MOSCOW, February 15, 2006 -- They’re gone. Never to return. Maybe. AValentine’s Day present from Andrei and Sergei. Or was it a Valentine’s Day present from me? It did, after all, cost me 2000 bucksi!
It’s why this chapter is late getting on line. I wanted to share some good news with you for a change!
Last week was a stormy week. It all came to a head Saturday night. I had been asleep when Zhorik came to bed at 3 a.m. with a severe toothache. I got up and found the oil of cloves that I had brought with me from America, and a cotton swab. He had rejected it before, but this time I was determined. I soaked the swab. “Put it directly on where your tooth is hurting.”
It worked miraculously.
And then he went to take a bath. “Don’t be long,” I admonished. “You know I can’t sleep without you.”
While Zhorik was taking his bath, Andrei came in to announce that maybe he’s not going on the 15th after all – or anytime soon. They’ll leave only after they’ve found $ 2,000 to make the March-April payment on his Stavropol building lot.
“How will staying here give you the money for the property?” I asked.
“Maybe I’ll find a job.”
“You’ve been here for three weeks and haven’t found a job. You haven’t even looked for one!”
“Are you going to throw me out?”
“I want you to leave.”
“I’ll leave when Zhorik leaves.”
Zhorik had told me last Monday night that, while Andrei and Sergei were causing me stress and anger, they were causing him depression, so severe that he wanted to see a psychologist – or a priest!
Obviously, I must find a psychologist. But Moscow is not New York, and unearthing a good psychological counselor for teenagers here is just another exercise in Russian roulette. Guess what kind of a mushroom cloud would ascend over the Institute of Russian Psychology when he told his shrink that he was sleeping and having sex with his American grandfather! It’s not that it isn’t done in Russia, dahling, it’s just that it isn’t talked about!
The sole role of psychology/psychiatry during the Soviet period was to get the malfunctioning psyche functioning again for the good of the state. Its purpose was never to resolve the problems of the individual. And that tradition still pervades in much of Russian shrinkdom.
What I’m hoping is that, now that the twins are gone, he will find so much support, positive feedback, happiness, and peace here with me --sans twins -- that he’ll forget he ever wanted to see a head bender.
Or to go to the army.
Anyway, if the twins stayed here till April, Zhorik might need more than a psychologist or a priest! Maybe an undertaker
“No,” I insisted. “I want you and Sergei to leave by next Saturday.”
“Where am I going to live, on the street?”
“You don’t need to live on the street here. You have a home and a wife in Stavropol, and that’s where you belong.”
He stalked into the bathroom, where Sergei had already joined Zhorik for a smoke. Andrei and Sergei huddled and Sergei went into an unintelligible tirade ending with “go fuck yourself.”
“Listen to yourself,” I said. “That’s exactly why I want you to leave.”
“Fuck you. We’ll all three live together – Andrei, Zhorik, and I.”
It was obvious they were using Zhorik as a weapon. Little did they know how he really felt. “He can do what he wants. He’s 19.”
I returned to my computer.
A few seconds later Andrei joined me, and we worked out a compromise. He said he thought he could find a friend to lend him $ 2,000. I told him that he could tell the friend that I would pay it later in the year. But I will amend that to insist that he repay me out of his earnings in the summer and/or his $ 7,500 that he insists he will get when his partner Lyona in the Mercedes truck sells it this summer.
But I still insisted that he and Sergei must leave no later than next Saturday.
Zhorik wanted to “gulyat’” Sunday, so we took the metro to Pushkin Square and took touristy pictures of the ice sculpture of Big Ben. After buying a ticket to a movie next Sunday, we returned to Belarusskaya for lunch at Rostik’s, the Russian McDonald’s and Zhorik’s favorite eatery.
“Well, we have to put up with them for one more week,” I said.
“They’re not leaving,” he replied.
“I think they will. I will tell them that if they don’t leave now, I’ll never give them any more money.”
“They’re not leaving without the $ 2,000,” he reiterated. “They said if you’d give them $ 2,000, they’d leave immediately and never come back”.
My first impulse was No, god damn it. I’ve promised to loan Igor $ 10,000. I don’t have it!
But then I began thinking. A stressless, tranquil existence with Zhorik would be worth $ 2,000. I began counting up. Yes, I have two grand; but what about the $ 700 rent, which is due next Friday? I counted some more. A couple hundred left in the Raiffeisen account. $ 100 from Alex, $ 100 from Anton, at least $ 100 from Olga, $ 100 from Masha’s law firm; Igor owes me a couple hundred; I think Valera’s $ 100 is due; Alan owes me $ 50; and Zhorik said he could give me $ 100. Yeah, we’ll make it.
We went back and told Andrei. He was ecstatic. He kissed me and thanked me, and both he and Sergei assured me that the house, when it gets built, will be one-third mine, and we will all live happily ever after.
I don’t know what Igor’s reaction will be when he finds out I can’t lend him the 10 grand. It won’t be pretty.
All I needed now was to get the $ 2,000 out of the bank and they’d be out of here. Did you say “all”? Ah, you silly boy.
Sunday night I went to Raiffeisen Bank. I should have known what I was in for when my credit card wouldn’t open their 24-hour door. So we went across the street to the Raiffeisen ATM at Perekrostok supermarket, where I checked my Bank of America pension account balance. $ 1185. No sweat. So then I tried to take out $ 500, my daily maximum.
“We are unable to process your request at this time.”
So now what the fuck do I do?
I had an hour or so free time on Monday morning, so I went to the main Raiffeisen Bank on Tverskaya at Mayakovskaya Station. Their ATM said the same thing. So I went to a teller. “I want to take out $ 500.”
“There’ nothing we can do,” he said. “The problem isn’t in this bank. You’ll have to call your bank.”
“My bank’s in America, you dunderhead!” (I didn’t say that. I only wanted to.)
“Sorry, there’s nothing we can do.”
So I went to a kiosk and bought an international phone card. I had exactly 300 rubles in my pocket. “How much is it?”
A good omen.
Then home and a flurry of attempts to call the Bank of America service department.
One number on the back of my card was no longer in service. The other, an 800 number, was constantly busy.
I e-mailed my buddy Dave Gremmels, the head cheese of Rogue Creamery in Ashland, Ore., and my power of attorney for the bank. He replied:
Hi Dane, I don't know what is going on with your account but will look into it when I return to Ashland on Thursday. Here is the tel. # I use for my account: 206.461.0800. Let me know if there is anything more I can do. My cell # is xxx. I am out of cellular range tonight but will be within range tomorrow after 10:00 am. Much love, ps. I called the BofA # and it is working.
I succeeded in reaching it about noon: “We have no operators on duty at this time. We are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Pacific Time. Please call back later.”
So at 8 p.m. I reached BofA customer service. It seems they had frozen my account on a “random check” to be sure my card hadn’t been stolen. “It was for your own protection.” Thanks a lot. An hour later, after being gorged and disgorged through the bowels of this megabuckian banking behemoth, I was told that the freeze was off my card and that for the next 10 hours I could make unlimited withdrawals.
I hurried to Perekrostok. Punched in $ 500. “Sorry, maximum $ 300.” I punched in $ 300. Whirr, buzz, click, click, click. No problem. “Do you want another transaction. “Yes, you stupid blinking robot. Give me another $ 300.”
“Ha, ha, jokes on you, baby. You aint gettin’ another 300 bucksi out of me tonight.”
I steamed back to the telephone. Supervisor Christina: “Did you try asking for just $ 200? Your daily maximum is $ 500, so it would have given you another $ 200 if you’d requested it.”
“But you said I had unlimited withdrawal for the next 10 hours!”
“Oh, they should have explained to you that above the $ 500 maximum, you’ll have to go to a bank where they can check a photo ID.”
“You bitch! (I didn’t say that – only because I was afraid she’d hang up on me). I’m in Moscow, Russia, the other side of the world. Do you know what time it is? It’s fucking (didn’t say it) midnight. Where in the hell (no, actually, I said Sam Hill) am I going to find an open bank at 12 o’clock midnight?”
“I’m sorry. I can extend your unlimited withdrawal limit for another 24 hours.”
That’s a start.
I hung up and went back to Perekrostok for another $ 200 and then to Sberbank, from which I bled another $ 800 in rubles – leaving a little less than $ 10 there for seed.
So yesterday morning, Tuesday, after calling School #69 and informing them that I had an emergency and wouldn’t be in for my 11 a.m. class, I went to Image Bank at Mayakovskaya and for a 1% service charge took out $ 600, leaving a miniscule balance there as well.
Back to the apartment to count out $ 2000 in bucksi and rubles to Andrei.
Before they left, both Andrei and Sergei again reassured me that one-third of the house will be mine. And Andrei said he’d try to repay me this summer either from earnings or from the $ 7,500 he has coming from the sale of the Mercedes truck.
When I got back from Potemkin U. last night, they were gone.
Zhorik and I had both dreamed of our first night of playing house without the twins. We would party, we would celebrate, we would get drunk. We would make love all night long.
But it was anticlimactic – so to speak. After my last class ended at 10 p.m., we went to the train station to get a refund on the train ticket to St. Pete. Olen called me Saturday to tell me that he would have little time to spend with me; we couldn’t use the apartment he’d promised; and he didn’t dare sleep with me because of his parents’ suspicions.
It’s just as well, because after buying a $ 500 washing machine last week and forking over $ 2000 to the twins this week, I’m not going to have any money anyway.
After getting the $ 50 refund, we returned to Belarusskaya, picked up a couple of hero sandwiches and canned rum cocktails, and went home to dine.
Zhorik had been promising to wash the dishes since Sunday, and when I went to bed at midnight, he stayed up and cleaned the kitchen.
We both passed out and didn’t touch each other all night long.
Actually, the celebration had come a few days earlier. Thursday night, Andrei and Sergei left to spend the night at a friend’s house.
That night I stripped down to my shorts and climbed into bed while Zhorik played computer games.
“Dane, do you want to play?” he asked suddenly.
He put the porn disc on the computer (the DVD player broke last week) and got down to business. He came twice. I couldn’t come – whether because of the two vodka cocktails or from sheer performance panic (he really wanted me to come), so for the first time in my life, I faked an orgasm.
“Did you come on the bed?”
“No, on my leg.”
So I went to take a fake shower to wash off my fake sperm. When I came back a couple of minutes later, he was again sitting at the computer keyboard with his hand pumping his still erect dick.
“Dane, do you want to do some more?”
I immediately took over his joystick, and we moved back to the bed. I sucked and stroked and started getting hard myself. But apparently I was doing a better job on me than on him, so he moved back to the keyboard to finish it, once again proving Wilson Clark’s old adage that “every man is his own best hand job.”
In the meantime, I came for real, and lay on my back gasping. “Dane, I’m going to come,” and thrust his dick into my upturned throat, where I swallowed his third ejaculation of the evening. At least he’s learned where to stash his gism.
“Dane, I’m going to take a bath. Do you want to sit with me?” So we had another session of bathhouse intimacy while I continued to stare at his very red, well spent dick.
He and I did have a very loving, sweet session Tuesday afternoon before the twins left. They had gone to say goodbye to a friend when I came back from class about 3. Zhorik had taken the day off after partying with the twins the night before, and was still in bed.
“Dane,” I heard him call from the bedroom.
He patted the bed beside him: “Lie down.”
We lay facing each other and chatted.
“I want to sleep some more,” he said.
I slipped my right arm under his neck and my left arm around his torso and pulled him to me. I caressed his cheek while my lips rested on his forehead. While I was holding him in this position of contentment and affection, we both went to sleep.
It was, after all, St. Valentine’s Day!
Russians have taken St. Valentine’s day to their hearts. Some 300 couples chose it for their wedding day this year.
The Russian Orthodox Church is not happy about this. Val was a Catholic saint, after all. So much better to get hitched on July 8, the day of Saints Patrick and Fevrona, the two Orthodox patron saints of love.
But somehow, Happy Saint Fevrona’s Day just doesn’t have the same ring to it. And what would your boyfriend say if you asked him to be your Fevrona? And can you imagine the doggerel on a Fevrona’s Day card:
I love you
And I’m gonna
Your own Fevrona
My Fevrona has agreed to stay till April. Of course, he really doesn’t have much choice if he wants to go back to Svetlograd with a thousand bucksi for his grand going-into-the-army party.
But I’m more and more confident that he’s about to see the folly of his excursion into macho. Everyone is now pressuring him against it – Andrei, Sergei, me.
Even his father, who initially thought the discipline would be good for him, is now opposed to it after the latest recruit hazing horror story, in which 19-year-old Andrei Sychyov had to have his legs, dick, and nuts amputated when gangrene set in after a three-hour New Year’s Eve beating by drunken sergeants in his barracks (Chapt. 185).
And Andrei told me that his own cousin, also a twin named Sergei, was hospitalized for six months with brain damage after a similar army hazing incident.
Friday night Zhorik asked me for 4,000 rubles – about $ 135 – to lend to a friend who promised to pay it back in April. “I will stay till April to collect the money,” he promised.
I will spend that time reminding him that he’d be throwing away two precious years of his life, that he could start his university education in the fall, and that we’d also be losing two precious years of our own lives – out of however many I have left. I’ve also promised him a movie camera, to move to a new apartment, and a mouthful of proper teeth if he doesn’t go. My gaydar is detecting weakening resolve.
In our talk about his depression last week, he said he’d like to occasionally have sex with a girl. “Then I’d have sex with you “s’udovolstvie,” the Russian word meaning “with pleasure.”
So I’ve also promised him an occasional night out with a prostitutka – more for my pleasure than his.
A Russian astronomer has predicted a “mini-ice age” within the next 50 years as a result of global warming. But he attributes the global warming not to increased CO2 from the petroleum age, but to increased solar activity.
Khabibullo Abdusamatov of the Pulkovo Astronomic Observatory in St. Petersburg said Monday that temperatures will begin falling six or seven years from now, when global warming “caused by increased solar activity in the 20th century reaches its peak,” RIA Novosti reported.
The coldest period will occur 15 to 20 years after a major solar output decline between 2035 and 2045, Abdusamatov said.
He said the last “cool-down period” in the Northern Hemisphere occurred between 1645 and 1705, when canals in the Netherlands froze solid and glaciers forced people out of their houses in Greenland.
Alyosha, Hong Kong Harry’s former boyfriend who on my visit to Harry’s apartment in St. Pete last May invited me to get out of the taxi and walk if I didn’t like it (Chapt. 130), has been sentenced to five years in prison – not for insulting me, but for possession of hash and/or pot.
Harry turned him onto pot and hash several years ago. Every time Harry comes to Europe, he pays a visit to Amsterdam to refill his stash. I’ve warned him that the same thing is going to happen to him if he’s not damned careful – and maybe even if he is; e.g., is Alyosha pissed enough that Harry didn’t send him $ 600 to bribe the judge that he would squeal on him and maybe earn an early out?
A Russian general has let the cat out of the bag: “There is no international terrorism,” says Gen. Leonid Ivashov.
Furthermore, says the general, who was chief-of-staff of the Russian Armed Forces when the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were destroyed, the 9/11 attack itself was a “set-up.”
He is quoted on the EnergyResource website as asserting that “Today's international terrorism is a phenomenon that combines the use of terror by state and non-state political structures as a means to attain their political objectives through people's intimidation, psychological and social destabilization, the elimination of resistance from power organizations and the creation of appropriate conditions for the manipulation of the countries' policies and the behavior of people.
His controversial views are more thoroughly elaborated at http://www.periodico26.cu/english/opinion/ivashov011806.htm