It was only a matter of time before I wrote for Scandinavia and the World. This started out as a one-shot of Finland drinking coffee to stave off a hangover. He got to wondering what would happen if Denmark challenged him to a drinking contest. Obviously, I decided that would make a much better story...

It was April. This meant a number of things- cracking ice, hints of green in the countryside, and a return of daylight. All things meriting celebration. Sweden pounced on it each and every year the first of the month and rallied them all around his kitchen table to discuss a dinner party. It was a meeting that transformed Finland's generally neutral mood into an unquestionably bad mood. A meeting that left him with the burning urge to stuff his hat into his half-full bottle of homebrew, set it ablaze, and toss it onto a gas stove set to full blast. He never did. It would be a shame to waste precious alcohol on killing his friends. That's what the knife was for, after all.

Sweden distributed a series of meticulously sketched charts detailing potential menus, schedules, and locations. Everything neatly color-coded by country. Finland could think of better plans than what Sweden outlined. Plans with boobies. Plans with Sweden's Sister. Plans that involved both of them on Sweden's bed. Plans where Sweden furiously pounded at a locked door demanding they quit. Finland sniggered.

Outside the window, a moose that had been munching some fermented apples through the night finally staggered and faceplanted into the branches. "Finland, I understand you're entertained there's a drunk moose tangled up in my tree, but can we please stay on topic? Now if all of you will kindly turn your attention to figure 4-A, I've provided a seating chart. You may have a few minutes to look it over and we'll put it to a vote." Finland ripped his sheet in half and let it waft to the floor. Sweden's right eye twitched noticeably. "Finland abstains. But for the rest of-"

"Wait, a drunk moose?" Norway leapt from his chair to peer out the window. "Denmark, blend up a Ponce de Leon and meet me outside!" For the uninitiated, a Ponce de Leon is the gold standard in curing a hangover. It's named after the Spanish gent who set out into the great unknown to find the Fountain of Youth and keep all humans forever young and forever functioning. It consisted of orange juice, a bottle of aspirin, at least two pickles, and a handful of rock salt just for flavor. Finland felt his saliva sour and washed away the taste with a shallow swig of homebrew. Some hangover cures alone were enough of a motivation to not binge.

Iceland, who had a saw on hand for reasons Finland couldn't immediately deduce, trailed Norway through damp grass to cut it free. Finland graced Sweden with a rare smile while the latter mumbled something about how he regretted trashing all his guns after embracing democracy.

Finland took a slow walk up to Sweden's room while the others crowded the plastered moose. He duly noted Sweden slept on a queen sized NASA Foam mattress, covered in a silk blue and yellow duvet with lube stashed directly behind the headboard. A respectable love nest indeed. There was a loud, girlish scream. Denmark. He peered through the window to discover Norway on the ground, the animal's massive head propped in his lap while Iceland held the tongue and poured the concoction into its gaping maw.

Denmark paced several meters away, yelling at Sweden. "AT LEAST YOUR WILDLIFE KNOWS HOW TO THROW A PARTY!" That, Finland felt inclined to agree with. Sweden stood rigid and pokerfaced while Denmark ranted, loudly voicing what they all felt.

"Denmark!" Norway chided, "Please keep your voice down! You'll give her a headache."

"After a Ponce de Leon, she'll be fine." On cue, the moose rolled forward, planted all four hooves on terra firma and awkwardly lurched in Denmark's general direction.

"OH SHI-" Denmark made a running dive and skidded behind Norway. Finland wondered vaguely if Sweden locked his room when he left the house. Yes, he had spent many a night across the hallway with the most busty woman in the Northern Hemisphere, but being blindfolded, handcuffed, and spanked just never lent itself to snooping in Sweden's personal space.

Despite their persistent squabbles, it was only natural Finland and Sweden would come to an unspoken consensus while occupying the others' homes. Deliberately, Sweden often departed prior to Finland's arrival with minutes to spare and vise versa. Sweden claimed it was thanks to constant e-mail communication, but Finland pointed to Sweden's insane predictability. Finland was also 90% positive that Sweden and Åland's romantic candlelit dinners turned into raunchy threesomes with his sister and having sex with family in the other room was just plain weird.

"FINLAND! QUICK, THROW ME YOUR KNIFE!" Denmark appealed. What followed was a cacophony worse than Iceland's idea of music. The moose was forgotten as all eyes lifted to Finland. For a brief moment, he felt like Norse a god just like the old days. He was able to separate a few phrases from the general yelling.

"What the FUCK are you doing in my room?"

"Thanks! This is the most entertaining thing that's happened all month!"

"Norway, why is it turning around?"

"Do NOT throw a knife! I repeat, do NOT throw a knife!"

"MOOO!"

Norway had a valid point. He wasn't inclined to leave his all-purpose kitchen knife and most efficient communication tool around them unattended. He pocketed Sweden's lube and walked down to the yard. In those few short minutes, Iceland had devised a plan to lead the moose back into the forest. He held Denmark's beer at arm's length as the animal followed.

Denmark climbed onto Norway with all the grace and beauty of a three-legged bullfrog in heat, unsure if he should remain put or rescue the beer. They all watched as it snatched the bottle and trotted off.

"I think I need a beer. No reason a moose gets to have all the fun… you can get down now. She's gone." Norway said, attempting to brush off Denmark.

"I have an idea, let's forget the dinner party" Denmark started, not budging. "And just all get drunk inste-"

"Second." Norway interrupted.

"Consent." Added Iceland from the distance.

With majority rule fighting his dinner party, Sweden had no choice but to concede. Democracy was truly the best government system on Earth. Finland wondered what had been wrong with them all during the periods of monarchies, mobocracies, technocracies, and anarchies. In fact, he was so moved by it all, he whipped out his knife and herded the other four Nordics to his house with a series of slashes and stabs for Denmark's proposed party. Playing host for a change would be fun.

They did find a drunk moose wandering around Sweden. If you run a Google search, the article should come up. I'll admit this chapter is more of a flourish than anything. We'll get into the meat of the plot next chapter.