As the world well knows, Mr. Obama has been so annoyed with the President of Russia that Mr. Hollande was forced to host separate dinners.
However, both these leaders are fond of Club Mephistopheles, a night club with branches in all major cities, and where they met previously in Hong Kong.
Now, both chose this club in Paris at the same time following the Hollande extravaganza. There they were with noses lifted, at opposite ends of a long, dark, shining bar, which was otherwise empty.
That is, other patrons, possibly aware of who they were, sat back to watch.
Would either man narrow his nostrils, snort, flex cheek sideways toward the other?
A challenge might emerge, some sort of duel, but how, what?
A bartender has provided these details. The two men lifted glasses and sat quietly staring directly in front of them--as though entranced with glass shelves of bottles back of the bar.
Mr. Obama--somewhat lanky--suddenly rose. Somehow his foot tripped around the base of his stool. He plunged.
Immediately Mr. Putin--short and thick--bounded like a cork to the US President's side, proffering an arm.
Mr. Obama appeared to grasp instinctively toward Mr. Putin's elbow. Hesitated. Nearly crashed.
Then he seized the Russian President's forearm in an icy grip to save himself from an abrasive floor.
According to the bartender, some words were exchanged. But very quickly the men turned their backs on each other.
A moment later--simultaneously--both assumed the bar with elbows planted and fists raised.
Was it to be mano a mano redux?
Each pointed a very long index finger toward the nose of the other.
"This is your fault."
"No, it's yours."
"I told you not to f--k with the United States."
"Barry, you need to update your advisors."
Were those index fingers--very long indeed with crooked tip--withdrawn into fists, then their hands clasped for a new round of arm wrestling, as happened a year ago over the Snowden affair?
At the crucial moment both lifted their hands backwards and smoothed them over their hair, as to brush back a rogue hairdo.
They stood and bowed to each other. Strode away.
Mr. Obama's nose was higher.