The saga of Laura Ling and Euna Lee would be hard to believe if it hadn’t actually happened. Two years after @lisaling goes undercover and eviscerates the Dear Leader’s handiwork @NatGeoChannel, he and his third son get their hands on Lisa’s younger sister and colleague, run them through a show trial and dangle certain-death (and poor food) in front of them until the husband of a sitting Secretary of State comes to the rescue aboard a plane paid for by a flamboyant Hollywood producer.
In other words, there’s no telling what might happen as this story continues on. Here are just a few hallucinatory (or clairvoyant?) near-future happy possibilities dancing in my head.
Fall-winter, 2009: Euna Lee, continuing a well-deserved sabbatical in Seoul with her parents and immediate family, grapples with a most unexpected development. Husband Michael Saldate, once just another face in the legion of aspiring actors in Los Angeles, has become a beloved TV commercial pitchman in South Korea, endorsing cars and Thailand vacation packages.
2010: HBO’s dramatization of the Laura Ling–Euna Lee story racks up solid ratings, even though it represents yet another typically risky proposition for the network. Rather than focusing on the two reporters, Swedish Diplomacy tells their tale through the eyes of North Korea’s Swedish Ambassador Mats Foyer, played with great pathos by Sam Neill.
2011: Iain Clayton continues to thrive with his new London-based consulting firm, which works closely with the Treasury Department and other government agencies to monitor illicit activities in the global financial markets. In something of a wink-wink move, the name of the former SSI man’s new concern is KJiL Inc.
2012: Seven-year-old Hana Lee-Saldate astonishes her elementary school teacher (and classmates) with a polished, four-minute class project video report on global warming, complete with @AlGore cameo. Yes, her parents helped her, she explains; and yes, when she grows up, she wants to be a reporter just like her mommy.
2013: With the North Korean regime in full collapse and China refusing to extradite decamped leader Kim Jong-il, Laura Ling improbably convinces the feeble but still defiant leader to sit down for an hour-long, one-on-one TV interview. The ratings for this @current exclusive manage to top those of Laura‘s 2012 conversation with the still very-much-alive Osama bin Laden.