MOSCOW, February 28, 2005 – An unpleasantly memorable night last night!
I was working on the computer when Uri came to the bedroom door and through sign language indicated that Zhorik
and his friend Igor were fighting on the stairway landing, where they had gone ostensibly to smoke.
Zhorik had been drinking “Jaguar,” a canned coke-and-gin cocktail. Igor had been drinking beer. Just before they had gone to the stairway landing, Zhorik had been playing computer games. I had sat down beside him on half the chair in front of the computer.
“I’m angry,” he said.
“I don’t know.”
“Haven’t you had a good time here?”
He said something I didn’t understand and finished shutting down the computer.
They had planned to leave on the 11 p.m. train, but hadn’t bought tickets until today and the first train available was tomorrow, Monday, at 8:30 p.m.
I went and looked out the apartment door. By this time, they seemed to be just talking. “We’re having a smoke,” Zhorik said.
I came back to the computer and seconds later I heard somebody leaning on the doorbell. Somewhat mystified I went to the door. It was our neighbor. She pointed to Zhorik and Igor: “Are they yours?”
Obviously angry, she started spouting unintelligible Russian that wound up with something like, “And if you don’t, I’ll call the police!”
“Okay, kids,” I turned to the pair on the landing below, “You heard what she said.”
“We’re just smoking,” Zhorik retorted.
“Well, come into the kitchen to do it,” I replied.
Only a while later did I hear them come in. Obviously angry at each other, they both came to the bedroom; Zhorik lay down on the bed; seconds later Igor disappeared into the kitchen.
A few minutes later I followed him there. He had been crying. He was wiping blood from his face and putting a cold spoon on a swollen cheek.
“Did he hit you?”
“No,” he lied. “I hit my face on the wall.”
I got the rubbing alcohol bottle and cleaned the blood from his face. I handed him a tissue for his tears.
“Why were you fighting?” I asked.
“Over the computer. We’ve lost our friendship over the computer.”
I held him and kissed him.
In an emotion-laden voice he said, “You know sometimes when Zhorik’s drunk, he’s like an animal.”
He and I continued chatting. I found a clean sponge, wetted it, and put it in the freezer. After a minute I applied it to his swollen cheek and forehead.
“I love my mother and my stepfather and you,” he said as I held him tight. “Will you be my grandfather too?”
“Of course, honey.”
“I don’t want to ride back on the train with him tomorrow. I’ll trade my ticket for another seat in another car. It would be very uncomfortable to ride back with him.”
“I want to walk,” he said, resurrecting the standard Russian expression for “I want to go out.
Could I have some money? I want to drink.”
“How much do you want?”
He grinned and replied with the Russian equivalent of “as much as you can spare.”
I handed him 100 rubles – enough for a lot of beer or 3 cans of cocktail. It was nearly 11 p.m. and about zero (F) outside.
“Please be careful. I’ll worry about you till you get back.” He didn’t want to get the keys from Zhorik. “Here, take mine. Don’t lose them.”
I went to bed immediately afterwards.
I awoke as Igor lay down on the bed next to me -- again fully clothed – about 1:30. “Thanks for not being too late,” I said.
Sometime later I woke up and realized that my hand was wet. So was the bed.
Zhorik stirred on the other side of me.
“Are you awake?” he asked.
“Yes. We’ve got a problem.”
I got up and turned on the light. Igor’s pants were soaked. So were the sheet and mattress.
“He’s wet his pants,” Zhorik said.
“We’ve got to get his pants off and wash them so they’ll be dry in the morning,” I said. I remembered seeing a pair of Anton
’s clean shorts that had lain undisturbed and unclaimed in the bathroom for a week. I went and got them.
We pulled his pants off, and while Zhorik took them to the bathroom, I pulled off his soaked shorts. His little piska was a vision of innocent beauty; reminiscent of Misha’s – small but exquisite. It lay sideways from left to right, the head completely encased in the foreskin. Rather pretty, tight balls, with sparse pubic hair extending only about an inch above the base of his cock. His inner thighs were smooth and hairless.
I patted his pretty little dick and was pulling the dry shorts over his chef d’ouvre when Zhorik returned. We pulled the wet sheet out from under Igor and replaced it with a clean one.
Igor was still drunk/unconscious. He slept fitfully, coughing uncontrollably from deep in his chest and flailing his legs wildly. He was coughing so hard that I think he probably lost control of his bladder in a coughing fit. But there was an upside to it. As he threw his legs around on the bed, my hand fell on the smooth, hairless inner thighs. Ecstacy!
On my other side, Zhorik – with at least his shirt off this time – snuggled towards me. Was he asleep or awake? I rolled over and put my arm around his body. He moved his face toward mine.
I woke up when the alarm rang at 6:30. Sitting on the edge of the bed putting on my socks, I looked at Igor’s beautiful baby-tender thighs and crotch and spotted the unnistakable bulge: He had a hard on! I laid my hand gently over the stiff meat. He lay, still unconscious. I lifted the top of his shorts and pulled them down, unveiling his stiff little rod – now not so little. Yes, very reminiscent of Misha’s. I touched the head of his cock, what the Russians call “the little bald man,” barely peaking out from the foreskin.
His breathing changed and he stirred. I abandoned my fantasy and finished dressing.
When I returned from my “Data+” lesson just before 10, student Tanya was waiting outside the apartment entrance. No one had answered the doorbell. The boys were still unconscious, apparently, and Alan had gone to work.
But as we entered the apartment, Igor emerged from the bathroom – now, fortunately, fully clothed.
As soon as I finished the lesson, I had to go immediately to my 12:00 class at Language Link. The boys were again soundly sleeping.
When I returned at 3, Misha the queer doctor was here. He had given the boys a diagnostic physical and was about to cut their hair. I shooed them into Anton’s bedroom in preparation for my class with Anton.
When Anton left at 4:15, I had to again leave immediately for my class with 10-year-old Sergei, but I chatted briefly with the boys. They had made peace and were hungry. I gave them 200 rubles to get something at the Rostik’s, the Russian McDonald’s-look-alike around the corner.
When I returned at 6, I asked the boys what time they had to leave to catch their train. 7:30. Oleg and Anna were due at 7. “We’ve got 45 minutes to talk,” I told them. “How much money are you going to need?” I asked.
“What for?” Zhorik asked.
“I don’t know,” I replied. “You tell me.”
“Just some money to get something to eat on the train,” he said.
Relieved, I handed him 500 rubles – about .
I left him playing computer games and returned to the kitchen.
A little later he walked into the kitchen. He had earlier mentioned problems with the St. Peterburg police, saying that was why he hadn’t been able to come as scheduled a couple of weeks ago. Igor had reminded me of it the day before, asking me if Zhorik had talked to me about it. I had been surprised when Zhorik had said he only needed money for the train. I had been prepared to give him – even 0 – for the ubuquitous bribe for the police bandits.
Zhorik sat down. “You remember I told you about the problem with the police.”
“Yes. How much money do you need?”
“Well, we need 0 for the lawyers and 0 for the police!”
“Six hundred dollars! I don’t have that kind of money.
“Just exactly what happened?” I asked after a pause.
Between him and Igor, I concluded that they had been going from their school to St. Pete on the commuter train with some girls and their friend Oleg. They had been drunk. There was a young kid on the train. Oleg asked him what time it was and then asked him for his watch. He took (stole?) the watch and handed it to Zhorik. Zhorik mindlessly put it in his pocket.
The kid reported it to the police, who collared and arrested Zhorik and Oleg. So it was Oleg and Zhorik, not the “menti” this time, who were the bandits!
Igor was clean.
I remembered what Igor had said last night: When Zhorik’s drunk, sometimes he acts like an animal.
“It sounds like you were both being a couple of hooligans,” I said disapprovingly. “What’s going to happen if you don’t pay it?”
“We might go to jail. We’ll certainly be kicked out of school.”
“I don’t have that kind of money,” I reiterated. “I’ll have to think about it.”
Seconds later the house phone rang.
It was Volodya! Sweet, beautiful Volodya.
He talked to the boys about it some more, then pulled me into the kitchen: “Don’t give them any money.”
“I don’t plan to. What they did was wrong.” And I told him about Zhorik beating up on Igor the night before. “Zhorik was wrong.” My mind flashed back to memories of Dima’s repeated drunken fights. “And this won’t be the end of it. It’ll happen again.”
“Tell them you don’t have it,” Volodya counseled. “If he wants to call Andrei, and Andrei wants to help him, let him sell his car and give the money to Zhorik.”
Oleg and Anna arrived for their 7 p.m. lesson. I hugged and kissed the boys goodby. Zhorik was very cuddly.
I was watching an old TCM Fred Astaire film after my students left when my mobile phone rang. It was Zhorik. “Hi, Dane,” and the connection broke.
I tried to re-call him several times, but he was out of range by then.
My fantasy of Zhorik as the sweet kid brother of the twins is shattered. He’s an, angry, larcenous hick. It also makes me again question the twins’ integrity.
To Sergei’s credit, Zhorik doesn’t like him and refuses to discuss the situation with him. He likes Andrei, and Zhorik is in turn Andrei’s favorite. Are they cut from the same mold? I can’t help but wonder.
Anyway, Sergei will return in two days. “Don’t tell Sergei,” Zhorik pleaded. But of course I will.
There’s a new anti-Putin youth group that seems to be gaining some power and recognition. Putin’s group of Kremlin-organized youth stooges is called “Marching with Putin.” The anti-Putin’s take-off label is “Marching Without Putin.”
It’s openly stated aim is to foment a “velvet revolution” in Russia, the thing that Putin apparently fears most of all.
“If such a movement were to form in Russia, the Kremlin would see its worst nightmare come true,” the Moscow Times quoted political analysts as saying.
Ilya Yashin, the head of the Yabloko party’s youth movement which has now merged with “Marching Without Putin,” agreed. “Those in power are afraid of a strong youth opposition. Our task is to shake the students and to urge them to the streets...” In Russia there will be an organization similar to Pora’s in Ukraine, he predicted. “It’s just a matter of time; we’ll get there.”
The merged group’s main duty, Yashin said, is to “oppose the country’s authoritarian political regime.”
If those in power are afraid of a Ukrainian-style youth movement, Yashin stressed, “They’re right. They’re gonna get it.”
Like their counterparts in Ukraine, the anti-Putin youth face an uphill battle. The Kremlin will stop at nothing to paralyze this most feared of all developments.
Ironically, the youth movement grew out of the Putin’s own hated reforms. As so often happens, excesses born of political arrogance and smug self-confidence may prove the seed of the regime’s ultimate undoing.
That may be wishful thinking, but at least somebody’s doing something.
What happens next may depend on how stupid the Kremlin turns out to be in controlling their paranoia over the threat.