Report #482734A-4f; Moscow police department

From the Story Arc: K MOCKBY

Previous Story in the Arc: Prologue by Red Menace (Wednesday, August 11, 2004)

Next Story in the Arc: A Shameful Secret by Red Menace (Tuesday, August 17, 2004)

(posted Friday, August 13, 2004)

Report #482734A-4f; Moscow police department; plainclothers officer Ivanov reporting officer of testimonial from American tourist, recorded conversation at Moscow Airport bar.

"Hi - my name's Sal Johnson. Who am I? I'm a shoe salesman. I sell shoes - that's what I do. For most of my life, I've been sweating away, going door-to-door in Paragon city with a HEAVY sample suitcase (those puppies ain't light, lemme tell ya). Anywhoo - lately, shoe sales have been down - the kids want the shoes that their favorite sports star's wearing this week, and I just can't keep those in inventory. Why couldn't Michael Jordan wear around a nice comfy pair of Hush Puppies? So - a few weeks ago, the old ball-an-chain Vera brings home these tapes. I figure I'm just gonna get another lecture about how her dad always said I'd never amount to anything and I'm making him out to be some kind of prophet, but this was different.

The guy who made these tapes, Tommy Robbers, I gotta tell you - he's a genius! He just started off by grabbing my attention with this great joke about a lawyer and a fisherman - then he got down to nuts'n'bolts - point number one of the Tommy Robbers' philosophy: "making money is all about taking risks"! I'd never looked at it that way before, just figured making money was about making sales. So I got to thinking, and - long story short, I've come up with just about the best business idea anyone's ever had:

You know how, in the bad old Commie days, you'd see these pictures of lines of factory workers and frumpy house-fraus, all standing around waiting for a pair of shoes? Well - shoe sales are WAY down in Russia - people just walk into a Kinney's or Pay-Less, get overwhelmed at all the options, and stumble on out. So, I figure, I can "give the customer what he wants" (point number five on the Tommy Robbers philosophy).

Introducing: "THE SHOE LINE"! See - I'll give the Russkies what they're used to. No fancy store with a dozen models of confusing Air Jacksons covering the walls - no siree! Just a table with a bunch of boxes behind it. And - get this - there's no salesmen on the floors; just one guy sitting at the table. And he's gotta be slow as molasses - Ivan Sixpack steps on up to the table, plunks down his twenty thousand pesos, and half an hour later, Comrade Molasses hands him a box of 'Puppies. Mean-time, about five or six eager customers are stacking up behind the first guy.

Candy from a baby, lemme tell you. These Russkie hicks won't know what hit 'em.

So - long story short - I dump my Halliburton stock, tell my boss to go screw himself, buy a ticket to Mos-Cow, kiss the wife, pack a bag, and hop on the plane. The way I figure it, I'll just jump off at their Chamber of Commerce, sign the right forms, and set up shop. But - see here - "nothing succeeds like the appearance of success" (point number twelve of the T.R.P.) - so there's no way I'm gonna shlub it back there in the galley with the rest of the shmucks - I'm somebody, dammit - gotta make the world take note. Nothing but First Class for old Sal from now on.

So - I'm easing back into my seat with - get this - a complimentary old-fashioned, when this guy sits down next to me. My jaw almost hits the floor - this guy is a freak! He's a tall guy - maybe six foot three, and built like a locomotive. Now - these are big seats - near as big as the old Barcalounger back home, and this guy fills it up, and then some. He's wearing this severe black suit - looks like it was made out of burlap, he's got this long, white hair tied back in a ponytail, an he's pale as a sheet. There was no way to tell how old the guy was - could have been thirty; could have been seventy. Something about his eyes scared the hell out of me - it was like looking into a well.

Anyhow, he was NOT one for small-talk - answered all of my friendly introductions with one or two words that I could hardly understand on account of that deep Roosky accent. Said his name was Vic, and he was going to Russia on business. So - I thought I'd break the ice by telling him Tommy Robbers' joke about the lawyer and the fisherman. I get to the punchline, and he just keeps staring at me - like the joke was supposed to go on. So I repeat the punchline, like maybe he hadn't heard it right. And he just keeps staring at me, no expression at all on his face.

About a minute later, he says this, in his creepy, booming Rooskie way: "Ah, yes. The lawyer was foolish to eat the sandwich with the fishhook in it. He was likely, however, a parasite and an exploitationist. I cannot say he has my sympathy."

Well - that just about shut me up. I put on my headphones (complimentary, of course, to us big players at the front of the bus), and leaned back, listening to some joker trying to cover Sinatra. Was better, anyways, than trying to make chitchat with the giant undertaker next door. But - see - I keep my eye on him. There was something about that guy that I just didn't trust.

About half way through the flight (I was on my sixth highball), the guy pulls out an envelope, opens it, and starts reading the contents. I'm not one to be nosy, but there's only so much to do in an airplane, so I kinda read the thing over his shoulder. For one thing, the handwriting was just awful - looked like it'd been written by a twelve-year-old, so it was kinda hard to puzzle out what was written down, but the guy just sat there, reading, re-reading, re-re-reading. He had the thing open for about four hours, just doing nothing but staring at it. It was full of crazy-talk, but seemed suspicious, so I'd read some of it, and run off to the lavatory, and copy down what I could remember. Here's what I got:

Dear Viktor.

Tomorrow I will return to the pack, as you probably already suspected. I feel bad to cheat and disrespect Workers' Champion with this trick of bureaucracy that Red Saviour put up. He is a great hero; many enemies of our country fell at his hands - he deserves to be treated differently.

When I was 16 and went to Germany, he game one book. This book was Hagakure. In this book, it said that a Samurai shall never disobey his Daimyo - he can protest the orders, but not fail to accomplish them. The final form of protest is Seppuku - the honorful suicide.

I will protest.

He lives by the same code as I - he will know this and decide accordingly. As for me, I will accept the decision of my Master. And if I disagree, I will protest.

Please don't interfere. Respect the fact that we don't live by a code, and we can't just drop that code

when things are grim. Doing so would just mean denying any purpose in your whole life - any choice

you made by that code.

MoJIotok has made the same decision. We will go back to Workers' Champion together and face our destinies.

I wish we could have lived together - maybe in the future, you and me. I always wished you had taken me with you, one of those Christmases. But that night, when I had the chance, I stopped. I think that, even as a child, I perceived that I couldn't escape from him. I had to let him decide whether to free me or not. Even then, I didn't want to feel like a fugitive. Now I go pack to the pack; I will miss you much.

Take care,


So - after the four hours of just staring at this thing, I notice something about this guy's face. Where before, the guy just had no expression at all, I notice he looks tired - exhausted. And somehow, when I look at his eyes now, it's not a black hole of nothing, but just about the saddest look I've ever seen in my life. Now - I'm not the fancy sentimental type, and I got no idea why this happened - but I actually felt myself welling up, just looking at this gigantic wierdo with his little letter.

The captain says something in Roosky over the intercom - I guess that we were preparing to land in Moscow, and suddenly this guy's expression changes. His mouth hardens, his brow sets, his eyes get this mad fire to them - he's furious! Or maybe it was determination. I don't know what it was, but it scared the be-jeezus out of me. And then he did something you're not gonna believe. Hell - I wouldn't have believed it myself, but I saw it with my own eyes!

He takes this letter and crumples it up into his gigantic fist - his hands was like shovels - and I see something - something dark - snake around his forearm and his hand. It flashed around, weaving over his hand - like my eyes was playing tricks on me - and the lights in the cabin started flickering. The plane started shaking a little - like turbulence. People in the plane start making some noise - they think the plane's hitting a cloud or something. I'm flipping out here, cuz this guy - somehow I KNOW it's no turbulence - its HIM what's making it happen. I start hammering on the "stewardess" button, on the side of my armrest.

And suddenly, my ears pop. And it all stops. The lights just come back on; the plane stops shaking. And the guy, Vic, - I swear this on my mother's grave - the guy is just gone - the seat is empty, like he was never there in the first place."