is the dominant one in both
timelines, the FANTL Indian alienist Sri Blaffer Hardy argues that
in the small groups of humans' evolutionary past, it was to a
_female's_ advantage to be promiscuous. (If each of the males in her
group think that they _might_ be the father of her children, each
will cooperate in raising them.) The Turnerites are naturally happy
to embrace this theory as well -- they do a lot of embracing.
 Felipe is overlooking the success of the several key Platonist members
of the British establishment who were German agents of influence and
acquired many important secrets before, during, and after the Global War.
 Subsequent research by the Jacksons identified this actor as one
Julian Singh, born in India and trained there on the classical stage.
In 1958 he moved to Australia and established a steady but unremarkable
career in film and vita there under the name "Lorenzo Smythe" -- he was
best known for a recurring role as a plasmatically enhanced villain on
"Smythe" moved to Cancun in 1967 and made two films as an exotic
leading man before abruptly retiring -- it appears he went to work
at that point for the USM War Department as Mercator's double.
(Some say he was offered and turned down the role of the Australian
prison commandant in the Mexican Global War vita comedy _Detention 17_,
the role that made CNA-born Maxwell Klinger a major star.)
 Having been developed by hardware-oriented engineers long _before_ the
genesis of any computer industry, the FANTL vitarecorder has a simple
intuitive interface that everybody understands and uses easily. Don't
ask _me_ how they did it, I'm a theoretical computer scientist.
 Most famous for portraying the scientific detective Brett Jeremy
in untold films of varying quality. Jeremy and his less observant
sidekick Dr. Bruce were created by the Edinburgh surgeon Joseph Bell
in a series of novels and short stories in the late 19th century. They
remain among the FANTL's most famous literary characters, even more
beloved by true devotees of 19th-century literature such as Felipe
(see FAN #39).
 Electrical ports are rectangular in most of the FANTL's Western
Hemisphere, but since New Granada was originally electrified by a
Scandinavian contractor (a low bidder with questionable ties to
officials in Victoriano Hermion's government, it's a long story),
the distinctive octagonal port covers have become standard there.
Sloppy of them to leave the ports in shot, wasn't it?
 For more on the Miss Mexico pageant and the controversy over the two
rival Arizona entrants, see Sir Francis Burdett's excellent (and now
canonical) post FAN #130, "There She Is". The pageant was held in
Tampico on 28 September 1974, neither Arizonan won, and Mercator (if
it was really him) was one of the judges.
[Thanks to Matt Alderman and Mike Keating for major contributions to the
Hans and Franz sketch.]