My San Francisco today was punctuated by a call from a Moscow tomorrow.
“I’m coming back to the homeland,” the voice announced on the telephone. “I got a ticket for the 27th of April. 468$ one-way on United. I’ll be back in New York. Ah! Amerika!”
It was my friend Crazy Alex (who long time readers of this blog may recognize.)
He is my compatriot and fellow (now alumni and therefore no longer) rebel at a Boston area liberal arts university. Our shared homeland is Russia, where he has been living for the past three months (ironically since the week he was sworn in as an American citizen.)
He mumbled something about surveillance and asked me to call back on Skype. 50 rings later.
“Yeah, so … you might want to write this down … I was talking to Masha on cell phone why I am choose to leave this motha, as my mama and papa chose for me some years ago. A late stage bomzh [homeless drunkard] walking his bomzhikha by the ear in my direction. You know the type, potatoes face for him, radish instead of face for her, smells like sewage dweller, dirty like chimneysweeper.
“I notice behind them kid of street, most probable sniffer of glue , younger and more vigorous version of same sort. He has a beer bottle in hand clearly poised for some misdeed.
“His cohort with drool having out of his mouth and a drunk swagger that has almost completely extinguished his youth trails him by 5 meter.
“As the first overtakes the bomzh couple, he swings his bottle. The bottle breaks. The potato falls. Radish face steps aside. When the accomplice arrives, the two continue to mull the body on the ground without regard for any audience member.
“Now Masha speaks into the phone: ‘Hello! Why are you quiet? You don’t want to tell me why you are leaving?’
“This reminds me that I have a voice, which I apply in a loud threatening way to the characters I describe, ‘You call that murder? I show you murder’. And I take out decorative Katana I bought earlier as goodbye gift for my mama, and unleash madness I did not know I have but for special occasion. The two wimps run as best they can. The two of us that remain, myself and bomzhikha character already know what we had witnessed was an arbitrarily executed reduction in Moscow population.
“I told this story to my friend Nastya also, before I call you, and she said: ‘That’s why I want to leave. I wish I was able to exact civic justice as you did and then flee because of your Blue Pocket protector,’ referring to my American passport.”
The moral of the story as I see it, is that while we may not all have the will power or diplomatic immunity, or a katana sword on hand, the least we can learn from Alex is to act on the present.
By the way, Action Alex is entering the San Francisco job market. He can work finance, but prefers theater and the occasional odd job.